Sometimes I get jealous of runners whose parents are successful athletes. I envy athletes who have been exposed to sport their whole life and who have had guidance and knowledge from a young age. Running is not something that I share with any member of my family. Though I must have inherited some physical talent for running from them it isn’t readily apparent where it came from. What is apparent, as I often joke, is that I got obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) from my dad and anxiety from my mother.
It is easy to label my always on and anxious mind as a liability. But as I get older, I realize that it is also a strength. It is the obsessive thoughts that lead me to constant action and it is this drive that has brought about success in my academic and athletic careers. Talent is not just your VO2 max score or superb biomechanics that allow you to float over the ground barely touching it. Talent is also the willingness to be focused and patient in the long months and years of high mileage; it is running when you don’t feel like it; it is the ability to stay injury free; it is the drive to succeed even after years of disappointments or failure; it is the discipline to do all the small things every day like eating right, weight training and injury prevention.
“Remember that your greatest talent is so much more powerful than your biggest fear.”
-Robin S. Sharma
Like most issues, anxiety and OCD is not black and white. It is not always this dirty Pig Pen cloud hovering over your head. It is a grey issue that has some benefits. This realization has allowed me to accept the things I cannot change, and instead embrace the challenges and take advantage of the passion that I have within me. I do have talent. It has just taken some time to realize it through the cloud of anxiety and OCD.
Call for comments:
What are your unconventional talents? How do you use your talents to overcome your weaknesses?
So very true, Maria! You are a very talented and successful athlete that you have accomplished on your own! Those genes did not come from this side of the family! You have done it on your own!????
An unconventional talent or blessing, as I would say, is my eternal optimism and hope. Though I am not the fastest or most talented, hope springs eternal as I sign up for race after race. I’m willing to get up early, battle Texas summer heat, and push for that last mile. My weakness of not pushing hard enough is overcome by my lack of quit! Thanks for this article!