Owning Our Full Potential

Yesterday was an amazing day for me!  As most of you have read, I recently started running again and yesterday I ran the Kaiser Half Marathon in Golden Gate Park with friends xnet.kp.org/sanfrancisco/.  It was the second year I ran this half marathon and last year I set my half marathon PR (personal record) while running it.  Well, this year I set a new PR and broke last year’s by 6.5 minutes!  Those of you that are runners know that this is quite a lot to shave off a time!  My goal was to beat last year’s time but I never expected to beat it by that much nor was I confident that I would beat it.  I was so surprised and excited by my amazing run.  Yes, that’s right, I said AMAZING!!  I am owning that it was quite an amazing run for me and I am very proud of it, and yet at the same time I am puzzled by it.  Why now and how?  How did I pull this off when I really haven’t been training any harder than usual?

During my run I was thinking about the process that allowed me to run so much faster than I usually do.  While distance running requires a certain amount of physical training, the majority of training needed for distance running is psychological.  Your mind needs to believe that your body can go the distance and you must keep your head in the game, never giving up on yourself.  Once you lose that mental stamina, your body follows suit and no amount of physical training can bring you back.   

This applies to more than just running.  How many of us hold ourselves back in other areas of our lives because we lack the belief that we are competent, powerful, awesome and even amazing?    How many of you are afraid of being big and so you play small, because that you know you can do?  How have you held yourself back from reaching your full potential?  Do you move confidently in the direction of your dreams and goals or do you hold back a little, afraid to fully put yourself out there?

I know how I was able to move beyond what I thought I was capable of yesterday and run my full potential instead of holding myself back.  First of all, I prepared as best I could for my run.  I trained for several months, I got up early enough to eat a good breakfast and I pulled out all the stops on that run!  I don’t usually listen to music on my runs because I mentally train myself to run without extra support.  I like to see what my body can do on its own.  It’s only when I am getting really tired that I will put my earphones on and blast my favorite tunes, and that helps immensely!  I let myself listen to my music at the start of my run.  

I also let myself run as fast as my body felt it could instead of running slower to save my energy for later.  NOW is really all we have, so I put forth my full effort and I had just enough stamina left to finish.  What are we saving ourselves for?  Isn’t now the time to give it our all and let the chips fall where they may?  We can always pick ourselves up if we fail, but what can you do if you never let yourself reach your full potential? What happens if we never push ourselves to the edge of our greatest glory?

The other thing I did was not compare myself to others.  I wasn’t concerned with the person running next to me or in front of me.  I didn’t even think about what I “should be” running, I just ran how I felt!  So I didn’t compare myself to me either – I let go of my perceived limitations and I let myself go for it!!  Can we consciously choose to let go of our perceived limits?  What amazing things would we do then?  How much are you holding yourself back from owning your full potential?  Break out of your perceived limits and establish new ones!  Better yet, drop those limits altogether.

To sum it up, here are some things I believe can help us own our full potential:

1.  Prepare ourselves as best possible for our goal and/or dream – train, read, study, learn, practice!  Do whatever research is necessary to move you towards success.  Train like a ninja!  Know what is supportive for you and use those supports.

2.  Don’t save yourself for later!  Go for your dreams now and push your edges even when you feel the fear.  Let your fear motivate you and push you towards your potential.  When we feel fear, it is a good indication that we are out of our comfort zone and moving towards the edge of greater possibility.

3.  Don’t compare yourself to others or set limits on what you are capable of.  If you want something enough, pull out all the stops and get creative.  The truth is, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain.  Visualize yourself achieving your full potential.  See and feel yourself playing big!

I hope I haven’t bored you with my running story but the best way I know how to share knowledge is to speak from my experience.  I hope you find some resonance even if you aren’t a runner or an athlete.  I hope you share your own experiences of moving towards and owning your full potential.  I leave you with the inspiring words of Marianne Williamson which were also spoken by Nelson Mandela at his inaugral speech:

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
― Marianne Williamson, Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of “A Course in Miracles”

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Until next time, aloha!

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