Focusing on what you can vs. focusing on what you can’t

Stop focusing on what you can’t do and stop focusing on what you can’t do.

A huge message that’s been running through my mind lately.

And a pretty simple one, too. One that is so easy to forget in the midst of the crazy, chaotic lives we all live.

This messag etotally resonates with me lately, for two reasons:

1 – At work. I admit – IĀ  hate being the “freshman.” I hate not knowing it all, the industry inside and out and being the “go to” with all the answers. I hate when I’m faced with a project and there are things I literally cannot do without the help of someone else on my team. Focusing on what I can’t do vs. focusing on what I can do.

2 – When working out. I hate that I haven’t been able to run like I want to run. Like I did this summer/early fall in preparation for the half. I’m DYING to knock out some long runs. Outside. With the wind whipping through my hair. The birds chirping. The sound of my feet hitting the pavement in a steady rhythm. Focusing on what I can’t do vs. focusing on what I can do.

This concept of can vs. can’t attitude comes from a DVR’d episode of The Biggest Loser. Jillian had her team working on drills on the treadmill. She told them they were going to run their hardest pace – a pace none of them had ever faced before – for one minute. The look in their eyes said “I can’t.” But their bodies said “you will.” That minute passed in what felt like a nanosecond. The look on their faces at what they accomplished? Priceless.

That’s the feeling I need to own. <and damn, that’s the feeling I need to recall next time I face intervals on the ‘mill…or Core Fusion Boot Camp, heh>

I can learn to run with things at work without fear that I’ll “mess up” or “step out of line” because I’m the new girl. The freshman.

I can run outside now that the snow is slowly melting away. I can get that blissful feeling of what it feels like to conquer a pace not conquered yet before. Or a distance not conquered yet since winter settled in.

I can.

No more of this “I can’t” stuff.

WAY more of “I can.”

And “I will.”

Because I’m capable. I’m able. I’m willing. I’m ready.

And that, my friends, concludes my pep talk ‘o the night.

I hope you enjoyed it. Pep talk away, please. :)

16 thoughts on “Focusing on what you can vs. focusing on what you can’t

  1. Thanks sis, I NEEDED to read this tonight before tomorrow!! You are right, it is a knee-jerk reaction to say I can’t…but we CAN and we WILL. And you aren’t the freshman…you are a sophmore in training…doesn’t that sound better? šŸ™‚

  2. Yep sometimes I go with the “can’t” for myself but I heard a saying in a fitness class once by the instructor “Yes you can”, she said it all the time and now when I think I can’t do something I say “yes you can”. I’ll email you April details very exciting!

  3. Great post as usual Jess. I am so guilty of just focusing on what I can’t do, and forgetting about all the stuff that I can. It’s good to want to improve in areas of our life that are a bit weaker or underdeveloped. But like you say, sometimes we also need to accept that we’re the new kid, and that we *should* be flailing a little bit and finding it hard! I’m facing that with running right now: struggling through 4 miles and wishing I could do intervals and speed work and be BETTER. Well screw that. I need to be more forgiving. Not least because I’ll be facing this with my career when I hit the job market at the end of my thesis, and that’s going to be a lot tougher than recovering from a running injury.

    • YES. You do need to be more forgiving my dear. It’s ok to struggle. It’s ok for something to be hard or challenging. It keeps it interesting. And it certainly keeps us humble, right??

  4. I have a hard time with this too. I have to constantly remind myself that although I can’t run at a certain pace, I can run far and that’s really a lot more than most people. I am constantly frustrated with my inability to pick up my pace.

    • But hey – that’s ok – being a distance runner vs. a speed runner is awesome! Maybe you just need to own that fact a little bit more instead of apologizing for your pace. Know what I mean? Just a slight shift in mindset really.

  5. Such a great message really. Not just for working out, running, or work. But even down to something like the car crap I’m dealing with. It can really really bring you down when you dwell on the “can’ts” in life. Especially when there is SO much you can do and are doing. So you haven’t been able to run, that doesn’t mean you haven’t had some freaking fantastic workouts right??? Let’s just say I’ve done enough running for the both of us – I’ll share šŸ˜‰

    • So right. It can and does bring me down when I start focusing on all the things that are out of my control (the “can’ts” in life) instead of focusing on what I can control. Focusing on that aspect is empowering, ya know?

      And yes, please share your outdoor running with me. I SO MISS THAT! Hopefully this weekend. šŸ™‚

  6. If I had to run on the treadmill even just once, I wouldn’t do it, so props to you for keeping up with it! During the holidays, I ran outside in snow in 20 degree weather and it was the most empowering experience ever. It really proved to myself that I can run in anything. So hopefully the roads are clear and safe so you can get out there soon…because you can!

  7. Man, you sure read my mind. Things are so hard with being injured right now. It’s been hard to focus on the “can” and “will”. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. YES! You CAN, Jess! Loved this. I think it’s hard when people want to be able to do it all….right now….and do it well. I am especially with you on being the freshman right now – I’m continuingly reminding myself that I can’t do it all right now, but 1. I need to focus on what I CAN do right now, and 2. the day will come when I will have learned it all – and a new freshman will be in town! I think the same can go for workouts….especially when comparing ourselves to us in the past. Both good (motivating) and bad, ya know?

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