Lyden’s Life Lessons -- Acting on (Your Own) Advice


Have you ever felt stress to the point that it feels like you're breathing through a straw, gasping for air

That was me before the start of the Metro Conference meet this past Wednesday. Throughout the entire day, I was somewhat agitated and frustrated just with the simple things because it was my SAT test day and race day and everything else rolled into one.

I felt the weight of my future -- Did I do ok on the SAT? Will I hit the time I need to improve my college prospects?

When the gun went off, I still couldn't breathe. Tears in my eyes. Struggling to put one foot in front of the other. Shortly after the mile mark, I stepped off the course.

Anxiety. It's crippling. I know.

I didn't finish the race because of a panic attack. … A panic attack.

To be quite frank, I'm very irritated with myself. I replay the thought over and over in my head, and each time I become more frustrated with myself. "How do I write about being strong and tell others to be strong when I cannot even demonstrate it?"

I couldn't breathe in my race because I was scared of expectations of scenarios I made up in my head. I let this fear get to me when I continually tell others, the running community, my parents, coaches, even myself, not to fear, to conquer your fears, to dream big and be brave -- yet I'm struggling to take my own advice.

In our everyday lives we commit to things, to be things, to act a certain way. We commit verbally but fail to perform up to what we commit to doing. We pretend essentially.

I don't know about you but I do not want to be someone who pretends to be something, to act like something, that I am not -- I want to be the person that I commit to be.

I'm struggling with taking my own advice. The saying "it's easier said than done" is so evident in this case. I've never experienced such difficulty with something like I have with my mind when I race.

Putting Lessons into Practice

The good news is I have another opportunity on Friday at Districts to put my lessons into practice.

On Friday, I will focus not on the results of the race, but on fulfilling my definition of success: to do my best, and nothing less, enjoying every moment of it. Then there is nothing to be anxious about. I can run with freedom and joy.

So, I encourage you to take your own advice, as well. Be the person you tell yourself you want to be.

"My dreams are worthless, my plans are dust, my goals are impossible. All are of no value unless they are followed by action. I will act now." -- OG Mandino

If I want my dreams to come true, I need to start by acting like I want them to come true rather than just talking about it.

Actions do speak louder than words -- they get things done.

Act on your dreams today. Lead by your actions -- I know this is something I need to work on.

As always, keep dreaming, be brave, and remember that you are capable of anything you set your mind to.

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