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Tips for Go Time

Author, wearing hydration vest, standing outside, with arms upwards in a "Victory" V
When it comes time to complete a big goal, do you choke or sabotage yourself? If you want to experience something different during, “Go Time” read this post for a few ideas. Photo credit: Jackie Donnelly (Spice And Ink).

During  my last manual adjustment and medical massage before I flew to the other side of the country to prepare for my Ironman race, I was excited.

As I headed out the door of my chiropractor’s office, he gave me a piece of welcomed advice, “You know, everyone who does an Ironman is going to encounter a point where you will simply hurt.” Full stop.

And then, he didn’t offer a solution for the pain. Why? Because there is no solution, there is no way around it. There is just pain. You just have to figure out what to do for yourself when you get there.

Well, ain’t that the truth!

The last few months, I’ve been pondering the subject of pain and physical suffering. It’s been a subject easy to think about since I’ve been in pain pretty much the entire Spring and Summer this year. It’s the kind of pain that brings tears to your eyes, that goes with you when you lay your head on the pillow for sleep, and wakes up with you like a heavy dream. There are have been moments of respite, and other moments where I have managed to transform the pain into a whisper of itself. But it still whispers in an annoying sort of way.

What I wanted for myself was to be given the choice to execute on an extraordinary endurance race. Despite a number of difficult challenges, I have arrived on the cusp of that day. It is now, “Go Time”, the point of no return. As Yoda is oft quoted, “Do, or do not. There is no try.”

In life, “Go Time” is that moment when  the only way to get the value of the resources invested (time, money, emotions/heart, help, etc.) is to follow through.

Would you be surprised to know that this is the most critical time when people often choke? When you are facing Go Time in your life — with a relationship, a job, finishing your education, or executing a plan on your biggest dreams — what can help you meet Go Time with everything you’ve got?

Four Tips for Go Time

The following tips can’t possibly cover every contingency that could play out for you in your situation or relationship, but they are general thoughts on ways to keep you from choking in the very moment that you need to execute your plans when it is “go time”.

  1. Be well rested. No matter what it is you need to do, your body will need adequate rest to take on the task. I cannot tell you how many people choke in the most critical moments because they stay up the night before that big presentation playing video games, stalling by watching television, cleaning, or futzing.  Got a big task? Well, get some BIG zzz’s.
  2. Minimize Unnecessary Risk. Protect the time, money, and energy you’ve invested in your goal, and don’t throw any thing unexpected at your goal in the hopes that a last-minute epiphany on your point might make things better. This doesn’t mean to never take a risk. It means that if you’re going to take a risk, make sure it’s carefully calculated.
  3. Tune Down the Noise. In an age where it is common for people to crowdsource for answers, there are some things that you need to tune down the crowd’s noise so you can listen carefully to what it is you want, need, or desire. To hear yourself, you may have to ask others to withhold their opinion, stop projecting their fears, or cease interjecting what they would do if they were in your position. The simple fact is, no one is standing in your shoes but you. With special attention to relational issues, there may be a time for the feedback of close friends and family. However, it’s important to get clear on what it is you want, and how your actions affect both you and others. This often requires you to listen to yourself, and if you can’t hear your own thoughts because of the people around you, find a way to get some “space.”
  4. Focus. It’s difficult to make your dream come true if you are running left and right, with multiple pots on the burners. You can cause yourself to choke in the critical moment by simply having too much going on at the same time. You may find that none of the activities you are attending to are reaching your standard. What would happen if you gave the thing you were looking at your undivided attention? Focus helps you drop what isn’t absolutely necessary for the thing that you are looking at. For example, if your focus is to repair your marriage, what would happen if each time you interacted with your spouse, you focused him or her with your undivided attention on how you showed love and caring?

The Problem of Sabotage

It is easy to sabotage your efforts; if fact, if you are particularly adept at sabotage, I’d say it’s easier to sabotage then it is to succeed. Succeeding takes work, commitment, and endurance. Sabotage can undo that work with just a few strokes, and then guess what? No more work or endurance needed.

We choke at “Go Time” because we’re scared. When you see yourself about to do something stupid, this is the act of choking in the face of fear. It’s so natural to be afraid of things that are new, different, hard, or have high stakes. We don’t want to lose! We don’t want to get hurt! We’re afraid that we’ll have to sacrifice, work harder, or that we won’t see the pay off in the goals we have set for ourselves.

Logo and icon of WTC Ironman races, with name of author and bib number.
Bib number for Ironman Mont-Tremblant 2016. Using these tips to help execute my plans during “Go Time.”

When I return from my race, regardless of outcome, I believe I will have answered questions I have had about who I am at “Go Time”. Do I give up easily? Can I face my pain and my doubts? Can I help myself when the going gets tough? Can I problem solve quickly, and give myself what I need in order to finish?  I’ll be applying all four tips – rest, minimizing risk, tuning down the noise, and focusing – and doing everything I can to meet the challenges I face.

As we round into Fall, it will be time for many people to seek a fresh perspective on how they execute “Go Time” regarding their most precious goals. We welcome you to take stock of actions that have tripped you up in the past, and bring them to the table to talk about how you can make a change in order to have a different experience.

Sometimes it isn’t just the outcome that we’re trying to change, but our experience and our response to what is happening. Counseling is an excellent way of discovering “who you be” in the midst of “Go Time” execution. Our Fall schedule has room for new clients, as well as returning clients who would like a brief “tune up” on existing issues and challenges.


By Imei Hsu

Imei Hsu is a mental health counselor, active retired RN, AIP Coach and PN1-NC, writer, triathlete and arts promoter in the Seattle area and through online services. With 30+ years in healthcare (22+ years in mental health), Imei has a commitment to helping people discover insight into their health, relationships, and connecting. She is the owner of Seattle Direct Counseling and the blog, a presenter and speaker on a variety of psychological topics, and a positive force on the Internet. She launched her personal project, My Allergy Advocate, in 2018. Imei is a two-time Ironman Finisher (Mont-Tremblant 2016, Ironman Canada 2018); she also finished her first ultramarathon in 2017 and has gone on to race the 100K distance while preparing for 100 Mile trail races and a backyard ultra. You can find her running everywhere and eating all the thingz, watching movies, camping under the stars, and cooking real food.

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