You are not your thoughts, don't let them trick you


Alright this is how it went down:

 “You don’t have to do this.” 

“You really won’t be able to get good at this anyway.”

“Why even go today?” 

“You can just not go.” 

“You can turn back.” (even after I had left) 

“No one is making you do this.”


Yep, that was the inner landscape of one of the hardest places to be…my mind.

My own mind was defeating me before I even started.

My own mind was making it hard for me to overcome my fear.

And that’s fear that my own darn mind created in the first place!

Sound familiar? (come on, tell me it does, ‘cause now I feel a little worse if it’s only me)

This was the setup. 

This was the morning I had planned to try rowing at a new boathouse. Rowing, for the first time in almost two years. And I had only ever rowed to begin with for about a year and a half. So, it’s not like it’s an innate sport for me.

I’m not one of those crew people who rowed all the time. Heck, I grew up in the south. I had never even heard of rowing until I got to college.

 And even then, I ignored it because it seemed like something only white people did.


So, somehow a few years ago, I decided to try it. As a new sport. I wanted a sport I could do outside and I was staring at the lake every day anyway. 


And the biggest reason I started? To get stronger to carry my disabled son. (We can talk in a different post why that kind of deep motivation will help you be more successful at any change.) 


So I did it. I got up at ungodly hours. I got out of my comfort zone. I went to cold, wet docks in the dark.

And anyone who knows me well knows that there are two things I really don’t like…cold and wet. (I still can’t figure out why people who row don’t care that their socks get wet when they walk on the dock!) 

I rowed until…I stopped.

A few things combined to bring on that hiatus.

A sabbatical with my family, a broken foot, a cold, wet winter. It really doesn’t matter but I stopped.


And somehow lately, I had gotten the feeling like I want to try it again. Because when I did row, even though I was scared to try something new, it felt exhilarating.

There was no feeling like 

  • Being out on crystal-like water before noises had settled around it 

  • Watching the sunlight jump on the water making it look like the most expensive jewels you have ever seen

  • Being that close to the water and surrounded by mountains before most of the city had even woken up. 

It was like a prayer.

So you would think I would be nothing but excited to wake up today and try it again.

But no, I was scared out of my mind. 


I can tell you all the concrete reasons:

  • This boathouse only sculls (a type of rowing I much prefer) but it means you go out in only singles or doubles which is much harder and something I had never even done. So, I wondered if I needed a refresher first.

  • I hadn’t done this in so long that I wasn’t sure I even remembered the mechanics which are definitely a bit of a thing. If you don’t get your stroke right, you end up getting stuck, literally, in the water. It’s not fun.

  • I feel more out of shape now than when I had tried it initially. 

Sure, there were a lot of, what my mind would package as, real reasons. 

But those weren’t keeping me from going.

It was the tricks my own mind played on me.

It was my own sense that I was “not enough.” 

It was my own fear of moving forward and trying this new sport again.

It was my own limiting beliefs about myself.


And those my friend, will get you stuck way more than any logistical reasons ever will.

That’s at the heart of all fear of moving forward.

Your mind making you feel like you aren’t enough.

Like you aren’t capable.


So, I’ll tell you what I did.

I heard all of those voices in my mind. I heard all of them, loud and clear.

And with a heart that kept quivering, I still kept moving forward.


I heard the voices and:

  • Still got out of my bed and got dressed

  • Still found my gloves buried deep in my drawer

  • Still got in my car.

  • Still went to that boathouse where I knew no one and asked if I could row today. 


It wasn’t easy. I told my husband that I literally almost went back to bed or home at least a dozen times. And that my friend, is no lie.

And I’m no amazing superhero. I’m just a woman who decided today to not believe my thoughts.

Plain and simple, I made the choice to say, No. Not this time.

And each time I heard that voice, I thought to myself….

  • “That’s not me. That’s just my mind playing tricks on me.”

 And then a millisecond later…

  • “I can do this.”


My mind would go off in her annoying way again and I would repeat….

  • “That’s not me. That’s just my mind playing tricks on me.”

  • “I can (and will) do this.” 

  • Rinse and repeat. Until I made it to that damn boathouse.

The “and will” was added later after I had to repeat myself so many times! Felt like I had to get more defiant.

And I did it. It kicked my ass. It was scary. We actually had a collision (!!) that was not our fault but very scary. And still, I did it.

And so can you.

The next time you hear your mind playing tricks on you, come back with your own response. Or use mine. But just answer it. Don’t let it have the last word.

If your mind is:

  • Limiting you

  • Making you feel incapable

  • Telling you, you aren’t enough

Then, it’s not your best, highest self. It’s your fearful, limiting self and you don’t need to hang with her. Seriously.

Get a new bestie.

One whose thoughts are unlimited. One who never doubts your potential.

You deserve that.

Try this for me, ok? 
I shudder to think of all the things you might not do if you let your limited mind win.

I’m rooting for your unlimited mind. She’s got my back.

Let me know how it goes, please! You will inspire me for my next time.

And if you want even more juicy joy in your life, download my free guide here, 5 Tickets to Transformation.

We can all use more of that!

Live well,






Tanmeet Sethi2 Comments