Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Pursuit of Excellence

I can be a very driven person.  When I choose to that is.  I also have a capacity to be infinitely lazy and that is something I fight against constantly.  Don’t get me wrong, once I get to training I love it and don’t want it to end, however there is that time prior where it is just as easy for me to not bother & just sit.  That urge used to win a lot but now I overcome the desire to be nothing and make myself get out there and working on being something.

When I do undertake an activity, be it work or training or something fun, I want to exceed. I want to do better than anyone else.  I want to achieve.  This aspect of my personality means I can be hard to get along with, within myself.  I expect a lot from myself.  I have an idea in my head about what I should be able to achieve and when I don’t even get close to that then I feel disappointed. 

Playing golf is one of those areas in my life that would cause me the most frustration.  I would work & work on my game but still not see the results I would expect from my effort.  Simple lapses in technique or mentally would cost me dearly in poor shots that would snowball into other errors.  I used to get quite angry and let’s just say if someone spoke to me the way I spoke to myself I probably would have punched them as the conversations in my head were far from nice.  I did work on that and managed to improve and make my head a happier place, but the frustration still continued.

Crossfit brings out my desire to master the skills and to get things right. To push harder, to be more.  However it doesn’t have the same results in anger and frustration that I had in golf.  Maybe I recognise my physical limitations more and know that there are some movements I may never get.  Maybe I am more accepting of these things.  However it doesn’t stop me trying to master them, trying to improve.  When it comes to skills I can do, such as strength elements I do expect a lot more from myself and do get disappointed when I miss my mark.  But I don’t get angry, instead I feel a burning determination to get it next time or go see what I can do to help me do better.  I’ve become good about asking my coaches what can I do to improve.  What drills or movements will help me. And whatever it is they tell me to do I actually do it.

One of my main mobility issues is my hip flexibility (or lack thereof).  This hinders my ability to squat to full depth (hell a couple of months ago it meant I could hardly squat at all).  I lose a lot of power in my lifts by not having this full range as I can’t fully engage the drive in my legs and explode through my hips.  Also I can’t be as fast or efficient in other movements.  I spoke to my coaches about how I can improve this, they gave me a set of drills and stretches that I can do.  And for the first time in my life I am diligent in doing them almost daily. I stretch, I squat, I stretch some more, I employ several tools or torture to convince my body it can indeed develop this range of movement.  It’s not fun, it’s not pleasant but it is worth it.  My squat depth has begun to improve by a couple of inches straight off the bat.  And as I warm up and get into a workout it improves further. 

The mobility drills I do aren’t just going to help me in the box.  They are helping me in my everyday life.  I can more better. I have more freedom in my arms, less pain in my body.  These are very good things.

My first Crossfit coach Adam told me that I have this drive just to finish the workout.  That is true I just want to complete it.  I never want to walk away form a WOD unfinished.  Last night we did a killer WOD involving the following:

For time


Sumo Deadlift High Pull 25kg

Push Jerk 25kg

Yesterday was a really hot muggy day, and as I have a condition that means my body does not cool down effectively I struggle to train on these days.  The sessions are harder than usual.  Also I had a small issue in my back with a nerve pinched which caused a lot of discomfort. 

After discussions with my coach Sam we decided for my workout we’d just use the 8kg bar and try to go for speed.  I wasn’t even sure I could do the WOD as when practicing the Push Jerk with the stick caused pain in my back.

After the first 2 sets I was already trashed.  I was beyond hot, but my back was playing nice. My partner in the WOD, AC (she did her workout first while I counted reps and then we swapped), moved my bar over in front of the big fan which helped immensely.  At one point I was bent over, hands on knees just gasping for breath. Not sure if I wanted to hurl or not.  On the set of 15 I wanted to stop, and was almost in tears as I started the Sumo lifts, I was so hot, didn’t feel well and just wanted to stop.  But I didn’t.  I kept pushing through because I just knew if I walked away I would hate myself for doing it.  I would always feel like I had quit & given up.  These are the moments that I know are helping to define the new me I am becoming. Beginning to harness a determination and a focus that to be honest I never knew existed in me. 

I’ve walked away from a lot of things during my life.  Things that felt too hard or were too scary.  I just couldn’t see the benefit in it.  But Crossfit is different for me.  Each and every time I step into that box I am scared of what that workout might bring.  Of whether this will be the workout that I just can’t finish or the skill I just can’t do. I am filled with a nervous apprehension that is mixed with a sense of excitement.  A sense of wanting to achieve something, to gain a victory for myself. An opportunity to learn & grow. And I keep coming back. I don't walk away or make excuses not to go.

For me, in my life, the pursuit of excellent never really ends.  In everything I do I am trying to do more, to be more, to become whoever it is I am meant to be.  Because I don’t believe this is who I am meant to be for the rest of my days.  I know there is more for me.  I just need to keep making the choice to get off the couch and to get my arse moving.  In order to be more then I must keep being something rather than simply existing and doing nothing.  I'm not saying I am perfect because I am far from it.  There are a lot of aspects to my life that I could apply a better focus to.  I don't mean excellence as perfection.  Excellence for me is persisiting in trying to improve myself.

The pursuit of excellence continues………………

1 comment:

  1. It is a great light bulb moment when you realise that excellence is not perfection. Striving for perfection ultimately results in failure, then inaction, but pursuing excellence means continued action. And therefore continued results..

    This line sums it up "Beginning to harness a determination and a focus that to be honest I never knew existed in me". Others can see that determination and that focus. Wrapped in a layer of empathy and support of others. It's great that you are seeing it too.

    Keep that pursuit up. xx