Tuesday, January 14, 2014

avoidance ...

Most of the time, I am a go-getter. I am proactive. And I don't let anything stand in my way. Others remind me daily that I attempt things they would never consider or be able to do (to which I say, "Not really. You're just as capable.")
  • Want to finish a 70.3 even though you can't swim? Sure. Sounds great. I can always learn.
  • Want to earn an Ivy League degree in three years? Why not? So what if that means never having a summer break.
  • Want to run a marathon immediately after your first 5K? Of course, is there any other way to do it?
All joking aside, I usually have no problem trying new things. I'm not afraid of new foods. I'm all about doing crazy things to my hair. I couldn't care less about what others think of me. I truly believe that if you're not true to yourself, you're living up to your potential. I think we could all benefit from embracing our inner Honey Badger.

But, even though I am usually able to find and embrace mine, there are times when I get in my own way. In fact, it happens more often than you might think.

Over the years, I have become very aware of my strengths and I do everything in my power to play to them. And by doing so, it probably comes across that there isn't much I can't handle. Sure, I can juggle a million things that I'm comfortable with, but what about all those things that fall outside my comfort zone?

I'm positive that there are people out there who fear spiders or heights or water or wild animals. Most days, I wish I was afraid of something like that. But, I'm not.

What I fear more than anything else is not living up to my own (often times, outrageous) standards. My mind is my own worst enemy.

Do you know why I will try anything once? Because the first time I try something, I have no expectations. An attempt is a success. But, that second go round changes it all. Suddenly, I have a picture in my mind of what I can do or "should be" doing. Usually, I am able to reach that picture in my mind. I find my strengths and like always, I play to them.

But every so often, I position the bar so high that sometimes it's unreachable. Yet, rather than adjust that bar and cut myself some slack, I just avoid the situation. I get it in my head that it's better to go untested than to chance disappointing myself if I fail to meet my own standards. (Note: It's not lost on me that I can completely brush off what others might think of me, but at the same time I can be crippled by my own opinions. As absurd as that might be.)

That avoidance is the number one reason I haven't run a 10K since 2009.

It's not that I haven't been able to fit it in. It's not that I haven't wanted to run one. It's just that I don't think that I can live up to the standard in my own mind about what my 10K race should look like. And rather than test my theory, I just avoid it. It's easier that way.

But, I'm trying to stop taking the easy way out. When I mentioned to my wise running wife, G, that I needed to add a spring road race to my schedule she said, "Then run the 10K. If nothing else, it will give you a reason to run. Plus, you haven't run one in forever."

And you know what, she's right. It will force me to train to race and I haven't run one in so long that I don't really know what I'm capable of. Maybe it will suck and I'll blow up on the course. Or maybe everything will go perfectly and I'll shock myself. Ultimately, it really doesn't matter. When it comes down to it, I'm the only one who really cares. My friends and family aren't disappointed if I run slow. They only seek to support me in whatever I tackle. Now, all I need to do is figure out how to support myself.


AnonyMe said...

I just love your solid and honest introspection and your willingness to share it with the world. Thanks for a dose of inspiration.

I totally agree about the freedom that comes with the first time you try something, too. If only we could release ourselves from our expectations enough to enjoy everything as though it was the first time.

Cat B. said...

I get it! I'm similar but almost worse, as I don't even try something for the first time. I'm so worried about failure that its easier to just avoid it all together. Good for you for taking the second step. Trying again.

Michelle said...

Admitting is the first step to clarity. And, I have no doubt that you will knock this out of the park!

Kortni said...

Truer words were almost never spoken. The mind can be our worst enemy and best friend. I have to keep this post in mind when I am trying to run a marathon at my potential on Sunday!

Mel -Tall Mom on the Run said...

I have decided that I am running for PE not PRs.. Personal Enjoyment :)

Hugs friend!! Miss you..