Mantra Monday: Potential


(And if I could add a "Goddammit" after that line, I would.)

This is a mantra that, for me, I will carry long after this week is over. Because I've seen a part of myself recently that needs to be changed.

I've done a lot of self discovery lately through sports. Most of my life, I've been a team-sport type-a gal. I've played softball and volleyball (I know, shorty me) for as long as I remember. And for as long as I remember, I've always been good at sports. I love sports and I am good at sports and I have the potential to even be great at them. But I don't allow it.

Does that make sense? And why is that, I wonder?

I play sports in my mind. When I get into a hitting slump (like the current hitting slump of '09), it's because my mind is in a slump. My body is just fine. There is no reason my body can't hit a ball or catch a fly. I am coordinated. I am strong. It's I've always love-hated this about myself. I am a very internal person. I let things fester, I overthink things, I tend to carry one mistake around with me in my backpack until, inevitably, I make another and there is a domino effect. And in my mind, there lives this little tiny cynical voice that continually repeats words like "can't" or "no" or "shouldn't" or "I don't know". Harmful things that question my ability to do anything. It's the thing, I'm convinced, that keeps people in all walks of life, good people, from being great. It's the thing that separates the people who live their potential from the people who just see their potential. And unfortunately, I am in the latter group.

I started to see a little of this when I started flying solo and running, in a sport where it's you versus the world and probably even more importantly, you versus yourself. I started learning a lot about my potential. As in, I see my potential. But I don't always use my potential. I see this when I see a woman my age flies by me like a gazelle.

But it really hit me when I played racquetball with my husband the other night (who is, by the way, a brilliant racquetball player. He could kill every single shot if he wanted, but he doesn't because he's nice to me.) He was joking around with me about how I let a ball go by instead of reaching out and grabbing it. And then he said something about playing doubles one day and I immediately dismissed the idea in my mind. Because, I thought, he is great, and I am just good.

And I thought, why do I always say things like this to myself? Why do I shortchange myself in this way? Of course I can be great. Of course I can compete against other people. But I treat myself like I am pretty good and leave any possibility of being great up to other people who I think are better than me.

And that's where it gets me every time. I will repeat this. I LEAVE THE POSSIBILITY OF BEING GREAT UP TO OTHER PEOPLE WHO I THINK ARE BETTER THAN ME.

What is this? Is this fear? Is this laziness? Why does this voice sit there in the back of my mind like this? Where did it come from??

Other people are off being great. And here I am just being so-so because I think I am only so-so. Even though I know I probably could be better than that.

Why! It's really rather ridiculous. I have to bring my mind to the mechanic and have them take out that old rusty part that allows me to think that I am no better than average. That part that tells me, sure, you're good but see her over there? She's better. Or, you can't do that, you don't have that experience. Or you're not really a runner so it's ok if you do a 5k in 36 minutes.

You've even seen me label myself here! I have written proof! I've called myself a "fake runner". And said that I'm not really a runner. Why? Does it give me an excuse to just be mediocre, maybe? Because that's just the attitude that will keep me running a 36 minute 5k. (Not that there is anything wrong with that, by the way, I am just measuring my own self here...)

So the more I discuss this with myself, the more I see signs of it everywhere. I get training e-mails from where I signed up for the triathlon. And ironically, do you know what was in that e-mail this week? It was called "11 Tips for Triathlon Success From a Navy Seal". No I am not a Navy Seal (although I would love to do a one-armed pushup like Demi Moore did when she was one...) But you wanna know the first tip?

"1. Eliminate self-limiting thoughts. More often than not, people have
preconceived notions about what is possible for them to achieve. They sell
themselves short. Abolish thoughts that hold you back from achieving your true

Are you kidding me????? If that's not a sign from above I don't know what is... This is me and my mantra, and hopefully for life. Because being good just isn't good enough anymore.

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