In my planner every day, I fill in the answer to, “If I were a life coach, I would tell myself…” Sometimes these sage bits of advice to myself are as simple as, “Don’t suck,” and sometimes they are slightly more nuanced. As I was thinking about what I should be sharing on the blog and in the Mabbat FB group, I decided maybe some of my “life coach” advice could be helpful to someone else. So, I decided to run with a theme for the start of the week: Mindset Monday.
This week’s mindset is a statement I wrote as my own life coach, and I have used it every day since as motivation. I’ve actually written it as encouragement to answer the “If I get stuck, I will keep going by…” question every single day for several months.
I am a writer, so I will write.
I don’t have to publish a book to call myself a writer. I write a lot, and I love to write, so I am a writer. Writers write. It’s what they do. I am a writer, so I will write. When I get stuck, when in doubt, when nothing feels like it’s working… write. It can be that simple.
So you’re not a writer, and you think at this moment I’ve lost my mind, and this has nothing to do with mindset. But consider that all of the things we want to do are just about that simple. You want to run a 5k race? You will have to train, but the simplest form of that is to think, “I am a runner, so I will run.” Of course, you may want to work through a training plan, but at the most basic level, to be the thing, you have to do the thing. If you run, you are by definition a runner.
I am a painter. I am a writer. I am a poet. I am a teacher. I am an athlete.
I do none of those things as my day job, but those are all things that I claim to be because of what I do. All except that last one. I have been an athlete, but I am currently out of shape. I need to lose weight and exercise to be healthier and to be the best version of me I can be for my family. I have created some training goals and plans, so I am training myself to say, “I am an athlete, so I will workout and feed my body well.” I can’t really claim to be an athlete as an out of shape blob, so once I say it, I need to follow my motivational statement with action. As soon as I start working through my training plan, I will be an athlete. I will be someone who is working out to complete a goal race.
My “I am” statements are simple visualization exercises. It’s a great way to motivate yourself and see yourself and think of yourself as the thing you want to be. I am an athlete the second I put on my running shoes and hit the street in the morning. I won’t be an elite athlete, nor will I look graceful or fit as I begin the journey. But I’ll be some version of an athlete.
How many dreams do we hold back on working for because we think we won’t be good enough to lay claim to the title? At what point can you claim a title?
I hesitated for years to call myself a writer and feel comfortable saying it out loud to other people. I felt like maybe I should whisper it, or maybe they would ask how many books I’d published and then I’d be banished and ridiculed for pretending to be a writer. I wish I could tell myself then what I know now. I am a writer. I have always been a writer. I don’t have to justify that to anyone except God who gave me the gift of stringing words together into sentences.
You don’t have to justify yourself either. There are things in life we can claim because we have the formal training or certification cards to prove it. For example, I am a scuba diver. I have multiple certifications to prove it. Soon, I’ll be a certified Hazardous Materials Technician, and I’ll have a piece of paper to prove it. (It’s related to my day job, and it’s been so much fun to learn.) Here’s the thing about the HazMat Tech certification: I may have a paper that says it, but I’m extremely unlikely to be out in a suit and SCBA working. I will not be claiming HazMat Tech on my resume, even at work.
I’m not a writer because there is some licensing agency that official certifies writers; I’m a writer because that’s how God wired my brain. I’m an athlete because I’m naturally competitive, and I’m training to run a race. I’m a painter because I paint. None of those things are invalidated by my skill level. I’m a good writer; I’m an average painter; I’m a lousy athlete.
I’ll never improve if I don’t practice. I’ll never practice if I think the things I want to be are unattainable. If my dreams are never to be reached, what’s the point in trying? That’s how my brain works without, “I am _____, so I will _____.”
I challenge you to think through the goals and dreams you’ve let slide. Is there one you want to pick up and run with? What will it take for you to make it happen? What’s the main thing you’ll need to do or to practice? What’s your “I am” statement? I’d love to encourage you on your journey if you want to share it. You can comment here, and you can join the Mabbat FB group for a more private setting and regular encouragement.