We all have moments and periods of our lives where certain priorities, right or wrong, surface in our lives. Most of the time they are with good intentions and in their own right, are good, but can sometimes have unintentional side affects on us and others around us. Taylor Stevens, one of our talented coaches, shares his realization over the past year that too much fitness has a price to pay when it came to other priorities in his life. I believe we can all relate to finding this balance in our lives. Have a read from his words of wisdom….and feel free to plug in what you might be over-prioritizing and if it could be costing you something?
With the Open (an annual competition of fitness) coming up more quickly than most (or at least some) of us would like, I thought I would try to put down on paper what some of us may be thinking. I think this process applies to most areas of our life, so plug in whatever fits for you (career, finances, job, kids, etc.)
HOLY CRAP, I’M REALLY NOT READY THIS YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Since the only person that I can speak definitively about is me, I figured that I would share a little bit of my thought process on the Open and how the numbers attached with 16.1-16.5 are not everything.
As the Open approaches the CrossFit world tends to get separated into 3 distinctly different types of people. The first are the folks whose excitement couldn’t be tempered with anything short of a firehose. These individuals will be glued to the 16.1 announcement and will spend countless hours scheming to try to squeeze every rep/cut every second possible. And yes, I’m looking at both Thornton’s…mostly Jill right now. Second are the people who go in with no expectations, and are generally happy with whatever results they generate, provided that they survive the experience (don’t worry folks, CS&F hasn’t lost anyone yet)!!!!! Thirdly, and this is the category that I fall into, the people who are currently experiencing the unprepared anxiety akin to the student who is failing with one week to go in the year and is desperately hoping for some type of miraculous intervention. No matter which of these categories you fall into, there are a couple things that all of us need to remember…these events do not define who we are….read on please!
#1: Don’t ever let a number on a piece of paper define your value as a person. Achievements and significance are two vastly different things, and should be treated as such. Achievements are great, and should be celebrated because they are usually the product of disciplined work over long periods of time. Folks that fall into the first category have usually put in the work throughout the year and have high achievement expectations. However, just because an achievement has been accomplished, that doesn’t necessarily make that achievement significant. I’m not trying to belittle upping your C&J max or being able to butterfly pull-ups for this year’s Open, but if you have sacrificed the balance in your life in order to achieve these accomplishments then I would ask what you’ve really gained? Your achievements are significant if, in the course of achieving them, your life as a whole has become more enjoyable. However, if you’ve sacrificed time with your family or friends, your humility, coach-ability, or being able to take joy in the accomplishments of others, then I would ask what is the long term benefit of the work that you’ve put in this year?
#2: Continue to search for the balance in your life that is going to allow what we all do in the gym to enhance your life, rather than add an additional stressor to it. Once again, there is nothing wrong with having expectations for yourself, but allowing those expectations to rob a competitor of the joy that we all seek is going to lead to a hard crash and a burnout. Trust me, I’ve been there.
Now that I’ve talked in generalities about what many of us may be feeling, I’ll use myself as an example. Before last years Open I was about as dialed in as I could have been. I was in the box multiple times a day, spent dozens of hours a week meal prepping and cooking, and made the Open the focus of my life for the 8 months prior to the 15.1 announcement.
I looked to the scores that I generated on those 5 workouts to serve as validation for all that I had sacrificed to achieve those results. And I have to say that I was happy with my results, but despite my scores, the feeling of achievement didn’t leave me satisfied. After feeling frustrated by this quasi-empty feeling, I finally realized that the reason the Open didn’t fulfill me was because I had sacrificed the balance in my life to achieve my results. I had put my relationships on the back-burner in pursuit of Open results, and no matter how well I had scored, I still would not have been satisfied. These results were an accomplishment, but this accomplishment wasn’t significant because the cost to my life was far too high. One thing that I have learned over the years is that significance is directly connected with how the people that you care about are impacted by your pursuit of your goals. If they are elevated by your presence, then your accomplishment(s) are significant, because family, friends, spouses, kids, etc are made better by your pursuit of your goals.
While I may not feel that I am quite as ready to put up the type of scores that I was capable of last year, I do believe that my life is much more balanced this year. I am more connected in the lives of my family, I have a relationship that means the world to me (love you Kaelin), and I’m more tuned into the lives of my friends. I’ve found that training is what I do, not who I am. I’ve found the balance that I need in my life. I’ve found a much better version of me in 2016.