I Am Not A Runner
That was my claim, but this picture of me mid-NYC Marathon would suggest otherwise.
Every time the subject of running would come up, I would say things like, “I am not a runner, I don’t run unless someone is chasing me with a gun!” That was my story, and I was sticking with it.
But then, two years ago, I decided to try to run. I was compelled to be in better physical condition, and running seemed like a simple way to do that (though not easy, based on what I’d made up about my inabilities). I got a training app, and started walking and running, (more the former than the latter), until eventually I was running more than walking, then running the whole way, then running races, then qualifying for the marathon, training for the marathon, running the marathon, and ultimately finishing the marathon.
And now, I am a marathoner, which is a 100% shift in my former identity. I challenged myself physically and mentally in a way I never thought was possible…until it was.
There is nothing that has greater influence on any aspect of your life—for better or for worse—than your “stories,” or what you tell yourself is right, true or possible.
Personally, professionally, emotionally, mentally, spiritually, physically, or financially—these stories inform every move you make.
And it doesn’t matter where the story started—except perhaps as a point of reference for how far you’ve come—what matters is whether it serves your greatest good in all categories of your life.
For instance, you may have a vision of who you want to be as a leader, influenced by others whose remarkable sense of style, confidence, knowledge or influence you want to emulate.
At the same time, the gap between where you are relative to that aspiration may seem too big of a stretch based on limiting beliefs of why you can’t get there. You may shortchange yourself by saying things like:
“I’m not a good public speaker,”
“I’m too much of an introvert,”
“I don’t have enough charisma…”, and so on.
This is the magic moment to pause, breathe deeply, and take the following steps to break through those doubts and write a powerful new story of your leadership potential:
Identify the “I am..,” “I never…,” “I can’t…” or “I don’t…” thought that is holding you back.
(“I am not assertive.”)
Challenge the belief by forming a new statement of identity, one which you will articulate as though it’s already true.
(“I am assertive.”)
Begin to take concrete actions to support the new identity.
(Make sure you get positioned to contribute to a call or client meeting. Come prepared to meetings with relevant questions and strategies and make sure they are heard.)
The bottom line:
identity is formed by what we condition ourselves to believe and then how we align the universe to support it, for better or for worse. Keep declaring your new, powerful identity—and taking concrete, measurable steps to support it—and one day you’ll realize the “new you,” one who is poised to be a more impactful leader than ever.