Like many little kids, I played sports through local youth recreation leagues. Some of my favorite memories came on a softball field.
Because the coach never sent me to right field (thanks, Dad!) and I made some key plays, I thought I must be a pretty good fielder. I was a decent batter. But when it came to my base running, my speed never was in doubt.
I was slow.
My sophomore year of high school, I showed up for tryouts for the school softball team. There, not only was my lack of speed glaring, the rest of my limited abilities were magnified, as I played with and against others who were more skilled and talented.
I don’t remember the coach making cuts that year, which is probably the only reason I made the team. Second-string. As backup catcher, my main duties were to warm up our pitcher while our primary catcher put on her gear between innings.
We practiced daily during the season, and I was part of a team that played well together, improved, and ultimately won the conference championship. But I didn’t improve much throughout the season, and it was all because of me.
I simply didn’t make the connection then between the amount of effort I put in away from the field and the personal success I had on the field. In the off-season, I never practiced nor conditioned. I didn’t practice or play on my own, outside of the team practices and games.
I didn’t put in the time.
I lack talent. My teammates are more athletic. They are more skilled. I’m slow. I’ll always be slow. Nothing will change that.
Those were the messages I told myself.
Several years ago when I became a runner, I retained some of those beliefs.
I’ve always been a slow runner and that won’t change. But I will finish, even if it means walking some of it. Speed I cannot control. Finishing, I can.
You know what else happened, though, because I kept pushing myself and finishing?
I got faster.
My speed kept improving little by little. I was amazed, truly. Even as an adult, I still was buying into the idea that athletic ability was innate and that I would forever be slow.
I began to wonder, what other limiting beliefs do I have? How else have my thoughts held me back?
Maybe you wonder about that, too.
How often do we tell a story about ourselves, and then keep repeating that same story until it becomes our reality? How often do we meet an obstacle and stop before we truly get started, giving up before we seek to be our very best?
My days of playing softball ended long ago, but each day that I try something new and my self-doubt starts creeping in, I remember how I used to believe I could never get faster.
I think about how I gave up playing a sport I enjoyed because I told myself stories that weren’t completely true. I let my self-doubt and insecurity stop me, and I didn’t put in the effort.
I’m too _____.
I’m not _____.
What limiting beliefs do you have about yourself? Where do you want to go in your life? What’s it look like to be the best you that you can imagine?
What stories about your life do you need to rewrite to get yourself there?
I’d love to hear from you. Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Let’s play ball.
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