The other day as I was sipping my coffee and settling into my morning routine of answering emails and scrolling through Facebook, I came across a video post that had me pause and scroll back up.
It had a caption that read, “No one expected a 40 year-old woman to win.”
The video was of British runner, Jo Pavey, who took home gold in an amazing come from behind 10,000m race. (If you haven’t watched the race, google her name to catch her in action.)
To be honest, I’m not sure of who else was racing or how long they’d been running for. My eyes were glued to Jo as she passed runner after runner heading to the finish line. And just when you think it’s all said and done, she kicks it into high gear and guns it past the last two runners. It was spectacular.
Race over, I settled back in my chair with a smile on my face. Happy for this women who ran this incredible race. And then my eyes found that caption again, “No one expected a 40 year-old woman to win.”
What a minute! What? Why?
Does this mean that at the age of 46, I’m pretty much washed up? As a late bloomer, this doesn’t sit well with me.
I’d hate to think that as each decade passes, expectations of what I have to contribute to this world and to myself lower.
I get that it was a caption to get attention and it worked, but for the wrong reasons. I didn’t click to watch because my expectations were low. I clicked because I was thinking: why? Why wouldn’t we expect her to win? Do we hit an age where we expect less of each other and of ourselves? Is there a cut-off age where we settle in to accepting that this is it. That if you’re not particularly happy with your life, it’s too late to change it because you’re too old.
If this is the case, how do we turn this idea around?
For me, the answers have come with time, effort and the willingness to change the direction my life was taking. It wasn’t easy. And it took some work, but I made the decision that I wanted more for myself, and, of myself. And every time I hit a wall, I retrace these five steps I crated to help me get back on track:
1) Set your expectations high!
I used to hear clients use the excuse of age as one of the main reasons why they didn’t make a change for the better. Don’t let age, race, income level, education, body type, sexual orientation, etc., be what sets your limits in life. Don’t buy into what society expects you to be. Do because you can. Be because you are. Ask more of yourself and don’t be afraid to do the same of others around you.
2) You have the means to be exceptional.
Yes, you! Trust it, Breathe it! Believe it! It took me many years to believe this about myself and it’s one of the first thing that slips when I hit a wall or come across people that challenge that belief in myself. Know that you alone are your creator. Not your friends, lover, family, neighbor, co-workers, etc. You hold the power to shape your world for better or worse. Why not make it exceptional? And on your terms. Aim for the highest of high.
Create your own existence by trusting that you have the means to be exceptional. Chose to be limitless. But do so with love. Aim for the highest of the high. But do so with respect to your universe, not at the expense of it.
3) Change your mind. And habits.
Explore a new way of thinking or experiencing your world. If you’re feeling stuck, you need to think outside the box. You can’t change what needs to be changed if you stay with your same old patterns. This sometimes means taking a hard and honest look at where you’re sitting right now and the space you’ve created for yourself. And if that space doesn’t feel so hot, figure out what needs to move. Literally and figuratively. And while you’re moving, take a look at the unhealthy habits you’ve cozied up with.
We’ve all been there. It’s so much easier to get take-out, sleep that extra hour, eat more than we need. When I find myself sliding down that slippery slope, I get my ass in gear and get my sweat on. And I eat good stuff that nourishes my body so that I can be strong and step back into my life with a fire under my ass and heart strong.
4) Reach for the gold
If you have a dream, get off your sweet bottom and pursue it. No excuses. Believe and trust that there is always a way. It may not be easy. In fact, I guarantee it won’t be easy. But life’s got a funny way of opening doors for you when you put in the work. And no one is going to do that for you. So go for the gold! Grab a hold of your passions with an iron clad fist. Let them be a part of you from the top of your head to the tips of your toes. Let them seep into your pores so that they walk every step with you and inspire you to keep moving forward.
5) Check yourself before you wreck yourself.
In a nutshell, be honest. Take a good hard look at what you’re putting out there. What you’re projecting into your world. Is it authentic? Does it come from love of yourself and others? Or are you moving from envy, fear, sadness and self-loathing. One of the hardest things about expecting more of, and for, yourself is taking a good hard look in the mirror. Face those demons. And do what you need to in order to work with them or free them so that you can move forward with integrity, honesty, self-love and authenticity.
To live the life you want, you have to be willing to ask for more of yourself and others. To create change where change is needed. To believe that you are worthy of more so that insecurities and lack of expectations from others don’t hold you back. To inspire others to do the same. Let this ideal seep into every aspect of your life, so that you can be the creator of fulfilling relationships, careers, travel and daily moments that feed your soul. And kick any lack of expectations to the curb.
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Editor: Travis May
Photo: video still