I’ve been on this amazing journey of getting into CrossFit since January. I’ve even gone as far as to obtain my Level-1 CrossFit Trainer Certificate. Although I have seen significant gains physically, I cannot begin to explain the mental enhancements that I have experienced. As I inch my way closer to being a part of this amazing community for one year, it made me think about what parallels we can draw to real life. What lessons and experiences can I take with me when I leave the gym.
Lesson 1: Your body can do more than your mind thinks you can.
I’m on round one of a four round work out, thinking, “How am I going to get through this? I cannot get through this.” But to this day, I always have. I have always finished the work out. I haven’t always been first and I’m typically quite slow, but I always plug along and finish. After awhile, that voice in my head started to go away. This does not mean that the work outs are getting any easier, it just means that the fear of failing is subsiding. When my head wants to tell me to stop, that I’ve reached the limit and can go no further, I have always been able to stretch those boundaries physically.
I see this happen with my students every day. They are afraid to live up to the potential that they have inside of them. The fear of failing prevents them from succeeding. By overcoming these mental hurdles, time and time again, you will realize that you possess all of the necessary skills to overcome your fears. This continuous practice of mental toughness is imperative to finding success.
Lesson 2: Just keep moving forward
I read in an article that stated, “progress is slow, and then it’s fast.” This could not be truer. In a world where instant gratification is readily available, the patience and consistent hard work that is needed to do great things is hard to find. Is excellence a process or a destination? I would argue both. Keep your head down and just keep moving forward. The most gratifying workouts are the ones that took a tremendous amount of discipline just to get to the gym door. When you battled every excuse to not go to the gym, but found yourself there regardless. That is progress. Baby steps add up quicker than you realize.
Lesson 3: Rest on the ground
Burpee: the act of getting your entire body (chest and hips) on the ground, and then getting your entire body off the ground (jumping).
No one enjoys doing burpees. But like coach says, burpees keep you out of the nursing home. If you can get yourself on the ground and back up, you can live an independent life.
The most difficult part of the burpee is getting back up and off the ground. When resting, rest on the ground, this way you have to get back up.
Set yourself up to succeed. If I am mentally and physically exhausted, by resting on the ground I am forcing myself to get one more rep. I HAVE to get back up. Put yourself in positions that force you to succeed.
Lesson 4: Community leads to success
When doing any research into CrossFit, one of the first things you always hear about is the sense of community. I belonged to a large gym and when I didn’t show up for three months, how many phone calls do you think I received asking where I had been? Zero. When I don’t show up for two days, I get texts asking where I am and why I didn’t show up. I’ve established great relationships with the regulars that attend my class time. We all suffer together and that creates a bond.
We can do more as a group working individually, yet collaboratively, then we could as individuals. We can push and encourage each other beyond the point that we can push ourselves. The positive attitudes amongst each other are contagious. The sense of community leads to a greater amount of success for each individual that is a part of it.
If you’re searching for success in your life, whatever that may be defined as for you, I can guarantee that implementing these lessons will help you achieve it. You CAN do you more than you think you can do. KEEP pushing forward, ESPECIALLY when you don’t want to. Put yourself in positions where you HAVE to succeed. Find a community to SHARE and find success in.
Studies have shown that we are extremely limited in actually motivating other individuals. Yet, main stream media and advertisements try to paint a different picture. Everything is about finding the quick and easy solution to your problems. They focus on having priorities that do not lead to happy lives.
The fact is that we are not able to motivate others. I cannot motivate you to get to the gym, or apply yourself academically or proactively work towards a goal that has been on the horizon for far too long.
What I CAN do is inspire you. I can inspire you to create specific goals that are observable, measurable and repeatable. I can inspire you to get the most out of your education. I can inspire you to challenge yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. But, I can only foster an environment of inspiration if I am able to successfully create an environment that allows students (or anyone) the opportunity to be engaged.
There in lies the boundary of my influence. And it's scary. We all want to be able to instill success into the people we work with...at least I hope you do. But the reality is that we can only create this environment that allows individuals the opportunity to be inspired. To feel safe enough that they stretch the limit of their comfort zone. This is where growth takes place.
When people in the workplace are not performing to the levels of your expectations, instead of looking for quick fix, temporary solutions on how to "motivate" them, perhaps take a step back and evaluate the environment that you have created. Do your students/co-workers/employees have the opportunity be in engaged in their work? Make the conscious decision to give them this opportunity and see what happens.
I am passionate and write about personal development, leadership, education and healthy lifestyles. I work in higher education and I am committed to being an outstanding mentor and professional in my field.