Past or Possibility?

“Do you want to create from your past or your possibility?”

This is a notepad-worthy question from Brooke Castillo’s The Life Coach School podcast.

Do you want to continue to take action based on your past thoughts? Or do you want to see what’s out there based on your possibility?

This really got me thinking. Am I creating from my past or my possibility?

I’ve always had what I thought was a healthy balance of confidence, yet knowing that I didn’t know it all. Knowing I was smart, but not THE smartest. Knowing I was athletic, but not THE best athlete. Always acknowledging that someone (or even lots of people) out there were more athletic or knew more than me.

So I was pretty confident. Confident enough. But not too confident, you know? Just the right amount, I thought.

I mean I had some goals to achieve so I needed to believe in myself, but wouldn’t want people to think that I thought I was THE best (smartest, fastest, whatever). Because obviously, I was aware that there were others out there who achieved more. I essentially put a cap on my confidence.

I thought it was healthy and humble, but as I look back I see it was rooted in insecurity and often held me back.

Can you relate? Knowing you’re good, but always afraid to really go for it.

Many of us develop this fixed mindset.  We’re told that we’re smart (athletic, talented, etc) from an early age and it becomes part of our identity. We don’t want to do anything that will make others change their minds about us. We wouldn’t want people to find out we’re frauds. We start questioning ourselves. Maybe I’m not all that people think I am? Maybe I’m an imposter? And we don’t want anyone to think we’re too confident (conceited even). The fall from that place seems way too far.

And we don’t usually even recognize that we’re doing this.

So we take our capped confidence and we settle, well kind of.

We go big by many standards, but on that big level, stay small.

I know many of my athlete clients relate to this. You’re already above average. You’re already excelling to an extent, but you’re not quite at the top. And your thoughts are likely holding you back.

Here are a few examples from my life that may resonate with you:

  • As an athlete, I was confident and skilled enough to play at the collegiate level, but definitely capped my confidence once I got there. I questioned myself. I started playing to not look bad/mess up. FYI-that never turns out well. With this mindset (and a pretty significant elbow injury), I didn’t achieve all the goals of my athletic career. I ended up being a badass pinch runner though. I’m happy with the contribution I made, but it sure would have been nice to be in the starting lineup.
  • As a grad student, I did some great work, but didn’t go for the really prestigious positions/internships.
  • As a professor, I created some influential programming and conducted important research, but always opted to publish in less competitive journals and presented posters instead of getting on stage for workshops or verbal presentations.

Seeing a trend? I certainly did. Big stages, but I often chose to stay small(ish).

Eventually, I recognized this and made a change. No more playing small for me. It was time to stop limiting myself with this pattern from the past and start creating from possibility.

Now I see my amazingness. I own it. And I get to help athletes (and parents) do the same.

However, even as I write this, I’m thinking, “Your amazingness? Oh wow Linda, that sounds arrogant.” Followed up quickly with a “Well, it’s not like I’m THE most amazing?”

Old habits die hard, right?

Is it possible to change these habits? These thoughts? Absolutely.

Is it easy? Nope.

Does it take time & work? Yes.

Can we laugh along with way? Definitely.

Our brains like the ease that comes with repeating past thoughts, even if they’re limiting thoughts. It takes concentrated effort to change our thoughts and create new realities.

Well buckle up, brain. We’re changing the game.

“Do you want to create from your past or your possibility?”

Do you want to continue to take action based on your past thoughts? Or do you want to see what’s out there based on your possibility?

I know which I choose. Ready to do this with me?


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