“Whether you think you can, or you think you can't--you're right.” – Henry Ford
Have you ever had a teacher, coach, teammate, or leader, who believed in you? Who really believed in you? To the point where, it made you start to believe in yourself more than you had previously? A person who’s positive influence and inspiring spirit lifts you up to your highest potential? Effortlessly. Because they are believers themselves, it is natural for their believing powers to also extend to you. Those are the people I want to surround myself with.
1. accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of.
2. hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose.
Growing up I had a basketball coach, who thought I was the next big thing. He had such high hopes for me. His faith, made me feel like I could go anywhere in life, not just because I was a good basketball player; beyond my skills he simply believed in me, he wanted me to succeed in all areas of my life and he knew that I would.
I had a club soccer coach, who actually had my teammates and I lay down as a team to meditate and visualize our goals, right before the first whistle blew. This coach would check-in with us periodically to make sure we were earning good grades. This coach cried when he had to step down as head coach. He believed in us, and not just our ability on the field, but in life.
In high school, I had an inspiring English teacher, who is now the current high school principal. He also happened to be the high school track coach. Once upon a time, I quit playing high school lacrosse (for one week) and joined the track team because there was a conflict with lacrosse practices and my club soccer schedule (I prioritized club soccer). Wow, I sound like such a jock. When I joined the team he was ecstatic. Thankfully (for me but not for him), I was able to re-join lacrosse and miss a few practices, with the okay from my lacrosse coaches and therefore I left the track team for good (thank god). I was worried that the English teacher/track coach would be upset, but no. He still believed in me, he still wanted me to succeed, he still wrote my college recommendations, and he still continues to inspire hundreds of students to this day as the high school principal. He actually had me fully believing that I was a skilled writer, that I had great class contributions to make, that I was talented at giving speeches (oh lord was I nervous for the speech series of class - stay tuned for a future post on public speaking), and that I did a stellar job on my midterm and final. As far as I am concerned, convincing a high school student that they are good at anything is an achievement in and of itself, I am glad those days of insecurity are over.
I will carry the imprint that these coaches and mentors have left on my life forever.
In college, I had teammates that inspired me. Teammates, who were so selfless and hardworking (cough Rachael, Anna, Jess, Linds, the Sara(s)) that their efforts on the field made me work harder. I had one amazing professor in particular who touched my heart. I already wrote an entire blog post on this amazing woman, but she too believed in me. I’ve had excellent bosses. At McLean Hospital, my boss was so brilliant, compassionate, and personable, it made working for her inspiring. She too believed in me and offered total support in whichever career path I decided to take, despite her very busy schedule. Currently, I am surrounded by inspiring coworkers and yoga teachers, such as Miss Coco and Miss Marissa, who inspire me in my teaching and practice and really believe I can do more. I remember Coco would say, you can do x, y, z backbend of sorts… “I saw your whole wheel.”
It is that true belief or faith that these mentors have had in me, which has stretched my mind to its fullest proportions. These are the types of people I want to surround myself with, the believers, the ones who inspire, the ones who say ‘I can,’ ‘You can,’ and ‘We all can.’ The ones who are always thirsty, searching, ready, and constantly growing themselves, they are never stagnant. This realization got me thinking about how we can all become more self-sufficient; I am not de-valuing the benefit of having these amazing rock star people around as members of your tribe. Rather, I started thinking, how can I inspire myself in the same way these mentors do, to be the absolute best version of myself? The application of this concept applies to your yoga practice tremendously, especially, if you practice at home, alone. When it is just you and your mat. How do you pick yourself up? How do you stay present, focused, and how do you keep growing? We all desire constant growth.
What I learned? Tell yourself you can, but don’t care about the outcome.
A few days ago, as I was lying in savasana after Marissa’s class, feeling nothing short of awesome, I was just about to leave, when I decided to play with handstand press; it had been a while. I practiced it months ago on my own at home, and then I left it on the backburner to simmer, probably out of frustration at making turtle-paced progress (but that is yoga). Cruising on my yoga-high, I randomly decided to come back to it, and voila, I did a handstand press for the first time, ever. Naturally, I circled back to this phenomenon later, because I couldn’t quite understand why that had happened, after taking so many months off of practicing this Holy Grail transition to handstand. Why now?
Here is what I came up with:
-Many hours of practice.
-Devoted core work.
-I was unattached to the outcome.
-I went into it telling myself that I could do it; I pretended for a moment to myself, that this transition was already apart of my practice, and then...IT WAS!
With that said, my tribe remains super important to me, I want to continue to surround myself with the believers everyday. Not only do they make things happen for themselves, which inspires, but they believe in the best that is within you, and help you shine to be your best. Those are the keepers.
“Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people.” –Albert Einstein
Are you a believer? Can you begin to share that belief you hold for yourself with others? Or perhaps you believe in others, can you borrow some of that confidence for yourself?