A few days ago an athlete asked me “do I have heart?” I was taken aback at first because I did not know where the question came from. Well, let me rephrase. I never imagined that this athlete doubted the amount of heart they had in racing and in life. When I first heard the question we talked about what the question meant, how they saw themselves at the moment, and got to a point where we both fully agreed that YES the athlete has heart.
Over the past few days though this question has been gnawing at me. What does it mean to have heart? In life putting everything you have into EVERYTHING you do is difficult. We get tired. Life ‘gets in the way’. We have responsibilities that pull us from being 100% invested in any given thing at the moment. Maybe I am a pessimist but I believe we can’t give 100% of our energy to 100% of our responsibilities 100% of the time. If you can then you are superhuman or a robot. We are human and as humans we make mistakes, fall short, and sometimes just plain screw up. I do not think that means we have a lack of heart. If that is a contradictory statement then so be it – I don’t think it is- and this is my blog – so deal with it.
So how do we know if we have heart? One of the things I stress with my athletes is that to be true to your body, mind, and soul will give you peace in moments of frustration, anger, defeat, and victory. There are days when you wake up and are just not quite ‘into it’. Does that make you a bad person, athlete, husband, wife, mother, father, daughter, son, coworker…no. It makes us human. Having heart is waking up, not feeling into it and still accepting the challenge to give it a go. Give it your best shot for whatever limitations might face you that day. Having heart is recognizing the gift of each day. The gift of movement. Your ability to accomplish something that has been set before you no matter how fast or slow you get there. It is accepting the fact that in a life filled with so many responsibilities we give ourselves the freedom and acceptance to BE OK with whatever the outcome might be and whichever way we choose to get there.
What is most telling about the question itself though is that it displays a self awareness that something was not adding up to the athlete in question. Perhaps a little passion and drive was waning. At the end of a long season our ‘spark’ and DRIVE can be at a minimum. That is completely normal and another reason I am so PRO-off-season and rest. Our heart sometimes is not in our daily life – but that does not mean that it is not there…it may just need a nap