I spent a fair amount of time last week working on a message about stress. And honestly, trying to organize all I wanted to cover in that blog really stressed me out. So, after a deep breath, I realized the message I wanted to relay this week was much simpler.
The world needs the real you.
As you know, I have a book coming out later this year. The title is Far Better: Self Discovery through the Power of Endurance Sports. Like my blogs, I did not write my book from a place of having it all figured out. It is not a guidebook on how to be a “better” person. The book is my passion project filled with the lessons I have learned specifically through the lens of my roles of athlete and coach in endurance athletics. And since I have a passion for loving people, I share my stories in the hope that you might be inspired by them as well. In addition to learning from endurance sports, I believe you can benefit from applying them to your athletic endeavors.
Self discovery. I believe the best path toward living fully is one that leads back to knowing who you are. A path that is not set to autopilot, or dictated by expectations. One that has boundaries, but doesn’t allow you to give different versions, or personas, of yourself to different individuals or communities. Less managing yourself, and more showing up for others.
Some of us grew up in homes where this kind of knowing was encouraged and celebrated. Many of us did not. Whether you experienced personal trauma, or fell away from an understanding and acceptance of who you are in other ways, I want to tell you one thing today:
The world needs you.
Not the you that you think is purely defined by what the world wants or needs, but also not the rebellious you. Not the you that is defined by what other people think, but also not the one that disregards how your choices impact those around you. Not the you that does all you can to stand out, nor the you that tries so hard to blend in to the background. Not the shortsighted, one-dimensional “you do you” approach to life, but instead the you that stands on a firm foundation built by something bigger than yourself. The loving, joyful, messy, honest, awkward, silly, angry, excited, sad, beautiful, dysfunctional, funny, intellectual… you.
Set yourself on a path to finding that person, versus putting your energy into figuring out how to project even more personas. Establish your identity and operate out of your core values and beliefs. Truly show up in love, instead of people pleasing. That is self care. That is self love. That is self acceptance, self compassion.
It might be a hard journey, and you will likely experience many bumps in the road, obstacles, roadblocks, and will even likely turn around and head back down the well known path, where you know you can hide. But, you can always get back on the one that heads toward understanding and sharing you.
Don’t wait for my book to get started. 😉 Take small steps daily. Identify and embrace your foundational beliefs. Be thoughtful and curious. Find a spiritual practice. Make an appointment to talk to a therapist. Write down all the things you know about yourself— the good and the bad. Talk to a friend, or other mentors, that you trust. Seek out people and situations where you can let your guard down and be fully present and relaxed as yourself. Also look for those who challenge you. Be convicted, but not judgmental or righteous. Be a safe place for others to feel loved.
Reach out if you are looking for a church, therapist recommendations, other resources, or a friend. I am not walking far ahead of you, or most certainly not above you. I am on this path with you, offering my hand weekly.
And if you want part of your journey to be on a swim, ride, or run— I am happy to help you get started.