I’m gonna be very clear, I do not want to run right now. Well let me rephrase that. I absolutely don’t feel like running. It’s hot. It’s humid. I got crappy sleep last night. I woke up with the awareness of all the training miles that I have to do to finish this hundred mile race coming up in November on top of me like a mental anvil. My head was filled with a lot of doubt, I’m not gonna lie. But, I was courageous enough to stop and identify what I was feeling and what may have contributed to those feelings. When I take the time to do this it lets me explore the facts behind the emotions that I’m feeling. Is it true that I ate too heavy of a meal last night at a Mexican restaurant? Yes. Did I have two diet Cokes which were filled with caffeine, which always gives me anxiety at night and keeps me up at 3 AM? Also, yes… Fatigue, anxiety, and a bit of global questioning accounted for. Now…?
I want the fix.
What can I do to get the emotional state that would actually help me? Now coach, that voice in my head that has my back, kicks in: “Get running, you’ll feel better. Try listening to a song, podcast, you name it… You know that in 20 minutes you’re gonna feel better…”
I finally settle on music. I have an inspirational playlist of a vast array of songs. I’m now in the first half hour of this ‘glorious run’ and ‘Going the Distance’, which is on the soundtrack of the first Rocky flick, comes through my headphones. You may not know this about me, but I love all the Rocky films (Ok, after Rocky III it gets a little shaky…).
I can remember just about every scene that corresponds to every song from that movie’s soundtrack. I start to remember the scene that this particular song is from. It goes from when Adrianne, Rocky’s wife, tells him from her hospital bed to win. Then the scene shifts to when Rocky takes on Apollo Creed for the world championship… My memory fills with seeing Rocky with a face that looks like raw meat beckoning with both hands for Apollo Creed to continue to fight him when he clearly is barely standing on his feet. I think what gets me about this is the look on Apollo’s face. He nods his head in utter disbelief.
We all think Rocky’s intense will is driven by his desire for a world championship. But we’re wrong. He’s willing to take this much pain because his “WHY” is to prove he can last 15 rounds with the best fighter in the world!
If any of us want to go the distance with our dreams we need to know our “WHY.” Now I don’t mean a simple logical explanation of why. Those may be things like: because it may have some financial benefit to me, or I think it would be a good career change. I’m talking about the WHY that inspires you and gives you the passion to continue to pursue your goals. A WHY that matters to you so deeply that you can continue on physically, mentally, and emotionally no matter what.
The WHY you need to help you make 11 more phone calls, even though you feel like there’s a fiery ball stuck in your throat. The WHY that helps you continue on even if it feels like doing one more email is gonna send you off the deep end. When that all encompassing false fatigue silently wraps its arms around you leaving you breathless to fulfill your dreams and your ambitions…there is no greater coach, champion of your cause, or more steadfast cheerleader in your corner than your WHY.
You can’t force your WHY. It’s not something that you can pick and choose like on the sales rack at TJ Maxx. You’re going to know your WHY, because it’s the motivation behind that thing you probably spend most of your time doing. And if anybody ever asked you if you would do that thing for free, your WHY would probably have you giving a resounding yes (even though that wouldn’t be good economics. 😉 ).
I LOVE speaking, writing, and coaching on emotional resilience. It’s what I am fully passionate about. I am all In. The reason why I’m all in is because I felt silenced and unable to speak about my emotions when I was a kid. I think there’s many of us out there, especially men, who may have felt the same thing. Sometimes I felt I needed to hide my emotions from myself or others, because I thought it would be more acceptable to the people around me.
My WHY is simple – I don’t want anybody to have to feel emotionally silenced. I think it’s the reason that we don’t connect, why we fight with each other, why we come from a place of anger or fear. Why we are in distress, not because of a specific situation, but because we’ve been taught to be afraid to have feelings.
Find your WHY. Start paying attention to the things that you’re passionate about. The things that you love and that motivate you. What you would do even if you didn’t get paid. The things that you make time for after your work, before your work,…it doesn’t matter. Take some time to write down what that WHY Is. WHY are you so passionate about that thing that you will do it no matter how tired or ‘unmotivated’ you are? Don’t just look at the words, visualize it. Basically make yourself a mental trailer filled with sights, sounds, and images of you doing that thing and fulfilling your WHY. If you take the time to do this then, when you want that feeling, when you need that feeling to get out the door, you’ll have it.
Because, you will need it. You’ll need it on the gray days. The long lonely nights where you need to believe more than anyone. The days where you can’t put a sentence together because you’re so tired, or your inner critic shouts at you so loudly that you can barely find your own voice. Make that WHY ironclad, as solid as any bone in your body and I promise you…you’ll go the distance.
If you would like to learn tools and skills to help you reduce your emotional isolation, lessen your avoidance of shame, fear, and anxiety, to reach your goals, break old habits, or create new ones, I can help. We can meet virtually or in person at my office in Waterbury, Vermont. Just click the button or the link below for a free consultation and let’s talk. Click to Select a Date & Time for your free consultation.