I recently gave a talk to a group of people on Goal Attainment.

At these talks there are always people that come up afterwards to ask a question – which I love by the way, as they always make me think.

This time I got a question that really surprised me…

This person had the goal of completing the New York Marathon, but not just completing it, she wanted to do it comfortably and to enjoy the whole thing.

A great goal and completely achievable.

Her question for me though, was “What do you do when you are afraid of achieving your goal?”

At first I was struck by the foreign idea that success in anything could be feared. Then I realised that there must be another layer…

I asked the question “What specifically are you afraid of?”

Her response was less of an answer and more of a statement “I know that I need to lose some weight for me to be able to run this Marathon the way I want to, but I’m not sure that I can do it”.

Firstly, this woman doesn’t need to lose any weight at all and secondly enjoying a Marathon experience has little to do with losing a couple of kg’s.

I pushed a bit harder “What makes you think that dropping some weight will make all the difference in you achieving your goal?”

Her answer “I used to be a bit lighter and I was a better runner then.

Isn’t it funny how we can create maps in our minds that lead us to such ultimate conclusions that there can be only one possible way to achieve our goals? Our past does not equal our present and it most certainly does not equal our future. The only thing that can determine our future is what we THINK, SAY and DO right now.

I pushed her again…

“What I’m hearing is that the only thing you are afraid of is not having an excuse on the day if the Marathon doesn’t go exactly has planned. I think that you are planning to use the story that you didn’t reach your ideal weight as a reason for a poor performance, and you are afraid of losing that story”.

She stared at me…

“What I would suggest is that you forget about losing those couple of kg’s and focus on why you love to run. Recognise that you have the ability to achieve your goal with the resources you have right now”.

She stared at me some more, then quietly said “Yep, I think you hit the nail on the head.  I didn’t realise I was thinking like that”.

It is VERY difficult to see the negative thought patterns we hold when it is something we do subconsciously. We are all guilty of doing this from time to time and this is why being honest and brave enough to ask someone else’s opinion can be so valuable. There is no guarantee that the other person will have the best answer for you, but sometimes just brainstorming it out loud with a second person can help you find your own solutions to things.

The truth of the matter is we are all capable of anything if we THINK, SAY and DO things that lead us in that direction.

Run long,


Shaun Brewster.

Leave A Reply (2 comments so far)

  1. Natalie
    4 years ago

    Great post Shaun. I love the part about brainstorming with another person. It always works for me

  2. Shaun
    4 years ago

    Thanks Natalie,
    Sometimes even just asking your question out loud and listening to it, helps you find another option/idea/view.
    Thanks for reading!

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