Ginger likes to practice handstand holds while walking her dog, Taco.
Ginger likes to practice handstand holds while walking her dog, Taco.

Are You “Good Enough”?
Written by Invictus Member Ginger Spanbauer

With the New Year still somewhat freshly upon us, I feel it prudent to share something that stuck out to me as this past year came to its inevitable close.

What is it to be “good enough”?

Every so often, you’ll hear a certain way a coach might describe to you a correction – whether it be a quick tweak to a lift, a seemingly minor adjustment in the mechanization of a movement – something that has been explained over-and-over to you, again-and-again, in so many words, that will, in one seemingly insignificant moment, finally click and resonate with you throughout the rest of your CrossFit journey. Maybe it was that one hip-movement, or the idea of “pushing away from the bar” that helped you string together your first legit kipping pull-ups; or perhaps it was the visualization of digging in and turning your big toe out, all the while keeping it firmly fixed into the ground, to finally get your stubborn knees to drive out when standing back up on that heavy front squat. Throughout your journey, until you’ve used it, acknowledged it, and wholeheartedly applied it, it’s purely a notion. And whether you chose to apply it or not, you heard it. It resonated. And then it was up to you to decide what to do with it.

“Don’t tell me you’re not good enough…”

I don’t know what happened that particular day, but I can’t stop thinking about the start of that one line. Coach Lindsey said the aforementioned statement to me one day during a MetCon – more accurately, in the dead midst of a MetCon – in reference to going “as prescribed” in weight. To be perfectly honest, that sneaky coach switched my barbell’s weights right out from under my preoccupied, Kettlebell-swinging self’s nose! I finished out the workout earnestly, eager and, much to my surprise, successfully. Earlier that morning I had also PR’d my Power Clean. Again, not before Coach called me out for ‘getting out of my head’ in order to achieve it. I was certainly happy about the PR, don’t get me wrong; but the point is that, even after the 5-pound PR, the ‘little me’ inside my head automatically went to diminish any victory I felt, with “What is a little 5 pounds?” If you’re anything like me, more often than not, the sense of victory and accomplishment can only grow so much before the overshadowing concept of “not good enough” morphs its ugly little head into a sense of feigned truth.

The fact was, I had never gone “as prescribed,” before. Never even considered it. It was never necessarily my mission and certainly not something I could pull off in the vast majority of other WOD circumstances. The reality of the matter was that when I would see such an RX written on the whiteboard, I’d immediately begin doing my own mental subtraction in order to scale myself back a certain number of pounds behind, simply because I believed it wasn’t for “people like me.”

But the most shocking was the idea that I was “good enough.” And it panged my heart to realize that I never thought of it that way. Why did I assume I wasn’t? Was that really a fair assessment of myself? Similarly, several times since that class, I’ve been outside of class, and have realized that any challenging situations in the external spectrum are no different than they are in class; content aside. Over the next several days, I began to notice that, when confronted with that familiar fear or automatic lean toward a “lesser-than” approach to a (new) situation, that specific moment in the gym would suddenly pop into my head and I’d remind myself that maybe, just maybe – I WAS good enough. I realized that something about these triggers had to have at least been significances enough to allow me to even draw such a parallel.

But this post isn’t about me – it’s about what the power of understanding what “good enough” can truly be. And maybe how, instead of defining a certain “good enough,” we should put more stock into the questions of “for what” and “for whom.”

It’s senseless to try to trace back in history and its events to determine how one develops this illness of not feeling “good enough.” I couldn’t even begin to tell you the answer in my own case; and I certainly doubt my life’s history would be of much interest to most. But it matters not, as none of this is relevant to what is “now.” The fact of the matter is that every single one of us has felt, at one time or another, that heavy-weight-bearing mentality rear its ugly head, trying to crush that fighting spirit; whether it be during that a particularly difficult workout, that PR you’ve been trying to achieve for months/years; or whether you feel you deserve to seek out that job promotion, or fit into a certain social situation.

Further, what I intend to share with you here is a testament to what the community, itself, and the sheer mental challenge is, of that which is Invictus. At times, I truthfully find myself caught off-guard with an overpowering sense of gratitude in the midst of it all. Never before had I encountered, with such consistency, situations in which such seemingly unconquerable challenges could somehow become gradually more and more attainable (quite certainly not dismissing the hard work that goes into achieving that result!). And nor could I imagine another opportunity where such a diverse group of individuals can come together and work on individual goals under the umbrella of some higher shared goal. With each success, the person working next to you is cheering you on; with each failure, that person and another are cheering you on even harder! We’re not all that different in the gym; and believe it or not, we’re not all that different outside of the gym. And sometimes it takes the maximum level of the often uncomfortable feeling of 100% effort to truly realize it.

The point that I hope to convey is that the journey does not end in the gym, folks. This is much, much bigger. If we can overcome that with which we’ve been chipping away on our mental selves at the gym on a daily basis, who is to say we can’t likewise chip away at other aspects of our lives with that same mental strength and fortitude? And yes, in an ideal world, one should never have to be told they’re good enough. But the unfortunate truth is that, more often than not, there are those who either have never listened when being told such before, or, quite frankly, have never felt they were given the right to consider such a concept at all.

Do yourself a favor this year, and approach each situation with a new face. Who cares what you’ve been secretly telling yourself. Maybe you ARE good enough. Chances are, you probably are. As a personal reminder to my own self, I’ve plugged such a saying onto my work calendar, to remind myself every day, mid-morning, that I am, indeed, “good enough.” The situation varies every day at that same time, but whatever qualms I may have, or dilemmas I may be facing in that very moment, the reminder challenges me to redirect my perspective. Like anything else, it’s a work in progress. But it certainly doesn’t hurt to hear it once a day – even if it’s through the ol’ Outlook! That little boost might be all you need in that moment. Also, keep your achievements fresh – yes, no matter how small or large (an achievement is NEVER small). Keep it forefront in mind when you start to doubt yourself. Sometimes that very tangible/physical parallel is just enough to strike a heavy chord in overall theme of life.

You’re good enough.

*Note from Ginger: A special thank you to our coaches, who probably believe in us more than we ever think we believe in ourselves. Whether it be holding us accountable for stated goals, pushing us past the limits of said goals, or even taping up unfortunate box-jump injuries; you’re setting us up to be better than what we think we are – because, as it turns out, we’re probably frequently ‘better’ than what we might ever have ever realized we are. Thank you, Invictus, for fostering a place for us to test out our true selves.