Wednesday, November 16, 2011

What is Holding Us Back.

"It's not who you are that holds you back, it's who you think you're not." 
This quote was shared by a new friend I made this year through my participation in Team LIVESTRONG.
How very true this is for all of us.  How often we focus on what we need to improve, what we lack – or perceive we lack, what others have made us feel about ourselves.
I am certain if we all took time to reflect on that quote as it applies to us individually, we could all come up with a long list of what we think we are NOT and those we wish we were.
My wish list….
  • I wish I was more organized
  • I wish I was more of a planner
  • I wish I was a faster runner
  • I wish I was physically stronger
  • I wish I didn't always speak my mind so freely
  • I wish I was more ambitious
  • I wish I was a better mom
  • I wish I was a better friend
  • I wish I was a better sister
  • I wish I was less frazzled.
The list could go on and on and on.
Wow….a lot of negativity on that list.….and I am sure I'm being hard on myself but aren't we all?  These "wishes" have held me back at times….but why?  Some of them are just fruitless to ever attempt – for example, being organized.  I have tried….and I have come to the conclusion that some people are very organized and others are not.  I, unfortunately, fall into that later category.  However, as I reflect, I realize that at some point, I was organized…..somehow over the years, with each child, with each additional responsibility on my plate, I have become less organized and definitely without a doubt more frazzled.  But, somehow it all gets done in the end….perhaps not the way I wish my super organized and with-it friends do it….but it gets done.
Perhaps that makes me more flexible, more of a free spirit?  Hmmm….perhaps that explains the lack of a planning gene in me.   Some may beg to differ that I don't plan – for goodness sake I just completed a year of races and travel without a hitch – but when I do have plans, they are very loose plans.  Again….I don't like a rigid schedule….I like flexibility….and I love it even more when someone is willing to make all the plans.  Just tell me when and where I need to be! 
A great recent example that would drive many of my friends crazy.  On my recent trip to NYC, I really didn't have an agenda with the exception of going to the Marathon Expo, running the marathon, and the Team LIVESTRONG event afterwards.  My son and I had a list of sights and experiences we wanted in NYC, but none were on a schedule….none were set in stone….and because of this, some were checked off, others were not, and still others were added.   No set plan?  No worries….we still managed to have fun and because that's the way I roll, we were never stressed about our schedule.  In one instance, my son picked a museum he wanted to tour but when we arrived, it was closed.  What to do now? Well, we just jumped in a cab and quickly moved on to the next item on our list.  No worries!  And no regrets!
I suppose every mom, dad, friend, sister, brother,  husband, and wife feels they could do better for the other party of their relationship.    But, in the eyes of the recipient of those relationships, do they really view us as terrible moms (well let's not survey the teens), dads, friends, sisters, brothers, husbands or wives?  Perhaps in the moment, some of them do, but when they reflect back on their lives, will our "terrible" status – especially to our children – really have been that awful?  Or would it have assisted in developing independent, caring successful members of society?  I hope so!  Sure, on a personal level,  my being stretched too thin has definitely created some opportunities which under different circumstances I would have handled differently.  I cannot necessarily change my circumstances, but I can adjust my standards…..and accept them.
How should I view myself?
  • Independent
  • Caring
  • Full of life
  • Willing to stand for my convictions
  • Devil's advocate
  • Flexible and adaptable
  • Willing to take on challenges
Had you told me 5 years ago I would raise over $30,000 for LIVESTRONG, become an advocate and mentor for other LIVESTRONG participants, run marathons and half marathons (or even a 5K for that matter), take up cycling, write a blog and share my innermost thoughts with strangers…..I would have most definitely told you that you were crazy.
Think back over the past few years…..I'm sure we have all accomplished activities and taken risks we never would have thought we would ever do in a million years.   We certainly didn't accomplish these goals because of our list of shortcomings. 
Now, pat yourselves on the back for a job well-done….a life lived fully.  And let's all vow to start defining ourselves by our ABILITIES….not what we think we CANNOT do..…and KEEP living life fully!

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