Last week at Boerne Lake, the winds were blowing. There were small whitecaps coming our way. These were our learning conditions at the lake for beginner Stand Up Paddle Boarders. Six ladies came and watched the dry land demonstration. A few ladies had tried it before and a few ladies had never done it before. Before getting on our boards we had the discussion about the winds and how they would affect the board. The winds will push the board sideways and you along with it to the shore if you do not take control of the board right away. You must be diligent in your paddle strokes and keep the board straight and moving against the wind if you want to get anywhere. No lily dipping – meaning just merely sticking the paddle in the water and making a gentle caress along the water. These windy conditions call for diligent placement of the paddle and pulling it swiftly and confidently, using your whole body not just your arms. Stand strong and move through the water like you mean it. Move with Gusto! If you don’t, the wind will push you to the edge of the lake and knock you overboard.
Does this sound like a metaphor for life? Stand strong and move like you mean it; otherwise you will be pushed aside and be left behind. Do you ever find yourself in endless negative self-talk? Saying things like: I’m not strong enough, I don’t know if I should or could do___________ I’m too _______ to do that! I’m not good enough for _________ and the list goes on. Participating in outdoor activities for the last 25 years has taught me many lessons that can be applied to daily life. Moving with Resilience and Confidence are essential. If these ladies did not paddle with strength and tenacity, they either fell off the board or were pushed to shore. Life is a lot like this; if you let it, it will push you to the edge. This is when stress, anxiety and depression start to kick in.
If we let these self-limiting beliefs take over our life with everything we do, the outcome will not be what we want. But if we can replace those habitual, self-limiting thoughts with a more positive mental attitude, resilience starts to come naturally. Mental toughness does not come easily and must be practiced daily. If I were given a mere $1.00 for every time I told myself I couldn’t do something, I would be rich and not be writing this post right now. I would be off on some deserted island drinking mai tai’s. Unfortunately that is not how life works.
If we want to maximize our resilience in our daily performance for our personal and professional life, we cannot let life push us around. Here are three tips to practicing daily to change your thought patterns and build your power.
- Be Aware! First and foremost you need to become aware of your thought patterns. Identify when your thoughts are limiting you and put a stop to it. You will start to notice when your attention is being overtaken by those negative thought processes. Once you start noticing it, their power will fade.
- I Can Do This! Once you identify the situations where you find yourself thinking negatively, change it to “I can do this.” Say it out LOUD! You will be amazed at how you’ll feel; how the negative stress and energy will fade. You will feel it in your body and your whole being.
- Move in the direction you want to go! Even small steps will allow you to move and think freely, confidently and without fear. You will be headed in the direction you want to go even if it’s doing something that has caused you grief in the past.
The idea is that when you approach a situation you are not comfortable with, awareness and a “Can Do” attitude will enable you to say and move with the confidence that you can do whatever you set out to do.
Think of it in this scenario. I’m standing on a double black ski slope and I stop to look at it before I drop in. The longer I stand there and think about it, the more negative self talk creeps in. “I’m crazy! I don’t have the skills for this! What the heck was I thinking? HOLY CRAP, I’m going to fall!” But if I take the positive mental approach, my thoughts would be like this: “I’ve been skiing my whole life; attended numerous steep lessons and have the skills to ski this. I’m ready for this next step. I’m going to check for my line, make a mental strategy, take a deep breath and slide in with confidence”. Can you see how much better this second scenario sounds? Confidence gets you through the tough situations.
It’s your turn, don’t let the wind push you to the sidelines and beat you up. Take ownership of your thoughts and move forward with Gusto!
Smiles from your favorite adventuress! Diana
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