When was the last time you told yourself “I’m not fast enough to do a 5k” or how about “I’m not strong enough to lift that by myself” or “I’m not skinny enough right now to wear a bathing suit” and even “I’m way too old for that.”
Leave your excuses at the door. All of those things are invalid, untrue, and limiting your life in every single way possible.
This past weekend I had the pleasure of not only coaching Derek at a powerlifting meet where he qualified for Nationals and being around a sport I love and the people who love it too but also getting to watch some incredibly talented older individuals pick up some ridiculously heavy weight. One of these people, Shirley Webb, age 79 holds over 30 American powerlifting records and is qualified for Worlds, and guess when she started? No, not when she was in her “prime,” just 3 years ago…when she was 76.
Let’s think about that for a minute. Many people write their lives away as soon as they are a day over 30. Now, I can’t really talk much…I’m 23 years young so I have no idea what it’s like to be a little bit older but it makes me sad to hear people talk about how it’s all downhill from there. Shirley, as old as she was, stepped foot into a gym for the first time at the age of 76 (remind yourself of that the next time you don’t want to get a workout in) after her granddaughter talked her into it. Not only did she make the decision to join a gym, but at the time she couldn’t even walk up the stairs without holding the handrail or get up off the ground without using a chair. Now, she’s deadlifting 225 pounds for reps and competing in powerlifting competitions all across the country.
As the athletes were weighing-in, and I was waiting for Derek to get done I noticed her for the first time. All ready in her singlet, sitting with her husband, my heart was filled with so much happiness and I couldn’t help but feel so inspired. As soon as Derek came back I pointed her out to him and we both couldn’t come up with the words to describe how we were feeling. As coaches ourselves, we hear so many excuses from clients all the time. I hear people negatively talk about the way they look, how old they are, how they can’t do certain things and here this woman was with a bunch of younger, more muscular, more “athletic” people and she was ready to just compete. Competing is scary, it throws you out of your comfort zone and so many people don’t even attempt it thinking they’re not good enough but Shirley should be proof enough that you are ALWAYS good enough.
The weight on the bar doesn’t care how old you are, what you look like, or how many years of experience you have. People at competitions don’t care how old you are, what you look like, or how many years of experience you have. And YOU shouldn’t care how old you are, what you look like, or how many years of experience you have. Be like Shirley and don’t let your age (or anything else) limit you or hold you back. Be open to the possibility of starting something new and you might just find out you’re pretty darn good at it.