June 20, 2017

The battle between trust and fear

Yesterday, I shared a personal post on Facebook about weariness and the drain of carrying a big load. More than anything else, this burden is about spending a lot of time, effort, and energy managing outcomes which are, in many cases, beyond my complete control. Instead of trusting in the activity, where it will lead or how it will turn out, I’ve gotten caught up trying to ensure everything goes according to my plans.

I have become exhausted and worn out chasing outcomes instead of relishing the experiences and opportunities in the process.

I know a lot of parents of children with an addiction who are worn out for many of the same reasons. Everything they do relates to making certain their child is clean, in recovery, sober, out of trouble, doing the right thing to get better. That’s a lot of time, effort, and energy on stuff that is completely beyond their control.

When the reality of their limitations to prevent relapse, arrest, or similar event hits them, they feel broken, worn out because of the failed results in their efforts.

Getting out of this trap, begins with Trust. Trust reflects a point in time where the work (what you control) ends and the outcomes (beyond your control) begin to unfold.

In sports, a coach can teach and develop the players. At some point, the game has to be played. A great coach trusts his team, his process, and the outcome. He knows that once the game begins, there is little he can really do to manage the outcome. His players have to execute, play the game, trust the coach and overcome whatever the other team throws at them.

The coach can call time outs, call plays, and bark out instructions to help the team stay on their path. Ultimately, it is the players who define the outcome of the game once it has started. When a coach trusts his process and his team, they play with confidence, focus, and determination. They know they have been empowered to succeed and seek to realize the outcome everyone agrees they desire.

If the coach goes into the game fearing the opponent, the result, insufficient preparation or his team’s commitment, those fears are transferred onto the team. They sense it, they experience it, and usually they perform to it with less than stellar results.

While Trust is a gift, Fear is a killer.

Parenting involves trust and fear. In parenting a child with a heroin addiction, I learned fear can easily overpower trust. I also learned once deployed effectively, trust is more powerful than fear.

When I let “fear of” drive my decision making or my course correction, I never played the game very well. I would make mistakes, communicate poorly, react badly, and fumble my decision-making opportunities. When I was in “fear of” mode, rarely did anything turn out for the better because I was attempting to manage outcomes with little or no confidence in the process or had not done enough training to prepare myself for the game I was playing.

I started to play the game better once I learned to “trust my.” In “trust my” mode, wisdom, knowledge, experience, instincts were instrumental to everything I did. I was able to play the game with confidence and clarity. I communicated, engaged, and collaborated much more effectively. Here is the key lesson, although things did not always go as I would have liked, I was able to embrace the outcome was another lesson and rarely experienced the regret of a bad decision because I was trusting myself and my preparation. I was confident I was doing the best I could with what I had.

As I sit here reflecting on the weight of the load I am trying to manage in my life today, I am reminding myself to embrace the work I have done and find peace in my understanding of the process as it is. The outcome may not go as I desire; that’s life. More importantly, I need to trust the process and not fear the outcome.

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Want more insights from this blog? Join me on the podcast “100Pedals Talk: Inside the Blog” where I delve deeper into this post and share personal stories or reflections behind the article. (Note: The podcast relating to any particular blog is release two or three days after the blog was posted.)

I would love to hear from you. What issues are confronting you today? Where are you currently experiencing fear and shame relating to the struggles in your life? I have some pretty cool tools to guide you and would love to help.  Please let me know: dave@100Pedals.com.

Dave Cooke is going on the Road! Learn more about this year’s cross county cycling trip,  Cycling for Recovery 2017.

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.