I never truly understood the meaning of this quotation until three weeks ago. In fact, I have my students interpret it in connection to an assignment that I give annually. Still, I never fully grasped its meaning…Until this year’s Regional Qualifier. I suppose what I am saying is that while I understood its meaning, I never believed it.
I seem to always be concerned with the outcome of events. I like to win. In fact, I love to win, be the best, “have a moment”, you get my drift…
I never realized that what is in the middle could possibly be more significant.
Two years ago, handstand walking got trendy in CrossFit. It became what the double-under was in 2008 and the muscle-up in 2009. When this occurred, I figured I better get crackin’ on learning this skill, as I hate for there to be things that I absolutely cannot do in CrossFit.
For the entire summer of 2012, I practiced this skill, yielding zero results ….by the end of August, the bursitis in my shoulder was so bad, that I had to give it a rest. It took almost an entire year for my should to get back to normal, and once this occurred, I decided it was time to put my hands to the mats again….you guessed it, zero results…
What bothered me most was that I knew that my failure to be able to walk on my hands had little to do with my lack of balance, lack of coordination, long limbs, or scoliosis. Yes, I actually defended myself with all of these excuses at some point in time. Then, it dawned on me…I was the middle-aged female client that I have coached over-and-over again that cannot, for some reason, jump on a 12-inch box…
My inability to handstand walk has everything to do with one thing: fear
Ughhhhhh…How could I be afraid to be upside-down? I’ll throw hundreds of pounds over my head, well knowing that there’s a chance that it will come crashing down. I’d go rip-roaring into a fight, knowing I could be pummeled. Why does being upside-down scare the bejesus out of me?!
Then the announcement came…four weeks before our Regional, Workout Three would be max distance handstand walk for each member of our six person team. I knew it! I knew it was coming; it was only a matter of time. What scared me more than not being able to walk on my hands, and looking like a fool in front of thousands of people, was not contributing to my team. I hate being the weakest link, and for this workout, there was no doubt in my mind that I would be…
Four weeks… four weeks of solid, hardcore, obsession with the handstand walk. It was what I talked about, dreamt about, and did every single day that I was at the gym…with no result.
I’ve got to tell you that never, ever, in my life have I worked so hard on something. Never. And to add to this, never have I worked so hard at something without any results…
As Day 1 of the Northeast Regional drew close, I had a small breakthrough: I walked seven feet! Let me tell you, I have never, in the six years that I have been a CrossFitter, felt so elated. I’m embarrassed to say it, but I actually cried…
On the first day of the Regional, everyone on our team walked a farther distance than they had in practice. My turn came… It’s funny what the adrenaline of a competition can do to fear. I didn’t care if I cracked my skull or broke my neck, I was getting the 10 darn feet that I needed to contribute to my team’s score. And a new notion had surfaced: I had worked too hard to not produce a single result…
I walked twenty feet. A ten-foot PR.
Sure, many others walk one hundred feet further than I did. In fact, many individual competitors walked hundreds of feet further than I did. But it doesn’t matter. Finally, it doesn’t matter for me. The satisfaction is not in the result or in comparison to other’s performance. The satisfaction is in the effort that I exerted.
My 20 feet was a mile in my eyes.
Never, ever be ashamed of your victories, as “small” as they may seem. I never want to hear that something that you’ve accomplished is not “a big deal”. Did you work for it? Did you give it all you had? Did you overcome a fear, large or small, to obtain it?
Then it is a BIG deal.
And be proud.