October 13, 2016

The lovely and truly badass Molly Mitchell shares her tips for conquering yourself – life goals that go way beyond the crag.

Here’s what Molly Mitchell put for her top three tips to overcome fear:

  1. Acceptance is the first step towards becoming stronger mentally. We have no direct control over thoughts and feelings. Acceptance does not mean you have to fuse with them though. It is allowing thoughts to exist and chatter on in the background, without engaging or fighting them. It is unrealistic to expect yourself to be positive all the time. Instead of beating yourself up the next time you say “can’t,” or have a negative thought, acknowledge the thought and refocus on the present.
  2. Allow yourself to feel. There’s a common misconception going around that people who dare to do the hard, scary routes are fearless, but I believe that I feel every bit of fear. No emotion is inherently “good” or “bad,” though our mind can try to trick us into putting a label on them. If you are open to feeling emotions as they come and go, your overall intent will be easier to act upon. It may sound masochistic, but I embrace feeling fear. As I’ve learned from my favorite book, “The Happiness Trap,” the more you practice these mental thing`s in less stressful, everyday situations, the more likely you will be able to adapt them to more stressful situations.
  3. Behavior is the only thing we can directly control. I believe in knowing this we can indirectly influence how we feel. I have a few things I observe myself doing in fearful situations: Breathe audibly and with purpose. It is easy to freeze and stop breathing without even noticing that you are not breathing. The breath is a commonly overlooked way to maintain yourself on a long, scary climb. If you are at a rest, your breath should be relaxed. Breathing helps with presence and patience. I also will embrace those feelings of fear by making myself be vocal in my climbing. If I am making a noise, it means I am mentally committing, experiencing strong emotions, and focusing it all into one physical release.
molly mitchell
Photo by George Bruce Wilson of Three Peak Films

Molly Mitchell

Molly Mitchell has her degree in Communication with a minor in Creative Writing and Business from the University of Colorado Boulder. She has coached climbing teams, given presentations, and led clinics to her climbing community. Molly is currently sponsored by Mad Rock, Adidas Outdoor, Climb On, Julbo, Sublime, and Gear Coop. Trad climbing is her favorite discipline and she has been tackling it since early 2015. She has been featured in Rock & Ice and Climbing Magazine, and she even runs her own blog.

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Cover photo by Craig Hoffman