Fear of Failure



The Fear of Failure

by Coach Nikki Hall Isbell

As of today, a majority of the CrossFit community is waist deep in the suspense of a grueling physical fitness competition. Many of us are clawing out the eyes of these workouts, kicking and screaming, just to scrape ourselves off the gym floor with a few extra reps. With four out of five CrossFit Open workouts complete I find myself longing for the battle to end. Five weeks is a long time to stay intensely engaged at this level and in the online atmosphere. Today, I am reminding myself of the games I need to play mentally to take me through 15.5.

How powerful is our mind?  I often see my clients walk up to the bar, shake their head, put their hands on it, and attempt the lift. Sometimes they get lucky and nail it, but they fail themselves with limitations! What’s going on as they shake their heads? Self-doubt, negative feelings, and excuses as to why they are going to fail. “I’m too old to do this. I am not strong enough to lift that. There is no way….” The second you allow this kind of thinking to enter your head, you are defeated.

Think of a Lion, snarling and growling with a mouth full of razor sharp teeth. That’s the fear of failure. You have to run directly into the mouth of that fear-sensing lion. When you approach anything in life that seems beyond you, bigger than anything you could ever imagine, something that fills you with fear, you have to run into it without an ounce of doubt. With the bar, the lift is heavy and you think of nothing else but the weight going up, effortlessly. Much like the lion, you cannot defeat him if he smells your fear.

It’s a simple concept. With CrossFit and everything in life. Change your self-talk, and quit allowing negative thoughts to consume and control you.

I leave you with this quote from CrossFit Endurance guru, Brian MacKenzie. “The human psyche is a very powerful thing. This same psyche is responsible both for very limited, self-defeating thoughts and also for strong, self-empowering thoughts that enable us to accomplish great things…Now if you are convinced you have the ability-oh, the possibilities that await you!”


Dynamic warm up 
Group warm up
Muscle up transitions
5-10 minutes
Build to a 1 rep max back squat.
In 10 minutes.
“Riff Raf”
3 rounds for time of
Run 400
12 burpees over barbell
10 push press (135/95)
roll calves w bb
Lat stretch band
Shoulder bully
Hamstring up n over