Who are you not to be?
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you.
We are born to manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It’s not just in some of us,
it’s in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give others permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
our presence automatically liberates others.
This appeared in Marianne Williamson’s 1992 book “A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles” and is often missourced to Nelson Mandela’s Inauguration Speech in 1994.
I love this quote because I think many of us have
been conditioned to believe that greatness is something for someone else
to enjoy. The truth is that we all have talents and there are things
that each of us do that others cannot. We should not feel shame for this
and trivialize our achievements. We should embrace what we have done
and allow our actions to empower others.
I like the following quote because it helps me
stay focused on my training during the off-season. It is a diary entry
by Colombian rider Santiago Botero during the Tour de France one year:
There I am all alone with my bike. I know of only two
riders ahead of me as I near the end of the second climb on what most
riders consider the third worst mountain stage in the Tour. I say ‘most
riders’ because I do not fear mountains.
After all, our country is nothing but mountains. I
train year-round in the mountains. I am the national champion from a
country that is nothing but mountains. I trail only my teammate,
Fernando Escartin, and a Swiss rider. Pantani, one of my rival climbers,
and the Gringo Armstrong are in the Peleton about five minutes behind
me. I am climbing on such a steep portion of the mountain that if I were
to stop pedaling, I will fall backward. Even for a world class climber,
this is a painful and slow process. I am in my upright position
pedaling at a steady pace willing myself to finish this climb so I can
conserve my energy for the final climb of the day. The Kelme team leader
radios to me that the Gringo has left the Peleton by himself and that
they can no longer see him.
I recall thinking ‘the Gringo cannot catch me by
himself’. A short while later, I hear the gears on another bicycle.
Within seconds, the Gringo is next to me – riding in the seated
position, smiling at me. He was only next to me for a few seconds and he
said nothing – he only smiled and then proceeded up the mountain as if
he were pedaling downhill. For the next several minutes, I could only
think of one thing – his smile. His smile told me everything. I kept
thinking that surely he is in as much agony as me, perhaps he was
standing and struggling up the mountain as I was and he only sat down to
pass me and discourage me. He has to be playing games with me. Not
possible. The truth is that his smile said everything that his lips did
not. His smile said to me, ‘I was training while you were sleeping,
Santiago’. It also said, ‘I won this tour four months ago, while you
were deciding what bike frame to use in the Tour. I trained harder than
you did, Santiago. I don’t know if I am better than you, but I have
outworked you and right now, you cannot do anything about it. Enjoy your
ride, Santiago. See you in Paris.
I read this when I’m having a tough time convincing
myself that today’s workout will make any difference in the grand
scheme of things. I don’t want to know what it’s like to be beaten by a
lack of training.