Are you Unknowingly Keeping the Brakes On in Your Life?

by Katrina Pfannkuch, November 9, 2011
Race Porsche 911

Can't you tell I'm psyched?

By: Katrina Pfannkuch

To be alive means you have some idea of what you want to happen in your life. It may not be specific, clear or super mind-blowing at this exact moment, but you have hopes and dreams you want to come to fruition in some shape or form. What you may not realize out right is when the “mind goblins” throw on the brakes, because it’s not always obvious.

I think I can best illustrate my point with a true story that involves cars, racing and me being really clueless.

I dated a guy for a short period of time that owned a race Porsche – a 1972 911 to be exact. It was not street legal and he raced in on it on local race tracks as well as in other racing events nationwide. After a few weeks of dating, he asked me if I wanted to drive it as part of a “ladies day” at the race track. I would be paired with an official racing instructor and race against other ladies on a road rally track. For you non-racers out there, that is a diverse track with lots of twists, turns and curves, not a Nascar track shaped as an oval.

Unbeknownst to him, driving a Porsche was on my rudimentary bucket list. And my first response to his amazing and generous offer? I tried to talk him out of it – several times. Seriously.

The idea had been hanging out in the back of my mind for so long, I was blown away when it landed in my lap. It was too easy. So then I started worrying – what if I suck at it? What if the car crashes or I horribly embarrass myself driving like a doofus? And that was just the beginning. I kept thinking of all the things that could go wrong with one of my life long dreams – right up until the moment I got on the track. Damn mind goblins!

I was putting on the mental brakes hardcore before I even got in the car, but didn’t notice it at the time. Upon reflection – as in right now to write this blog post – I finally get how I was slamming on the brakes with both feet.

On the Race Track

Race Day

Once the stress of initial flag training was complete and the instructor gave me basic racing tips, my worries began to subside and the excitement kicked in. I slipped behind the wheel, slapped on my white helmet and got ready to kick some ass.

I’ll never forget that first rev of the engine as I slowly stepped on the gas – it was absolutely amazing. So much power! The straight away soon behind me, I got a feel for managing the corners (the trick on a race track is to speed up into the corner, not brake) and soon I fell into a natural rhythm in a way I’ve never been able to replicate. I melded with the car as an extension of myself, responding intuitively and trusting that I could manage the power and strength as needed. It was one of the most freeing and empowering experiences of my life.
And although the relationship has since crashed and burned (thankfully), I will never forget how powerful I felt, experiencing sheer fluidity and oneness in the moment.

So if there are areas in your life where you are putting on the “mental brakes”, why? Out of the bajillions of amazing and unexpected things you can experience, the only way you’ll really know if something is a good move or not is to take your foot off the brake and jump into the fear. Otherwise you’ll never know the awesomeness that could have been.