Anything is Possible: Making a Workout Mantra a Life Philosophy

By Sybille Rex, USAT Ambassador | Nov. 12, 2019, 12:25 p.m. (ET)

rex after race with medal

“Anything is possible” has become my new mantra for this race season. Only a couple weeks ago did I fully realize that IRONMAN® is using the same motivational phrase. It actually popped into my head during an indoor triathlon while running for 20 min on a treadmill, trying to figure out how far I could go. My cautious voice was telling me “3 miles? Impossible! Because? Because you just don’t run that fast!” After a moment of contemplation, my daredevil voice cleared its throat and said “Wait a minute. Why not!? Who says she cannot run 3 miles in 20 min? That’s around a 6:30 min/mil pace. Others can do that. So can she! Anything is possible!!” And that “Anything is possible” really stuck with me. I choose to believe it.


 I began using this phrase in training and racing to improve and push my mental game and it has been working like magic! Whenever doubt creeps in, or I tell myself “I can’t”, or things get too uncomfortable, I keep repeating “Anything is possible!” over and over and over again - like a mantra. Each time, those mental barriers I was beginning to construct would disappear, and I would be able to push harder and longer. “Anything is possible” allows me to stay in the moment: focused, open to any possibilities and redefining my limits.


The same mantra became applicable to other parts of my life as well. My daredevil voice became so much stronger.


As a swim instructor and coach, when I am at work I give instructions like, “Arms up, in streamline,” “Belly button up,” “Kick, kick, kick,” and I love it! I teach kids and adults. My work attire is a bathing suit. I spend hours moving through water, teaching others how to swim, how to enjoy water as much as I do, and observing how they make progress. It is so rewarding – making anything possible for them, while laughing, telling stories and having fun.

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About a year ago, my professional conversations with clients were more like, “I am so sorry this product is not working for you,” and, “Yes, I understand your frustration.” The product complaints and negativity that came with them had worn me out. Plus, I was sitting at a desk for eight hours straight.


If someone would have looked into a crystal ball and predicted my future – “A year from now, you’ll be working as a swim instructor, a certified triathlon coach preparing athletes for their first 70.3, and leading spin classes”—I would have shaken my head and said, “Yeah, right! How could that be possible?”


But anything is possible! If we want it bad enough, if our heart is fully in it, if we believe in ourselves, if we pursue our dreams with passion, determination, consistency, patience, and an open mind, we can make it happen. We can make anything possible.


I love my new life! I love that listening to a lot of music is part of my job as spin instructor. I get to ride a lot of miles just to rehearse for my classes, and be creative with it. I love learning from other spin instructors, too. I love coaching my triathletes, getting to know them as athletes and people, seeing them get stronger and faster, and getting them ready for race day. I love that I am challenged by them. And I love talking to other coaches and learning from them, too.


I love that there are so many more ways to develop myself, and that more certifications are waiting to be completed. And I love that all of this comes with having more time for my family, and meeting so many incredible, supportive, and enthusiastic people who share a similar journey. I love that every day is different, that I need to stay flexible and open, and that I am able to enjoy life to the fullest – because I do what I love.