The Joy of Being a Vulnerable Runner
There are a handful of emotions and needs that all people have in common. We tend to seek out love, joy, safety and success while attempting to avoid embarrassment, pain, sorrow, and defeat. Often times the things we crave can only come by way of sacrifice. Mastering a new language doesn’t come without hundreds of embarrassing mistakes. The sorrow that comes with heartbreak often precedes the development of a loving relationship. The beautiful gift of life only comes through the pains of childbirth.
In the running world, we experience these same emotions and challenges. Being a successful runner, whatever success might mean for you, becomes much more enjoyable as you allow yourself to be vulnerable. Being vulnerable means being comfortable with potential pains and embarrassments. It is easy and natural to be guarded or to make excuses in order to dodge negative feelings. However, being susceptible can give you a newfound power.
Siri Lindley is the epitome of vulnerability. From finishing next-to-last in her first triathlon to becoming the number one triathlon athlete in the world, Siri has experienced it all. Siri dealt with extreme anxiety and OCD while a tri-athlete student at Brown University. She found ways to overcome her challenges and now looks forward to every moment in her life. Today she coaches elite runners and shares powerful lessons with thousands of others.
Say No to Excuses
One of the first steps to embracing vulnerability is saying no to excuses. When we put the blame on something that is out of our control, we lose the ability to dictate our success. Whether it is bad weather, a bad start to a race, or a stomach ache, do all you can to own up to your performance and your actions.
A good way to get rid of excuses is to make better goals. Siri Lindley doesn’t let her athletes make time goals for this very reason. Make goals that you can control. You can’t control the weather. You can control your effort.
Share Your Struggles
There is a power that accompanies sharing your struggles. As you share you allow others to join you on your journey. “You’re not alone in your struggles,” says Siri, “We all are thinking ‘what if I fail’ and when we don’t talk about it then it really does seem [like] life has to be perfect.”
Being real helps both you and those watching you simultaneously. “When you share your story, (your failures, your disappoints, your flaws) you are giving the message, to younger people especially, that life doesn’t need to look perfect for you to be able to achieve success in your future.” When you let go of excuses and share your failures, you help others believe in their goals too.
It’s Okay to Be Afraid
Being vulnerable doesn’t mean you aren’t scared of anything. In fact, it means you are okay with being afraid. “You can be afraid, but be afraid of something that is rational,” says Siri, “Don’t be afraid of things you are creating in your head.” For example, it is reasonable to be afraid of the pain that accompanies a tough run. Embrace the fear and use it to your advantage.
“Fear is what keeps us in our comfort zone. I changed the meaning of fear to being: Anything that scares me is the universe saying TAKE THIS ON. This is going to lead you somewhere amazing.”
So, don’t hesitate to step out of your comfort zone. Be afraid, and then do it anyway. You can only know what you are capable of by facing your fears with courage.
Choosing Love Over Fear
Love and fear may not feel like exact opposites, but they are most definitely rivals. “Living in fear means that we don’t take action because we’re afraid we’re not enough, and if we’re not enough we won’t be loved,” says Siri. Living out of love means that you tap into a deeper purpose for the actions you take. When you find a deeper purpose, fear is replaced with a hunger to accomplish your goals, one that cannot be satisfied until you succeed.
Decide to be vulnerable. Let go of excuses. Live out of love. Before long, both your dreams and your fears will propel you to live a completely joyful life.
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Thank you to Siri, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.