If you have been following my blog, you know that in the past couple of weeks I have been learning more about what it means to be fit and resilient through the experience of watching and coaching my CrossFit friends in the CrossFit Open competition. This past week, I got to experience being coached/judged and this is what I learned: PEOPLE help you strive for excellence.
This is what happened. The WOD (workout of the day) involved doing the following round as many times that we could in a 20 minute period: 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups and 15 below-the-knee air squats. In case you are not aware, 20 minutes is a really, really long time….Especially when at the half way mark you realize you may have started out too hard and fast and that you are completely losing your wind despite having 10 minutes to go.
In the beginning of the workout, I felt strong, enthusiastic and determined to at least finish out the 20 minutes. For some reason though, I had it in my mind that it was a 10-minute work out. When Chris B., my judge/coach, told me I had reached my 10-minute mark and that I was half way there, I was so bummed that I literally felt the wind get knocked out of me–All the incredible energy that was moving me forward left my body in one split of a second, just because I was psychologically upset.
Being my great judge/coach, Chris B. noticed right away and said some encouraging words…What? I don’t remember. I can only tell you that I noticed that he noticed, that he cared and that he knew that I could keep going. So I did. I found my energy again, and kept moving.
Would I have given up if he wasn’t watching and especially, urging me on? Maybe. But to tell you the truth, I may have not continued to push or try as hard, especially when the end was near and my arms simply could not lift my body up one more time for yet another push-up. Without Chris B. there, I am pretty sure I would have wanted to finish the workout, but I am not so sure I would have continued to strive to do it well, or perhaps as well.
Being a Medical Doctor, it is probably clear that I have some drive for excellence. And as you may have learned from reading my blog, that drive has not manifested itself in the realm of athletic endeavors…. Until now.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not striving to become an Olympian. The drive for excellence is not about being the BEST at something, but rather, it refers to doing the best you can within the context of your abilities, your state of mind, and your desire to achieve any particular goal. It is a drive that is made a lot easier when you have PEOPLE.
PASSION Passion will motivate you to “go for it!” When you care, you are more likely to work hard and see something through. A lot of research is now pointing to the health benefits of living your life with passion—not only are passionate folks happier, but healthier and more likely to succeed in their endeavors.
ENTHUSIASM Let go of the negative talk—Flip the attitude to being positive. A study done at North Carolina State University found that people who continually used negative words or focused on negative situations displayed a drop in memory and an overall drop in their physical performance. People who focused on or used positive words regularly saw their memory and physical performance increase. In other words, your negativity will not get you very far. Have fun and be enthusiastic. When Tim, the owner of BayState CrossFit came around and asked me how I was doing, I answered, “I’m dying! But I am GREAT!”
OPENNESS You never know what your body can do, what your mind can overcome or what the universe has in store. Research shows that your beliefs are directly connected to how your body and brain will respond, and can especially alter your biochemical balance. When you maintain a state of openness, you are more likely to feel connected, good and therefore dopamine and oxytocin are more likely to be flying through your brain and body, helping you feel good and believing anything is possible.
PEOPLE People need people. There is a plethora of studies pointing to the benefits of social support in health and wellness. When it comes to sports, the research is clear—social support helps athletes stick to training, a healthy diet, maintain positive emotions and outlook, and yes, perform better in competition.
LOVE Need I say more? Okay, I will. People need people but people also need to pay attention to themselves in a loving way and to the larger universe they exist in. Where are you without love? Love is your antidote to stress and disease and carves your path to Excellence. Love for yourself and what is best for you and your body. Love to and from others who encourage you and “have your back.” Love to and for a higher purpose or mission that helps you feel important and connected. Like the state of openness, love helps balance your biochemistry.
ENJOY! Wherever you find yourself is excellent, because you have gotten through have the battle of showing up. Knowing this, ease your mind, relax your body and enjoy yourself. If you are not having fun, why bother. Studies even show that children learn better and perform better when they work or learn in the form of play. So lose the negative mindset and have fun!
PEOPLE can help be successful in anything you do, as well as healthy and happy. So examine yourself and your life. Got PEOPLE?