Beginner’s Mind

Beginner’s Mind

Shoshin

The moment that you think you’ve made it is the moment you stop learning.

In Zen Buddhism there is a word “Shoshin” which means “beginner’s mind.” This is a state when we have a sense of openness and eagerness to taking in new things. Removing any sense of preconception or notion that you already know something about the subject you are studying — even when you reach an advanced level.

“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.”

— Shunryu Suzuki

If you bring a beginner’s mindset to something you have a higher chance of taking it in authentically. The Greek philosopher Epictetus is quoted as saying; “For it is impossible for anyone to begin to learn that which he thinks he already knows.” The Greek philosophers felt EGO was what stood in the way of true knowledge.

The beginner’s mind is a core aspect to the Zen mindset. Which involves the acceptance of “what is” and not allowing yourself to judge based on emotions or having a gut reaction to something. The way to true change is to accept yourself and world for what it is. This is true in both Zen practice and Stoic practice. We should strive to look within ourselves with a sense of openness and acceptance as opposed to judging what we are or are trying to become.

This dichotomy is difficult to wrap your head around. On one hand you need to not be happy with where you personally in life to strive to improve, but on the other hand you should not judge yourself too harshly yet at the same time make actual improvements. The question then is; is removing judgement actually an act of improvement in itself.

I would say yes, since judgement often holds us back both externally and more importantly internally. It isn’t enough to simply be non-judgement of who we are or where we are in life but we need to simply accept it for what it is first.

A good example of this is when I was recently working with a Karate student, this person has an advanced level of training in a similar style. As we began working the Kata (A floor exercise of Karate movements fighting one or more imaginary attackers.) lesson I noticed he was struggling to perform the techniques in the way I was demonstrating. His previous knowledge that had been ingrained in him was preventing absorbing the things I was teaching. It wasn’t on purpose, it was ‘muscle memory’ of course, but the result was a ‘full cup’.

This reference to a ‘full cup’ is from reference to a classic Zen story about having a beginner’s mind which goes:

Once, a long time ago, there was a wise Zen master. People from far and near would seek his counsel and ask for his wisdom. Many would come and ask him to teach them, enlighten them in the way of Zen. He seldom turned any away.

One day an important man, a man used to command and obedience came to visit the master. “I have come today to ask you to teach me about Zen. Open my mind to enlightenment.” The tone of the important man’s voice was one used to getting his own way.

The Zen master smiled and said that they should discuss the matter over a cup of tea. When the tea was served the master poured his visitor a cup. He poured and he poured and the tea rose to the rim and began to spill over the table and finally onto the robes of the wealthy man. Finally the visitor shouted, “Enough. You are spilling the tea all over. Can’t you see the cup is full?”

The master stopped pouring and smiled at his guest. “You are like this tea cup, so full that nothing more can be added. Come back to me when the cup is empty. Come back to me with an empty mind.”

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Start Living: 5 Days To A Healthier Life Challenge

Start Living: 5 Days To A Healthier Life Challenge

Here’s a challenge for you.

I know how discouraging it is to try to get healthy. 

The frustration…

The disappointment…

The embarrassment…

It keeps most people from even TRYING.

That’s why I created this TOTALLY free 5 Day Get Moving Challenge

It’s designed to help you get started on your HEALTHY journey…

in just 5 days.

Every day, you’ll receive a simple exercise that anyone can do AND an encouragement to actually do it! 

It’s simple, yet if you’re consistent you’ll be amazed… 

It’s time to stop wanting to be healthy and start MOVING!

So will you join me? Will you let me help YOU grow in health? It would be my privilege. 

If you’re IN On This Challenge just signup below with your email address!

If you have ANY questions about this, let me know. I’m here to help you coach@warriormindset.us


Gene Crawford is a designer/artist with over 2 decades of experience in the industry (Ugh!?!) with a degree in Graphic Design.

He has overseen the design and architecture of hundreds of web sites and applications through his business at Period Three.

An active member in the design community, he co-founded SOCO, he has created and produced; UnmatchedStyle, RefreshColumbia and the Converge conference as well as BD Conf, President of AIGA South Carolina for almost 10 years and was the longest running monthly columnist for Net Magazine.

Gene co-owns a gym Workhorse Fitness in downtown Columbia, SC. He has started an online coaching business; Warrior Mindset, is a CrossFit coach, 2nd Degree Blackbelt in Karate, a practitioner of Jiu-Jitsu and Martial Arts Instructor.

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Self-Made Summit 2019

Self-Made Summit 2019

Self-Made

Name Tag… WTF?!

I am co-owner of a gym; Workhorse Fitness, located in Columbia, SC. I had a great opportunity to attend the Self-Made Summit in Charlotte, NC this past weekend. One of my other businesses that I founded and have run for almost 10 years is an event production company. We created and produced a multitude of events, meetups, conferences and workshops; http://convergese.com/, http://frontenddesignconference.com/ & https://bdconf.com/ to name just a couple. Different industry than ‘gyms’ and ‘fitness’ but the event production aspect is related. 🙂

The Self-Made Summit was a very well run, very content intensive two days. I first thought that it was a little light on speakers but after the first day I realized that Stuart Brauer, the founder of the event was spot on and hit all the right notes for the subject matter. Now, we already work with Stuart via his WTF Gym Talk consulting services and have already gotten a ton of great insight and help from him in the micro-gym world of business. But this Summit was spot on and has us charged. There’s nothing quite like gathering like-minds together to share knowledge, frustrations, fears, wins/losses together in as honest a setting as it can get like this.

There are still plenty of things rolling around my skull right now. Here are some notes I took during the two days. This is not exhaustive nor is it meant to be. Consider this just shorthand highlights through the filer of my brain:

Day 1

Brandon Cullen, co-founder of MADabolic, opened up the day/event with his backstory and overview of how they are currently working on their expansion into Franchising. A lot of his insight is into the business side of franchising and there is just a ton of intel there to comb through. That said the current status of where I am in almost all of my businesses, is not, relatable to franchising or opening up multiple locations. Regardless of how good that insight was I found myself really excited by the straight up trainer talk he was dishing out in the first half of his talk. His background as a pro-athlete and hearing that he has experience in training as a fighter and within the fighting world peeked my interest a great deal:

Some Takeaways:
Intensity in training is a goal.
Strength is relative.
“Gameday” is not how you should train every day. Training should prepare you for Gameday.
They program in Quarterly Cycles (actually all 12 months at once) then program the specific WODs weekly or bi-weekly.

John Briggs of Incite Tax wasn’t really a speaker per-se but had some pretty insightful thoughts he shared with us. He is also a very cool human. He’s coming out with a book soon too: https://profitfirstformicrogyms.com

Steve Pinkerton founder of Vitality Fitness spoke on evolving his CrossFit affiliate into a more all-encompassing ‘overall’ fitness centric foundation. EvoFIT he calls it and he runs every new member through it, then graduating those members up into more standard CrossFIT as desired/capable. The most notable thing that stuck with me was when he said not to just call it a ‘bootcamp’ and slap it onto whatever you have going on. To treat it with the same respect and approach as your main program and actually sink full effort into it and it will work.

We sat in on a great table discussion with Brandon as the last session of the day and were able to ask him and his team direct questions and get into some more detail with him.

Joe Tebaldi founder of Flexx was the last ‘speaker’ of the day. He really blew us away with his approach and tactical mindfulness for sales. He is probably the most quotable speaker of the entire event too.

Communication. Validation. Relevance.
This is the basic set of ideas he bounces all banding, messaging and sales off of. And boy is that relevant to where we are within our business’ process.

Quality depends on the customer’s frame of reference.
In this vein we need a 1 sentence, 3-4 sentence then a 5 minute sales pitch on our business. This is pretty common branding 101 stuff and i’ve been in and done it a thousand times when consulting with start-ups in the past, but the way Joe does within the Gym/Fitness space is mesmerizing.

People remember the emotion they had. Emotion matters, be positive! Don’t sell fear or fear of sickness. Sell the cool aspects of the community and how you will be validated by your peers for making the right choice with us.

Gym sales are based on 3 things: 1) Proximity to where they live or work 2) The person wants to look better 3) They will validate you on social and by looking at your website. Then “educating the consumer” is your job #1. If you are a CrossFit affiliate, then CrossFit does this for you with your $3k affiliate fee as part of their overall worldwide branding and marketing. But as a micro-gym owner, you don’t really get to leverage this…

These things aren’t like only for gyms, these are for just about any product or brick and mortar business that sells things, but i’d just never applied them in the ways he was discussing it to our gym members.

Day 2

Mike Jones, founder of Alchemy 365, went through the beginning to current status on the evolution of his business. Starting out as a CrossFit affiliate owner, owning something like 5 affiliates then developing their own approach to fitness based a lot off of Core Power Yoga and Orange Theory’s model and approach. It is largely a mixture of no-barbell based functional fitness and yoga fusion.

By the way, he also invented the Torpedo, which is a pretty interesting Kettlebell + Dum Bell thingy. I’d like to get my hands on one soon…

Going from his roots to his corporate owned locations his story if fascinating and I couldn’t help but notice his humility as he was talking to us and it made me wonder if this guy practiced any type of martial arts and sure enough, yep, he’s a Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt.

Takeaways from Mike:
C.A.R.E. Consistently Acquire and Retain Excellence will lead to Customer Acquisition, and Reduce Attrition…

Removal of Non-Core products and services. A-la Apple computer/Steve Jobs.

Net-Promoter Score – How likely are your customers to recommend you.
– How can we make things better?

They run a “Fresh Start” challenge:
4 Weeks, Weekly Check-ins, Diet Planning and Coaching- For New-Customers & current members
They run a Free-Week intro that they up-sell memberships into.

Stuart Brauer
Along with his WTF Gym Talk podcast and services he produced this event as well as owns and operates Urban Movement his micro-gym. He gave a really great run-through from start to finish of his rebranding of UM as well as the current situation of his branding by showing off the brand book he is about to roll out in his gym. Very thorough and thoughtful approach to how to share that intel with us.

Another great table discussion today with Joe Tebaldi where we went through a lot of what he spoke about the day before but more one-on-one. The way he sized up an attendees ‘1 sentence’ was amazing. The speed he showed with knowing his audience and business was awesome. Quite honestly Joe inspires me to get better at aspects of my other business roles in a huge way. Thank you sir.

Panel Discussion
We wrapped with a panel discussion with all the speakers they went through a TON of Q&A and covered some big ground, the coolest take away I had was when they went through their ethos statements:

Mike’s was:
Yes is the answer; what is the question?
Be F&%king awesome.
Be a Pro.
Pursue your legend.

Stu’s was:
Why not, not why. “Hold my beer”
Do what you say you’ll do, when you say you’ll do it.
Be endearing/enduring. Via Glassman. 🙂
Be Positive.

Sponsors/TRIIB
One of the coolest things was the access to the sponsors. This is apparent in a small, by small I mean less than 100 people. In the past my events have had up to 800 people – not small enough… I prefer the smaller more intimate events like this greatly to the larger more Expo like ones. I sincerely hope Stu keeps it small next year again… Because of this we were able to get lunch with TRIIB and have them go through several things with us in regards to our business and how we use the product that we were up until then largely not able to accomplish with phone confs and online help tickets. Bravo in a HUGE way to that and TRIIB’s willingness to do that. So cool.

The other sponsors were top-notch. You could tell Stu personally endorses them and it shows. They were all very solid humans behind the companies and were all people that we made the rounds and spoke with one on one. Something iv’e very rarely done at events.

Wrap-Up

In many ways, I want this type of event for every day business people. I know they are out there, but in order to do that you’d dilute the message. The fact that the attendees were all Gym/Affiliate owners looking at change in their business was inspiring and what puts us all on the same footing which allows us to be honest with each other and the speakers. It’s intimate and true. Something you can’t say for many conferences and/or workshops that sell you the same lines about what it will do for you. Probably because Stu walks the walk with this consulting and in his own micro-gym.

This was hands-down one of the most honest, rewarding and thoughtful conferences i’ve been to in a long time. I’m inspired, charged up and ready to take on my business now. Thank you! Truly.

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One Month of Hero WODS

One Month of Hero WODS

During the month of July and into August last year, the coaches at Workhorse Fitness took on the challenge of doing a month of Hero WODs. Hero WODs are notorious for being some of the longest, most difficult and most mentally grueling workouts in CrossFit.

Why do it? To test ourselves; physically, mentally, emotionally, intuitionally, spiritually to build our Kokoro (or warrior spirit.) We knew going in that it was going to be tough and that recovery and preparation between workouts would be key. We recorded the experience with short videos and put them all together here in this post so we could remember the journey and relive the experience a year later.

Planning it all out

What we did was each coach picked a number of Hero WODs that were their favorite, for whatever various reasons, and then we wrote them all down on the white board. We then took them and planned out the sequence and the days that we would be attacking these workouts.

Week 1

The first few workouts were quite tough. It was getting hot and settling into the work after 5-7 days proved to be something we all had to overcome. I think each of us, at least I know I was, were starting to realize the effort that we would have to put into this to see it through and finish.

We were all starting to learn more about what we were capable of this week.

Week 2

Week 2 consisted of some even tougher workouts. Don’t get me wrong, week 1 was memorable, in that it was the first shot at digging into these things. Week 2 was just more terrible. The heavier weight in these workouts proved challenging and some of the WODs that looked like they would be completed in 45:00 to an hour wound up taking well over that.

The most memorable workout from week 2 and probably from the entire experience would be “CLOVER”. Which consists of a 10 mile run and 150 burpee pull-ups. This one took me well over 3 hours to finish and personally made me question my own sanity…

I can’t speak for everyone here, but I know that after week 2 I truly felt like I could do anything and that the rest of the workouts, while still intimidating, were going to get done no matter what.

Week 3

I think we were all settling in pretty well by the third week. I know I was and was already starting to think about how much I would miss this training once it was done. The workouts were still very tough and challenging but I feel like we bonded together through all the suffering.

Week 4

I think everyone would agree that the final week was the most technically challenging. Maybe it was the exhaustion of doing these things for 3 weeks prior or just the fact that we were close to the end of it and were feeling more relaxed mentally but we really hit our stride in the last week.

As much as I got out of this experience, I can’t really say that I would recommend it for anyone. You really need to make sure you’re prepared and know how to get yourself ready and recover as you go. We took precautions and planned the workouts out in terms of timing but we each still have some remnants of an issue or two of this month even today a year later. All in all, we did it, and I’m proud to have done this with my teammates.

The Workouts in Order

Severin
For Time
50 Strict Pull-Ups
100 Hand-Release Push-Ups
5k Run
Wear a weight vest (20/14 lb)

Rahoi
AMRAP in 12 minutes
12 Box Jumps (24 in/20 in)
6 Thrusters (95 lbs/65 lb)
6 Bar-Facing Burpees

Danny
AMRAP in 20 minutes
30 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
20 Push Press (115/75 lb)
30 Pull-Ups

TK
AMRAP in 20 minutes
8 Strict Pull-Ups
8 Box Jumps (36/30 in)
12 Kettlebell Swings (2/1.5 pood)

Weston
5 Rounds For Time
1000 meter Row
200 meter Farmer Carry (45 lb dumbbells)
50 meter Waiter Walk, Right Arm (45 lb dumbbell)
50 meter Waiter Walk, Left Arm (45 lb dumbbell)

Marston
AMRAP in 20 minutes
1 Deadlift (405/285 lb)
10 Toes-to-Bar
15 Bar Facing Burpees

Tom
AMRAP in 25 minutes
7 Muscle-Ups
11 Thrusters (155/105 lb)
14 Toes-to-Bar

Bull
2 Rounds For Time
200 Double-Unders
50 Overhead Squats (135/95 lb)
50 Pull-Ups
1 mile Run

Griff
For Time
800 meter Run
400 meter Run (backwards)
800 meter Run
400 meter Run (backwards)

Clovis
For Time
10 mile Run
150 Burpee Pull-Ups

The Don
For Time
66 Deadlifts (110/75 lb)
66 Box Jump (24/20 in)
66 Kettlebell swings (1.5/1 pood)
66 Knees-to-Elbows
66 Sit-Ups
66 Pull-Ups
66 Thrusters (55/35 lb)
66 Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lb)
66 Burpees
66 Double-Unders

Johnson
AMRAP in 20 minutes
9 Deadlifts (245/165 lb)
8 Muscle-Ups
9 Squat Clean (155/105 lb)

Pheezy
3 Rounds For Time
5 Front Squats (165/105 lb)
18 Pull-Ups
5 Deadlifts (225/155 lb)
18 Toes-to-Bar
5 Push Jerks (165/105 lb)
18 Hand-Release Push-Ups

Randy
For Time
75 Power Snatches (75/55 lb)

Daniel
For Time
50 Pull-Ups
400 meter Run
21 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
800 meter Run
21 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
400 meter Run
50 Pull-Ups

Collin
6 Rounds For TIme
400 meter Sandbag Carry (50/40 lb)
12 Push Press (115/75 lbs)
12 Box Jumps (24/20 in)
12 Sumo Deadlift High-Pull (95/65 lbs)

Ricky
AMRAP in 20 minutes
10 Pull-Ups
5 Dumbbell Deadlifts (75/55 lb)
8 Push-Press (135/95 lb)

Coe
10 Rounds For Time
10 Thrusters (95/65 lb)
10 Ring Push-Ups

Rankel
AMRAP in 20 minutes
6 Deadlifts (225/155 lb)
7 Burpee Pull-Ups
10 Kettlebell Swings (2/1.5 pood)
200 meter Run

Nutts
For Time
10 Handstand Push-Ups
15 Deadlifts (250/175 lb)
25 Box Jumps (30/24 in)
50 Pull-Ups
100 Wall Ball Shots (20/14 lb)
200 Double-Unders
400 meter Run (with 45/35 lb plate)

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“Never Quit” from a Coach’s Perspective

“Never Quit” from a Coach’s Perspective

I use “Never Quit” or “Never Give Up” A LOT. It’s not just a slogan I like to wear on a t-shirt. I mean it. I believe in it. 100% of the time.

I am a Coach. My brain and my heart are hardwired for helping people. They just are. I can’t help it. I have discovered this truth after years of my own training and personal journey.

This is a fairly tricky thing to balance out for me. I am a professional, I provide training, inspiration, guidance and education simultaneously I must maintain a high level of passion for helping people and so this mixture leads to personal vulnerability. It’s a tightrope that coaches walk each time we take on a new client.

If I coach you, I will give you everything I have to help you reach your goals.

As a client you need to understand that this means i’m giving you a small piece of myself. In order for this to work, you have to reciprocate. At the same time you have to have some internal motivation to get you to where you want to go. I cannot make you do the work. I can lead you, I can inspire you, I can certainly help you in just about any way you may need. But I cannot make you do it.

You have to get up and dig in. You have to persevere through it all.

However through all of this, I am a Coach. When your priorities shift or you change your focus, I can’t help but feel that you are actually giving up on your goals. Maybe you’ve shown me pictures of what you want to look like. Maybe you’ve written down your motivation. We’ve probably talked about defining your “Why”, so you know why you’re doing all this…

Yeah, you’ve worked pretty hard the past couple months. I know that the work has gotten more difficult. I know that you have other things, like your family, career, home, pets, car, hobbies, all the things that pull against your time. We all have that happen to us in life. It’s life, it’s not easy. It happens to me too.

This is why, when things gets difficult. When this happens you have to double down on the work you need to do to achieve your goals.

Here’s the part you’re not going to like hearing: 
I’ve seen you give up when things gets really hard. I’ve seen you stop giving your best effort. I’ve seen you slip and cheat the rules we setup when we first started working together. I’ve read your food journal with good healthy entries and then I’ve seen on Instagram where you’ve actually eaten a whole pizza and then missed 4 days in a row.

I was there when you weren’t there when you were supposed to be there doing the work you’re supposed to be there doing.

This is why i’m here, this is why you hired me.

To call you out on these things.

To redirect you back to the work.

Even when you don’t want to hear it. Even when you don’t want to do it.

You probably think, that in the long run, these are small things… yes they may be. But, I believe 100% that the way we do the small things is the way we do everything.

When we’re dealt a shitty situation, like an injury for example, it’s what we do after it that matters. Do you just accept it and give up on your original vision or goal?

No.

Hell no…

You don’t let anything change your vision or your goal. You adjust things, yes, but you keep getting after it.

If you can’t workout, you fix your nutrition even more.

If you can’t train, you still show up to class and watch and learn things.

You find out what you can do and you go do that.

If you really want to achieve your goals, you’ll do it, you won’t be thinking about quitting, much less talking out loud about it.

You told me once that you don’t ever want me to think that you are a quitter.

I don’t say this to insult you.

I say this because, believe me or not, I respect you. However:

“You ARE quitting. Don’t lie to yourself…”

To accept anything less than what you told me you wanted and to change your trajectory to anything less than that which you set out to achieve is just that…

Quitting… It’s intellectually dishonest to believe otherwise.

I am a Coach. I am a professional. I can handle it if you want to go somewhere else. Or if you outgrow what I can offer. Or if you don’t jive with my style. Or if you’re not getting what you want with me. I can handle that, truly.

You see; I’m left feeling that you are quitting because I challenged you to get to the next level. So i’m left feeling like it’s my fault, like I pushed you away from your goals by expecting too much out of you, maybe expecting something out of you that you didn’t really want in the first place. If your priorities shift and you want something different out of life, that’s cool. I’ve got your back, believe that.

But know that if you really want to grow, you’ve got to acknowledge what the truth is. In order for me to commit to you, I have to give you a little bit of myself. A little bit of my heart and passion. There is only so much that I can spare, so to me it is precious.

In the end though you don’t owe me anything. I understand that. This isn’t a pity party for poor old coach here.

But you do owe it to yourself to think through whatever the truth that you’re hiding from might be…

Don’t leave something undone and have regrets later in life. Especially since maybe it’s just because something became more difficult and you had to work harder at it. You’ll just grow older and always dream about what could have been.

You can get to where you want to be. You just have to really mean it.

really hate seeing people not get what they want out of life because they can’t stick with the work long enough and can’t fight through the pain long enough to achieve it. Average people do that, they start along a path and then when it gets tough they quit. They walk away.

I believe in you. I do not believe you are average. That’s why I gave you that little bit of what I have.

If you want to get back and work on those goals, I am here. 
If you don’t want to do it with me, I respect that too.

Just please don’t give up on yourself.

Never give up.

Never Quit.

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GRIT vs. Luck

GRIT vs. Luck

I think that saying “good luck” to someone before they take on a big challenge isn’t quite right. While I like the sentiment, something that might stick a little more is “Never Quit” or “Never Give Up”. Saying that luck has anything to do with your success just doesn’t feel right. You mean I was lucky to pass that test? Hell no, I worked hard to pass it, I earned that grade!

Thoughts lead on to purposes; purposes go forth in action; actions form habits; habits decide character; and character fixes our destiny.

Tryon Edwards

I’ve been thinking about what “defines” who I am a lot lately. As hard as I work on the physical side of myself, the more I realize I have to work just as hard on the mental.

My Sensei recently said to me that the best students are often the ones that lack that special natural physical talent, they are usually those that have to work extra hard for their success. They earn it through hard work and dedication. They forge a mental attitude through practice that drives them to achieve their goals. If he had to choose a new student between one who has the raw natural physical talent and one who has to work and scrap for everything they get, then he’d choose the latter.

I agree with him 100%.

I’ve been coaching and teaching fitness for over 2 years now professionally. I can tell you without a doubt the biggest let down’s i’ve experienced are with those that have natural talent, things come easy to them and as a result they simply don’t work as hard as those that aren’t “born with it”. They almost always stop showing up or lose interest when things eventually (and they ALWAYS will) get challenging…

What is it that makes someone seek out a goal and stick with the work long enough to reach it? Hard work creates determination in a person. Deep in my heart I believe that hard work builds character and teaches you true respect and humility.

If your goals are too easily achieved and you reach them without much effort then there really is no lesson and you can start to take it all for granted. To achieve that feeling when conquering your goals after many failed attempts and long hours of work or practice is priceless.

I’m not saying you can be given those gifts from god, have that natural built in talent, and never achieve anything. I’m not looking down on those people either. Can you just imagine what happens when natural talent meets hard work and dedication? That is beauty right there folks. What i’m saying is that I haven’t truly seen it in person yet. How I long for that day — when it comes i’ll be ready as a coach though. 🙂

I’ll share a story of something I experienced with my own training:

A couple of years back I was working on running a 12k trail run (~7.5 miles) I put in some pretty hard work for over 3 months straight. I kept going out trying to tack on an extra mile each time I ran, just trying to muscle it out. My thinking was that if I just stuck on a mile every week or so, eventually i’d add on enough to reach the 7.5 miles.

Nope.

In fact my distances got worse and for some reason my endurance suffered from that approach… It was only after I tried something new that one of my mentors told me about; visualize that long run, focus on what I was going to do before I got to the trails, get myself into a positive mental state about the distance — only then was I able to pull off a fairly quick 6 miles. (the longest i’d ever gone before was 4 miles at that time, literally the week before.) I thought about running the distance for 2–3 days beforehand. I thought about what kind of pace I would set and how I would handle breathing during different parts of the trail, planning how I would recover my wind while still running. I got to the point where I actually could feel it in my mind.

Small victory? Maybe, but it felt HUGE that day. 
(Thank you for that lesson Coach Divine!)

The lesson I learned is that the physical part of training is only a portion of what you have to do to get ready for something that is beyond your current abilities. I’ve seen people who have let themselves down by quitting in the middle of trying. I’ll be honest, i’ve done it myself as well. It’s not as simple as “mind over matter” and you can’t will yourself to push through something the moment you need it for the first time. You have to develop “Grit.” You only seem to find Grit within hard-ass work and determination.

You have to have control over yourself both mentally and physically in equal portions. You have to be able to turn it on when you need it and to do that you have to practice it all the time. It doesn’t happen overnight either. Like anything that’s worth it, it takes some time. Just like you have to practice whatever else it is you’re trying to achieve; be it a race, a Karate rank test, a college degree or some other professional assignment.

Grit is what gives you the will to win.

To dig deeper in order to keep pushing when you feel like you’re going to die.

I think It’s why we all love the underdog so much, because they’re not supposed to win. They got there through long hours of hard work and practice.

If I do have control over the things that define who I am, I want it to be that i’m known as a person who never quits, who will never give up.

I will also start telling people; “Don’t Quit” instead of “Good Luck”.

All things being equal… I would rather have grit than luck any day.

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