Takers, Givers, and Inner Peace
By Amy Kuitse, USAT Level I Certified Coach
Are you thinking, “Oh, no, more spiritual blah, blah, blah from an Ironman athlete?” You could look at the title and see it that way, but the truth is you need to find inner peace no matter what distance you are going. As a women that inner peace seems to become more and more important as we try to keep the gentle balance with the many things we are doing in our life. This article is about takers, givers and finding that inner peace as it relates to how we balance and deal with triathlon in our life. I feel like I have read a lot of things that remind me I am not the only women who worries way too much about things she cannot control, things that I cannot change, and that worry wastes precious time and energy. I have tried counting to ten, taking a deep breath, removing myself from situations, and time and time again I was still paralyzing myself worrying or being bothered by things I had no control over. One day during a mini melt down I called my friend Tim.
First, I will say this, it is true that the takers and givers list came about during IM training, but this “list” has become a valuable tool in many areas of my life. When I need a swift kick in the behind I know right where to go; my buddy Tim. Tim brings a whole new perspective to comments like, “don’t waste your time and energy, live today like it is your last, don’t worry about what other people think, and life is good”. He has lived through some very difficult times only being a few years younger in age than me and yet his perspective is that of someone who is much older. So, as our conversation is coming to an end, Tim tells me about the Takers and Givers list and he tells me to get this done asap. Our conversation ends and I go about my business. A couple of hours later an e-mail shows up that says something like, “get the lists done by the end of the day”. This moves me into action and this is how it goes. The Takers list consists of anyone or anything that drains you of emotional energy. It is a list of things that are negative in your life. Things that frustrate you and you cannot change; things that drain you of precious energy.
The Givers list contains things that make you happy, give you energy, and take you away from that stress you were feeling. It is a memory that makes you smile without realizing it, it is a person that you care deeply about, and it simply makes you smile.These lists are put on two separate pieces of paper. The Givers list goes in a place that you see everyday. You can post it in your office, put it in your day planner, hang it on your refrigerator, etc. The important thing is the list is somewhere that you look at it everyday.
The Takers list can be done anyway you want. They can all go on one sheet of paper or as I highly recommend, each Taker on a separate sheet of paper. Then, the magic begins! Go to your fire place, out in your backyard, wherever you can safely burn these pieces of paper. Burn them one at a time with a different match for each. Look at each one, take a deep breath, light it and let it burn completely before you light the next Taker. Literally let this burn out of your system as you light it. If you find yourself thinking about this Taker again and it is going on for more than 24 hours; it’s back to putting it on a sheet of paper and burning it again. Don’t be fooled, you will think about some of these things again, but the difference this time is that you know you can remove it from your system with nothing more than a piece of paper, pencil and a match!Use this to find the goods and not so goods in races that may leave you frustrated or disappointed. When it comes to racing though, make sure you find the good in a tough day, as there is always good in any race. If it was a tough day and you got to the finish line that is one good thing right there. Use this Takers and Givers list and set time limits on how long you will allow yourself to be disappointed in a race or a segment of it, don’t let it go on and on.
Another valuable thing I learned from my buddy Tim, if you allow this frustration and disappointment to go on it becomes part of the Takers list. It drains you of emotional energy that you do not need to be wasting.Each day presents itself with challenges in balancing family, work, training and other demands we have. Do not waste time worrying about things we cannot change, but rather use the time you have to enjoy what is most important to you. Use the Takers list to let go of those things that are weighing you down and the Givers list to make you smile. I will expect to hear that you have your lists done by this afternoon and your “burning party” scheduled right after that!