MINDSET: Overcoming Obstacles & Fears that are Getting in Your Way
“The greater the obstacle, the more glory in overcoming it.” ― Molière
It was the year I started CrossFit. I had been growing to love all of the new challenges it was putting my body through. For every challenge I conquered, I felt this incredible surge of confidence. It spilled over into my life. It was a real sense of mastery, the kind we get from checking items off our to do list or bucket list. Then it all stopped.
It was late into a long workout, when it happened. Before I knew it, I was laying on the floor, feeling a sense of panic – I was mortified! Thoughts raced through my head, did anyone see that? I hope not! I was immediately judging myself. I had a photoshoot planned the next day for a book I was writing, was I still going to be able to do the shoot?
Incredible the way the mind works. The coach ran over to me immediately to ask if I was ok. It all came back to me. I had a flash of the moment. It was box jumps, my legs were tired from the many rounds already behind me and the deadlifts in between. My feet left the ground, I felt the edge of the box, then I remember seeing the approaching pillar as I missed the edge of the box and launched straight forward into the concrete pillar, hitting my forehead hard before falling to the floor beside my box.
My mind went to judgment pretty quickly after that, rather than, am I ok? I was more worried about what others would think, I was embarrassed, and I was worried about my plans for the next day. I look up at my coach, replying to him “I have a photoshoot tomorrow, how bad does it look?” He simply replied, “I think you should get to the hospital.” It all snapped back into line. This was pretty serious, and the rest could wait.
I landed a notable contusion on my forehead, as my coach described “it looks like a hockey puck on your forehead” and a lovely black eye. The photo shoot went ahead. The timing actually worked out, before the black settled in, my brilliant photographer carefully angled me to disguise my injury. What I had worried so much about wasn’t even a problem.
The real problem, I hadn’t anticipated, was the crippling fear that came from the accident. For weeks I would stand in front of the box and a flashback of the wall I hit immediately played over and over in mind. I bent my knees and prepared for the jump and couldn’t. I resorted to step ups for weeks. One day I got the courage to jump again. A fellow member and coach passed encouraged me to adjust to a way that felt safe for me.
This accident haunted me for years on and off. Eventually, with deliberate practice, my confidence grew. When Box Jumps showed up in WODS, I felt anxiety, it took work mentally to reset my expectations and standards, and redefine what success would look like for me each time. Rather than a high score or fast time, it became about good, safe jumps. Mindful focus on what my legs were feeling and where my mind was going. I started with a smaller box. I jumped for a few reps, and stepped up when I felt tired and at risk. I took tiny steps over a long period to get comfortable again with with the movement, until I did.
Today, seeing Box Jumps in the programming doesn’t phase me the same way. I will always have that tiny bit of anxiousness, but now it fuels me rather than stops me. I know I can do it, so I reframe that feeling to simply be a reminder to listen to my body, go at my own pace and take it one rep at a time. I jumped over my own mental and physical hurdle. That is success for me.
Obstacles are part of life. They get in the way… for a reason! They offer us the opportunity to tap into our own greatest strengths and resources, to make a choice to overcome them and to grow in doing so. We can do our very best to avoid what is in front of us (skip workouts, avoid certain people, deflect certain topics), however, they will not go away.
Even the tiniest steps add up to tremendous progress toward conquering our challenges. We have the tools, the strength and the abilities, what we need is the mental grit to take on the task. We need to be ready to choose to embrace the adversity before us, so we can learn and grow from it. It is within you, what one step can you take today to move forward?
There is a new year just ahead of us, are you ready to move past the things standing between you and your goals in 2019?
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Learn to reflect on these situations in our MINDSET: Power & Possibility seminar on December 9th. Register here!