Most of you know that I recently joined a Crossfit box–Deuce Garage in Venice Beach, to be exact. I actually have my own garage gym at home, complete with all the toys I need and want. And of course, I write training programs for a living, with 15 years experience in training myself and others.
The thing was, I was bored.
Lonely. Dragging. Uninspired. Stagnant. I desperately needed a community and an inspiring environment. Furthermore, I needed to be coached, mostly because I was just sick and tired of coaching myself. Deuce has proven to be a great place for me so far, with an energy and a vibe that I can really get down with.
But, let’s be honest–I don’t actually like being coached.
I’m still fighting a lot of my perfectionist and control freak tendencies, and thankfully I have situations that come up every day that test me in this regard. It’s hard work and it’s often uncomfortable–but it’s always productive.
So, while being coached is something that doesn’t come naturally to me, I’ve been enjoying the discomfort zone for how much it’s cultivating my character and my emotional malleability. I walk to Crossfit reminding myself the entire way to just shut up and listen. You’re not the coach here, Neg.
That’s my purpose word right now. Just yield. Yielding is not easy for me. In fact, I want to jump right in and process everything. I want to coach and fix and brainstorm. I want to get my hands dirty. But right now, what will really benefit me is to yield.
Last week I checked the WOD (workout of the day) online every day before going to class. I like to know what’s coming, especially because when I’m not at Crossfit, I’m working out at home. On Monday, double-unders were on the schedule. If you’re not familiar, double-unders are a jump roping skill where the speed rope passes under your feet twice before your feet hit the ground again. They’re hard as EFF.
I can’t do double-unders. (Well, I couldn’t until now.)
So, naturally, I sort of freaked out and didn’t go; instead, I did the WOD at home sans double-unders. I went to class on Tuesday, crushed a 270 pound sumo deadlift, and then worked out on Wednesday and Thursday at home. Friday came along and it was my last chance to get in my 2nd class for the week (I have a 2x/week membership.). Guess what was on the agenda?
Son of a bitch. I had to go. If I didn’t go, I would have only made it to one class that week and I’m doing my best to make this new activity a regular part of my life. Routine requires consistency, so not going would have disrupted that.
So, I went, all the while dreading the double-unders. Of course you can scale any of the workouts to your skill level, and the coaches at Deuce are excellent in this regard.
But I didn’t want to scale. I’m not a “scaling” type of girl. I’m a lifelong athlete and competitive as fuuuuu. So, the double-under segment of the workout begins and my default response is to say, “Oh I can’t do those, I suck at them.” Because as soon as I decide that I can’t do them, no one expects otherwise from me.
The coach gave me a few pointers and all the while I was telling him the story about how much I suck and I can’t do this and here are all my excuses.
Then, I had a moment of clarity.
Just shut up, Neg.
Yield. LISTEN. You’re not the coach. Be a student.
And I did it! I did my first ever double-under, and continued to perform several more (with singles in between). It wasn’t because I got faster, more agile, or suddenly in better shape. It was simply because I shut up long enough to be properly coached. It was because I made the conscious choice to yield.
“I can’t do that” was my story, but it didn’t have to be. It was a story I’d spent a lot of time attaching to, because by having that story line to cling to, I was safe from the embarrassment and disappointment of not being able to do something. I created a wall between me and the task at hand, a wall that protected me from failure because if you never try–well then you simply cannot fail.
As soon as I released that story, my body responded. I allowed myself to be coached, to be taught, to yield long enough to learn. I thanked the coach profusely and left the gym that day with a newfound sense of openness.
When we say “I can’t do that” we essentially ensure that we won’t be able to do it. We self-sabotage, whether out of fear, stubbornness, or discomfort. We allow that story line to keep us from being an open cup, ready to absorb all of the experiences and lessons that life has to offer.
But when we approach our endeavors-whether gym, career, relationship, or otherwise-with this sense of curiosity and openness, we give ourselves a chance to grow extensively. This doesn’t mean that you approach every lift, every project, and every interaction with an overbold sense of audacity. It simply means we yield our tendency to dictate whether or not we will succeed.
We ask, can I do that? We are open and inquisitive. We aren’t trying to control outcomes or attach unnecessary meaning to our performance.
“Can I do that?” beats “I can’t do that.”
Just about 100% of the time.