Running is a great visual for vulnerability. Picture yourself in the middle of the desert, or in a big city, or on the side of a volcano, with nothing but your shoes and some minimal clothing. No one is holding your hand, there are no secure walls behind you, nature and humanity can see you from every angle, and you can only move as fast as your body allows. It can honestly be a bit intimidating.
This is pretty much the way life is. It’s scary, but it’s how we discover our potential. As humans we like feeling secure, sure. and safe. We build walls to protect us from storms. We make alliances with other humans (aka friends) to help us in times of struggle. We stockpile food and resources so we don’t have to constantly think about where our next meal will come from. All of these things are positives, so then what’s so great about being vulnerable?
Being prepared and allowing ourselves to be vulnerable are two different things. By all means we ought to do everything we can to be safe. Being vulnerable doesn’t mean being reckless. Being vulnerable is more about being honest. It means being okay to admit our weaknesses or our fears, but it has a purpose—to help ourselves and to help others.
Nellie Acevedo is a queen of vulnerability. She is a full-time blogger, entrepreneur, mama, and runner. She lives in Brooklyn, New York where every day she has a chance to feel a little bit vulnerable as she raises her two multi-cultured boys in a fast-paced world. Today she shared with us tips on being true to yourself, the lifestyle of being your own boss, and of course, her stories about running.
Share Your Journey
When it comes to sharing your personal journey, there are two main benefits to being true to yourself. Firstly, it gives people something to follow that is inspirational. “People love a real journey,” says Nellie, “Share it if you feel comfortable.”
Nellie admits that while she admires elite runners and other professional athletes, they aren’t the people that motivate her to exercise. In her words, “real” people motivate her. The people that are like her.
Whatever stage of life you are in, there are people watching you that feel like you are their “real” people. That’s why it’s important to share. If you can do it, so can they. Don’t feel like you need to reach a certain level of expertise before you can share and inspire.
The other benefit of being vulnerable and sharing your journey is the support of the community. People relate with struggles, and you will probably be surprised with how many people are willing to speak up and reach out when you share personal trials.
Every time Nellie gets up the courage to be vulnerable, that’s when she gets the most reactions and support. “You control your narrative,” she says, “When you share the realness about being a person, about adulting, about motherhood, […] people identify with that and you leave a mark on people’s hearts. They want to stay with you and follow your journey.”
Don’t be afraid to be real. Other people have similar experiences as you, and until you share, you neglect the support and withhold the inspiration. It doesn’t mean you have to share everything, but share what you are comfortable with and be real.
Do Something for Yourself
Each week Nellie tries to get at least three workouts in. This can be a challenge since her workday starts at seven p.m. every evening when her husband gets home from work. But she knows that doing things for herself is the only way to keep it together and do her best as a mother.
“We need the time to reset” says Nellie, “[When I go to the gym] I can think about things that I wasn’t able to accomplish during the day, but I can think about them fully because I’m away from the family.” Make your workout time your think tank time. It’s a great way to blow off steam, come up with new ideas, and organize your thoughts.
Lastly, Nellie suggests setting small running goals and watching yourself succeed often, rather than setting big ones. She fully believes in celebrating the victories along the way as well. That doesn’t mean just the first 10k you run, but the first mile you run, and then the second, and so on.
Go ahead and do something for yourself. Set attainable goals. Celebrate when you reach them. Support people you see being vulnerable, and then be vulnerable yourself and watch the good that it does.
Listen to the Running for Real Podcast here:
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Thank you to Nellie, I look forward to hearing your thoughts on the show.