I LOVE to laugh. My interests and imagination are tilted toward all brands of humor- immature slapstick to dark and mysterious- and everything in between.
So, every time I think of worth I picture the scene in Wayne’s World when Wayne and Garth are on their knees proclaiming to gorgeous rock star Stacey, “We are not worthy. We are not worthy. We suck.” This doesn’t have a whole lot to do with the topic of worthiness as I will dig into, but hopefully it will start you off with some nostalgia and a smile.
Self worth, another word for self esteem, is defined as the confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self respect.
We are born worthy. And although we can sometimes “suck,” we are not defined by who we are at our worst. As we age we are faced with many messages that contradict the message of being born worthy- we learn to believe that we must earn and prove our worth.
In the world of racing we often earn and validate our worth by being fast, going further, having years of race experience, owning the best gear, or winning awards. Our insecurities and fears teach us that we must flash our ‘worthiness membership card’ in order to sign-up and compete.
The exciting news is that we don’t need to earn or prove our worthiness. We need to find it in ourselves and practice owning it as our own.
How do you find and practice owning your self worth?
This takes training, just as it does to complete an Ironman triathlon or marathon. Some ways to nourish your self worth are to use daily, realistic positive affirmations; identify your competencies and nourish them; learn to accept compliments; and eliminate self criticism and practice self compassion.
As athletes we are blessed with the opportunity to be hyper aware of our self worth dial and also are accustomed to the process of training. We train to build up confidence in our abilities and respect the challenge and ourselves. We practice and prepare our bodies. We have scheduled check in points and adjust physically, mentally, and emotionally when needed. The desire is to stand at the start line, look around, and feel a sense of worthiness to be there with other prepared athletes. We can apply this same drive to race readiness to learn to believe in our worthiness.
I know this because I did it.
I spent a lot of my life managing my persona, and part of this was proving my worth. So naturally in the beginning of my racing and coaching career I was eager do the same. After winning an award in my first triathlon I established my worth in being a fast female cyclist. I believed I would maintain my worth if I kept being fast. This pressure derailed me often- sometimes in training when I was instructed to SLOW DOWN, but didn’t want to feel bad about my pace or post it on Strava. When I raced I would get wrapped up in comparison and results. If I wasn’t going to be fast I prepared my excuses. After becoming a trainer and then a coach I believed that I had to work hard to prove myself, rather than be transparent to the idea I had to fail in order to learn lessons to improve. I started to manage my persona rather than being myself. I fell into lacking outward confidence in my abilities. I considered changing careers. I was detached and afraid and it permeated all of my life.
So, how did I get back to place of believing my full worth?
I started by going to therapy. My therapist spoke against my need for outward validation and told me that I “was too hard on myself.” She helped me to believe that I had all in me to be a worthy woman, wife, mother, friend, daughter, sister, athlete, trainer, and coach. I was worthy enough to love and be loved and I didn’t need to prove myself to anyone. I was and am enough.
Then I trained my mind and my heart. I practiced. I sought out opportunities to learn lessons through my passion for racing. I still learn and practice. I am sharing my lessons with confidence, knowing I am worthy of doing so.
In the fall of 2018 I had the amazing opportunity to race the Ironman Arizona 70.3 with some of my best friends. I trained my body not only through swim, bike, and run- but also with indoor sessions in sweatsuits and long sauna visits to acclimate to the heat. I packed my nutrition to carry on the flight and followed my race plan exactly as written. I went to bed early. I practiced visualization. I did all of this believing I was worthy of giving my all- I didn’t need to prove a thing.
I arrived at a race site I had never been to confident that I would do my best. Not because I had earned it. Or needed to prove it. I had made the choice that this is what I wanted to do and I was there follow through with this goal, this promise to myself. I would not make excuses. I was not going to win, but I was there to race.
I was born with all of the worth in me to do this.
I was worthy. I am worthy. And so are you.