I have a race coming up. My training hasn’t gone as well as I had hoped, maybe because I blew some of it off. It just hasn’t been a great winter of running for me. In fact, during recent training runs, doubts started getting the best of me. A voice in my head said, “You’re not really a runner. A runner runs more than you. A runner wouldn’t slack off during the winter. You’re too slow. You’re not really a runner.” 

Sometimes these voices will enter our minds right when we need them the least. Right before a race, an exam, or a challenging season in our lives. If we listen to them they may even take up residence in our minds and begin to shape how we think of ourselves. I was starting to believe I wasn’t really a runner.

Sometimes this type of thinking has invaded other parts of my life. I would hear things like, “You’ll never reach that goal. You’re not really a leader. You’re not a good father or husband.” Usually I’m pretty effective at staying positive and realizing these are just lies that creep into my mind from time to time. However, sometimes, if I’m tired or weak I’ll start to believe them for a brief period.

That’s not good. It’s not good for me or for those I lead. 

Here’s what helps me overcome this type of negative thinking:

Reminders of Truth

Recently during an afternoon run when things got a little tough, I caught myself thinking again “You’re not really a runner.” 

It was a beautiful sunny afternoon though and I found myself staring at my shadow that was cast on the ground in front of me. I thought, “Well that certainly looks like a runner.” 

Then I reminded myself of the 11 marathons I have finished along with countless other races and the thousands of miles of training I have logged the past few years. “Yeah, I guess I am a runner," I told myself. 

Sometimes I just need to be reminded of truth.

My shadow trekked on out in front of me and I watched it with satisfaction for a minute and then picked up the pace a bit. 

How do you regain positivity when faced with doubt in yourself?