How often do we aspire to be something with the knowledge that it will take work to get there? I would venture to say that we do this often. I remember back to when I first started running and I didn’t feel comfortable calling myself a runner. No, a runner was a title that had to be earned. Yet, I couldn’t tell you exactly what I had to do to earn this title.
Did I have to run a marathon?
Did I have to run a mile at a specific pace?
Was it more about how often I ran?
Or how long I had been running?
There is absolutely no answer to this question. It isn’t as straight forward as saying, “I want to be a teacher.” To be a teacher you have to get the education and get the certification. Now you are a teacher. To be a runner there is no cut-and-dry answer. And that is okay. Or so I am learning.
Now, I want to be a writer. I find myself asking, what are the steps to becoming a writer? What do I have to accomplish in order to tell people, “I am a writer.” Do I need a degree? Do I need to have something published? I think some people call this imposter syndrome; the internal belief that you are not as competent as others perceive you to be. I spent time yesterday reading about how to write more often, how to write better, and how to formulate ideas. It suggested: just sit down and write. Not only that, but call yourself a writer simply because you write.
The book goes on to highlight the enemies of creativity, one of which is The Judge. I think about The Judge as it relates to being a runner. The Judge would tell me how it is selfish to be spending 4 hours every Saturday morning running while training for an ultra marathon. The Judge would tell me that I don’t need to take running to ‘that extreme’ of a level. The Judge always has a suggestion for something else I “should” be doing.
Then you have The Critic. I mentioned The Critic above– she is the one that was telling me I had to earn the title “The Runner” by completing a very specific feat. For many wannabe runners, that feat is running a marathon. I am here to share with all aspiring runners, you may run a marathon and still not believe that you are capable of telling your friends you are a runner. It could be because you were too slow, or because it was hard. The Critic says that if you are a runner, it wouldn't feel that hard, keep trying! The Critic is horrible! She doesn’t let you succeed. After coaching many clients, I know that the critic lives in all of us.
All of this to say, you can begin to do something, like running or like writing, and identify as a runner or a writer on day one. Heck, taking on the persona of a runner may be the reason you succeed. I often sat across from my clients and asked them to imagine themselves at their goal weight.
What would that person do?
How would that person act?
Does he or she stay hydrated?
Run to the grocery store instead of the drive-thru?
Imagine you are the person you want to be and act like them today. Don’t wait until you lose the weight to do the thing, do the thing to lose the weight. Train for the marathon because you are a runner, not because you want to be one.
I sit here, with the goal to just write something every day, sharing my thoughts with you. Here I sit with my square of dark chocolate broken into four tiny pieces, tummy full from dinner and I am writing. I am writing because I am a writer, not because I want to be a writer.
*Book mentioned above is called The Writers Idea Book, by Jeff Heffron