photo credit Ian Corless

In last week’s post I spoke about the importance of self-belief – about how we build barriers and set limitations for ourselves. The post looked at how so many things were once said to be not just out of reach but not humanly possible, and yet have not only been achieved but bettered. In so many cases these were simply boundaries that were thought to be the limits of human achievement. And yet, they’ve been smashed!

So realistically, what is impossible? I prefer to ask, what isn’t possible.

We all need to be careful of setting ourselves boundaries that limit our potential. Setting our goals within easy reach slows our personal growth and hinders our progress, it clips our wings and stops us soaring to greater heights.

As Mark Twain once said: “Twenty years from now, you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did. So, throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

So, reach for greater heights, fulfil your potential, and be the best that you can be. Trust in your ability, and never lose faith in yourself – even though the project you’re tackling may be tough, or the challenge you’ve taken on seem daunting, give yourself every chance to successfully achieve it. Nothing grows out of negativity. The power of positive reinforcement is enormous – whether that encouragement comes from a friend, a family member, a partner, a loved one, an onlooker, a colleague, or simply directly from you to YOU, the positivity it radiates is boundless. Soak it up! Use it!

Give yourself every chance to fulfil your potential. Fill your mind with positive thoughts, and you’ll reach the finish line far sooner, and far stronger.

When your demons come a-knocking
All too often we look at those around us and doubts creep in, making us think we’re less capable, less equipped to succeed than they are. They appear more knowledgeable, better prepared, fitter, faster, brighter…  in whatever way, better than us. But usually this is just our self-doubt creeping in, making us think we’re not as good as others.

Don’t ever think you’re unusual when these thoughts enter your head – we all get them. We need to manage them, push them out – they achieve nothing positive for us at all, and only serve to chip away at our confidence and undermine us.

To give a running example, sometimes when I’m on the start line of an important race, I look around at the athletes around me and I feel intimidated. They look fit, strong and race-ready, and my head becomes filled with doubts – have I trained enough, will I be fast enough, will I be able to beat them? If I allow the negative thoughts in, I would begin to believe them – the negativity would whittle my confidence down and would be self-perpetuating: there would be every chance I would run a bad race.

Over the years I’ve learned to see the negativity for what it is, and how to deal with it. When the negative thoughts come, and come they do, I work hard to replace them with thoughts that reaffirm what I know to be true: that just as the runners around me look fit and race-ready, so indeed am I; and that I need to trust in my preparation and in my ability to do the best that I can.

In all probability, other runners on the same start line are jostling with their own negativity, and thinking the same thoughts about me as I am about them!

These negative thoughts are fear – and fear is an emotion we create within ourselves. Once we understand that we create our own fear, we can learn to recognise it for what it is – it’s simply fear. And then to analyse it, breaking it down into rational, realistic thoughts that, once in that state, show the fear to be, well, nothing much to worry about at all.

During any testing time in our lives, we will be faced with moments that have us questioning our decisions, our abilities. If we cannot reaffirm ourselves with self-belief, we will not be able to fight the assaults of negativity, self-doubt and low morale. We need to know to expect the negative thoughts, anticipate them and plan how we are going to deal with them – first we examine them, and then knowing we do not want them, we give them no part at all in what we are doing. We allow them no opportunity to be important. They simply do not deserve our energy.

Regardless of our preparation, our fitness, our training and our experience, we will have moments when self-doubt creeps in. To be the best we can be, we need positive reinforcement. We need to fight the negativity, fill our minds with positive thoughts and reinforce our self-belief. Remember that in a race, every step forward is one step closer to the finish line.

When the demons of self-doubt tap us on our shoulder, we need to flick them off – don’t allow them to grow, don’t give them a voice, don’t grant them authority. Choose instead to make them small and insignificant – they’re not helpful, and because you want to be the best you can be, there is no room for fear and negativity.