“Never give in–never, never, never, never, in nothing great or small, large or petty, never give in except to convictions of honour and good sense. Never yield to force; never yield to the apparently overwhelming might of the enemy.” – Winston Churchill
Every feel like you just can’t get any traction? No matter how hard you try, no matter what you do, no matter the preparation? We all have plans and visions but often life gets in the way and we abandon these hopes and dreams before we can even get started.
Take for example what happened to me yesterday morning: I wanted to schedule a mid-morning workout so that I could get in a run before lunch. In order to do that I had to plan my day, get up a bit earlier, eat a good breakfast, get the kids off to school, and crush my morning tasks before 11am.
I hit everyone of those targets like a boss! As I gathered up my keys and wallet to head to the gym I suddenly realized that I left my hat at home. (I’ve been growing out my hair and my luxurious mane keeps getting in my face.) “Oh well, good try. I guess you’ll have to wait until later to run.”
I pushed back. “No worries,” I thought. “I’ll swing by the house and grab one. It’s on the way.”
As I pulled out of the parking lot I remembered that I had left my gym lock on my desk. “Oh well, better luck next time. Don’t want someone to steal your stuff.”
I let out an audible
sigh groan and determined that I would grab my hat from the house, head back to the building, grab the lock, and then, finally, get to the gym.
Once at the gym, I put on my running gear and then put on my wireless headphones. Dead.
“Are you kidding me!?!?!” I thought. I wanted to leave and come back later. Fortunately, I pictured Eric Liddell kicking me in the shin for giving up because the battery had died on my headphones so that didn’t detain me for too long. (And Yes, in my vision Liddell kicked me dramatically and in slow motion.)
Now, I was about 15-20 minutes past the time I had wanted to start my workout and as I headed to my favorite treadmill I got a call from my wife. I stepped to the side to answer my phone and watched as another gentleman got on my favorite treadmill and start walking backwards on it. He. was. walking. backwards.
“Ok! That’s it! I’m done. Maybe I’ll come back tonight!”
That’s when it hit me. The Voices WITHIN me are often louder than the voices around me.
Nobody in that gym was telling me to pack it in and give up. Nobody was encouraging me to put my jeans back on and go get a cheeseburger. No, the loudest voice of discouragement and of self-doubt was coming from inside my own head and heart.
The Voice Within was telling me that I was too messed up, that I was incomplete, and that I was lacking what I needed to fulfill the hopes and plans I had for my day.
Steven Pressfield, author of The War of Art, calls this The Voice of Resistance. The Resistance is “the most toxic force on the planet. To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be.” The Resistance doesn’t come to play- it comes to destroy.
So how do we silence this Voice of Resistance? How can we defend ourselves from something so insidious and debilitating.
We overcome the Voice of Resistance by remembering our Identity. Author Jeff Goins believes that once we have a clear understanding about our identity, that clarity can and will move us to action.
In order to quiet those negative thoughts and feelings inside of me today, I had to remind myself who I was and why I was at the gym in the first place.
I was there because I AM A RUNNER.
I may not be very fast but, I AM A RUNNER.
I may not have a hat today but, I AM A RUNNER.
My headphones may not work but, I AM A RUNNER.
I may not feel like it but, I AM A RUNNER.
That’s my identity. I have a log of all my runs, some race bibs, and a couple of medals that says that’s who I am. When I presented the facts of who I am to The Resistance, he left me until a more opportune time. I got on another treadmill and hit the start button.
Walt Disney once said, “The difference in winning or losing is most often not quitting.”
What ever you do today, what ever obstacle you face from within or without, what ever voice is telling you to pack it in… REMEMBER WHO YOU ARE.