There are athletes and spectators. Olympians, and people who sit on the couch and watch. I am an Olympics junkie. I LOVE to watch. Fortunately the Olympics only come every two years because my already-teetering healthy sleep habit has taken a nose dive. Until this year I haven't given much thought to what separates the person who works so hard, and sacrifices so much, to pursue that size of a dream. I've always just thought they were spectacular athletes. But it occurs to me, they weren't born with those big muscles. Or those skills. Sure there has to be some innate coordination and competitive drive - but even greater yet I hugely suspect is their superpower ability to push through the four-letter word that begins with an "F." Fear. (Not what you were thinking, I know.) Because don't tell me they don't ever have moments where they get scared; when they doubt their ability to do it. To put down a faster speed, nail a landing or ace a serve. It's not that they don't ever feel fear - it's that they feel it, and do it anyway. You see them - the swimmers and gymnasts in particular, before they compete, sometimes with headphones on, in that zone... according to the commentators, their job in that moment in to visualize exactly how it will go. There is no doubt in my mind 100 percent of that zone is about shoving back the fear. The gremlin vying for the slightest of footholds.
Here's what I've learned in the past week about deciding to be DONE playing small. My comfort zone has an opinion. A big one actually. It's not loving how I'm calling the eight ball in the corner pocket these days. It would rather I just take a random shot and hope something goes in. I've been a bit more testy, and stressed. It took a few days to understand what I'm feeling is unease; fear. It makes me think back to when I initially became a health coach - with a six-year old, five-month old, full-time job, hour-long commute and NO idea what I was doing. I was totally excited, then totally freaked out. Can I do this? What if I don't know what to say? What if no one has success? Yet I don't feel that fear when I write this blog each week. Honestly as I am writing this right now, I have no idea how the blog will end or where I'm going with this thought. I never do. I just write and let it play out. So what's the difference then? Why not just coach that way too? That's what I finally came to, but it took a while to develop those sea legs. To trust my gut enough to simply lead from a place of intuition and confidence - rather than fear and doubt.
I did an exercise Monday night about narrowing in on how I really want to show up. But it wasn't me thinking it through. It was the opposite. It was where you do some breathing stuff, then answer a dozen questions in a brain-dump fashion, then let a paragraph just flow out, unfiltered. It was really weird actually, and cool. As my pen wrote, I was just as curious as anyone to see what it had to say. And keep in mind my middle name is overthink. Yet as it wrote, I had so much energy and confidence and power I barely recognized myself.
What's inside me I now know, is an evolved, kicking butt Gretchen who "writes on a big stage" and empowers women to take back their lives and health and achieve their awesome potential - and bust through all the practical reasons why not. I have no idea where it all leads - or what a "big stage" even means, but it was that energy and confidence I felt in that zone for those few minutes that I cannot un-feel. And that is what I am sure drives an Olympian. How is feels. It reminds me of a framed quote I've had in my bedroom for about seven years: "If what's in your dreams wasn't already inside of you, how could you even dream it."
So -- here is my question to you, because I am not just "doing this for my own health." :) What do you want? Where do you play small? What's that thing you want that you don't let yourself think about too hard, because somewhere deep down inside you know if you let yourself go there - you won't be able to go back. You won't be able to un-think it. And that scares you. Because then you will have to put yourself out there. Or know you are settling. And what if you fail. What if you don't have what it takes. It's what keeps people from moving forward when they want to choose health. It sounds something like "I can't afford it" or "I'm too busy" or "I don't want to eat that kind of food." All just code for "I'm afraid I will fail." Because if you knew you couldn't fail you'd be ALL IN in a New York minute.
I am DONE playing small, as you may have heard. And I'm not doing it alone. So enough. Enough with all the reasons. All the tomorrows and maybe-somedays. We are doing this NOW. Today. Because life is too short - and we were not put on this earth, and given these amazing bodies and amazing minds to futz them away chasing each day into the next - tired and crazy and stressed. And if that thought freaks you out a little bit - good. Join the club. That's your litmus test. Because if you don't feel a little scared, and if how you crave to feel doesn't bring tears to your eyes, you haven't hit it yet. Keep going!! Right now I want you to hit reply and tell me your dream. Put it out there - what do you sincerely want, for yourself, for your life? How do you want to feel? It may be the strength and confidence of a really healthy body, Or the calm and fulfillment of a totally balanced life. Or the freedom and adventure of a financially secure future. Or the energy and power of knowing you inspire and provoke others to dream big, "on a big stage." Dare to feel the thing you can't un-feel. And if you need some help - here is my "fight song" for you to borrow.
Then, after you get all uncomfortable and amazing, your second move is to RSVP for my open house on September 12. Step into a community of people who are DONE playing small too. Because as my gremlin would like to stay all cozy with my initial goal of having 25 people attend - my new G 10.0 won't let me call my eight ball in that pocket. The number that keeps coming to mind is 100. (It's kind of like when I ask someone how much weight they want to lose. They tell me a goal. And then I ask them how much weight they really want to lose. Because I know that first goal, is the "what I think I can maybe achieve goal. Not the what I really want goal.") And tight on the heels of that big scary goal, are all the reasons why it isn't possible. And not even not possible, but down right silly. Where will people park? I can't fit a big crowd in my house? What if only five people show? And so I put on my headphones, get in my zone, and drowned it out. Because this is bigger than me. Because I'm am not the only person out there who needs support, and community and something to shoot for. So, join me. Let's get healthy together. Have an awesome weekend.