Friday, September 21, 2012

Who Do You THINK You Are?

I work with a martial arts instructor on some basic exercises as part of my acupuncture practice. Today I was whining about how long I've been trying to 'get back' the level of fitness I once had.  I told him of my glory days of working out two hours a day. He said, "I can tell you're an athlete by the way you move. You just need to get your mind and body aligned to that goal."

I was startled. I've considered myself as fit or unfit at different times in my life, but even at my most buff, I did not think of myself as 'an athlete.' Athletes were people who won games, knew how to play soccer, and liked sports movies. I just used weight machines and did sit-ups. Then I looked honestly at my life.
I have run fairly long distances, biked 40 miles at one point, had a hobby as a folk dancer, practiced tai chi faithfully for several years, actually played soccer in school--badly, but I ran up and down that field with the best of them. I have 'aerobicized' my little heart out, and even now I can do a mean boogie while I'm cleaning house. I 'm not an athlete today, but I was then. But I didn't think so.

My practice has given me time and the responsibility to be up on health trends and news. I have developed a focus on positive thinking, especially recognizing negative self-talk and replacing it with more positive ideas. My talk with the instructor today reminds me to look at how I view myself. To an objective eye, I am a health professional, with years of experience in using herbs, acupuncture, aromatherapy, lifestyle changes and mental focus to improve health. I am a professional writer who has published articles, runs several blogs, and creates most of her own professional business information tools. Yet I often see myself as the perpetual amateur, dabbling in things, and in the back of my mind I see my accomplishments as something 'anyone could do'--after all, I did it, so how hard could it be?

How about you? Do you have a dream, or a person you would like to be? Look at your life for evidence that you are already there, or on your way. Returning to the athlete's way means I am not on some strange path that is alien to me. I am coming back to something I once did well. Embracing my professional status is simply living a truth.

Maybe you are already a writer, artist, business person, or performer. Few people really want to do something 'professionally' that they have not already tasted. If you want to be an entrepreneur, remember the times you sold lemonade, or ran yard sales, or sold Mary Kay. People make full-time incomes doing those very things today. If you want to be a performer, remember the school plays or talent shows you were  in, and try out for community theater, or make a YouTube video. Enter a writing contest. Even if your first efforts are not great, they are stepping stones.

Find the small steps to get yourself closer to your dream. Building a life you love is not always about sweeping changes and huge risks. Many successful people put one foot carefully in front of the other, and make small steps towards their goals until they are reached. But first they have to see themselves in the role they are seeking.

So who do YOU think you are? Let me know in the comments!

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