The Kick in the Butt

Last week in the 2012 Goals Project update, I mentioned that I’ve had to kick my pursuit of an unassisted pull-up into high gear.  Especially because I’m still mostly unable to do any kind of activity that involves my leg or foot due to my ankle sprain.  I emailed Matt, one of the trainers at my CrossFit box (who also happens to be a fantastic attorney!) and asked him for some help with what I could do to finally get my chin up over that confounded bar.
He wrote back a lengthy note and while it did include a LOT of great advice for what I ought to be working on, also contained within was a swift kick in my behind.
Um, thanks?
When I first read the note I was a bit taken aback and wondered why in the world advice on pull-ups was all muddled together in a really blunt note about my other shortcomings.  Yikes.  Here are some excerpts from his email:

First, as you know, GAIN CONFIDENCE.  Because of Pilates, you have excellent form.  The form is the basic movement that most people do not have the patience to perfect before adding intensity.  What you need to do is start adding intensity.  Have you heard the CrossFit saying, “get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”?  I hate those cheesy sayings, but in your case, it applies.

The basic answer is to do more pullups.  However, you also have to concentrate on strengthening your entire body.  This means you have to come to CrossFit WODs and put forth the most intensity you can at each WOD.  You have to give up, “I am tired” or “I can’t do one more” or “I can’t lift that weight.”  You have to replace this with, “Can I do one more rep”  “I am not going to die if I do one more rep, so I am going to do one more rep.”  “85 lbs is going to be hard as hell, but I am going to accept the discomfort and do it.”  “I don’t think I can do one more pullup, so I am going to stop after my last full ROM [range of motion] pullup and take less rest time than I would if I attempted one more pullup and failed.”

The emphasis is mine.  I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss the part where Coach Matt called my weaknesses out.  How dare he do this?
But you know what?  I am SOOOOOOOOOO glad he did.  He is 100% right. Initially it was a bit of a bummer to see my flaws in black and white, and it was slightly embarrassing to know that someone else noticed them. But it’s turning out to be just what I needed.
I’m a baby.  I go to the gym and I think I try really hard and I’m all hot and sweaty after the workout and I’m out of breath and I have all the soreness that everyone else has.  I pat myself on my filthy, sweaty back and tell myself that I did a good job today.  And sometimes I did do a good job.  But since this wake up call from Coach Matt, I’ve had to ask myself if I regularly give it my ALL.
If I’m being honest, I don’t.
I think it’s a common thing hold back or take the easy way.  Most of the time it’s harmless – taking a shortcut to work in the morning or using some kind of time and energy saving something to make life go more smoothly. We all do it.  But it took this blunt email from someone I like and trust for me to see that in this case not giving something all of my effort was only hurting me in the long run.  My little issues and fears about collapsing or dropping dead or being sore or failing were NOT getting me to do a pull-up.  My distaste for being uncomfortable was holding me back and keeping me from achieving a goal that I really want to achieve.
I’ve also begun to ask myself if there are other parts of my life where I’m not giving 100% and letting lack of confidence hold me down.  Sadly, yes.
There is a really cool project that has been floating around in my head lately and I haven’t done much with it other than think about it because I keep telling myself that it would be “too hard” to do it.  This kind of defeatist attitude isn’t getting me anywhere.  I’m taking Coach Matt’s advice and I’m tackling this project head on.  I can’t wait around until the time is right or until I have somehow cultivated the right amount of confidence.  I’ve just got to do it.


So, now I’m going to challenge all of YOU!  This is your wake up call. This is my version of Coach Matt’s email.   You probably aren’t giving something all of your effort.  You probably have told yourself that you can’t do it.  You probably are afraid to get uncomfortable.  Drop that negative crap and get to it!  A cleaner diet?  Starting to workout?  That big work project?  Whatever it is, it’s time to give up the excuses and get on with it.
Share with me in the comments or on Facebook.  Let me know what you’re going to give 100% to starting today!

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