Why are You Not Believing in Yourself?
How many stories of accomplishment, or perseverance, or determination are you not able to share because you are limiting yourself to only what you know you can to do, by what you are not trying, by being afraid of failing, or because you do not believe you are sufficiently ready?
Those questions are as much for me as they are for you.
When I ponder those questions I wonder, “Why are we not believing in ourselves? More importantly, what can we do to start believing in ourselves?”
Lessons in What it Takes to Believe in Yourself
As I pondered the last part of that question, “What can we do to start believing in ourselves?”, a fall day in 2005 popped into my head. It had not hit me before, but now I realize that fall day, and all that came with it, offers lessons in what it takes for us to start believing in ourselves.
These lessons I am sharing with you are the result of having a friend who believed in me, more than I believed in myself and our marathon journey together. Use these lessons from our experience to help you in any area of your life where you are not believing in yourself.
1. Try, even if it is only someone else who believes in you
In early 2005, as a way to break me out of a weight loss plateau, my friend Tracy suggested that I run a half-marathon with her. I pooh-poohed the idea.
I had always only considered myself a sprinter and short distance runner, as in 400 meters, max. Running anything more than 30 minutes was never a thought. “I cannot run more than 30 minutes.” I told her.
Tracy's response was that she believed that I could. I no longer recall how I came to the decision, and quite frankly that does not matter, what does matter is that I made the decision to at least try.
2. Someone else's belief in you brings out the best in you
My friend had encouraged me to do something I had never done before. I researched how to train for a half-marathon, learned about my running style – I am a heel striker, and found that my competitive nature pushed me to best my times.
That April, we ran the Rock-n-Roll Half-Marathon in Nashville, TN. I finished the race, then gleefully waited for Tracy and another friend to reach the finish line to join me. For a first try, I had done amazingly well.
3. Those who believe in you stick by you
As if running a half-marathon were not enough, Tracy suggested running the NYC marathon. Now she was getting out of hand. Seriously, another 13.1 miles?
We did not win the lottery to run NYC. Tracy got injured during her training, but then, there I was in Philadelphia:
Mile 24. Tracy stepped in line with me as I struggled to make my way to the finish line. I said nothing audible, but in my mind I was thanking her.
Mile 25. Tracy referred to something about this being the only time she could keep up with me. In her North Carolina twang, she mentioned if that was the only way to keep up with me in a race, she would run at the end of a marathon with me anytime. I think I was supposed to laugh. I may have smiled.
Somewhere between Mile 25 and Mile 26.2. My head dropped, stuck back and to the right side. My feet were barely doing a shuffle. My arms and hands were dangling by my sides looking more like they were controlled by a puppeteer than by me.
Mile 26.2 – Four hours eleven seconds. It looked ugly, but I had completed my first ever marathon with my friend running by my side.
4. You are capable of more than you believe possible
Between the half-marathon and the marathon, I ran countless 10Ks, another half marathon, a 18 mile run in Central Park, and the Reach the Beach Relay (with Tracy and others) – 200 miles in 24 hours from New Hampshire to Massachusetts, plus the many miles ran to train for the marathon. What was there not to believe?
5. Be grateful that you have someone who believes in you
Before this post I used to be bothered that it took others believing in me for me to realize what I am capable of accomplishing. Now? I could not be more grateful for those people.
If left to my own devices, I would not have known what I was, or am, capable of being – a speaker, a blogger, a writer, a runner, a storyteller, a provider, a giver, an encourager, a motivator, a leader and a coach.
Start Believing in Yourself
Now, for you. Let these lessons help you start believing in you. There is a story of accomplishment, perseverance, or determination inside of you. Do not limit yourself only to what you know, by waiting until you are ready or are not afraid. Simply go out there and try. Be grateful for those who believe in you, but believe in yourself too.