The Little Olympian
When I was a young child I remember wanting to be an Olympic swimmer. The thought of dedicating myself to something I loved was more than enough motivation for me, and I had no reason to believe that I couldn’t do it. Those kinds of thoughts had not yet made it into my consciousness. The innocence of my youth during that time had me believing anything was possible. I remember spending my days in our neighborhood pool under the hot Arizona heat, begging anyone who was around to race me from one end to the other of what seemed like an Olympic sized pool to me at the time. A perfect training ground for any Olympic hopeful of course. Feeling the adrenaline rush as I raced each individual from varying ages and strength. I would tell whoever would listen that I wanted to be an Olympic swimmer. Many would just nod their heads and smile. Some would encourage me, asking to show them how fast I was. I would graciously accommodate as they would begin their one, one hundred… two one hundred… three one hundred counts. I could continue this game all day long , as I tried beating my previous time with each lap. I am sure my parents appreciated it as I often remember passing out at night on the living room floor and then somehow magically appearing in my bed the next morning. Ready to do it all over again. My parents lovingly called me their “little fish”, as it was difficult to get me out of the water from sun up to sun down that was the only place I wanted to be. I remember a conversation with my dad after racing him across the pool, as I joyfully reached the other end I came up smiling and proclaimed to him “I am going to be an Olympic swimmer some day”. I still remember how his eyes looked into mine and said “Lisa, to do that you would need to get you a coach, you would have to work really hard all the time, and your mother and I wouldn’t get to see you anymore because you would be with your coach and having to practice so much. Is that really what you want?” I remember thinking “Is this happening?” Do I have a choice in this? Why can’t I train right here in my neighborhood “Olympic sized pool” with all the other kids and parents? Is he really asking me what I want? Do I have to choose my parents over swimming in the Olympics? I was confused, I was just a kid with a dream and a belief that I could do anything I set my heart out to do and all I knew was my heart wanted to swim. I didn’t know that I had to work hard and never see my parents again in order to attain my dream. I could feel the fear of not being with my parents creep into my body. That was the end of my calling to become an Olympic swimmer and the belief that I ever could. I just wanted to swim; I didn’t want anyone taking me away from my parents. That was too much for a young child to understand or comprehend. This was also the moment that I decided working hard was something scary. I began associating the phrase “hard work” and “working hard” to mean that I would have to lose something important to pursue it, something like my parents. I took the phrase as a negative connotation instead of something that creates more opportunity. Now this isn’t my father’s fault, he was just simply asking me a question. More than likely, he was digging to see how serious I was. In those days they didn’t have summer swim teams the way they do now. I am not even sure we had a public pool nearby that had any options for anything other than swim classes for kids my age. He was just checking in, and that’s when I allowed my dream to check out.
Looking back I can see how often the phrase stopped me from pursuing things that I wanted for myself, usually they were things that would take physical effort and some proving of myself that I am strong. As I would realize that something would be physically hard, I found myself giving up. I was associating the dream of being the Olympic swimmer as being physically hard work and that hard work would take me away from something I loved. As the years went by it just began to become a fear of working hard all together. Patterns that I would develop clear into my adulthood. That is not to say that I don’t push myself or take care of myself, but I have allowed many moments where I have given up on myself and limited what I can and can’t do based off of fear of losing something in return.
I feel it is interesting insight as I have strong traits of being a hard worker. Most of those came in the form of my education and a career path. But even with that I stayed safe, I went to work, worked hard everyday for everyone around me. But it didn’t fulfill me, it wasn’t my calling and yet I remained there for 14 years. Because it paid my bills and I felt secure in the knowing that nothing needed to be sacrificed that I wouldn’t “lose anything.” But that wasn’t entirely true. As I succeeded more in my career I began to lose myself, my joy, my happiness, my time. I even began to lose faith in who I was. As I realized change needed to happen I began to lay a new foundation for my life. I was guided to start my own business with something that would be more aligned with my gifts and talents. But wait… Stop everything!!!! I began to hear the familiar old voices… “This will be hard work”… “This is too scary”…”You could lose everything”… “Are you CRAZY”? They were the same voices I heard when I decided as a teenager that the 2 week Outward Bound backpacking trip in Colorado would be “too difficult”. It was the same voice that said joining the Peace Corps after graduating college would be too “risky” and meant I would have to leave everyone I loved. The voice that I heard time and again that would stop me in my tracks, as I allowed myself to believe it. Lucky for me, I began to create a relationship with myself that helped me recognize that that those old tapes were not part of my truth. I knew that I was stronger than that. I began to ask for guidance, wisdom, and proof from the universe. And as I asked, the universe provided. I was gaining more clients, I was adding more workshops, I was guided to start web classes and branch out with more retreats. The universe was providing and proving to me that I can do it on my own. My courage and faith was building, until finally, late last year I was able step away from my old beliefs and into what is true. Working for myself has transformed me. I have to believe in myself in order to succeed, I have to know that I can do it and I will be taken care of. I had to become the little Olympian once again with her unwavering belief that swimming across that 25ft pool would make her into anything she wanted to be. I see now how limited my thinking once was. That day in the pool I lost the magic of believing in myself and made a decision that hard work meant sacrifice… when really what it means is opportunity.
This new understanding has lead me into a new paradigm in my life. Earlier this year I decided to take on a new outlook, a new mantra of “I am limitless”. No longer allowing the limits of myself or others to enter into my own consciousness. Not allowing something that might be “hard” to stop me. When I see the old way creeping in every once in a while, I flip the thought to, “yes I can!” I don’t want my thoughts to limit my actions. After all, what do I have to lose in trying? The truth is nothing. But what I have to gain is everything. The little Olympian in me is alive once more. No longer afraid, she has been waiting for her day and is celebrating this new freedom of believing once again that anything is possible. I see her in my vision doing her happy dance, her victory lap. The little Olympian, she is ready to scream it from the roof tops and share it with anyone who is ready to receive the golden nuggets of living life limitlessly!
Thank you for stopping by, this is a first in a new series of “I believe in the limitless me.” Check back for updates and stories that might surprise and inspire you to live limitlessly.
Your time to share:
What stops you from doing the things that you want in life? Where are you limiting yourself? Won’t you share with me?