I accidentally trained for a Triathlon today. I had intended to do an easy 10 Km run plus a bit of cross training, but it morphed into a spin class, followed by a run and then a swim technique lesson.
This got me thinking about how a lot of what I enjoy in life started out by accident.
Take for example running. I never set out to be a runner -it was just the cheapest and most efficient sport that fitted into my lifestyle. I had small children, worked and the only time that my husband could watch the kids was between 5:30 – 6:30 a.m.
That’s how it began. Four days a week I pulled on my gear, tied my shoes and was out and back before he headed off to work –perfect! But the experience was ugly. It took six months to progress from a run/walk between power poles to a 30 minutes straight run. Even then, at the end of each session, I’d lie on my bedroom floor exhausted with dark thoughts about how it never got easier and how I just wasn’t cut out to run.
Being the victim of my own worst thoughts was a habit I developed as a teenager. I’d get hurt, disappointed or afraid and not understanding that emotions need to be owned, I’d push them deep inside where they’d fester and color my outlook.
Twenty years of cynicism left me with few dreams or goals. Mainly because I was an expert at pouring cold water on every great idea, it came as a big surprise when over coffee with a neighbor; she suggested I run a half marathon -and I agreed!
How does a person go from being the victim of self-sabotage to living their best life?
Perhaps the biggest discovery for me was the realization that emotional fitness can be learned and grown in similar ways to physical fitness. That is through knowledge and practice.
It’s said that knowledge is power and I found that I gained a lot of self-awareness when I stopped trying to explain my feelings away and just let them be what they are -emotions. This allowed me to silence the suspicions and recognize that while we’re all different, everyone carries hurts, disappointments and fears.
The catalyst for this turning point began when my neighbor challenged and at the same time believed in me. In contrast to the critical way I viewed my own running efforts, she saw them as a determination to keep trying. I was challenged by her different perspective and realized that if I was going to succeed I needed to change.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and philosopher Albert Schweitzer observed, “The true work of a man is not to be found in man himself, but in the colors and textures that come alive in others.”
It’s amazing what can come alive in a person when someone believes in them. The truth is we all have these people in our lives –the ones who believe in us. Maybe it’s a best buddy, a work colleague, a coach, a boss, or in my case –a neighbour.
Who is that person in your life?
I’ve set myself a challenge to brave it, open the door on possibility and embrace whatever it is they believe I can do.
Why? Because it’s Tuesday! You can try anything on a Tuesday!
Go live your best life!