If You Want To Feel Alive
How do you know you’re “up to the task?”
This question is at the heart of your journey, and how we address it matters deeply.
If it’s a task you’ve got a lot of experience with, you’ll probably say, “I know I’m up to the task because I’ve done this a thousand times before.”
A lot of our life is like that. Brushing our teeth. Making a phone call. Getting dressed.
These tasks are no big deal.
How many tasks are you taking on right now that elicit the opposite response: “I don’t know if I’m up to the task.”
Zero is too few, and five is probably too many.
But somewhere between those two numbers might be a nice place to be if you want to grow. If you want to feel alive.
There’s a trick to this. The size of the task doesn’t matter. What matters is whether or not you believe you’re up to the task.
Belief is a powerful muscle when exercised.
Just think, there was a time when you didn’t know how to brush your teeth or make a phone call or get dressed by yourself. But you learned how to do all these things that now seem like the most mundane everyday tasks.
Can you visualize the little you who buttoned up a shirt for the first time? Can you see how excited that little person is? Doesn’t that excitement make you feel like you can take on the next task that you haven’t done yet?
Also, remember someone helped you learn how to button that shirt.
So, how do you know you’re up to the task?
Because you stepped up to the last one, you know it’s in you to try, and you know you have a chance to succeed. Sometimes it’s the small tasks that create that spark that matter the most.
On Saturday, I did something I wasn’t quite sure I was up to. I competed in a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) tournament in Bowling Green, KY, at the National Corvette Museum. The last time I competed in anything like this, I was a 17 year old high school wrestler. That was 27 years ago.
While I was there, I thought about how I ended up at this thing. I started thinking about all the decisions I’d made over the last ten years that would allow me to be able to participate in such an event at 44 years of age. All of the people in my life who helped me turn my health around. My doctors, my trainers, my coaches and martial arts masters. I thought about the skillset I developed as a child and all the adults who invested in me then so that my body would be adept at grappling today.
Of course, I was nervous, but I was far more grateful than I was nervous. I was grateful for all of that, and finding the courage to compete after just three months of training. I was grateful that I was able-bodied, which alone felt like a reason to try.
Rachel was kind enough to make the trip with me and take care of me while I prepared for the matches. My friend Keith who has been training in BJJ for two years, was kind enough to be in my corner and coach me through my matches. And other teammates were there supporting me and giving me guidance throughout the day.
I had so much support, but only I could step out on the mat to fight when they called my name.
Three matches, all hard, all won. I won my first tournament.
As happy as I was to win, I walked away humbled by the entire experience. Humbled by how hard it was for me to win. By how close I came to not winning (I won the last match in overtime). By how many mistakes I made. By how winded I was when I thought I was in good shape. By how much I had to learn.
I didn’t feel like I was better than the men I fought, but I felt like I grew.
I felt alive. And for that, I was incredibly grateful.
How did I know I was up for the task?
I didn’t. But I would never know if I didn’t try. That’s true of us all.
Try again today.
Have a grateful day, my friend.