Lessons, Ephiphanies and Other Life Changing Moments
Written by Nichole DeHart

If you know me well then you are aware that I have life changing moments on a daily basis. I actually work hard to experience something new every day or learn a new lesson every day. These make for life changing days. In fact, I believe we all experience life changing moments on a daily basis. Life is not stagnant. Instead, we have this constant ebb and flow with our interactions between others, ourselves and nature. So really, we all have life changing moments that we experience on a daily basis. It is up to us to identify those moments and reflect on them that makes them extra-ordinary.

I recently had a big life changing moment while competing in the USA Weightlifting American Open. It was actually a collection of lessons that I learned at the Open that made for an incredible life changing experience. First of all, I was honored to have even qualified for the American Open. Outside of the small qualifying meet I did 2 weeks before the Open, I had never competed in an Olympic lifting meet before. So it was a privilege to even be at such a well revered and competitive meet. So, without further ado, the life changing lessons I learned at the American Open:

Get out of your comfort zone. I have been doing CrossFit competitions for a while now. I believe my first CrossFit competition was back in 2006. I have my game day routine down, my mental preparation dialed in and have a good handle on my nerves. CrossFit is definitely within my comfort zone. Olympic Weightlifting meets, like the American Open, are definitely not in my comfort zone. Before taking my first lift, I wasn’t even sure how a lift was defined as being a “good lift.” I was definitely out of my realm, which can be a really good thing. Sometimes, taking yourself out of your comfort zone can stimulate growth and personal development. I was able to dial in my mental toughness and focus by being slightly uncomfortable and in a new realm. I was more acutely aware of how I approach a competition and was able to overcome some fears (like being around crazy strong girls) and conquer. What a great feeling!

Turn off your brain. I can’t stress enough the importance of good technique and sound form. It is vital to being a successful athlete. However, when you are in a competition trying to set a new PR, you must turn off your brain. Trust in your body and in your sound mechanics and turn the mind off. You need to dig deep and let your passion, adrenaline and drive take over. Take a look at some of the CrossFit Games athletes at this past years Clean Ladder event. Many of them PR’d on their clean on the third day of one of the most brutal weekends ever! They had less than one minute to perform a clean and many of them set a new personal record. In order to do this, they had to shut off their brain and put full trust in their body to carry them through. Next time you are attempting to set a new personal record, try turning off your brain and turn up your determination!

Be confident. I can’t stress this enough. Confidence is everything (this can apply equally to your work environment as well). I missed both of my opening lifts during the Open with weights that I never miss in the gym. It was due to the fact that I was nervous and lacked confidence while walking out to the bar. I had never had a panel of judges on me with silence all around while I lifted, so I let my lack of confidence dictate my performance. After I missed my opening lifts I knew it was because I wasn’t confident while walking out to the bar. I knew I had to change my mentality and I had to give myself a pep talk to bolster my confidence. CJ had them put more weight on the bar because I knew I would make it. I walked out with confidence for my next lifts and successfully made both of them (I ended up setting a new pr for myself with the snatch – 78 kgs). You must have confidence in your own abilities. This is not just for you, but it is also for those around you who can see if you are steadfast and confident or are wavering in your endeavor.

Don’t be afraid to take a risk. No matter what, your risk will be a success. Even if you don’t make your intended goal, you learn lessons from taking that risk. I took big jumps on both of my lifts. After hitting my 72 kg snatch I decided to go for a new personal record, which would mean taking a 6 kg jump (13 lbs). I knew I was up on the board with a score so I figured I would just go for it and guess what, I made the lift! I did the same thing for my clean and jerk. I made my 92 kg clean and jerk and decided to go for a new personal record, which would mean taking another 6 kg jump to 98 kgs. I ended up missing it but I was so happy I attempted it. It was a really good attempt and it gave me the confidence to try the lift again 2 weeks later when I ended up making it. View taking risks as a learning experience where you can always glean a valuable lesson.

Try applying these things within your life (gym, work, etc.) and see if you don’t start setting some new personal records in all aspects of your life!