Hi guys, I know I have taken a break from posting! We bought a house, moved, and ran a marathon, and I have had zero free time. I’m back! I’ll probably post slightly less frequently, I'm noticing my click rate (the rate in which people open the emails I send out) is only about 50%. I think you’re telling me that you’re busy, too!
Last month I ran my second marathon, and as part of my prep I read Deena Kastor’s new book, “Let Your Mind Run, Thinking My Way to Victory.” She focuses a lot on how a good attitude, positivity, and affirmative visualizations transformed her runs and made her faster and stronger. I ran my first marathon four years ago, and I can tell you that my attitude and mental state really affected that run. I felt negative, scared, and defeated with almost every step. This time around my mental state was a lot better, and I have felt a big difference on my runs. I run with my husband, who is always better, stronger, faster, and less injured than I am. I love running with him, but always feel bad he could be getting a better time in a race than he does. It can cause a weird negative mental state for me, because instead of focusing on how I’m doing, I am always aware of how I’m holding him back.
I’m a bit skeptical about positive thinking used as a tool. Sometimes this advice can come from people who are using it as an avoidance to see what is real, and sit with their pain. But I also am aware that I’m often in a negative state of thought because I don’t want to jinx something, don’t want to be too big for my britches, and want to always be aware of how I can improve instead of thinking of how great I am. Reading Deena’s book made me start to question this, though.
This marathon, I went in with one goal – to maintain a positive mindset throughout the race. For me that means not feeling guilty and bad about myself when I have to go slow and hold my husband back. It’s such a wormy feeling, and it will really affect my running. My mantra when things got really hard physically was, “this is what you came for.” In every marathon, your body is screaming at you to stop towards Mile 20. I knew that would happen. But I wanted to enjoy that, too, even if that sounds weird. I wanted to enjoy how taxing that race is.
When people ask how the marathon was, I genuinely reply with, “it was great!”. I could focus on how agonizingly slow I ran, I could focus on what hurt, but I would rather focus on how psyched I was to run this thing, and how proud I am of us that we did it.
Of course, I think of how much this relates to becoming an EFT therapist, which takes so much mental toughness. I do sometimes have the amazing sessions, where I feel on top of the world. But at least for me, I have far more sessions where I am slogging through the process, trying to shift mindsets and beliefs that have been locked in for years, or decades. Or couples where I feel like I can barely track the cycle at all, because their brains are in such a primal panic.
It’s easy for me to get defeated. And once that defeat sets in, it brings fatigue, and it makes it hard to do great work. The hardest mental challenge for me in being an EFT therapist is that I cannot be better than I am right now. I can’t be trainer-level amazing. I can’t be Kathryn Rheem or Lorrie Brubacher. My clients are getting my best, but they are not getting the best. This is reality. So how do you keep going, knowing that every single day you are working your ass off to only be above average?
For me, I’m trying to apply the same mental process that I do with running. Every failure, every bad session, every time I confuse and bore clients with psycho-ed instead of staying in the process, every time I put my foot in my mouth or get triggered with a client, I am learning and getting stronger. I am doing this for a reason, to get better, to see what is possible for people’s relationships to heal. It is a privilege to do this work, and to be learning this exceptional model. This is hard, but it will get better. This is what I came for.