What were you inclined to fill in the blank? It may be very enlightening.
"I think I can, I think I CAN, I think I CAN, I ... CAN ...." is often the mantra I repeat as I run the hills in my neighborhood, one small step at a time. These few focused words keep me in the moment and while each step may be hard, it is much easier to believe I am capable of the next single step forward than it is for me to tackle the entire hill all at once and with every step.
I recently came across the following quote while reading about the effort to complete a sub 2 hour marathon. The magnitude of the challenge is succinctly described by Herb Elliot and elaborated on by Bud Billanich in an article he wrote for Fast Company back in 2009. In case you don’t know Herb Elliot, he was the world record holder in the mile run from 1958 to 1962. He said:
“To be a world-record holder in the mile, a man must have the arrogance it takes to believe he can run faster that anyone ever has at the distance; and the humility it takes to actually do it.”
According to Billanich and to me as well, the dichotomies in this quote – arrogance and humility – capture the essence of self-confidence and realistic self-image. Arrogance: ego, belief that you can accomplish the goal you set for yourself. Humility: the willingness to do the work necessary to reach your goal. Both are present in successful people. And I might remind you that success has a very different meaning for us all and will often change in response to the environment, situation or people and will definitely change over time. Remember when success was riding a bike without training wheels. Soon thereafter it was stopping without finding the pavement. And even later it is getting on and going bike riding again. All of these were scary challenging moments in life. Moments like these occur every day. It may be as insignificant as hitting a golf ball over the water or as significant as moving from a wheelchair to the toilet without face planting. These moments take courage to get beyond the fear. Belief that we can overcome the seemingly unsurmountable gap between where we are and where we want to be is best achieved when we rehearse the possibility that it just might be possible for us to do the impossible today, this moment, now. My calendar has an awesome quote from Erin Hanson this month that may help you get this idea. Just promise me you’ll be at least practical before taking any leaps.
“What if I fall?
But, Oh my darling, what if you fly ?”