An old Cherokee talking to his grandson says:
“There’s an internal battle going on inside of me. It’s a terrible fight between two wolves. One wolf is evil: Filled with anger, envy, sadness, regret, greed, self-pity, guilt, resentment, false pride, and ego. The other wolf is good: he is joyous, peaceful, loving, hopeful, kind, honest, and compassionate.”
He then says:
“Grandson, the same wolves battle inside of you, and inside of every human being on this earth.”
The boy asks:
“Grandfather, which wolf will win?”
The old Cherokee answers:
“The one you feed.”
When I first heard this story I was blown away. I came across it during a very challenging time in my life, and it really hit home. You can either be your own worst enemy, or your own best friend. It sounds like common sense, but common sense isn’t always common practice.
How could I have been going through life for so long being my own worst enemy? Especially in times when I desperately needed to be my own best friend?
There are things in life that we know, things that we don’t know, and things that we don’t even know that we don’t know. I refer to the latter as a “blind spot”.
For example: I know how to speak English. I know that I don’t know how to speak Chinese. If I ever learn how to speak Chinese, then it would become one of the “things that I know". Simple enough.
But how can I possibly address things that I don’t even know that I don’t know? How can I be aware of a blind spot if it doesn't show up on my radar?
It is our blind spots in life that most often hold us back. They are deeply rooted parts of our personalities that we either haven’t taken the time to explore, are afraid to explore, or don’t even know that we need to explore. Most blind spots are developed over time as a result of unprocessed pain, anger, or fear. Sometimes it's a combination of all 3.
When I first started my business, I had a huge blind spot around public speaking. Whenever I was invited to speak, I would talk myself out of it because I was terrified to speak in front of groups. I passed up many great opportunities to spread my message, and I burned several bridges.
Once it became clear to me that this blind spot was holding me back, I knew I had to overcome it if I really wanted to make an impact on others' lives. I decided that I was going to change my thought process from: “I’m afraid to speak in public, so I’m going to avoid it at all costs” to “I’m afraid to speak in public, so I’m going to do it every single chance I get.”
From the moment I made that decision, it became easier and easier for me to speak in front of people. Now, I’m just as comfortable in front of a packed room as I am in a 1-on-1 conversation. I had to become aware of my blind spot in order to face it head on, and to begin to transform it.
If any blind spots come across your radar, I encourage you to try this exercise:
Write a statement to the blind spot. Let it know that it no longer has the power to hold you back. Declare that you will be using it as motivation to propel you closer to the life you deserve.
Your statement should read something like this:
Dear (blind spot)... for quite some time now, I’ve allowed you hold me back. From this day forward, I will use you to ____”
You may be thinking to yourself “Wow… that sounds like a pretty corny exercise.” If I had read this a few years ago, I’d probably agree with you. And yet, I encourage you to try it anyway.
Remember, you can be your own worst enemy, or your own best friend. Feed the right wolf!
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