A Level Up
How to Be More By Doing Less
There was a turning point in my athletic career. I had hit rock bottom and had to climb out, and by the grace of the great whatever, I made it out of the hole and into a new trajectory towards success. But it wasn’t until that point that I had to get, as Jamie Moyer once told me, brutally honest with how I was feeling in order to know exactly what I needed to do.
Just Keep Pushing
Early on in my teen years, I was educated on how to push. Taking the example of older teen gym rats and through the gentle nudging of my first mentor, Rapha Kroger, I learned to push my body hard and still harder. The pure application of mental will over my body’s resistance resulted in the simple takeaways being: 1) I could always push a little harder than I thought, and 2) overriding my body wasn’t going end in death. At least, I hoped not.
The Sisyphus Days
I accepted the role of Sisyphus and actually had fun because my strength boomed upwards and my then 16lb steel ball landed farther and farther away from me. That’s the goal. Kinda simple. Pushing my shot put version of Sisyphus’s boulder up the hill didn’t feel like torture, and this strategy was far from ineffective. My gains were accumulating.
I had accepted grit as the god that I would always need to bow down to and embrace as the path to achieve greater success. Pushing had worked in the past, so I figured it would fulfill my dreams in the future. Also, it was the only path I knew.
Fast forward. It’s two years before the Olympic trials and a siren is going off in my head. It was ringing out, “Houston, we have a problem.” A stark realization had come over me. All of my progress had ceased. I wasn’t throwing farther, even though I had pushed harder, lifted more, trained more often, and dedicated every waking minute of my life to thinking about pushing towards my goal. Nothing was changing. Zilch.
Time to Go Within
I knew I wanted to make the Olympic team, but up until this point, I hadn’t progressed in years. I was desperate to find a solution, and only through this desperation did I realize that I needed to pivot in order to grow. I threw out all my old tools and methods and started over.
Little did I know at the time, but I was leaving one orbit of success and entering a new one with a higher potential. The characteristics of this new orbit were powered by tapping into an internal wisdom that would allow me to decide how to move forward with greater economy and results.
This new path required that I pay more attention to the signs of my body and what it was telling me when I was feeling fatigue, pain, nervousness, or fear. I became aware of the signature patterns in my body and the tendencies of my thoughts. I taught myself meditation and learned how to calm my mind, putting that into play as part of my training program.
Before all of this, I had been successful, but not at a sustainable level. I needed to tune in to my mind and body in order to level up, and when that happened, my throws started going farther.
After that, the whole process became more fun because I wasn’t pushing against a wall thinking that if I pushed harder, I would get there. All of a sudden a kind of ease just overtook my body.
How to Level Up
Must of us were taught that pushing yourself, grinding it out, and giving your all always, will get you to your goals in the most direct way. Plus, we get a certain satisfaction when our business partners, teammates, co workers, clients, family members and coaches view us as a successful, “they got what it takes” character. It’s addictive and alluring. I know.
But if you’re interested in up leveling to an awareness-based method of achieving personal, physical, or business success, or if you just want to be more at ease with life, what I suggest is this:
- Without judgement, identify one area or task in your life where your belief that you have to push harder and endure more is taking away from either your enjoyment, satisfaction, or your goals of achieving more.
- Commit to 2 weeks, an experiment, if you will, to start becoming more tuned into your body’s energy needs. Then, be willing to accomodate them as best you can. Watch that you don’t go into depletion mode, and instead, focus on the activities that leave you feeling energized and vital. Your body is always talking…are you listening?
- For the same period of time, be hyper vigilant in noticing when habitual thoughts creep in. Notice the ones that say you can’t slow down, take a break, or make time for yourself because if you do, you’re lazy, not giving it your all, or being unproductive. Be honest.
- Try doing less to become more. Awareness is King and the choices you make from it are Queen. Both are equals in helping you use your internal wisdom to guide you effortlessly towards your desired goals and achievements.
- Your Mantra: I seek energy and am compassionate with myself in the process.
- Please let me know how this works for you and I’ll share it with others in the Life Athlete community for their guidance, feedback, and inspiration. We can use your name, or keep it anonymous. You can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org
One of the things that Life Athlete has to offer is that practice and that pathway and that journey. Life Athlete can find a deeper connection in each and every one of us, wherever we are. It allows us to take a step in a new direction so that wisdom can become a building block towards a kind of transcendence. It is an easier way of moving in this world and being successful in whatever path is most important to you.
If you’re interested in learning more about Life Athlete and what it can offer athletes, CEOs, baby boomers, teens and anyone wanting to strengthen their mind/body connection, you can follow me on Instagram @LifeAthleteWay or subscribe to my YouTube channel.
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