It is no surprise to people who know me that sometimes I can get a little stressed out. When I was in college my go to stress reliever was running. I remember struggling one night to study for a sociology test. I just absolutely hated that class. I had a horrible first year teacher who was learning to teach and I did not understand the subject. These two things made for a horrible experience for most of us in the class, most likely including our professor. This test was going to cover about five chapters of the book and would be a variety of multiple choice, short answer, and essay. We were given no study guide or hint of what would be covered in which section. Studying for this exam was a nightmare. We had to study five chapters plus lectures in enough minute detail to correctly answer multiple choice, but abstractly enough to write an essay.
I was really struggling that night. I decided to grab my running shoes and head to the track outside my residence hall and go for a jog. About a mile later I went inside and I was able to focus much better. I still did poorly on the test, but my studying was less painful. I am certain that my test results, however pitiful, were better than they would have been had I not laced up the sneakers.
I’ve gone through running spurts over the years. I start out strong and then begin to feel defeated and fatigued I was really struggling during a recent jog on the streets surrounding my neighborhood. Voices of doubt were singing loudly in my mind saying “You aren’t a runner. You look stupid and you’ll never be good at this.” But out of the voices of doubt came a voice of truth that said- “I am running, therefore I am a runner”.
That statement became my montra as I trudged through the remainder of that run. I kept repeating it over and over: I am running, therefore I am a runner. I am running, therefore I am a runner. It gave me the extra confidence and boost to finish the run with a better time than previous runs.
I realized something that morning. The path to being anything starts with admitting that we are that thing. We are often our own worst critic and our own voices of doubt and fear can be the most crippling. We often allow those nagging little voices of doubt and fear make decisions for us rather than opposing them with truth. That morning, I realized that the first step to being a runner, was mentally allowing myself to be one. I had to take that first step to get anywhere. I had to realize the truth of who I already was- a runner.
The first step to becoming who you want to be, or accomplish what you want to accomplish is putting the voices of doubt to rest. It begins with the step of allowing yourself to become who you already are and telling the voices of doubt and fear where they can go.