Friday, January 11, 2013

Who sets your bar?

Who sets your bar?
Is it you? your parents? friends? boss? some imaginary bar-setter? who???

And where?
Always too high so it's never attainable, making you feel insecure, inadequate, and like a loser? Or does always too high keep you motivated and provide that extra push to keep striving?
Always too low so you trick yourself into feeling like a winner, like you're a rockstar in your own world? Or does setting it low give you that extra pat on the back to keep striving?

It's fascinating to me how different people approach goals. There are those whose default is I CAN. I WILL. They may have no real reason for believing they can attain it, but no matter... they exude confidence and will try and try, sometimes get there sometimes not, but they keep on going. And then there are those who approach things from the view of thinking they're not worthy, strong enough, inadequate. Almost shooting yourself in the foot before you even try.

There must be a happy medium here. Too much confidence and you could injure yourself or be too reckless. Too insecure and you could talk yourself out of something before you've even given it a shot.

This is one of my goals to work on: Setting my own bar and at an appropriate level for me.

I'm the latter up there. I rarely feel adequately prepared for anything. This ties into most every part of my life. It's like I need to have all the answers, need to have researched everything, before I will say I feel confident and competent. I'm reading a book called Mindset that has been very interesting and deals with some of this. To paraphrase one section that hit home: think of taking a class to learn a foreign language. A few weeks into the course the teacher calls you in front of the class and barrages you with questions. The *fixed* mindset gets stressed, feels like a failure, that they're being judged by their peers. Counter that with the *growth* mindset, however. The teacher is there to guide you and why would you be expected to know all the answers if you're new to this? This is a learning experience and to be approached with interest in the hopes of getting better. I like this as I know I'm fixed in many regards. Always feeling judged and like I'm expected to be perfect. Not always. There are things I'm ok sucking at. :-) But I hate feeling stupid.

Tonight I made my first batch of kitchari using Sanieh's recipe. It's good! I've gotten away from a lot of the healthy stuff I used to eat, yoga, writing, doing things that make me feel strong and grounded. It's time to add those things back into my life and part of setting my bar means honoring my body, mind, and spirit. I can set lofty athletic goals, but if I run myself into the ground trying to attain them, then what is the point? Yes, I want to freestyle the swim portion of a tri this spring, and yes I'm in a masters class right now and focusing on my form, but that doesn't mean I need to put all my energy into that and swim a super fast tri. My goal for that is simple: freestyle the swim portion of my first tri this spring. Period. End of story. That is MY bar. So whose bar is it that comes in and says that's not good enough? That if I freestyle it, but am the last out of the water, then I still suck. Where does that come from? I mean really, I'm not going to become a professional triathlete. So whether I swim fast or slow, in the scheme of my life, who cares? Apparently some part of me. Or some part that's hanging about in my body from others that I feel I need to impress. Why? Maybe there's a part of me that wishes I was more athletic than I am. I'm sure there's a big component from the constant horse show question of years past, "Why didn't you get first place? What happened that you didn't win?"

So this year and on down the road, I will try to set my own bar and hold myself accountable to that. In addition, I will be aware of this other part that constantly makes me feel like a failure by putting asterisks on that bar: must swim x pace, must not be last, would be nice to place, must pedal up that hill quickly, must be better than others, etc etc. Chill the f out. Seriously. My bar is my own. Not to be compared to anyone else's. I will try.

And so begins my foray back into mental stimulation. It's time. He||, it's been time for quite some time. :-) Welcome back, me.