Just Keep Pushing
Early on in my teen years, I was educated on how to push. I followed the example of older teen gym rats and I learned through the gentle nudging of my first mentor, Rapha Kroger, to push my body hard, and still harder. The pure application of mental will over my body’s resistance resulted in two simple takeaways: 1) I could always push a little harder than I thought, and 2) overriding my body wasn’t going to 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, 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 into my mind and body in order to level up. 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.
Afterthoughts and Tips
Most of us were taught that pushing yourself, grinding it out and giving your “all” will get you to your goals in the most direct way. Plus, we get a certain ego satisfaction from our business partners, teammates, co-workers, clients, family members and coaches who view us as successful and say we have a ‘they got what it takes” character. It’s addictive and alluring. I know.
So, what I‘d like to suggest is the following – if you’re interested in up-leveling to a wisdom and awareness-based way of achieving personal, physical or business success, happiness or just to be more at ease with life, try these steps:
- First, without judgement, identify one area or task in your life where your belief that you have to push harder and endure more may be taking away from either your enjoyment, achievement, satisfaction, or your ability to actually get any better at that task…i.e. achieve more.
- Second, commit to 2 weeks to experiment with a new way of thinking – to start becoming more tuned into your body’s energy needs. Then, be willing to accommodate those needs as best you can when they come up, so you don’t go into depletion mode but rather feel more energized and vital. Your body’s always talking… are you listening?
- Third, for the same period of time, be hyper-vigilant in noticing when habitual thoughts arise that say you can’t slow down, or take a break, or make time for yourself because if you do you’re lazy, or not giving it your all, or feel that you’re being unproductive. Be honest.
- Fourth, Seek Doing Less to Become More.
- Fifth, Your Mantra: Seek energy and be compassionate to yourself in the process.
Awareness is King and the choices you make from it Queen. Both equals in helping you use your internal wisdom to guide you effortlessly towards your desired goals and achievements.