It was an average afternoon and I was chasing my energetic (and mischievous!) toddler, Carter, around the Granbery Elementary playground, trying to get him tired enough so that he wouldn’t fight me for his afternoon nap. He climbed on the platforms and went down the slides. He tried to wander off into the parking lot and streets and giggled every time I chased him back into the playground perimeters. I was soaking up the sunshine and not thinking about anything in particular when I noticed another mom and son sharing the slides and playing near us.
The mom looked about my age, but her son was a bit older than Carter—maybe 6 or 7. I was watching Carter’s every move like I always do, since he’s so young, and I saw the other boy start to swing across the monkey bars. His feet dangled at least two feet above the ground and he started to swing, arm over arm, across the bars. If you’ve ever tried this, you know that it’s really freaking hard!
When I used to go to the playground with Carter, I’d try to pull all of the stunts and flips and tricks I’d do when I was kid. The only minor detail I forgot is that I am not a kid and have since had two kids! With every single thing I attempted, I only hurt myself and ended up very disappointed in my lack of flexibility and strength.
So watching this kid swing and climb across these monkey bars captivated my attention for a minute, because I realized how amazing it was. He looked like a mini-American Ninja Warrior as he used his upper body strength to swing from one ring to the next without ever slipping and falling to the ground. As his little hand grasped the last ring, he swung his body with an extra burst of energy and made a triumphant final swing off of the last bar onto the ground, sticking his landing and throwing his arms up proudly like Simone Biles at the Olympics. His mom looked at him, and with a huge grin of pride and amazement spreading across her face she exclaimed, “I didn’t know you could do that!”
And the boy looked back at her with an equally excited smile and replied, “I didn’t either!”
I was captivated by that moment because I realized that’s how we discover our potential, friends. That’s how we realize what we’re capable of and discover things we never imagined we could do. There’s no magic formula. We just go for it. We give it a shot and we try. We write the first chapter of that book we’ve been dreaming of, or we run that first 5K race. We post our first live video on social media or we help our first paying coaching client. We walk on the stage for the first time, create a new blog, or sign up for that class. We just do it. We will never know what we can do until we do it.
It’s in the doing that we realize what we are capable of doing.
Then, once you’ve done it and you swing off the bars victoriously, people around you will smile with pride and say, “I didn’t know you could do that!” And like that boy on the playground, you didn’t either.
But here’s the best part: now you do!
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