There are times in life when we know intellectually that we can accomplish what we’re striving for, but then somewhere within there’s doubt. Why though?
If the doubt arises frequently enough, even without high intensity, it can leave us stuck and paralyzed with fear and indecision.
That’s what started to happen to me in the last 4-6 weeks as I prepared to do a virtual 10k as part of the physical challenge component to the Optimize Coach certification program I’m working towards.
I got to pick my physical challenge. It had to be something that would stretch me outside my comfort zone, but not make me snap. That’s the tension point we all need if we want to grow and expand not just related to our health, but any life skill or personal endeavor.
I was also encouraged to choose an event that was bigger than myself, meaning it involves others (shout out to my mitten-state bestie Deidra for joining me) and makes a positive difference in their life and/or organization’s mission.
Back to my doubt gremlins that started bubbling up…I’ve been athletic my whole life and adore team sports, so training for a physical challenge was right up my alley. The glitch I kept encountering however was my long-held view about running for running’s sake. I really don’t like it; never have. I enjoy intense athletic sports that require running and leave me a sweaty dripping mess, but only if there’s a ball and teammates involved.
Btw, when I say running – I’m not talking sprinting; more of an easy-does-it jogging speed. I don’t want to oversell the pace of my running 😉
My goal was to run half of the 10k and briskly walk the other half. To do so, I had face my long-held mental block about running and be with the discomfort that comes with such a confrontation.
I could continue to tell myself I don’t like running for running’s sake – OR – I could create a new narrative that would support my goal.
I consciously chose a new narrative by acknowledging that, in the past, I felt self-conscious about running because in my team sports experiences, when it came time for conditioning drills, I wasn’t the fastest and often came in near the last of the pack. Those experiences shaped my view of running for running’s sake.
I didn’t want to participate in something I couldn’t be the best at or near the front of the pack, so I just decided I didn’t like it and I shouldn’t have to do things I don’t like. What’s hilarious as I write that is, who’s deciding all this – the teenager/early 20’s me or the now me?
And in what world do we get to go through life never having to do things we don’t like – that’s such an immature, self-sabotaging way of thinking, don’t you agree?
Upon self-reflection, I can CLEARLY see my way of thinking was from way back when; that was then and this is now. I’m in an entirely new season in my life and WHY I’m striving to complete a 10k has nothing to do with running speed.
It’s about stretching myself physically and accomplishing what I’m aiming for!
My new narrative is:
- I don’t have to love running to successfully run half of my 10k
- This is all an experiment after all, simply begin and see how it goes
- I know I can do it because I’m training for it; I’m determined; and I’m not alone - I have my bestie by my side cheering me on
- Any running I do during the 10k and beyond will support me in the other physical activities I really love, so it’s totally worth it!
- Not all physical training activities that stretch me to higher levels are going to be enjoyable and that’s ok
This whole 10k experience reminded me of the confidence building teachings in Russ Harris’ book The Confidence Gap. It’s one of my all-time favorite books because it’s all about optimizing confidence by transforming our relationship to fear and doubt.
Harris outlines 10 rules for winning the confidence game:
- The actions of confidence come first; the feelings of confidence come later
- Genuine confidence is not the absence of fear; it is a transformed relationship with fear
- Negative thoughts are normal. Don’t fight them; defuse them
- Self-acceptance trumps self-esteem
- True success is living by your values
- Hold your values lightly, but pursue them vigorously
- Don’t obsess about the outcomes; get passionate about the process
- Don’t fight your fear: allow it, befriend it, and channel it
- Failure hurts—but if we’re willing to learn, it’s a wonderful teacher
- The key to peak performance is total engagement in the task
Which of the 10 rules jumps out at you the most? If you knew more about the rule(s) and how to integrate it into your life, can you see how your confidence level would dramatically increase?
I’m so very proud of myself for going for it! I really did enjoy the experience and it was definitely easier and more fun to do it with Deidra. She mapped out our route and made sure there were sufficient hills to really make it challenging. She lives out in the sub-rural as I like to joke with her, in a town called Hastings, MI. We ran and walked along dirt roads, encouraging one another and high-fiving each time we completed a stretch of running. We were surrounded by nature’s beauty, cooler temps, changing colors in the trees. Couldn't have asked for a better day or a better friend to share the experience!
The fallen leaves were a good reminder to let go of past beliefs that no longer work for the life I’m creating.
Most of all, I felt reminded to be grateful for the health I have and to have a body that always supports me, so long as I defuse the doubt gremlins and trust the process.
Are you allowing doubt gremlins to hold you back from taking action on something that’s really important to you? Leave a comment here on the blog and let’s talk!
If you’re interested in doing a virtual 5k or 10k, check out I Run For Movement – click here – they have so many choices!