What would you do if you knew you could not fail? Well, I think we know what you need to do! Before we set off to chase our goals, let’s address three of the most common dream thieves, limiting beliefs, and the value of being brave.
Listen to the Podcast Episode: 3 Dream Thieves & the Proven Power of Being Brave
“Am I ready to x, y, or z?”
I often get the question, “Sally, how will I know I am ready to…?”
Can I run a 5k?
Can I start a new business?
Am I ready to be a mom?
Should I register for an ultramarathon?
And I get it. We all want some assurance that we are on the right path, right? This is especially true when the path we are on leads directly into crazy-town.
Places like, Marathons-Ville and Where-Is-My-Steady-Packcheck-Topia.
Those regions are known for their danger, their distinct lack of guardrails, and their infinite and infinitely scary, possibilities.
The truth is, friend, I have no idea if if you are ready. YOU have no idea if you are ready.
There is only one way to find out. You will only learn by being brave enough to try.
3 common dream thieves
So today I want to offer what I think are the three most common reasons you might be turning your back on yourself and your dreams, and also why we should charge right on by those lying, limiting beliefs that are keeping you from being brave and testing your limits. OK?
So hold on, because this one might feel super real.
If you feel yourself getting defensive or edging out of your comfort zone, I’m going to challenge you to recognize the feeling. It’s time to get cozy with it, my friends. That’s where the magic happens.
What calls to you?
And if you have a little flutter in your belly of excitement, lean in. What is your thing? What have you been quietly dreaming about?
I’m not saying that I have any great understanding of the universe. I’m not here to give you a sign that this is your time or interpret your situation.
I can’t tell you that this is it and you should go for it with any confidence beyond this:
This is it and you should go for it…if being brave can be your new jam and quitting when it gets hard is decidedly not.
Because you have it in you.
Let’s start with the one we all know and love to hate: fear.
In its infinitely traitorous and double crossing forms, fear threatens to hold us back from anything that is good.
Fear of failure.
Fear of financial ruin.
Fear of disappointing people we love.
This is why I started here. Being brave is in direct opposition to fear, right? Clearly.
But bravery doesn’t exist without fear.
We don’t call it brave to hop out of bed and start the day. We don’t regularly celebrate the courage of someone who reads a book, or makes dinner for her family.
Those don’t test us, normally.
But I want you to think about a time that you were absolutely terrified and moved your feet anyway.
Was it a time that you had to speak in front of group?
Were you hiking with your family entirely too high for your comfort?
Now see if you can bring back that gut feeling right now just thinking abotu it. I bet you can.
Bikes and bravery
For me, just a somewhat recent example that comes to mind was on the Ironman 70.3 Augusta bike course.
I have never tried to hide the fact that cycling is the discipline in triathlon that scares the daylights out of me. It’s almost a paralying fear. It’s why I do it. I like being brave.
When I was four, I was playing with a neighborhood friend on our quiet street. I had a fancy pink bike. Picture it: training wheels, streamers blowing in the breeze off each side of the handlebards. Barbie decals. It even had those neat little neon plastic noisemakers on the spokes that were so cool in the 80s. You know the kind, the made a glorious tink tink tink sound as the wheels turned faster and faster down the paved suburban streets.
Well, sometimes training wheels can make gettings started a little tough. You know they never seemed straight.
This one time, I tried to get my bike started and couldn’t get enough power in the push off. So I asked for a push from my older friend who was playing with me. He gave me a shove and the whole thing came tumbling down.
That time, I landed on top of the heap, with my pretty bike below me, and the brake lodged all the way through my neck.
I actually still have an image stored in my memory of being stuck on my bike, looking up, and watching my friend running up the street. Not to my front door for help, but all the way home in a panic.
I somehow pulled myself from the crash, inserted my fingers into the wound for no explainable reason, and walked inside where my mom was preparing to take my sister to a tennis lesson.
Ten days later, I left that hospital with a mighty scar and a prohibition against bicycles in our house from then on.
Back to the Bike Course
Fast forward almost 30 years and I was on the back side of the bike course on the half ironman course that I had been dreaming about for about 5 years.
That year, they changed the course a little and there is this screaming, winding, beautiful downhill section.
One by one, cyclists came flying by me for the first 30 seconds or so of this hill.
Pew pew pew.
I had my hands up on the hoods of my road bike, hands lightly feathering the breaks, trying not to panic.
And it happened. With no explanation.
Being brave, I moved one hand, then the other down to the drops, where you have more control and more weight on the front tire, but you go faster, tucked in, and just let ‘er rip.
I suddenly joined the the crew of people cheering the release. We were celebrating all of the work on the long slow climbs to get there, both on the course and in the months (in my case, years) of work to even to get there.
And I was celebrating this small victory over fear. An almost life-long, crushing, limiting fear.
I hit 36 miles/hour on that downhill. A crack in the pavement could have been a serious issue.
And I didn’t care. I just wanted to feel it all. That lifetime of fear couldn’t catch me.
I havent been the same since. I can still feel it when I close my eyes and put myself back there.
What are you afraid of? How are you allowing it to dictate your choices? Your limits? Your options?
More importantly, how will you incorporate being brave into your strategy to move forward without giving that fear safe quarter in your psyche?
It’s not easy. I started with it because I think it’s the most obvious and the hardest.
What if you look at what the fear is trying to teach you? Can you do some fear jujitsu and use it’s energy to your benefit?
Is it trying to protect you? Maybe it’s just a lie. In that case, snatch your power back. The end. No more messing around.
“I am” statements
I mean, literally say it out loud: “I do not believe that XYZ.” Then change it into an affirmative statement and, I’m not kidding you, write it on post it notes and put them everywhere!
I do not believe that I am not a cyclist. So my notes say: I am a confident cyclist.
Maybe yours says: I do not believe that my body wasn’t meant for running. Youre notes would say: I was built to run. I get stronger every single time I practice.
I do not believe that I am not a good businesswoman. Your notes would say: I am a powerful leader of my business and I make excellent decisions for our future.
Once you declare it, don’t let ANYONE change your mind.
Fear: your time is up. I am being brave.
We all know how habit manifests in our lives, even when it’s not great, right?
This keeps us in a strange cycle of doing what we have always done, even when it just doesn’t continue to serve us.
You know what I mean? It’s like how you know, without a doubt, that eating ice cream makes you feel like total crap 30 minutes later. You KNOW it. It happens every single time.
Yet, once the dishes are done and the kids head off to bed, that pint is calling your name. Without even thinking, or sometimes even despite thinking, you find yourself grabbing out the scoop that has the great silicone handle and feeling proud of your perfectly spherical lactose bombs and banging them down the gullet, only to make you feel terrible again.
One of the forces that keeps us inside the rails of habit is another dream killer.
This one would play the part of the dumb, brutish sidekick to the more manipulative villain of fear if we were casting a traditional bully movie: It’s judgement.
It had never occurred to me that the nervous feelings that come from leveling up to a new race distance probably stem from this aversion to the judgement that other people would have if I failed. Then when I was talking to Cara, a first time runner after her first 10k in episode 12, she mentioned that when she was being brave and picking up her bib at the race expo, she felt this terror that her people would judge her if she failed.
YES. How incredibly self aware she was. How incredibly dense am I? That’s it! It totally clicked for me. It’s judgement.
Hopping in the sweeper van for a race that didn’t go as planned really just isn’t that bad, as Hayley told us in episode 24. So why does it feel like such a big deal? The crushing weight of giving a crap what other people think.
I am fresh out of time for that.
I just don’t have any time for that anymore, and sister, neither do you. You are a living, breathing, woman of fire and passion and goals and dreams and vigor and all the things. The one thing you just can’t have space for as you are being brave and stepping towards your big thing, is other people’s judgement. Your hands are too full.
There is no vacancy for that squatter. No trespassing with that. Away from me. Away from you.
When we live in society, as we do, we are so primed to play our roles, right? We all carve out a little place for ourselves when we are still too young to have any idea what really makes us tick, and then everyone’s expectation that we stay in our lane keeps us right there.
Stepping out, even when it’s what is right for us, will bring judgement.
If your people expect you to eat that ice cream and you come at them one day with a, “Hmm…no thanks.”
Listen for the record scratch.
What do you mean? This is what you do…
Translation: you making a change makes things feel unstable for me. I don’t like unstable. We are forcing these other people to accept change. They might not be ready for being brave and we didn’t ask. Prepare for venom.
If you declare that you are going to run today when you haven’t done that in months or years, expect the same.
Going to start a business? Creating a non-profit? Make a step in your faith? Buckle up.
In my experience, sometimes hurtful words come even from people we really love when we decide to exercise our power to change.
Bringing people along
When someone I love very much declared that she was going to run a half marathon, her husband laughed out loud. People made no plans to join her…until it was very clear that she really meant it.
Then her ride-or-die crew acted pretty quickly to book a room and get there with signs and gels and whatever she needed.
And those that didn’t matter called it a one-off. One made a comment about how it was a miracle that she was able to do it in her form. That person and her judgement were revealed as a squatter in her life.
The truth is, some people just need time and proof. Sadly, some people will never come with you.
And we have space for both of these reactions. We are women with all of the power breathed into us at our creation: we have unlimited space for grace. And boundaries.
You don’t have to drag those people on your journey who were never meant to walk it with you.
Love them anyway…and keep moving. Bless & release.
Let’s be clear: you are never ever going to avoid judement, so there is absolutely no reason to play it safe in an attempt hide from it.
As one of my favorite podcasters, Hall of Fame Inductee Dave Jackson from the School of Podcasting says to people dreaming of speaking into a mic that are letting this judgement aversion stop them in their tracks, “Have you ever been to a Target? Yes? Well then you have been judged. If you have ever left your house, people have made judgements about you.”
And you have made it this far, dear athlete!
You have never just crumbled and ceased to exist because some schmo had an opinion of you.
And you won’t in the future, either.
Yes, it might sting when it’s someone you care about. So figure out now what ointment soothes open wounds of judgement for you, and keep it stocked in your personal first aid kit. You’re gonna need it.
And you will be ok.
I don’t deserve success
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
“I don’t think I could start (Insert anything that could be good for you) because I don’t have time with my commitments.”
Mommas, I know this is you.
“I can’t start running because my kids need me every second of the day.”
“I can’t clean up my diet because then my family would have to incorporate less junk and I don’t think they want that.”
Or if we are being honest, “I can’t experience that goodness or success because it’s not my place.”
“Who am I to dream like that? I don’t deserve it.”
This type of belief doesnt just steal from people who are just starting out, though it shows up there, for sure.
Maybe you are already successful…and committing all types of self sabotage to keep yourself right where you are.
You know what I mean: clients are coming in because they want to work with you, but you somehow flat refused to get organized so they slip away.
Becuase what if you did? What if the truth of unlimited possibilities really did land right at your feet thanks to your hard work, dedication, consistency, and talent.
Then you could no longer tell yourself that you aren’t hard working, dedicated, consistent or talented.
You might have to accept your greatness. You might need to revolutionize your entire way of thinking because the proof is right there:
You are fearfully and wonderfully made by the creator of the entire universe for a purpose.
You are good.
You are worthy of good things.
It really doesn’t matter how this type of limiting belief was borne up inside of you. Childhood trauma, lack, years of lending out entirely too much of your power to those evil twins of fear and judegemnt, unsupportive people speaking lies into your life…whatever it is. It can all manifest in this same way.
I am not worthy of success so it’s selfish to work for what I want.
It is going to take a revolutionary act of being brave to reverse this.
Dear athlete, let me tell you: I do not know your exact situation, and it absolutely does not matter. I know without a shadow of a doubt that you are enough.
I know that whatever dream keeps coming up for you.
The one that puts the flutter in your belly when you think of it, just before you push it away and dismiss it.
Your vision for success.
Whether it’s running down the red carpet of an Ironman before that 17 hour mark, or sprinting under than runDisney arch for your first 5k, or pluging in a microphone to share your story, or starting a youtube channel, or designing clothes, or empowering women through makeup, or creating a safe place for teenagers, or wahtever it possibly is that you can’t seem to push down deep enough to escape it,
I think it’s likely you were made for it.
Back to where we started. When people ask me, “Do you think I’m ready to do (insert big dream here?) and I can only answer, “I have no idea. And YOU really have no idea. Bring brave is hard.”
Do I think you are capable of absolutely anything? You bet I do.
Anything is possible for Any woman who just decides to try.