|"The Thinker" - image credit Todd Martin|
So here’s the deal. I am not afraid of hard work. I do it every day at my job. I always studied just hard enough to get that “A” at least most of the time. I put in the miles and hours of training to be able to complete a race. I know I have mental toughness. I’ve had some tough races that I didn’t think I could get through but I did. But yet, I feel like I’m not really willing to do what I need to do to get to that next level. I want to say I do, but am I really doing what it takes?
Take this as an example. In high school, I got all As and 2 Bs during my 4 years. Now, those two Bs were earned. I did try my best and they were just subjects that were tough for me…or the teacher was crazy. But we had “weighted” classes – you know instead of taking General Math you took Trigonometry, so that A in Trig was worth a little more than the A in General Math. Anyway, all it took in high school was me signing up for one more weighted class and getting an A in that class and I would have been Salutatorian. Valedictorian was out of reach, but Salutatorian was not. So what did I chose as my elective – a weighted class – no – I chose Chorus. Now, I enjoyed Chorus it was fun…but I didn’t take that much needed step to achieve the next level. Why?I’ve been thinking about this with my racing and weight loss. I want to get better, faster, stronger, skinnier….but yet year after year, it’s the same thing. I get a little better through sheer time in sport, I mean those logged miles do actually make you better, but am I really doing what it takes to be “great”. No I don’t think I am, but why is that? I know that weight loss will make me faster. Period it’s just the truth, but yet I won’t do what it takes to get there. Why is that? I will tell you why, it is self-sabotage brought on by "fear"...maybe...it's just a thought.
It’s a hard thing to understand, but I’ve done it all my life. I know many of you probably have too. Many times I come within 5 pounds of my goal weight just to slack off at the end and start gaining weight again, never quite meeting my goal. I'll train and train for a race, and a few weeks before I just get tired and maybe taper or relax a little too much.
I have been trying to figure out why and I guess at the end of the day the answer is fear. It’s easy to be good. I can put in effort and be good at things. But, I might put in more effort and fail. And no one wants to fail. What if I give it my all and I train my butt off and I lose weight, and I do all the things I need to do and don’t reach my goal. Then what excuse do I have – that I just wasn’t good enough. I think we all want/need those built in excuses to protect ourselves.That is probably what makes most of us different from say Einstein or an Olympian. No, I'm not comparing myself to them, I realize there is extreme intelligence and skill there that I don't have, but they weren't afraid to fail. Well maybe there were, but they were willing to risk failure. As a matter of fact failure makes them stronger. There are so many sayings out there around failure we all know it’s “ok” to fail…but really, how many of us actually enjoy it. I’m not a gambler, I don’t like to lose. Sure when you win it’s awesome…but so often you have to lose multiple times to win. You know that saying "what doesn't kill you makes you stronger" - but what if it does kill you? Then what.
In 2013 I posted my goals and I failed miserably at many of them. It was easy to blame a broken wrist on the missed mileage goals. It’s easy to have “excuses” for missing goals. It’s hard to say I missed that goal because I just wasn’t good enough. I think that’s the reason for self-sabotage. We have to give ourselves an escape route. I need an excuse for why I didn’t meet a goal. At the end of the day there are legitimate reasons to miss goals - life happens. But we need to learn to be ok with missing a goal because it was simply something out of reach. We worked hard to reach it, but in the end we just couldn't do it. And so we just keep trying until we get there.So this year, I want to learn to let go of the excuses. I want to give it my best – everyday. I’m probably going to try and fail at it over and over again, but that’s ok. This isn't an "reinvent" myself blog post, but really a getting to know and understand myself post. Greatness isn't necessarily being "great" at something. It's giving it your all and allowing yourself to fail and being ok with that. But if at the end of the day you succeed - then WOW think about how great that will feel.
Do you ever feel like you sabotage yourself right? Why do you think you do it?