When I was a kid my dad always said, “There’s no such thing as can’t”. I’d retort by saying, “But there is. It’s spelled C A N apostrophe T.” I wasn’t trying to be a smart ass, I just happened to be a literal kid whose hobby was reading.
If I am truly honest with myself, I had a can’t-do attitude for most of my life. I credit fear, worry, anxiety for this. I couldn’t do things because I couldn’t imagine doing them without the debilitating fear taking over. So I missed out, avoided, got stressed and sick, all because “I can’t”.
I didn’t join sports teams or clubs. I quit Girl Guides, but managed to stay in 4-H because my friends went too. In university I didn’t get involved; I lived off campus and even lived by myself one year. I avoided any class where I had to give a presentation. I picked activities that caused me the least amount of fear and anxiety; I stayed in my tiny comfort zone and only ventured out – maybe – if someone close to me was doing it too.
Several years ago I said fuck this. I wasn’t living; I was missing out and watching life from the sidelines. I consciously made the decision to get in and play the game.
I moved from the country to London. I took yoga training and started teaching. I took a job that felt big and scary, but I grew, I led and coached a team, I ran meetings and gave presentations. I started to create goals for myself and imagine what I actually wanted out of my life – I took control.
I’ve chosen I CAN. I do the things that resonate with me, that feel right and that help move me in the direction I’ve chosen, and sometimes I do them despite the fear. You know that old adage, feel the fear and do it anyway? Yeah, that… I’m still a work in progress, but awareness is the first step. Taking action the second. And making the decision to recognize step 1 and do step 2.
I’ve learned that by taking the first step into the fear that I can do things I never imagined. One of the sections on my vision board is to create a strong, healthy body. I considered myself in relatively good shape from yoga, cycling and a smattering of group fitness classes. My shoulder hurt and I’d been doing physio for it; there were aches and pains. I decided to join a boot camp, not sure whether I could actually do it.
A few months ago, boot camp became strength training and weightlifting – WHAT?! – something I never imagined I could do (insert whine about shoulder, needing to be ok to do yoga, my legs were tired from cycling… blah, blah). Basically my whining was a fear of getting injured, and fears about not being able to physically keep up. Fast forward to now and my shoulder doesn’t bother me and with the support of my coach and training buddies I’m pushing, pulling to lifting more than I ever thought I could. It feels amazing!
Am I there? Not yet, but I’m so much closer! Now I facilitate my own workshops, teach yoga and reiki, and coach clients so they can begin to unfold and live their dreams. I choose to celebrate how far I’ve come out of that tiny little box to explore the big wide world of my possibilities.
So can you.