Anxiety and Overcoming Failure
By Kena Perry
On October 21, I competed in my 10th Strongman Competition. Whenever I finish a competition, I like to take a moment to reflect on my performance. I do this not only to evaluate my weaknesses, but also to see how much I’ve progressed. One of the things that I have struggled the most with over the past couple of years is anxiety. Last November, I was competing in Las Vegas at Strongman Corporation Nationals, I had prepped for about 3 months, I was strong, confident and ready to battle. However, on day one, I ended up having a mini panic attack prior to warming up. I didn’t even realize that it was my nerves causing me to get light headed, flushed and nauseous. This basically crippled me for my first two events and I ended up zeroing them. I was crushed. I spent the next 30 minutes sitting on the 5th-floor rooftop of the hotel crying and feeling disappointed and sorry for myself. After messing up the first two events, I figured that I didn’t have anything else to lose so I might as well finish up strong with the final three events.
Since then, I’ve competed in four more competitions, and my anxiety has continued to impact my performance. It has caused me to mess my first event and in turn not score as high as I should have. It wasn’t until this past competition that I was able to recognize my anxiety and to take proactive measures so that it would not continue to impact my performance. Over the past two months, I have practiced daily meditation with the help of an app called Headspace. I’ve also started reading a book called The Confidence Gap. Both of these things have helped me to recognize, deal, and lower my anxiety.
It’s never easy making a mistake, but I’ve found that with every mistake I make, it gets a little bit easier to respond in a constructive manner instead of allowing that mistake to impede my performance. Overall, my anxiety has lessened and I’m a much happier person in all aspects of my life.