A client of mine inspired me to do a little writing this afternoon. Even during the height of my short competitive running, I was never one to publicly announce my goals. Whether it be for time or distance, I generally would only share my goals with a few close friends and family and even then often a watered down version of what my ACTUAL goal was. I might tell someone “Yup, going for sub 3:45:00 in Poughkeepsie in June at the marathon. I just really want to go enjoy a run”. Meanwhile, in my head a whole other conversation is going on that may go a little like, “You better sub 3:30:00 this thing. You are better than 3:30:00. You’ve done it before”. All I would be doing was maintaining an internal insecurity that was more than likely holding me back.
Although seemingly obvious now, it didn’t hit me until today… I am not being confident in myself and simply protecting myself from potential embarrassment of which can’t actually happen unless I let it. So back to my inspiration. Throughout her training, we were thinking a sub 4:00:00 marathon was reasonably possible. Long story short, it didn’t happen and during the race, she was aware. From what I know and the picture at mile 26 of her running and smiling with her children reminded me that regardless of time, she fucking killed the course. She demonstrated true confidence and pleasure in what she had achieved.
At heart, I am a competitive individual. I honestly don’t like losing. In running, time is time and we all run the same course. If I research the results of a race enough, I am confident in figuring out where I may finish within 2 to 3 places given any outlying variables such as elite runners being in the field. Well, maybe I need to stop that. I was reminded that I am only racing against myself and that I should be confident in stating it. When I water down my goals to others, all I am doing is giving myself a buffer if I don’t hit my TRUE goals and basically creating an excuse.
Maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s not but I think in general all we do by keeping “secret” goals is hold ourselves back from what we can achieve. Even if we don’t achieve those hidden goals and they were spoken out loud, I am guessing the only peoples’ who’s opinions matter won’t care that you didn’t meet those goals. I am willing to bet, they are simply going to be supportive and proud of what you accomplished. By verbalizing diluted versions of our goals we build a foundation of insecurity in our abilities that can sabotage ourselves during training and during competition. So, make your goals known. The advantage is the accountability and guessing increase in support that will help push you during competition.