I train with arguably some of the best athletes in the world; not because I’m of equal athletic ability but because our schedules are the same. It can be pretty intimidating! There are days where I feel really bad about my abilities when I compare myself to those around me. Zach recently wrote a blog post about comparing yourself to others, so in reference to that, let’s talk about having a little perspective.
With September 11th recently behind us, I find myself reminding not only myself but others as well that our athletic abilities are a gift. They’re a gift that has an expiration date. Something we should feel grateful for, and not something we should take for granted. It’s a gift we should cherish and nurture, something to use as a tool in our relationships and our every day lives, but certainly not something we use to bring us down. My front squat does not define me as a person, it does not make me better or worse than anyone else, nor does it mean I’m less kind, less giving, less loving or less intelligent than anyone else. My clean and jerk does not and should not make or break my day; a “non-PR” day does not mean I’m less valuable. An injury does not mean I am worthless. Don’t confuse your lifts or your abilities in the gym with your identity. CrossFit or fitness in general is something you do, it is not who you are.
We humans are not created equal in terms of our abilities. Some are blessed with the ability to sing or dance, some are blessed with artistic talents, some are blessed with extraordinary strength. The interesting thing about CrossFit as a sport, what really separates it from the rest, is that everyone can participate. It’s the reason we feel so connected to those now-famous CrossFit athletes like Josh Bridges and Camille LeBlanc-Bazinet. The general population cannot play football with Tom Brady, but we as CrossFitters can hang with the big dogs; we do the same (or similar) things, the same workouts…then compare ourselves to them, and frequently let it define us. Sometimes we need a little reminder that these gifts that we’ve been given – especially our athletic gifts – have an expiration date. They won’t be with us forever, whether it’s age or injury that takes them away, your “Fran” time certainly won’t stay the same as you move on in years. Your “Fran” time or your 1-RM Back Squat certainly won’t be on your headstone. With a day like September 11th in our recent past, let’s remind ourselves that our opportunity to make ourselves physically fitter is a gift; the opportunity to improve our mental fortitude is a gift. The people we get to share these moments with is a gift. Enjoy these gifts while you have them. Let who you are define you. We’re all something to someone – mother, father, wife, husband, daughter, son, coach or friend. Allow this sport to empower you, and lift you up. Let it provide courage where we were missing it, or drive or determination where it wasn’t, and enjoy the moments of progress…because we all make progress.
Remember that “Full effort is full victory.” – Mahatma Gandhi