Barriers are just a story

Inspiring Change – Barriers are Just a Story
My son Jesse sat on the bench in the running apparel store, listening to the owner, Ken, discuss how the training they were going to do over the next two months would prepare him for lacrosse season. We had come in to buy running shoes for Jesse and register him for a winter boot camp for young athletes. While I waited for the two of them I noticed a training sign for adults: preparation for a spring half-marathon. Ken saw me reading the sign and suggested I sign up. I snorted in response—the kind of snort that appears subconsciously—the one that means, “You’re kidding right? There’s no way I could run that far.” I began a litany of excuses. I had been a sprinter … never a distance runner … My knees are old … I wouldn’t know where to begin … It might take me a half of a day. Ken listened, waited until I finished, and then bluntly offered the following: “Those are just stories you tell yourself. Time to tell yourself a new story. Last year a 72-year-old ran her first half-marathon. If she can do it, you can.” The barriers that appear in our minds are real, and they are just a story. Both are true. We can listen to our barriers, and let them dictate our behavior or we can honor them and ask ourselves, “Is this really true? Is this the only story? Is it possible there is another story that could be told here?” I might not be able to complete 13.1 miles in any reasonable amount of time, but maybe I could. I won’t know of course unless I try. To paraphrase Wayne Gretzky, the great Canadian ice hockey player, you miss all the shots you don’t take. In this new year, we can choose to take a new shot or two … or not. It’s up to us to decide how much power we want to give to the barriers that keep us locked into the old and how much of an opening we want to create for a different story … one with new elements, like running shoes, and a new ending.

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