I believe in you.
If that is the only takeaway you get from this article, then you can stop reading right now and I will be an incredibly happy coach. Those four words are the premise of why I come to the gym, why I get excited to call you to come and warmup, why you have every ounce of my focus when I am coaching you, and why I will never stop trying to learn as much as I can about fitness, about motivational strategies, and about the best ways to communicate and encourage you so that you can grow and accomplish your goals.
But that belief comes with expectations—and thank God that it does. I have high expectations for you because I believe you have potential; gloriously untapped potential. Simply by consistently showing up and doing work you have demonstrated to me that you want to be better tomorrow than you are today. And not only that, but you’re willing to do the work required to accomplish that goal. I have high expectations for you because I have faith that you will not be defined by the difficulties that befall you, but by your relentless tenacity to overcome them.
Yes, setbacks will come. The beauty of CrossFit (and most pursuits in life that truly challenge you) are that ultimately you will come to a point where your current level of skill or ability or strength is insufficient for the task presented to you.
In other words, you’re going to fail.
Either in an instant or for a prolonged period of time, there will be a challenge that is beyond your current capability and it will absolutely affect you, be it mentally, emotionally, physically, you name it.
Disappointment and setbacks rock all of us to our core because if they didn’t, we never really cared in the first place. But what separates those who endure and achieve, who push past their current capabilities into another, higher realm of capacity and those who do not is something so straightforward and simple that it almost evokes a, “No duh,” response.
They kept at it.
No, seriously. That’s it.
The individuals who achieved what they previously couldn’t, who overcame their failures, are typically not all that different in terms of talent, or intelligence, or skill than the individuals who also failed but could never overcome. How could they be? Both groups failed at the same task, after all.
The primary difference is that one group got knocked down and stayed down.
And the other group got back up.
Again and again.
From gymnastics to weightlifting to cardiovascular intensity, we challenge ourselves every day to push to the very limit of our current abilities. Whether it be a highly technical skill or a heavy load or a punishing distance on the rower, we bring ourselves to the very edge of what we are capable of, and often beyond. Therefore, it is not a question of if we are going to hit an obstacle or find ourselves a little out of our depth, but how we are going to respond when we find ourselves flat on our backs.
You never stay down if you keep getting back up; consistency triumphs in the end. One of my personal favorite quotes comes from James Watkins, and he echoes those sentiments:
“A river cuts through rock not because of its power, but because of its persistence.”
As I stated above, you have potential, gloriously untapped potential. And with that potential comes the very real opportunity for achievement. If I could shout one thing from the roof of the gym (I won’t, Ginny…at least not again), is that, “You are so much more capable than you give yourself credit for!”
But it’s not going to be easy. It can’t be. You’re going to be knocked down because you’re pursuing something tremendously worthwhile: a better you.
Nothing worthwhile comes easy, and as bestselling author and psychologist Angela Duckworth states in her book, “Grit,” being talented and skillful has never spared even the greatest achiever from the sting of setback and failure. Rather, it is their resilience, their unyielding perseverance, that led them towards achievement far more than their talent alone ever could.
Please allow me to leave you with a quote from “Grit” that I find absolutely inspiring for myself and for every single one of you:
“Our potential is one thing. What we do with it is quite another.”
What are you going to do with everything you are—and everything you could be?