A little over a week ago New York City hosted their annual marathon and I felt moved to go watch some of it. I purposely waited until the leaders finished and then I made my way toward Central Park in the early afternoon. As I neared the park, I began to hear the crowd cheering and the volume of people around me increased immensely. Scattered among the spectators were runners who had already finished and they walked (some limped) with their heads held high with a medal around their necks. Many were surrounded by family and friends and everyone was beaming.
As I neared the actual race I began to see various signs of support and I snapped pictures of some of my favorites. It was a heartwarming scene to witness for sure and I just stood and watched. I knew no one who was running and I didn’t have anyone to cheer on specifically but I found myself filled with happiness as I felt the love and encouragement all around me.
Not everyone was running with joy. Many people were walking, limping, and overall struggling to finish. I saw people of all ages and shapes digging deep to get to the finish line that was less than 1 mile away. The crowds helped for sure, but I saw a determination on their faces that told me they each had a story. A story of why they were running and what finishing meant to them and what or whomever they were running for.
The thing is, none of these people who had been running for 5 plus hours were elite athletes. The professionals had finished long before. These people were running for other reasons and challenging themselves to do something that didn’t come easy to them. Many didn’t have good running form and several appeared to be new at the sport. But that didn’t stop them.
“I’m not a runner.”
“I’m too busy to train.”
“I’ve heard it is really hard.”
The excuses that any of them could have used, that many of us do use, didn’t stop them. They didn’t let their negative thoughts stop them and they tried anyway. Many people in therapy tell me that they have barriers to what they can or can’t do because they “just aren’t wired that way”.
This excuse may have worked years ago but we now know that most of our thoughts and behaviors are not something we are born with. In fact, the brain continues to be shaped and changed by our experiences our entire life.
What excuses do you use to eliminate the possibility of change?
What limiting beliefs do you have about yourself that prevent you from moving away from fear and that feeling of being stuck?
Isn’t it time you dug deep?