I recently listened to Jillian Michaels’ last radio show before her hiatus and it struck a chord with me. In the first segment of the show, Jillian discussed her work with two contestants – one had to jump on an 18” platform and the other had to run a 30 second sprint at 10mph. The jumper made it onto the platform once, but then couldn’t repeat the task for something like two hours while Jillian encourage and challenged her. She reminded the contestants that this wasn’t a physical battle. It was a mental one. In fact, this point was clearly proven by the runner who, with 3 seconds left in her sprint, jumped off the treadmill and defiantly stated “I told you I couldn’t do it!” Jillian said she nearly punched the contestant for that remark, and I’m inclined to believe her.
Too often, I’ve been out for a run (long or short) and my mind has gotten the best of me. Of course, I’m always conscious of my physical needs and cautious not to run blindly into an injury or dangerous situation, like heat exhaustion or dehydration. That said, I’ve had my fair share of runs when the little voice in the back of my mind (I’m not schizophrenic, I swear) I call “Doubt” speaks up. It often starts as a whisper, “Gee, your legs are pretty sluggish today. Maybe you should back off a bit.” Often, Doubt begins to raise her voice the longer I run and, before I know it, I’m checking my watch every ten seconds, eyeing the upcoming hill with concern, and shuffling my feet.
Doubt is a tricky little minx. She knows my weaknesses. “You can’t run that hill. You’ll pass out! You’re too tired…You’re not a runner. You’re the girl everyone made fun of for failing the mile test in gym class…You’re too heavy to carry your body across that finish line. You’re not cut out for this! Why don’t you just quit?!”
As Jillian explained, her contestants wouldn’t (not couldn’t) complete their tasks because of the mental barriers. If they accomplished their goals, they would have to admit that they had been lying to themselves and hiding behind excuses their whole lives and their reality would be shattered in those moments. To paraphrase Jillian’s thoughts, most of us function in a comfort zone so far below our potential because we are terrified of coming to terms with the fact that we’ve been living below our best all this time. We are afraid to live without excuses because then we have to be our best, pure, honest selves.
My husband often reminds me, “You’re not the fat girl anymore. You’re not the girl no one wants to talk to.” Can I just say, that’s one of the greatest challenges for me to overcome in my life? To accept that I can no longer hide behind the fortress of excuses I built up throughout my childhood and young adulthood. I also make no place in my life for regret – regret for living below my potential and for neglecting to care for my body and mind as I should in the past. Those years brought me to this point, to the person I am today and I am thankful for them. I do not regret the times I gave up, crumbled under pressure, cowered in the shadow of my own potential greatness.
I have a note posted next to my work computer saying this:
What is so scary about being great? Step out of the comfort zone and get a little bit uncomfortable. You aren’t doing the world any favors by living ‘small.’ There is no place for modesty – feel great about yourself and live great. You are brought to this world for a reason – to be uniquely yourself and pursue the things you want to fulfill your destiny. This is your obligation.
I try to remember these words in all aspects of my life – running, marriage, career, relationships with my family and friends, and, most importantly, my relationship with myself.
Have you been living in the shadow of your potential? How do you want to step out of your comfort zone?
Filed under: Uncategorized |