I’ve spent a lot of time in these past few weeks talking with athletes. All different types of athletes – beginner to advanced, man, woman, marathoner, sprint triathlon, duathlete, Ironman. And with each we talked about their goals.
Confessions of victorious, strong visions were made. It didn’t matter their background, their age, their size – they all had big goals. They were dreaming big, in their heart they wanted big things for themselves; I want to win my age group, I want to break this time, I want to one day turn pro.
These are admirable, beautiful goals.
But then a funny thing happened. The athlete would often censor themselves. Tell me a reason why they wouldn’t achieve that goal or why they couldn’t say it to anyone else. Often, the fear was in how others would perceive their goal. They feared their critics would hear or read their goals and say:
Who do they think they are?
A few weeks ago, that question came up on one of my blogs. Someone wrote a comment about how they were reluctant to tell others their bigger goals because they feared someone would see their goals and say who does this girl think she is.
The question alone is one that holds many of us back. Fearful you are aiming too high or out of your bounds, you censor yourself, hold back, and limit your goals. But what if you opened yourself up? What if you turned off the critics and spoke louder instead? Have an answer waiting for them in which you confidently explain yourself.
What would you say?
It is worthwhile to come up with an answer about yourself. It’s not a defense, it’s an affirmation. A reminder of who you are and who you want to be. It’s a validation of yourself, the values you possess, the goals you embrace, your attitude, your behavior, your motivations and beliefs.
And so when someone asks who does she/he think she/he is you will say:
She is confident, she is strong. She is willing to sacrifice to improve herself. She is willing to work hard to achieve her goal. She lets nothing stand in her way. She does what it takes. She doesn’t make excuses, she just makes the interval. She does not let people keep her from pursuing her dreams because she values herself. She sees herself as something else and sees herself as confident and worthy of reaching those goals. She is not shaken by obstacles along the way because she knows these make her stronger in working towards her goal. She turns negative into positives and no matter what – she keeps moving forward and believing in herself. She is driven first from within. She wants things for herself. She puts aside what others think and say and knows only herself. When she shows up at a practice or a race she knows most importantly she is there to prove it to herself. She silences the voices of critics because she has learned to listen to the louder voice in her head. She listens closely to that voice as it fills her head with confidence in herself. She is a threat – not because of her speed or physical attributes but because she knows what she wants for and from herself. She is confident, she is strong.
That is one example of an answer, what would be yours? What do you have to say about yourself?
Go ahead and give your answer. Answer the critic again and again. Actually you are just answering yourself because the only critic is really yourself. And you’ve known that all along. You are the critical voice keeping you from your best self. And up until this point you just didn’t know how to silence yourself. You didn’t know how to give yourself permission to stop holding yourself back. How to take a step of faith to become your next big thing; win your race, set a personal best, allow yourself to one day dream of becoming a pro, give yourself the faith to pursue your goals.
Faith is believing in yourself. There is no shame in seeing yourself as something else or believing you can be some place bigger than where you are. You deserve it and you are worth it. When you believe in yourself you no longer listen to critic even within yourself. You learn to talk louder with strong words. You learn to always listen to your confident, bold voice. Let your voice affirm that you are who you think you are. Turn off the critic, answer your own question, and be the bigger voice in your own head.
Here it is, the new year. Commit to no longer being the critic that keeps you from becoming victorious with your goals. Stop listening to that doubtful, unconfident version of yourself. Affirm yourself with a new answer, tell yourself this is who she thinks she is. Decide who you want to be and grow confidently in the direction of your goals.