Updated: Feb 13
Watching the men's halfpipe finals, I couldn’t help noticing that Gold medalist Ayumu Hirano is six inches shorter than Silver and Bronze medal winners on either side of him.
Now, he's Japanese, so I don't want to speak for what might have happened for him growing up in a culture I'm not so familiar with.
But in an American school system, that’s often a recipe for bullying, cruel jokes, being picked last for teams.
And in a world where action heroes are 6’1” and broad-shouldered, taking up all the space in the room, it would be easy for somebody with a non-traditional build to not feel like one.
Except Ayumu Hirano, at 5’5” (my height, thank you very much) is now standing atop the action sports world.
So I wonder, does he think of himself as the person who's shorter?
Does he think of himself as lacking in any way?
The fact that he's the only person to have ever landed the snowboarding equivalent of a triple flip in competition suggests that maybe he doesn't. (Or if he did, he's managed to get over it!)
Honestly, once I realized, I felt a little ashamed that I had even noticed his height as I watched him grin next to his fellow medalists at the bottom of the Beijing halfpipe.
Who was I to notice how tall he wasn't when he had just set the snowboarding world on its ear by landing the most technically difficult run in the history of the sport?
It says more about me than it does about him.
Personally, I struggle with feeling like I'm lacking. Even as I build my business, serve clients, and get amazing testimonials, many internal voices tell me that I'm not enough, repeating things I've heard for so many years from people whose opinions I trusted.
For me, it comes down to this: am I allowed to just say that I think I'm amazing and wonderful and trust my own opinion, no matter what's reflected back to me?
Recently, somebody who would consider herself my fan said that she doesn't really think I'm reading astrology charts. She thinks I'm just reading people's energy and using the astrology chart to justify what I feel because people want to see something concrete.
Honestly, I don't think she meant to hurt my feelings. But her comment plays into years of criticism that astrologers are frauds who are just good at “reading people.”
It felt like a knife in my heart even though I think she was trying to give me a compliment about being sensitive, and I know she's a huge fan of my coaching!
Spirit is always trying to tell me that I am allowed to think wonderful things about myself even if people in my environment don't confirm my hopes of being a beautiful person who makes a terrific contribution to this planet.
To be frank, I'm not there yet, but it’s my aspirational goal.
I understand the challenge, the fundamental vulnerability of taking other people's responses - often informed by their own trauma, prejudices, or just having a bad day - as the fundamental indicator of our own self-worth.
Once I asked my Divine connection, can I really think good things about myself and believe they’re true even if other people disagree?
If you struggle with something similar, ask yourself this?
What makes their opinion - often not deeply considered, given off the cuff, and proffered without thorough understanding - more valid than yours?
You who have been your own most constant companion for all these years, who understands your struggles and joys, who sees how hard it is to face your challenges, whose always been there to witness your getting back up and continuing to try?
Who can appreciate all of your hard work and struggle and passion and deep desire to be there for yourself and your loved ones more than your very own self?
Why is it that others suddenly know more than you do about how great you are (or aren’t) than you do?
Why do they get to tell you that just because you're not 6'1 and broad-shouldered, you can't be your own version of an action hero?
Often, the problem is our own attitude about ourselves! We look to other people to lift us up, so it's equally easy for them to pull us down, even when they don’t mean to.
Maybe you need a new definition of action? Or hero? Maybe you need to find the action that fits your body, mind, and soul, not the one that other people say is so great (or you see on the Hollywood screen).
I don't think it's a coincidence that the only man who has been able to land a triple flip in a snowboard halfpipe competition just happens to be significantly shorter than his competitors. He's found a way to use his “shortfall” as a major competitive advantage.
So what's your major competitive advantage that other people (or even your past self) might think is a detriment or a liability?
That's an amazing question! … What I thought about it, I realized that I have had so many mental and emotional challenges and a good range of physical ones, it's rare for a client to come up with an obstacle that I can't empathize with and haven't had to work through myself. Could having had so many problems actually my superpower?
Let me know in the comments. Please like or share this with anyone you think needs some encouragement today.
Here's wishing you many wonderful re-framing moments as you come to understand that whatever your “shortfall” is - you can use it to win your own gold medal!
If you'd like another Olympic Pep Talk, check out this post on protecting your work-life balance!