We all have stories, perceptions, labels and assumptions about what we can and can’t do.
This week’s guest reminds me why it’s so important to examine those stories and not let our goals and dreams be limited by them.
Lisa Tamati developed severe asthma as a young child and was in-and-out of hospital as a result.
She also broke her back in an accident at 21 (and both conditions still trouble her to this day).
It would have been easy for Lisa to tell herself “stories” about what she could - or couldn’t - achieve in life as a result.
But as she reveals in this conversation, by adopting the “identity” of the type of person she wanted to become, by surrounding herself with people who would encourage her and lift her up and by finding ways to work around her limitations, Lisa has become one of the most experienced ultra distance runners on the planet - male or female.
She has competed in over 130 ultra marathons, traversed almost every desert in the world (including through Niger, Jordan and Morocco), cycled through 20 countries and run the length of New Zealand for charity.
She is also a successful businesswoman, running coach and New York Times best selling author.
A remarkable record for someone who describes herself as “not a very talented runner” and who struggled with self-doubt and a lack of self-esteem throughout much of her life (especially after a particularly destructive relationship in her 20s).
In this conversation we discuss:
* her severe asthmas as a child and the advantage it has given her as an endurance athlete,
* what she learnt from a disastrous (and potentially life threatening) crossing of the Libyan desert,
* when she discovered ultra running and how it helped to heal her self-esteem and self-confidence,
* her struggle with the Imposter Complex and how she’s learnt to handle it,
* the importance of developing and adopting an identity (or standard) of the type of person you want to become,
* why you should start working towards your goals even before you know how you’re going to achieve them , and
* what she wished someone had told her as a young girl.
Some of my favourite quotes from this episode include:
If you are able to suffer and struggle and keep going, then you can do a whole lot of things in life
I really needed to build my self-esteem again and that’s what ultra marathon running did for me because I was surrounded by people who were all on this mission together
.…you’re not alone in your self-doubts. And it doesn’t matter what you’ve already achieved, you’re still terrified standing on the start line of any race. And that’s fine and that’s normal. It means you’re not an arsehole really.
Every challenge I set in my life, I often…have no idea what’s involved or no idea of what it’s actually going to take to get there. But I sign up because I’m passionate about it, I want to achieve it, I’ve thought about it and then I work it out along the way. I think the hallmark of many people who have achieved extraordinary things is that they don’t wait until they know how they will actually do it. Because you can’t…
It’s all about the mind. It’s not about the biggest muscles or the fastest this or that. It really is your mindset that determines everything in life.
What I think is the most important and I wish someone had said it to me as a young girl is back yourself. Believe in yourself.
Notes and resources:
You can find Lisa's podcast "Pushing The Limits" here.
Lisa's e-course called "The Path of an Athlete" is available here.