During my time on the Atlantic, I spent a lot of time wondering, “can I do this?”

My mind would then search through my memory banks to try and find evidence that I could indeed do this. Had I done it before? Had I done something similar before?

And it would draw a blank. Nope, we’ve never done anything like this before. No evidence that we can.

Yikes! Talk about a great way to undermine yourself.

doubt2The ego-brain doesn’t like change. It’s a scaredy-cat. It reasons that doing stuff you’ve done before is fine, it’s safe. Doing something that you’ve never done before – you never know, it just might kill you. So best not.

So if it catched you doing something new, it freaks out. The red lights start flashing and sirens blaring.

What do you think you’re doing? Alert, alert!! Abort, abort!! Get back to safety!!

Once I figured this out, I realised I was going to have to find a way to hit the “Don’t Panic” button, to turn off the sirens and flashing lights.

My conclusion was that “Can I do this?” was a bogus question. In the absence of prior evidence that I could do it, I would have to simply carry on doing the thing that would lead eventually to me doing it, i.e. rowing, and only time would tell whether I could actually do it in reality.

doubtSo now, if I find myself freaking out because I’m trying something new and I don’t know if it’s possible, I remind myself that there is only one way to find out. And that is to focus on the process that gives me the best possible chance of accomplishing the goal. Don’t get too far ahead of myself. Certainly don’t ask myself if I can do it.

Just keep doing the thing that will get me there.

 

 

 

 

8 Comments

  • Hi Roz,
    Wow! What an honor to be submitting a comment to you! You are my hero! Your stories just amaze me. The courage and determination that you must have had to make that change in your life and row across the oceans are an inspiration to all. I look forward to your blog posts. Thank you for sharing. I do doubt myself. Yet when I look at the big picture, and break it down….like rowing…..just keep rowing…..and you will find out in the end if you can make it….but STOP doubting yourself……that is what I need to do in my everyday life. I am successful in so many ways, but there is always that doubt. I don’t know why, because on a daily basis I have proven to that I can “row”. Your words today were heard, read and reread. Just thought I would let you know how much I appreciate your insight. All the best to you, Deborah

    • Glad it landed with you, Deborah. If it makes it any easier to bear, there is quite a lot of evidence that women struggle more with self-doubt than men do. But I find that even being aware of that helps me to pull myself up and try harder. Because we need our women’s voices to be heard! Feel the doubt, and do it anyway.

  • Thanks, Roz. Such a great message. It really resonates. Not only do we tell ourselves that we can’t, but often those around us tell us this too, intentionally or unintentionally, in a variety of different ways. You’ve always been an inspiration. This post reminded me of this story, which I’m abbreviating:

    There are two wolves that live in each of us.
    One is positive and light and love, the other is negative and dark and hate.
    They’re going to fight, like, seriously fight.
    Which one wins?
    The one we feed.

  • My conclusion was that “Can I do this?” was a bogus question. In the absence of prior evidence that I could do it, I would have to simply carry on doing the thing that would lead eventually to me doing it, i.e. rowing, and only time would tell whether I could actually do it in reality.

    What a great post title, and a great post to match it! I love this way of breaking it down: just because you’ve never taken any steps like this before doesn’t mean you can’t take the first one, just to try it out. Then when that turns out to be okay, do the next logical thing on the list. Until one day… there you are rowing away.

    Inspiring as always, Roz!

  • It reminds me of an interview I did with Milko Van Gool about long distance swimmers: https://www.rozsavage.com/2013/10/02/adventure-podcast-5-milko-van-gool-channel-swimmer/

    We so often get defeated by our fear about what might possibly happen in the future, rather than what is actually happening now.

    So if we can find the will to simply keep going, without getting too caught up in future potential catastrophe, it’s amazing what we can do!

    Thanks, Robin!

  • Hi,
    If we can convert our daily problems into concrete problems(challenges)I think we will get through many problems.In this way we will have to deal with certain challenges instead of vague problems.
    For example If I feel lonely,

    How many times do I call my friends?
    Do I call or congrulate their birthday?
    How much do I contribute their lives a month?
    Do I envy them for their success,or proud for them?

    I believe and know If I carry on doing
    these ” duties” I am going to be a person that I want.
    Best wishes..

    • Well said, Akif. Sounds a bit like instant karma, or “give what you want to get”, or “treat others as you would like to be treated”. AKA – DO something, rather than wait for it to fix itself!

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