“Never let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game.” - Babe Ruth

What’s one thing that terrifies you? What is a thought that jolts a few memories of nightmares from your past or brings anxiety of things to come? Fear can be used to propel you to greatness or it can be debilitating and become your greatest downfall. Your mindset will determine whether you will defeat those obstacles or crumble under the spotlight. Adversity is a part of life—a part of powerlifting. Your goals will not wait for you, and only you can control your fate.

Being a strength athlete is tough. Every time you get under the bar you’re risking a catastrophic injury. The danger of being folded in half is very real when you’re under a bar loaded with a thousand pounds. The fear can be overwhelming. Gaining control and being able to rationalize that fear is an important part of the game. While the very notion that it could possibly be my last squat ever is daunting, it gives me a rush unlike anything else. At the same time, the belief I have in myself nullifies the fear. I see fear—a vehicle for the feeble and weak-willed—as an illusion that will not crush my goals.

It took time for me to reign in my fears. I finally recognized that my mind was using other peoples’ experiences and failures to deceive me. I constantly remind myself that my work ethic will not let me fail. I relish every moment in the squat rack because I know it could be my last. After experiencing my devastating patellar injury, I couldn’t let the fear cloud my ambitions. I knew I had to battle back. I built myself back up with Josh Bryant’s guidance and fortified my mind through meditation. Months of hard work during my recovery/rehab kept me mentally focused on the bigger picture.

Coming face to face with your fears is the only way to grow. Once you let doubt creep into your mind, it starts planting its seeds. Use that fear as fuel to overcome your demons, whether it be to complete a thousand pound squat or have the courage to talk to your gym crush. The moment you let go of doubt is the moment the magic happens. I’m a big believer in affirmations—creating mental movies of your lifts or whatever else you’d like to accomplish in life. Put it out into the world and stay the course. Stick to your program, trust your coach, and, most of all, believe in yourself and that fear will only be a mere figment of your imagination.