Is a 10-year-old making your decisions?


The journey of self-discovery is truly a gift. I’ve found that as I take the time to slow down and spend time looking inward, a whole world of possibility is emerging. I’m realizing that so much of my own decision making and behavior runs on a sort of autopilot based on patterns and beliefs going far back in my life.


I had a really powerful example of this recently. Like many of us, I aspire to live a healthier lifestyle. I have done the roller coaster of getting in and out of shape for a good part of my life, and I’ve found that I’ve been the most successful when I work with someone who knows what they’re doing and can hold me accountable. A few weeks ago, I was walking back from the little coffee shop in town and saw someone hanging a temporary sign for personal training on a railing in the building literally next door to mine. I thought that this must be the time! I snapped a picture of the sign with all of the info and headed home full of intention to get to it!


Then I got ‘busy’ and the picture stayed on my phone. After a few days, I at least pulled it up and went to the website to check it out. Then I got ‘busy’ again, so I just left that tab open, fully intending to come back to it. A few days later I did, but rather than just calling the number, I took the easier route and filled out the info form on the site. More days go by before I connected with the trainer, who promptly set me up to come in and see him.


At the time, it was a week away and sounded fine, but as the day crept closer, I found myself finding one reason after another to want to text him (no calling of course since he might talk me out of it) and postpone. Something was definitely going on here. I wanted to do this and there wasn’t any reason why I shouldn’t, so why was I resisting so much?


Time to dig in and figure out what was going on. I connected with a fellow coach and within 30 minutes, I had an answer I never would have guessed. The 10-year old me was NOT into this idea at all and now I knew why. Back during my little league days, I experienced what I now realize was a life-altering moment. I liked playing little league and during one afternoon game I hit a home run with the bases loaded. It was awesome, I ran the bases, and as I crossed home plate the whole team ran out to cheer me on. I was on top of the world. That is, until the catcher from the other team walked up and tapped me with the ball. I barely heard the umpire say, ‘You’re out!’.


It turns out, I hadn’t actually touched home plate when I crossed it, so my triumphant home run was actually an out and all of that excitement and celebration quickly turned to shame. To that 10-year old, I had made an unbelievably stupid mistake. I had let everyone down, and I was humiliated.


I’m sure I didn’t consciously realize it at the time, but that was the moment when a new belief was born in me. It’s not okay to make mistakes, and it’s 10 times worse if you do it and it impacts the team. I never played a team sport again, and the seed of perfectionism was firmly planted. From that point on, that 10-year old got to make a lot of decisions in my life to protect us from ever having to feel that way again.


Allowing myself to be with that experience was the first step in a new direction. I’m happy to report that I went to that initial training session, and I didn’t implode or burst into flames. We did a test workout, and while I’m sure that I was far from perfect, I’m okay with that and that 10-year old in me that was hurt so deeply so many years ago survived too. He doesn’t have to carry that around anymore and neither do I. I still felt the resistance, but now I understood where it was really coming from and awareness is where real change begins. That little guy who was wounded so long ago can begin to heal and let the adult take care of him.