If I told you that you have the ability to accomplish whatever you want in life. Would you believe me?

“Whether you think you can or can’t, you are right”. – Henry Ford

When I was in high school I started “jogging” with the ultimate goal of being able to do my dad’s route with him. It was a 3 mile out and back.  After many failed attempts of turning around early as my dad continued on, I finally did it. I made it all the way to the entrance of our development and back.

By the time I entered college, I believed that 3 miles was all I would ever be able to run in a single session. Even a tenth of a mile over three miles…..well, that seemed like it was “impossible”.

Stick with me. I promise, I have a point…..

In my junior year of college, I met a guy who claimed to be an “ironman triathlete”.  I would listen to him talk about his 10 and 20 mile “training runs”.  I would listen to his stories with part envy and part disbelief. How could a human run 20 miles in one day? Let alone a couple of hours.  I remember one specific day telling him I could never run more than three miles.

With a disbelieving smirk on his face and an arrogant tone in his voice, he responded….. “that is ridiculous”…. He continued…..“Tomorrow, instead of turning around at your usually spot, run to the next tree before you turn around”. On my next jog, I did just that.  I ran to the next tree before turning around. And to my amazement, I accomplished something I was convinced I couldn’t. That tree became the next tree and the next tree………until one day I ran to a street sign. When I turned around and looked, I read the words on the sign in disbelief. “5 miles to UCF”. In less than a few months, I was now able to run 10 miles.

1 year later, I completed my first marathon.

So what does this have to do with you?

Whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you are right.

So, I will ask you again….If I told you that you could accomplish whatever your heart desired, would you believe me? If not, why?

There are lots of reasons why, we humans, choose to believe our lives (and our bodies) have “limits”.  For some, it is fear of failure. For others, it’s memories of past experiences……. where we tried and fell short. And still there is another category of humans who choose to believe something is “impossible” with zero evidence (that it can’t be done).  My running example is one such case. I believed I couldn’t, yet, I had never tried.  Some might refer to this as a self-limiting belief – beliefs that hold us back from pursuing our full potential.

I will forever be fascinated by the mind-body connection. I am in awe of humans who do the inconceivable.  On the other hand, I am often curious when I see others fall far short of their full potential.

It has been a long time since my college days.  And tens of thousands of dollars (in tuition) later….what did I learn? Just one more tree. When things seem impossible. When “overwhelm” gains power. When the thought of defeat seems like an undeniable reality. When I am convinced I am not smart, strong, fit, healthy………good……”enough”.  I try and remind myself to just find the next tree.

What is your self-limiting belief?

Are you choosing to believe that physical recovery after a neurologic injury is impossible?

Are you choosing to believe that returning to work, living on your own, washing your own hair, putting on your own clothes, making your own gosh darn meal is impossible?

Are you choosing to believe that job promotion is impossible?

Are you choosing to believe that a marathon, 5k, 10k, or ultramarathon is impossible?

If so, is it true? You know, that belief?

I will refrain from telling you YOUR truth (in the context of “impossibilities”) is “ridiculous”.  However, I will challenge you with this……..the next time you feel like you are “lacking”, question your inability to try.

Tomorrow, take one more step, pick up a brush, pull one piece of food out of the refrigerator (without help), draft one more cover letter for a job opening……

…….just get to the next tree.

You will never know the actual boundaries of your limits until you challenge yourself to push beyond them.