I have the gift of telling the future, or so I often seem to think. When I know the task ahead of me is going to be daunting, exhausting, and taxing, I have an inclination to mentally put too in front of each of those words and pull back from full engagement. I hold an astonishing amount of myself in reserve for fear of depletion. What if I use all of me up and have nothing when I need it the most?
I know exactly where I received the training to stingily put myself to the tasks at hand, anticipating the moment something became incredibly uncomfortable or difficult as the moment to quit and withdrawing accordingly. And I know exactly where I am receiving the training to challenge this thinking, dig deep into the discomfort of the moment, and engage accordingly to achieve my goals: my personal training sessions at my gym.
“I want you to use these weights until you literally cannot lift them anymore. Not until you think you cannot lift them anymore. Until you literally cannot. Then you can switch them for the lighter ones.” Sonya, my trainer, started me off on my set of Arnold presses. I nodded in agreement. Maybe I even smiled. And then I did exactly what she told me not to do. About halfway through my set, I tried to change out the weights because my muscles were tired and I was sure I wouldn’t be able to lift my current weight for much longer. “Ah ah,” Sonya said. “You can still lift those.” I almost cried. I almost cried, but I finished my set with the heavier ones, grunting with exertion for quite possibly the first time ever. Then I glowed with a sense of accomplishment for the rest of the day.
Every personal training session I have with Sonya is a great workout, but sometimes this woman who is both fierce and kind in her training and her life offers my sweaty, red-faced self a bit of wisdom perfect for where I am at and where I want to be going in life. I may be breathing heavily and wondering how in the hell I’m going to do whatever is next on her list, but I mentally pause from my panicky thoughts and think: Don’t forget this. What she said…that can create change. Remember it. Remember it. Remember it.
The days have been difficult lately, requiring more than I feel comfortable giving. I am tempted every single day to give less than I am capable of giving, less than what is necessary for the goals I have for my life. But I am not anticipating the quit. I rest when I can, between the sets of all I need to do, and then I get back to it. Because I can. Because I have not reached my limits. Because I am so much stronger than I think am, capable of so much more than what I do when I limit myself to my comfort zone.
And guess what?
The same goes for you.
We are capable of so much more than we think we are. Find someone encouraging who does not know the limits you have put on yourself and then believe in you like they believe in you. Then, if you can, be that believing, strengthening person for someone else.