We Are What We Repeatedly Tell Ourselves We Are

I listen a lot. That is part of being a coach. You look and listen for patterns and habits. Ultimately, you are noticing patterns that might be leading to someone’s success, nurturing them in that direction and allowing them to shine. On the flip side, if you notice habits, patterns or repeat conversations that are holding someone back, you have to nudge them away from these pitfalls. 

I had a friend and training partner years ago who would say many times throughout the day, “I’m tired!” He would say it lightly, jokingly, but repeatedly, without even realizing it. His goal was to be a top professional athlete. I said to him one day, “You aren’t allowed to say you are tired anymore! Even if you are, don’t say it!” This shift in self talk nudged him in the right direction. He learned a deeper understanding of what he was doing to himself by saying that, and what needed to happen in order to achieve the mindset that was in line with his goals.

Making rules for what we can and cannot say to ourselves is a helpful tool. Be clear with yourself about what is acceptable and what is not. Humans are capable of amazing things. We only need to watch events like Ultraman to see the level humans can go to when they make up their minds. There are many books written about exceptional human endurance and outstanding feats of performance, in sports and otherwise. Ultimately, we make a decision on what we can and cannot handle. Our attitude of what we can and cannot handle either steers us towards our goals or guides us away from them.  

How often have you seen an athlete do amazing things that nobody even thought were possible, breaking records or setting new bars simply because they didn’t know any different. They were never told they couldn’t go that fast, nor did they know the current standard, so they just did their best that day and ended up setting a new record. 

What each person can handle is different: their stress level, the amount they can push themselves, or how much they are willing to try. But ultimately, the body and mind are capable. It’s the decision and attitude that really dictate how you feel and what level you will achieve. 

I was recently faced with a challenge. I thought, “There is NO way ONE human can handle all this!” But it was ultimately only fear standing in my way, and when I took each task one at a time and just kept chipping away, I realized not only could I handle it, but I was learning more about what I could do that I never thought was possible. I went from “I’m not sure I can handle this” to a new level of confidence that I could, and that inspired me to try more. Fears were removed and growth happened. 

When you tell yourself something daily, what you need or don’t need, what you can or can’t do, or how you feel, that will become who you are and it will determine your outcome. You can decide to change, and you can decide your attitude.  Decide something great for yourself and choose your words wisely when talking to yourself. You’ll start to see changes you might not have thought were possible for you.

MindMarilyn Chychota