They have no idea what they’re capable of.
It’s the first Taekwondo promotion test of the year, and I’m helping out. The current group of kids testing are all relatively new to the art.
At the end of the test, they each have an opportunity to break a board. For many of them, it’s their first time. One by one, they walk up to the front of the group to take their turn.
I watch as a little girl — a first grader — reaches the front of the room for her attempt. She takes a step back back and prepares to strike.
A flicker of doubt passes across her face. Will the board break? Am I strong enough? Here goes nothing.
Snap! The board splits in two.
She stares at it with disbelief. I actually broke it. Wow!
Everyone watching applauds as she returns to her spot in line. The surprise still shows on her face. Her stance is different than before. She holds her back straighter. She holds her head higher. A touch of pride sparkles in her eyes.
Some of these kids may not think of themselves as being strong. Power may not be written into the story they tell themselves. But it’s there.
you, yes you
are capable of
You have the ability to do much good in the world. You have the capacity to impact the people around you — in big ways and small ways. You are powerful.
Sometimes you may not feel that power. You may not realize just how much you’re able to do. Sometimes self-doubt can overwhelm you. You may stop feeling strong and capable.
But you can change how you feel. You can change your mindset.
The way to feel powerful is to do things that make you feel powerful. Lead with action. And those actions will change your self-perception.
Celebrate what you’ve already done. You’re not starting from nothing. Draw strength from past victories.
Change your posture. Right now, pause and sit up a little straighter. Notice how it makes you feel. A strong body tells the mind it’s supposed to feel strong.
Help one person. Remember that if you can affect someone one time, then you can do it again, and again, and again. You have the power to touch someone.
Surround yourself with people who lift you. Let them give you the strength you don’t feel for yourself.
Act out of your strengths and gifts. And as someone once told me, strengths are simply the things that make us feel strengthened. It feels good to do what you’re good at.
With each action — with each step — you prove to yourself that you are strong. And you believe it.
Later that day, I walk through the cool winter air. The memory of the last few hours plays through my mind.
I recall standing in front of the judges for my evaluation, committed to bring everything I had. I recall the strength of my warm-up punches. I recall the confidence as I ran through my patterns. I recall the force of my kicks — crashing through the boards that seemed to offer no resistance. I recall the energy of sparring with my partners. I did well today — far better than I expected I would.
As I remember, my back straightens. I hold my head a little higher. I feel strong.
I am unstoppable.
So are you.