Stories that Define Me: Holding Back.

*This is the fifth in my mini-series on stories of my past that define me. I’ll write these periodically, as the ideas flow. Enjoy.*

Growing up, I never did any team sports, or many group activities of any kind (except Band for two years in middle school and I hated every minute of it!) and I always wondered if that ‘hole’ in my childhood experience would come back to me later in life. And the more I look back at times where I have held back, I go back to my childhood and feel as though not participating in those activities has ‘rubbed off’ on me to this day. In terms of holding back and not fully having the ability to let go, to act a part, to be part of a group, as a leader. For some reason, I equate these types of group activities with cultivating that ability and comfort level with it, because I think not being as involved (this was completely voluntary, by the way, nothing to do with my parents or anything!) enabled me to shutter myself out a bit and be more naturally inward.

I think this is why I have put myself out there, out of my comfort zone countlessly over the last several years and in most cases, with success. But there is still a part of me that just holds back. It’s as thought my body is in this extreme state of discomfort, pushing against a wall that just won’t budge, so I get to that ‘good’ stage but never get to that ‘dare to be great’ stage. It’s actually extremely frustrating because I know I can do the things in which I am most afraid, but that I know will take the most work, the most discomfort and will cause the most fear to rise up in my chest.

But doing what I have always done – holding back – won’t get me to that ‘dare to be great’ stage. Nor will pushing against it and just hoping that it’ll eventually budge that extra few yards to the finish line. I need to act different. I need to approach the things that scare me – but that I really want most – differently so I don’t go into hold-back mode and I break through that barrier, farther than a few yards, more like an entire football field. Go for the touchdown, not just the field goal.

Part of that is quieting the mind…a post my sis wrote, that I read part of, but stopped myself, because we are clearly of the same mind today (shocking…you’d think we were related or something. Hehe).

Part of that is trusting myself and shutting out the voices that tell me no, and more importantly, shutting out the eyes that are watching, the ears that are listening, and just focusing on what I am doing. Just me, nothing else. I have always been so concerned with how I come across and how I am doing things, rather than just focusing on doing them well and screw whatever else is occurring around me, whoever is around me, and what the circumstances are.

And the biggest part? Just doing it. Run towards that fiery wall and just busting through it. No matter if I feel like I look stupid, or wrong, or different. That’s the point. It’s different. It’s new. It’s not me. But it will be.


Isn’t that what life is all about?  

Going for the ‘dare to be great’ moments instead of holding back and sitting by the sidelines? I’ve been down the ‘going halfway and then stopping’ route far too many times, the thisclose or ‘good enough’ but I am sick of that. I don’t want to be good enough. I want to be great.

And to be great means a clean slate, throwing the rulebook out of the window and just going for it. If I can apply it to running, I can apply it to anything, right?

So that is just what I will do. Go. For. It. 

What do I have to lose?

Absolutely nothing.

Carpe Diem.

Seize the Day.

Make your lives extraordinary.

**Watch one of my favorite scenes from Dead Poet’s Society…starts around 5 mins in…gives me chills every.single.time.**


20 thoughts on “Stories that Define Me: Holding Back.

  1. YES. YES. YES. This is exactly what I’ve been battling within as well — avoiding the urge to go for the field goal vs. the touchdown when I KNOW I have it in me to go all the way to the goal line. Hell, I vividly remember the one time I participated in a team sport: ice hockey. I never got a goal, I never went for it. I got an assist once. ONCE. In an entire season of hockey. Why? Because I was afraid to push myself, to get out there and go for it, afraid that I’d do something wrong or that I’d stand too far out in the crowd. But guess what? Standing out is a GORGEOUS thing, and it’s something we are BOTH capable of doing. We just have one simple thing to do first: quiet the mind.

    Let’s roll, sis.

    1. Wow, that is so interesting, sis, about the hockey story. It’s about being out front and center that is scary, but we can totally do this. We ARE ready for this and we just need to steamroll through that field goal and hit that touchdown. XOXO

  2. Dead Poets Society… one of my favorite movies of all time.

    Dare to be great. Perfect advice for me today. Thank you, as always, for the inspiration.

  3. I’ve learned that people who constantly use their eyes and ears to watch, listen & judge others have some serious issues going on themeselves and should be looking a little more inward. I say do what you want to do, be kind to others, and screw the naysayers…they’ll always be there and aren’t worth the energy. Use that energy to break down your own barriers & leave the doubt in the dust 🙂

    And LOVE Dead Poets Society….one of my all tme favs!

  4. I swear, it’s like you wrote this for me… I am not a runner, but I can apply this to my life. I am generally perceived to be very good at my job, and at most other things I do. And it’s great that people think I’m good. But I know that I am lazy, that I can “get by” without trying too hard, and that I can be better. A lot better. I’ve just been too scared to extend myself further lest I fail; less someone judge me. I care too much about what others think, so to me it’s always been safer not to try. So thanks for the inspiration. It’s time to be great!

    1. It’s funny, I wasn’t even writing this specifically about running, though of course, that is part of it, too. But I am so glad you can relate and that you are willing to extend yourself too. It is scary but ultimately, so rewarding. Be great!

  5. So very true! I have become so comfortable and complacent in so many ways – I do well and I don’t have to worry about other people judging me and my performance. It’s so much easier to coast! But you are so right – you will ever know unless you push yourself outside of your comfort zone. You will never improve or learn without doing that. Your right, it is time to put others’ judgements to the side and focus on being great! Love the Dead Poet Society’s reference too!

    1. It IS so easy to coast! That is so true. But the hard road is the road we need to take more often, because it will always be far more rewarding! Love that movie too, it’s so fitting, and I love Robin Williams!

  6. I’ve been struggling with some of the same feelings. I think it’s especially difficult when some of the goals you seek aren’t entirely within your control. It’s tough to know that you can put your absolute best on the line and still not get the touchdown. I guess the lesson is to focus on your own efforts and to learn to take pride in pushing yourself to the edge no matter what. I’ve read recently that children’s self esteem benefits most from adults praising their efforts…not necessarily the outcome of those efforts. Thanks for the food for thought!

    1. Focus on your own efforts and take pride in pushing yourself to the edge…so true. It’s easy for me to fall into comparing how I am doing compared to others that are also pushing themselves, ya know? Thank you for the food for thought back 🙂

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