We often hear from inspirational speakers that your challenges and obstacles are not your competition; you are. When going up against something scary or challenging we often consider this thing as our opponent that needs to be beaten and conquered. I’d dare to argue that those obstacles are not our competition, what if we are our own competition. Our mind, our will to continue. Our inner strength and voice are what truly makes our breaks our successes and failures. This week I saw that first hand.
On Monday, my husband and I took advantage of the holiday by going on a family walk in my parents neighborhood. Due to adulting requirements, we had to stop our once daily walks so that we could accomplish other things; being able to revisit that tradition was a treat. We put our 11 month old daughter in a stroller and set out to walk. We walked out of our parents neighborhood and headed towards the Silver Comet Trail.
The hill leading out of my parents neighborhood is steep. Really steep. Leaving out, we’re going downhill which makes for an easy walk. However, while walking on the silver Comet Trail (which is a completely flat surface all the way) I kept thinking about the hill that I would have to climb on the way back in. Initially, I began to worry and wonder if I could make it back up that hill carrying all 7 months of my pregnancy. After about five minutes of worry, I encouraged myself to change my mindset. Instead of worrying, I began to encourage myself. I began to say “don’t ask if you’ll be able to climb the hill, just tell yourself that you can.”
“That hill isn’t scary, it’s just something you have to do to get home”
“You can climb it.” “You will climb it.” “It’s nothing!”
About 45 minutes later, as we entered my parents neighborhood, I stopped thinking about the hill. It was no longer an issue, an opponent or a factor. It was just part of my journey home. I climbed that hill as if it was a flat surface. Looking forward the entire way and focusing on my strength. Once I began to reach the top, I heard “See, the hill is not your adversary. You are. You are the only thing you ever have to conquer.”
That stuck with me. It impacted me. Finally those inspirational speakers and quotes on Facebook began to make sense. In that moment, the hill was not my adversary. It wasn’t my enemy. It was just a hill. What I had to conquer was my mind. I had to decide whether I was going to be strong or weak. Was I going to focus on my impending defeat or success? Of course, the hill is a metaphor. It was a real challenge for me but it opened my eyes to the reality of life’s challenges. The obstacles that we face don’t become our enemies. They are simply obstacles necessary on our journey to wherever we are trying to go. We are our own adversaries. The beautiful thing about that is that we can defeat our adversary by simply changing our minds. Our focus becomes our tool to success.
I know, there are very real excuses. Before we even got to the hill I was going to call my mom and tell her to pick me up so I didn’t have to climb it. I’m not ashamed, I had the thought. I instantly dismissed it. What good am I doing for myself, my mind, my spirit if I begin planning for my defeat before I even try to succeed?? Yes the excuses are real and sometimes even valid. I am 7 months pregnant. It was hard for me to walk 2 miles and climb a really steep hill. I am allowed to be tired and even request to be picked up. But i’m tired of making excuses for myself. I like how it feels to conquer my challenges. I like the reality of knowing I have the power to overcome anything in my path. The pity party days are over. The days of blaming my negative perception on circumstances are over. If we can defeat our own negative mind, we can defeat any obstacle in our path. If we can learn to encourage ourselves towards the best case scenario, we won’t flinch when presented with a challenge. The hill is not your enemy. Neither is the mountain. Nor the people around you. They are simply playing their role, whatever that role is. You have the power to control how you view them.
I don’t know what your hill is. I don’t know what your biggest battles are. I do know that when you change your mind to focus on the power of your perception above all; you’ll realize that you were your biggest obstacle all along.