Mind Over Matter

Last year before my 100 marathons, my good friend Larry McGuire recommended a mantra that he replayed in his head as he ran; relax – strong. When I adopted it, I added the word; light, and whenever I wanted more speed, I would say; fast.

…relax, strong, light, fast…relax, strong, light, fast…

Repeating this phrase in my mind has been incredibly beneficial to my performance. The rhythm of the phrase falls in sync with my pace and has a soothing effect on my mind. But what’s even more influential is the actual meaning of the words.

Saying ‘relax’ helps me to let go any worry, doubt and fear. It also releases any physical tension or discomfort. By focusing on remaining calm I am affirming that everything is flowing perfectly through my body.

‘Light’ – it’s important to feel buoyant and free when running because then your feet hit lightly off the ground. When I don’t feel weighed down by anything, I can run with long, smooth strides.  ‘Strong’; strength is vital to endurance. Reminding myself that I am stable and steady and works to reinforce my stamina.

And then ‘fast’, I imagine my legs pushing me forward, accelerating speed with each step. The combination of words complement each other and the result makes me feel agile and unstoppable. The process reminds me how our minds and bodies can work in harmony. What we tell ourselves has a huge impact on what we do and how we perform, not just in exercise, but in all areas of life.

Our inner dialogue is our single greatest influencer and so the language we use should be chosen wisely. If that voice repeats negative information, citing all the reasons you can’t, won’t or shouldn’t, then eventually that’s all you’ll believe. The mind will find a way to make those things true.

But the good news is, just like my running mantra, it also works in reverse. As a results coach I help people to eradicate their limiting belief systems by allowing things to be easy. To anticipate the positives, the prospects and the possibilities that life offers. Whatever you focus on, you feel, and what you feel defines you.

Every one of us possesses great tenacity, passed on through previous generations. Our ancestors faced many hardships and for that, we are all here today. That power lies within our genes. To access it, we just need to listen, very carefully, to ourselves.