Sometimes we don't know how powerful words can be. I think we can understand the depth of them when it comes to an argument, or speaking vows, or anything of the sort. But do we really understand how powerful they are when it comes to a race?
On the runDisney facebook page several weeks ago, there was a person who had asked how to prepare for a race. There were responses about the physical training, the nutrition, the fuel, and more. I chimed in mentioning that the mental training was part of it as well...because all it takes is self doubt to stop a person from crossing that finish line.
The problem? I hadn't been following my own advice. And I knew it when I was responding.
I wasn't trying to be hypocritical. I had a deep fear that I would be swept during the race. I did not believe I could do it. But I didn't want anyone to go into their races feeling the same way, which is why I said what I did. There was never a moment leading up to the race where I had a boost of confidence and "knew" I would cross the finish line. That moment didn't come until mile 10, when I finally felt the worst was over and there was only a 5K ahead of me.
But what carried me through? Aside from the fear of the balloon ladies, I mean.... ;)
It was the encouragement from a friend. The ongoing and never ending "you can do it" and "I believe in you" and many others. The words that reminded me of my ability and offered hope. The support and "I would still be so proud of you" words even if I were to get swept. You have no idea just how meaningful those words are until you are in the midst of your struggle and pushing on to get through it. Those words carried me. When I doubted myself, there was someone with enough faith in me to make up for it.
Self doubt or confidence can go far in making or breaking a runner. But never discount the power of your words with someone else. You don't know how many people might have told her she might fail, or how many people blew it off as if it wasn't an accomplishment at all, or how many times she believed those very things. Encourage her. And don't stop. When all the self doubt is pouring in during her run, it just may be your very words that gives her the strength she needs to finish.