Sometimes it’s a tough lesson to learn and follow, but the truth is: we are only as good as we think we are.
- Think you can’t complete a race in a certain time even though you’ve put in specific training to do so? Then you probably can’t.
- Think you aren’t cut out to do the 26.2 marathon distance despite 16 weeks of tough workouts? Then you probably aren’t.
- Think you’re not a good enough runner, mother, friend, wife even though you give all that you can? Then you’re probably not.
- Think you’ll never heal from that injury? Then maybe you won’t.
The thing is, we tell ourselves things and we believe what we tell ourselves even if it’s bullshit. What if we switched it up this way?
- I know I can do this race in the time I trained for.
- I know I can run 26.2 miles because I’m going to trust my training.
- I know I am a good enough runner, mother, friend and wife because I do my best at all times and give back to those around me.
- I know this injury is temporary and my body will heal because I treat myself well and do what I need to do.
Confidence is everything and it can affect all outcomes.
I was reminded of this lesson the other day when I read an essay by Bill Cosby called, “Don’t Be Your Own Worst Enemy.” I read this right after my 70.3 race and it was spot on. Even though I did better in that race than I could have imagined, I was never behind myself leading up to race day. In my mind, I put myself down - You have not done enough. Who do you think you are competing in a race of this distance? You are not cut out for this.
In the essay, Bill writes about being an up and coming comedian in the 60s, at the start of his career. He was asked to perform at the pinnacle club in New York City, Kelly’s. He never thought he’d be on that caliber of a stage. The night of his performance, he sat in his dressing room, waiting to go on stage. His nerves got the best of him and he psyched himself out. “You are not funny,” he told himself. “You don’t deserve to be here.”
The irony of it was that he had been invited to come for a reason. Because he had proven himself to be a hilarious and successful comic that could make people laugh. But, in that moment of vulnerability and anxiety, he told himself otherwise. And, he believed himself.
Bill went on stage and no one laughed. Not once. He choked. Afterwards the owner told him, “When you get back to your hotel will you tell Bill Cosby to come back her and do the second show and to never again send you, because sir, you are not funny. Bill Cosby is very, very funny.”
Against all odds, Bill had been invited back. He returned for the second show with guns blazing, ready to do what he did best. He got behind himself and knew he deserved to be there. The audience roared with laughter and begged for more.
So, what happened? Both performances were made by the same man with the same jokes. But one man believed he could do it and one man didn’t. The outcome is disastrous for the non-believer and exceptional for the believer.
Don’t get me wrong. You still have to train to get results. You can’t just sit on the couch eating potato chips and WILL yourself to run a marathon. But if you have put in your time, don’t second guess. Get behind yourself and your mental strength will add to your physical strength.
You see, it’s true what Henry Ford said, “Whether you think that you can, or that you can't, you are usually right.”
So, stop your questioning. Quiet your insecurities. You deserve to be at the start line of that race. You are a runner. You have put in your time. You create your outcome. Make it a good one.
What are you questioning about yourself today that makes you your own worst enemy?