I believed I would never be stretchy enough to do the splits. And I was quite okay with that. I’d never been good at gymnastics. I couldn’t do the splits when I was younger. So that, clearly, was just something my body couldn’t do. Right?
In my twenties I got into yoga in a big way. I discovered the practice and felt at home in it. I practiced almost every day, sometimes at a yoga studio, sometimes in my bedroom with a book showing me what to do.
Somewhere in that first year of practicing yoga I was able to do the splits!
What? How was that possible? My body wasn’t capable of that! But. Clearly. It was... and always had been.
And clearly I had been wrong all along!
What else was I wrong about?
A bunch of things it turned out.
But it was that first mental and physical turn around: my belief about the splits – that was the big one. It challenged me to the core because I had so firmly and deeply known it to be true. Yet it wasn’t.
Now I try not to decide what I can and can’t do.
Last summer I took up flying trapeze. Initially it terrified me but each time I did it I felt a little dose of exhilaration that went like this: Wow…. I did that! I wonder what else I can do? What else can I learn?
So I tried it again and again ‘til it didn’t terrify me. And finally this trapeze thing I’d always thought belonged only to Cirque du Soleil folk belonged to me also – just a mere mortal.
A ripple extended further out. From trying and eventually loving flying trapeze I thought perhaps I should do other things.
I took up Aerial silks once trapeze had closed for the summer. A few years ago I set the goal of doing a pull up (again – something I’ve never been able to do). But, alas, my motivation was lacking. A pull up for the sake of a pull up is just not interesting to me. However, doing aerial silks I have to climb up a long piece of fabric and this requires upper body strength. So… now…. I can almost do a pull up…. I’m not there yet but I suspect it might happen.
And then I started dancing again. I joined a salsa performance group and I’m in the midst of learning double and triple turns and it’s messy… oh so messy…. But I suspect it might get less messy in the near future.
So my humble advice:
Don’t let your mind talk you into what’s IM-possible for you.
It’s good to shake off some of those entrenched limiting beliefs.