• Dr. G

How to turn, “There is no way,” into, “Yes, and Now, what?”

Updated: Jun 27, 2020

Today's guest blogger is Kelli Gerrans. who grew up in the bay area and moved to play volleyball for Pepperdine University. After college, she discovered a passion for helping others, within the realm of mental health.

Kelli, is in her final year of Pepperdine's GSEP Master's in Clinical Psychology program with aspirations to utilize the knowledge and tools gathered within the field of professional sports.

With her background in sports, she hopes to serve athletes and organizations to gain knowledge of mental health, guide them towards clarity in times of frustration, while increasing performance through strengthening mental fortitude.  

You know those stories you hear of fourteen year old students graduating from college, or hikers successfully climbing Mount Everest, or that guy Neil Armstrong taking the first step on the moon, and wondered, “How did they do that?”

Me, too.

To learn how these superhuman people beat insurmountable odds, I created a challenge of my own… run 100 miles in a month.

You might ask, “Kelli, why would you do that?

To understand that, let me tell you a bit about my background. I was born into a family of athletes, grew up with an all American brother, which means he was incredibly athletic and recognized for it (he’s basically Captain America), but regardless of where I came from, I chose the mentality of “never being content.” I tried various sports until I found volleyball, and I loved it so much I went on to play in college for Pepperdine.

However, even after fulfilling that dream, I found I was not content. I asked myself, “Now, what?” So I tried hot yoga, in a room that is 100 degrees with 44% humidity, then I asked myself, Now, what?” So I decided to sign up for a marathon, and completed 14 weeks of the 16 week training program, and then covid-19 hit, so I then again asked myself, “Now, what?”

Here is where I decided to run 100 miles in a month. You may be wondering, “Why push your body in that way?”

Wonderful question, let me continue.

Socrates said...

I’ve edited this version to “what manner of woman” you may become, as well. This applies to everyone and beyond pure athletic intent.

Ask yourself...

  • As a professional, “Am I pushing my limit to see my best potential in my career?” 

  • As a family member, “Am I pushing my limit to care for, nurture, and love my family, guardians, and loved one’s to my best potential?”

  • As a student, “Am I pushing my limit to study, educate myself, ask questions, and expand my knowledge base to my best potential?” 

  • In your faith, “Am I pushing my limit to grow, apply, and learn more about my religion, spirituality, and being on this planet?”

Now, listen carefully here, I want this to be clear - by no means am I saying you cannot be content and happy with who you are, where you have been, and what you have accomplished thus far. Be proud of those moments because they were the times in your life when you pushed your limits. Think of your biggest accomplishment thus far in your life?

  • What did you feel?

  • What were you thinking?

  • Who was supporting you?

  • How did you do it?

  • MOST IMPORTANTLY - Why did you do it?

You would not be who you are today by sitting down and doing nothing. You worked up a sweat to get better at push-ups. You used your voice to get that promotion. You took a risk and asked your crush on a date. You cried and displayed vulnerability when you were hurt. You stood up for the underprivileged and underrepresented, regardless of what others thought of you. You were you to get to who you are today. You stepped over lines and pushed into a new horizon to be who you are today, whether you realize it or not. Here’s the surprise: You’ve already pushed your limits. Close your eyes, take two deep breaths, and repeat after me, “I’ve already pushed my limits.”

Here is the trick. Here is the juncture that separates the 14-year-old graduate, the accomplished Everest hiker, and the first man on the moon from everyone else.

"Keep looking forward"

Wear your accomplishments, wins, setbacks, and failures as armor as you head into the next challenge, but ask the person within you that chose to push your limit the last time, “Is that it? Have I hit my highest limit as a human being?” 

  • If your answer to this question is yes, I challenge you to think of one thing you’ve always wanted to do, but never have- pause for a minute and truly think of it. Great, now that you have it, ask yourself, “Have I hit my highest limit as a human being or can I ______?” 

  • Here’s the answer, you can. I believe you can. Other people may tell you can’t but the only person that matters in telling you that you can, is you. So, go do it. Maybe you succeed and set a new limit- great. Maybe you fail, great. Try again. Keep looking forward. 

  • If your answer to this question is no, set up the next limit you will push through and put on your armor, because it’s time for battle. 

As for me, I’ve just begun my next limit. I might fail, I might succeed, but I’m going to look forward and July 15th will come around whether I complete 100 miles or not.

When you feel stuck, defeated, or incapable of tackling your next limit, follow these 5 steps:

  1. Your feet face forward for a reason. You don’t walk backwards. Challenges, obstacles, and limits will come in front of you, so if you’re walking that way, why not face them?

  2. You are what you do, not what you think. Ignore those voices telling you, “You can’t.” Instead, think of all the things you’ve already accomplished- THAT is who you are.

  3. Take one-step towards that limit, I promise your second foot will follow. With that first step, you’ve already stepped into a new limit, congratulations!

  4. Take a deep breath. We are all better when we breathe.

  5. Ask yourself, “Now what?”

"Words have power, especially those you speak to yourself."

The words you speak to yourself are the only enemy that can intrude within your armor. When they are negative, they weaken you; but when they are strong, they empower you. Limits are met and expectations surpassed through belief in oneself, so don’t let your words defeat you, let them fuel you.

And with this, I leave you to take on my next mile of my next limit. The end line will arrive and so, too, will two simple words, “Now what?”

Kelli Gerrans

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Abraham Gutsioglou, Ph.D.

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