In the book Tatoos on the Heart, Father Gregory Boyle tells the story of a young man battling a heroin addiction.
In counseling the boy, he says “you have to crawl before you can walk and walk before you can run.”
To which the boy replies with tears in his eyes, “But I know I can fly. I just need a gust of wind.”
I was listening to the book on my drive down to the gym yesterday and paused it after he told this story. I couldn't listen to anything else.
It was one of those lines that landed on my heart.
I know I can fly. I just need a gust of wind.
We all want to run before we can walk. I don’t just want to write blog posts, I want to write a novel. Yesterday at physical therapy, my therapist handed me a pair of pink one pound dumbbells for me to do bicep curls.
I don’t want to do one pound dumbbell curls, I want to deadlift twice my bodyweight.
Restraint is so difficult.
We know in the world of health and fitness that adopting a restrictive diet or trying to work out five days a week, in the beginning, is often the recipe for failure. We decide to run a 5k and bust out 20 miles in a week before our bodies break down and we realize find ourselves battling injuries because we didn't have the patience to pace ourselves.
We adopt a no carb diet only to find ourselves gorging on a piece of cake seven days in to the 30 day plan.
We know that in order for behavioral change to stick, we have to start slow, and as Doug often says, stack one block at a time.
We have to crawl before we can walk.
We know this.
But it's that last line from the boy that pulls so hard at me. Crawl before we can walk, yes. Stacking the blocks one at a time, yes.
"But I know I can fly."
What this boy is speaking to is potential.
The definition of potential is "latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness." I believe we all have it within us to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. It's up to us to determine what that means.
"I just need a gust of wind."
I think we sometimes beat ourselves up over our own potential. Do you know the number one comment I hear from clients whenever I ask what we can do to help support them in the process?
"Nothing. It's not you. It's me. I just need to do a better job. I know what I need to do, I just need to do it."
To those clients I'd say no.
Stop being so hard on yourself.
Yes you have the potential. You know you can fly. I know you can fly.
But sometimes you just need a little gust of wind.