I came across this quote today and stewed on it for a bit. I decided that I like it.

To excel means to reach beyond the best you have ever given because doing so matters to you personally, for its own sake. It means to run your own race—as an individual, team, or organization. To excel is to know your greatest strengths and passions, and to emphasize them while honestly admitting and managing your weaknesses.

– Robert Cooper from The Other 90%: How to Unlock Your Vast Untapped Potential for Leadership & Life

Here are a few things it got me thinking about….

Reach Beyond the Best You Have Given Because It Matters To You Personally. Sometimes I step back and think about CrossFit and why I do it. Then I laugh to myself and think, “people outside of this world must really think I’m really crazy”. Why do I put myself through it? Why do I want to travel and compete? Why do I care if I can lift that weight or reach that goal? I honestly can’t put it into words, other than I Love It.  I love that feeling of becoming better, of doing something I haven’t done before. I love to find out things about myself that I didn’t know before. It does matter to me personally and others may laugh at that and not understand. I might make it to The Games and I might not. It really doesn’t matter because that isn’t the only reason I CrossFit. It matters that I keep becoming better than I was yesterday in all areas of my life.  It matters to me as a coach to see others gain confidence, strength and a certain type of swagger. (swagger is my all time favorite word by the way) CrossFit helps me and others excel in that way.

Run Your Own Race. I get caught up in what others do…a lot. I need to lift as much as someone else. I need to run at least as fast as this person. I need to eat this way because I sure bet Annie never touches sugar. P.S. I really like sugar.  What works for me might not work for you and what works for you might not work for me. Don’t over analyze what others are doing. There is nothing wrong with trying new approaches, but don’t let it get in your head!

So what do I know about myself so I that can run my own race? I know I need two full rest days a week. Full of nothing, nada, zip. I train hard on my other five days so I take advantage of my rest days. I. Need. Them. I used to get intimidated when I would hear about others going a week or more without rest. I thought they were super human to be able to maintain that kind of volume. I thought that meant I needed to do more. How could I possibly do more? I know for me too much of a good things is a bad thing.

I also know that squatting makes me strong and gives me confidence. I will always and forever squat. Not necessarily as much as I am now, but there will always be a back squat or front squat in my weekly lineup in some way, shape or form. I see too many benefits to leave it out.

Last, I know I need to compete. I wish I was one of those that could workout on my own. I can still put up decent times alone, but I thrive on competition. I like going head to head with others during class. Sure, there are days when I can’t make that happen, but group settings get my engine going….and I like it.

Know Your Greatest Strengths and Passions. I’m the last person in the world that will give myself praise. I had this bad habit of saying I was awful at this and awful at that. When you say something enough you start to believe it. I had a spell when I really believed the junk I said about myself. I think one of my greatest strengths is my ability to just maintain. I can maintain a pace. I may not start out the fastest, but I don’t fade off too much. I may not have the highest one rep max, but I can maintain a pretty decent percentage of it for multiple reps over the course of a WOD.  I’m trying to become better about acknowledging my strengths. It is a funny thing to do to say, “I’m good at blah, blah blah”. Vocalize those strengths. Then you will believe it!

Honestly Admit and Manage Your Weaknesses. I’m really good at admitting my weaknesses. Too good. One of my biggest areas of struggle is my overhead stability and strength. This has always confused me. I grew up a competitive swimmer so I have always had strong shoulders and upper body. However, that hasn’t always correlated into locking out heavy jerks and banging out handstand push ups. Sheesh. I have a list of ten things that I consider my weaknesses. It is written on a white board in my garage gym so I can see it. I probably could have listed twenty because I want to be better at everything. I try to take that list and pick a few things to work on every few weeks. I don’t over do it, but I throw them in my warm up or WOD in a challenging and productive way. It has helped me manage those weaknesses. I can’t move them into the strength category yet, but I can put them in the “I’m getting there” category.

Take time to evaluate your training and goals and why you do what you do. If you don’t know where you are lacking then you won’t know how to build on what you already have.


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