MINDSET: “I quit before I even started…”
I woke up before my alarm went off, grabbed my phone to see what kind of day laid ahead. It’s somewhat routine for me to let my brain strategize a schedule that had become routinely scheduled down to the minute. I have 21 minutes from the time my alarm goes off to be walking out the front door. That leaves me 4 minutes to get everything I need for the day packed into the car. On a good day, I arrive at the Box in 16 minutes, giving me 19 minutes to warm up and get my head into the CrossFit game that day. This scheduling goes on, from the minute the workout does or does not end, I’m in the shower by 8:01am, and out the door again by 8:21am if I want to make the light out of the parking lot in order to get to my desk by 8:30am. This leaves me just enough time for oats and protein before the first meeting of my day at 8:45am. By this point in the day I feel like I’ve run a marathon, and the day is just getting started.
The morning didn’t start the way it usually does. I normally have a sense the night before what the workout looks like. It wasn’t posted. I rolled over just before my alarm went off to check and see. It would give me an hour to run a strategy through my head for surviving. Some days, surviving is the best I can hope for. This was going to be one of those days (at least that’s what the little voice inside my head was saying, and I was buying it).
Funny enough, knowing how not optimistic I am about the planned workout, I am optimistic about the coach that day.
Today was brutally hard. On top of everything, this was a “Test Workout” meaning it was to evaluate my improvement against the last time I’d done the same workout. I was determined to beat my score. That to me was going to be the definition of success for the day. Coach had other plans for me and my little definition. He pushed me to increase my weight selection – in my head my goal just went out the window. I begrudgingly switched out the weights before the workout began.
I stood over the dumbbells in the third round of the workout, and just felt angry. In the 15 second recovery I had from the prior round, my head couldn’t get a plan together. Should I just sit this 45 second round out? If I did, would it be enough rest that I could make up the reps in the other movements? My thoughts then started picking away at me – I’m not designed for this. I’ll never be good at this movement. I’m not strong enough. I can’t move fast enough.
While busy in the middle of my own pity party, my coach had walked up and broke up my conversation. He asked me to pick up those dumbbells and squeeze out 3 reps. That’s it, that’s all I had to do. It hit me like a punch in the face. I argued with him that I needed more than 10 if I was going to hit my goal and I couldn’t do it. I knew I could do 3 reps. I didn’t want to, but I could. I squeezed out 4 in the time remaining just to prove it to myself.
By the next round, I’d abandoned my definition of success. The next and final round I pushed that number back up to 6, and 7. I gained back the 30 seconds I wasted stewing about not hitting my goal. It sucked. Every rep hurt. I gave up hope that I might even come close to the score I had on the same workout 6 weeks earlier in the cycle. In my head, the number dropped dramatically. When I looked down at the little whiteboard I was tracking on and added up my reps – turns out I was only 22 reps short of my previous performance when I lifted less weight.
I hopped in the shower – a moment to think (where I do a lot of my best thinking). I realized I had given up before I even started. Before the workout began, the scaling options given didn’t include the weight I had lifted on my previous test. My coach pushed me. Then, he did something I needed more than the push itself, he asked me to give myself permission to let go of the expectation of myself, the definition I was using that was holding me back.
He helped me reframe my own thoughts in a matter of seconds, it got me thinking about where we get stuck. How often in your day did you give up before you even started?
Even more importantly as a Coach and Leader, this Coach reminded me that one of the most powerful things we can do as Coaches & Leaders is believe even more in the potential of people, especially in the moments they struggle to believe it in themselves. His belief in me, gave me permission to step away from my own expectations and calculations and definition for a minute, trust someone who was believing in me and get out of my own way.
What expectations are holding you back? What’s getting in your way?
Learn to reflect on these situations in our MINDSET: Power & Possibility seminar on December 9th. Register here!