Reflect It And Reinforce It

Now that the dust has settled from our move, I’m getting back into the habit of sharing a Coach Tip of the Week. I’m grateful so many of my athletes have stayed on despite the cancellation of so many events. Races are starting to happen again and folks are reaching out for coaching again. I’m hopeful things keep moving in the right direction, safely.
This week, think about what you’re reflecting to the world around you. This has been a theme in my own head the last few months. Environment has a BIG impact on our lives. Everything that’s going on these days also has various affects on our well being. Still, we have the power within us, at any moment to choose what we reflect to the world.
Well-(and ill-)intentioned people make incorrect assumptions about us all the time. Labels. Always with the labels. I’m trying to “flip the script” on that nasty little habit too. It’s reactive and not proactive. We breathe these instances in, pause… and proactively choose HOW to respond to each of them. It can be both exhausting and demoralizing. I try to remember that fancy Johann Wolfgang von Goethe quote, “If you treat an individual as he is, he will remain how he is. But if you treat him as if he were what he ought to be and could be, he will become what he ought to be and could be.” Fancy indeed, but the OPPOSITE of exhausting!
“First be a good animal,” Emerson wrote. A person who’s taking good care of themselves is better equipped to consistently reflect positive energy back into the world, BECAUSE they actually have the resources within them to DO so. Good sleep, good foods, plenty o’ water, limiting toxins, and regular (even short bouts of) exercise give us the strong BASE required to firmly stand our ground, boldly reflecting what we mindfully CHOOSE to reflect back into our chosen environment. Remember, fatigue makes cowards of us all!
It’s the same in an event. When I come into an aid-station, I’ve learned it’s important to reflect joy. Joy is POWER late in a race. Joy is FLOW. And by choosing joy, you’re setting the stage for flow. And when pain and misery come creeping in to replace the joy of those light and free early miles, what do we often say or hear from others?…
“Fake it ’til you make it.”
…CHOOSE to pretend you’re strong. CHOOSE to pretend you’re having a good time. CHOOSE to smile. CHOOSE to finish what you started. CHOOSE to persevere. CHOOSE to be strong. Make it so. Doing this every single time becomes habit. It becomes who you are. You’ve reinforced it 1000’s of times over. Reflecting strength becomes the backbone of your constitution. Give yourself goosebumps!
We are what we reinforce. Every single run we do is an opportunity for growth. Every run, an occasion for deliberate practice. The ART of becoming BETTER at moving over uneven terrain. “That which we persist in doing becomes easier,” wrote Emerson, “not that the nature of the task has changed, but our ability to DO has increased.” Reflecting calm, quiet confidence reinforces it. And little deposits add up!
Be IN the moment and NOTICE what you’re reflecting to the world around you. Even when you’re alone. Even a HINT of smile is better than no smile at all. When you pass people on the trail, TRY to leave them better than you found them, by reflecting the best version of yourself; that person you most want to be—the ideal. Keep working on turning your energy into action. Reflect and reinforce. We are literally years in the making. Growth is truly infinite but change doesn’t happen overnight. It happens, in Emerson’s words, “at nature’s pace.”
Enjoy the rest of your week,

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