Ah the stories we tell

A cold wind blew an even colder mist into my face. It felt like I was being stabbed by millions of little needles as I walked across the football field.

I looked at my watch: 4:49 a.m.

Ugh.

Lactic acid, the by-product of anaerobic exercise, burned in my legs. They were trash — the last two days’ workouts had beaten me down physically and mentally. I kept telling myself, “I’m tired. I can’t do this @#$@ today.”

That was the story I was telling myself. And you know what, if I had stuck with it, I’d have been right.

I stopped at the 50-yard-line before rejoining the shivering group of my teammates. I started thinking new thoughts like, “I’m so fortunate to have this opportunity to workout. I’m grateful that I am 49-years-old and can still perform athletically like I did 30 years ago (close). Today is going to be a great workout. I’m going to push through the tough moments and enjoy the easy ones.”

It might have been the ibuprofen kicking in, but my muscle pain went away. And guess what, I had a great workout today. (Yes, I am sore! But it is a good sore — the kind that means you’ve accomplished something.) And yes, it was hard at times but I plowed through it with my head up.

I write this because I’m sitting here this morning thinking about all the other stories I am telling myself. About my family. About my job. About my health. About who I really am. How many lies am I telling myself? How much negativity is holding me back?

If you think things suck, guess what — you’ll find all the things that reinforce that story. If you think that things are tough but you’re learning and will succeed in the long run, you’ll find things to reinforce it. Same situation. Different outcomes.

My “self-talk” needs a tune-up. That moment standing in the middle of the football field was a bit of an epiphany for me. We are the stories we tell ourselves.

So tell yourself a good (and realistic) one.

About Marshall Ramsey