This year, so far, is the most unique time in which I've lived. I have written before about how we are collectively feeling and experiencing similar things. We have had to endure being stuck at home. We are seeing social unrest as we have not seen in this country in many years. We're all in the same ocean, some of us are just in different boats.
Now is a great time to explore your walls. Walls are useful for protecting us and keeping some things out. They can also prevent us from growing. We all have walls, and now is a great time to explore which ones you can take down.
My walls are built with a thousand bricks of negativity:
"you're not good enough"
"you don't know how"
"everyone else is better than you"
"you won't finish"
Sound familiar? All of those negative snippets (and more!) formed a ticker tape of negativity when I first started thinking about opening True Spirit. I knew I wanted to create a space where folks could develop their physical health and fitness AND a safe space where we can explore our mental, emotional and spiritual health and fitness.
Physical training helps me break down my walls. It helps me see my strengths. It helps me see my opportunities for growth. I love what I learn about myself during a Hero workout just as much as I love what I learn about myself during a max effort lift. I love how the lessons of physical training transfer to mental training.
True Spirit is a safe place where we can learn who we really are! I'm so glad you're here with me.
It is very, easy in our current situation, to focus on what's out of our control and become obsessed with the negative.
One thing we can control is our words. A common word I hear used these days is "but." You've heard it, too. Someone says something and then here comes the qualifier, but.
When that word is used in a sentence, it negates everything said before it. For example, I'm really happy to be in Phase 2 and doing my part to flatten the curve, but I miss my friends. You're not really happy and you really do miss your friends. That's the point of what you're saying. It's OK to miss your friends. I miss mine, too.
We can reword our sentence this way, I'm really happy to be in Phase 2 and doing my part to flatten the curve, and I miss my friends. Now BOTH things are true. You miss your friends, and apparently you're happy to be in Phase 2.
Using "and" instead of "but" is a small and (you thought I was going to write but, didn't you?) powerful change in our word choice that will have a positive ripple effect on our mindset and outlook.
Try it today. Every time you're about to say, "but," replace it with the word, "and," and see how much more positive your mindset becomes.
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward; how much you can take and keep moving forward.” -Rocky
I have been blogging about mental toughness for several years now. The idea was born out of a Check-in with one of our members. I asked what is the number one thing I could do to help and the answer was, "Teach me about mental toughness."
Mental toughness can be trained, just like endurance, power, speed, strength and flexibility. That's really great news! You can become tougher with simple and effective practices.
One such practice is gratitude. Keeping a gratitude journal, or just acknowledging the good things in your life, can help keep you focused on what is good in our life. Because I can tell you from experience, it's far too easy to get sucked down the deep dark hole of "everything sucks." One way you can express gratitude is to comment on our Celebration Saturday (or Sunday) post in the Facebook Community Group. Kerri posts celebration posts every weekend as a way for us to publicly acknowledge our gratitude. I invite you to join us in this weekly practice.
Another mental toughness practice is to not take anything personally. This is one of the Four Agreements (an OUTSTANDING book my Don Miguel Ruiz) that can help you eliminate so. much. suffering. This agreement reminds us that people treat us as they do because of who THEY are not because of who YOU are. Once you wrap your brain around this, and trust me it takes DAILY PRACTICE, you feel weightless. I wish this for all of you.
My last mental toughness training tip for today is to dive deep, I mean really deep, into what motivates you. If you want to lose weight, ask yourself why. Then ask yourself why again. Keep asking why until you get to the root (it's down there in the deep dark I promise) of why you want to lose weight. Whenever you set a goal, ask yourself why you want that goal about 5 times. If you're not uncomfortable by the 3rd time you've asked yourself why, keep going. This practice will make you squirm a bit AND THAT'S OK! Going deep into motivation will help keep you on the path to success.
I am using these techniques to navigate the current CrossFit firestorm. This has not been an easy year for a small business owner and particularly now for a CrossFit owner. I am giving myself grace and space to honestly explore what I value. There's one thing for sure thing that I value, all of the lovely people in our True Spirit community.
I have lots of other practical tips for developing mental toughness. You can view them by going into my archives: https://www.truespiritcrossfit.com/workout-of-the-day/category/mental-toughness
I was having lunch with Coach Audy the other day and we were talking about handling all of life's demands. Now that we're coming out of our Covid cocoon everyone wants some of our time. All of us have only so much time in which we try to stuff so many things. We have only so much energy we can give to others.
I was sharing with her a situation in which I was asked to do something I did not want to, and instead of politely replying, "No," I got angry and relayed to my requestor all of the things I already had on my plate and how I just couldn't add another. I responded with anger, intensity, and unloaded all of my worries and anxieties on the unsuspecting person standing before me. She didn't deserve my response.
After telling my story, Audy looked at me and said, "You know, 'No' is a complete sentence and you don't owe anyone an explanation for why you don't want to do something." I looked at her with gratitude that I have such a smart friend and chagrin knowing that I was an ass to another friend.
Indeed, "No" is a complete sentence.
When someone asks you to do something it's a reflection of their desire and values and it's completely acceptable for you to not share those values. By responding in anger I violated one of the Four Agreements, e.g. I took her request personally.
I violated a second of the Four Agreements by assuming she already knew how stressed I was and that I couldn't possibly add another thing to my schedule. Have you every responded to someone with, "How can you possibly ask that of me? Don't you know how stressed I am already?" Well, you are assuming that person has some kind of telepathic link with your emotions. If you're anything like me, I didn't even know I was on the brink of being an ass until I became one.
If I had just taken a deep breath and said, "No" or even, "No, thank you" I could have avoided the drama my lack of self awareness created. The problem wasn't being asked to something, the problem was my attitude about being asked to do something.
The Four Agreements serve as a foundation for being a reasonable human:
1. Take nothing personally
2. Make no assumptions
3. Be impeccable with your word
4. Do your best
When someone says something to you that fires up your emotions, take a deep breath and remember these agreements and take solace in the fact that "No" is a complete sentence.
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