Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Thankful Tuesdays: A Lesson on Expanding Your Limits

Today I am very thankful for some great advice I received over the weekend. The lesson I learned is something that I think can resonate with all of us. And so I encourage you to pass it on!

Last Saturday, I attended a Tech conference where I took classes on branding, SEO, Social Media, and more. I drank in each class like an unquenchable thirst for marketing knowledge. It felt so great to be in a classroom, really focused, and really invested in the subject matter. I began to grow excited about all of the potential for my blog and career, in general. But as the day wore on, that old familiar feeling of “fear” began to strike. By lunchtime, I felt a drain in my energy and a loss of focus as I began to wonder, “Why did I deserve to be at this conference?” After all, I wasn’t some important person with a well-known brand name like Skinnygirl. I started to let my fears limit me. However, that same day I had the good fortune of talking to one of the speakers after her course on branding. As I began to tell her all my blog ideas and grow more and more excited, she really helped me to stop and joyfully resonate that “there was something there.” But since it felt wrong to just feel joy, I also shared with her my fears of not succeeding. I had so many fears of taking a nontraditional career path, a path far different than the one my father and I had discussed and always planned for. And so she suggested that I read “The Big Leap” for some guidance.

 The next day, I downloaded the book on my Kindle and began reading with determination, and of course a little bit of apprehension. Within the introduction pages, I greatly resonated with the concept on limits:“If I argue for my limitations, I get to keep them.” This felt like an Aha! Moment for me. While this notion is so simple, it is also so profound. When I say I can’t do something, of course I can’t, and when I say I can, of course I can. Therefore, what I am grateful for on this Thankful Tuesday is all of the times in which I really astounded myself by saying “I can.” I am grateful for how far I've come today:  

When I was a sophomore in college, one night over dinner, I declared to my parents that I was going to run a half marathon. My parents gently pointed out that I  could not run a mile and so maybe I should try a 5K in the springtime. However, I felt determined and unwavering in running a half. The next day, I went out and bought the “Beginner’s Guide to Half Marathon Training” and a new calendar. I went home and looked for half marathon races and found one 13 weeks away. And so I wrote in my calendar, each training day up until Sunday May 24th, the big circled/starred Race day. As I looked at all of the training that was ahead, I felt a huge amount of fear slowly start to creep in, “But I’m overweight, how will I not get winded?," "I am a full time student, how will I find the time?”And although those fears haunted me and I felt a huge pit in my stomach, I pushed past my limits and immediately registered/ paid for the race.

The next day, I set out to the gym and eyed the treadmill very apprehensively. I started my warm-up with a brisk walking pace and watched as the 5 minute warm-up went by way too fast, my hands felt heavy as I went to hit the up arrow to turn my walk into a jog. I thought to myself, here goes nothing, and so I began to run, envisioning the finish line. And I know what you may be thinking, how could you picture the finish line when it was day 1, mile 1 of your first workout? I envisioned the finished line because I was subconsciously pushing past my upper limit. After jogging a mile, I hit the stop button and there flashing before my eyes was: Distance: 1:00 miles. I had taken my first step on my journey to health.

As the weeks wore on, I felt that there was some sort of motivation missing. I knew that towards the end of each run, I wanted to up the speed and push a little harder but felt like I was running out endurance and could not do that. I realized that I needed some sort of “distraction” for longer workouts. And so I decided to start taking spin classes.

I loved the dark room, loud music, and ability to zone out for the hour. However, I recognized that all of the spinning instructors seemed “super human” like they were merely sitting on the couch watching TV. How did it come so easy to them? There were times when I wanted them to say things like “Good Job", "Just a little longer", "You can do this” and create that bike route visualization I so craved. I wanted to be able to envision the “heavy tires stuck in the mud” during the hills section of the spin class. And so it was roughly 3 months after my first spin class, that I decided to become a spin instructor.

And while my journey to health is a lot longer than you have time to read today and I will continue to share candid lessons and stories in the months to come, I will quickly summarize what happened next. I ran the half marathon that Memorial Day and got to run the last block to the finish line with my dad who had never showed more pride nor a bigger beaming smile than he had that day, completed a 3 hour spinathon 2 weeks later for American Red Cross, and received my spinning instructor certification over Thanksgiving break that same year. I also lost 45lbs lbs. and went on to get my personal training certification the following Thanksgiving break.

I share my story in order to inspire you to look at your fears a little differently. The next time you feel that large paralyzing sense of fear sweep over your body,  understand that this is a sign that there is exciting things to come. That fear is there to show you that you are very close to reaching your “glass ceiling” that you have built for yourself. That “glass ceiling” represents the bar you set for where you think your limits should lie. The glass ceiling is your "cut off" point for the amount you currently “allow” yourself to be happy, successful, etc. Once you meet that “max” load, that feeling of fear is there to greet you as a reminder that you should be careful not to exceed those limits. And so my advice to you is, don’t be careful. Take charge and sit in the front row of your life, you got this!

1 comment:

  1. I'm soooo glad we got a chance to talk after my session! There are so many women out there feeling the exact same way who have so much to give and offer the world. Let's stop hiding our light under a basket and let it shine! I'm grateful, even if in that small moment in your life, I could help you lift it up a little higher that day! :)

    Keep us (and me) posted on your progress through the book. I think there will be more 'A-ha!' moments to come!