PERFECTIONISM IS NOT A CHAMPION MINDSET

Have you ever been in the middle of a workout, and it starts to feel a little challenging and you are instantly triggered?

PERFECTIONISM IS NOT A CHAMPION MINDSET

Its actually been an interesting experience to be standing eagerly at the front desk and see you all come through the door since we reopened – everyone has a story to tell about what the last 3 months being in self isolation has meant for them.

Everyones story is completely unique. None of us ever experience life in the same way do we?

But heres what I want you to know – we have far more control over the way in which we experience the world than we realise. Its easy to forget just how powerful our own thoughts are.

There are things that we all collectively agree are awful. Murder, sudden death, crimes against animals – there are some things that we are ok with believing are horrible.

But for the most part, the way in which we experience the world, the way we react to situations and circumstances is a reflection of our thought patterns.

Have you ever been in the middle of a workout, and it starts to feel a little challenging and you are instantly triggered?

Somehow a kettlebell making your forearms ache becomes the catalyst for a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions.

You begin to put yourself down “you cant do this” “you are going to finish last” “everyone can see how much you are struggling”

It goes deeper

“You are never going to change”

“You are useless at everything”

“Who do you think you are?”

In some moments it might be appropriate to ignore those voices and power through.

Mid round, in a fight is not the time to begin to open yourself up to self awareness, right?

However, might it be possible, in other sessions in the gym – to really feel into the powerful opportunities we are given to really be present with ourselves?

Instead of repressing those thoughts and that inner dialogue, you might like to give it an opportunity to surface. You might like to give yourself permission to really hear what that inner critic has to say to you.

Usually, there are parts of ourselves that have been repressed, avoided or treated as unacceptable that we try to keep on lock down.

If you have ever given up on yourself in a workout before, found yourself in tears midway through a session, or become irrationally angry at your performance under your barbell – you aren’t alone.

It happens – a lot. In the gym we witness to all sorts of physical and emotional break throughs and break downs, and are certainly not exempt from experiencing them ourselves.

Here is whats going on- its likely that we aren’t really deeply unhappy with what is going on in that moment, but the struggle we are enduring in a workout is triggering parts of ourselves that we have decided are unacceptable.

This runs deep. Self awareness of this level is best explored with professional support. Utilising your therapy of choice will best help you – but the gym has the potential to shine a spotlight on parts of yourself that you would usually leave in the dark in the grind of your day to day life. The questionable coping mechanisms that we use at home, in our jobs, for relationships and the way we function in the world usually fall apart when we put ourselves under pressure in a workout.

Don’t think this applies to you?

Want to go for a run?

Running causes A LOT of anxiety for a lot of people. We facilitate running programs that support beginner runners in gradually increasing their fitness and endurance as they build towards running 10km.

The mere suggestion of running makes the majority of people physically uncomfortable. They throw up all kinds of resistance and justifications for why they cant run, why they will continue to avoid running and why running is a ridiculous concept in itself.

A decade of experience has shown me that every person that has ever told themselves that they are not a runner has proved themselves wrong when engaging with a running program.

Here’s the catch – they did not become elite runners.

They simply became people who liberated themselves from self doubt and found the magic in putting one foot in front of the other. They felt the energy generated physically, emotionally and mentally when you run outside and feel the sun on your skin and fresh air on your face. They embraced the sense of accomplishment simply by suspending their disbelief long enough to realise that running is not a race. It’s a powerful, efficient and effective way to align body, mind and soul & breakthrough years of self talk that has held you back in ways you have not even been conscious of.

If you have started a running program and pulled back within the first few weeks, its likely that you threw down all sorts of justifications to block your own path. Work commitments, feeling under the weather, a lack of time, a lack of motivation – Ive heard it all. In truth, you probably tell yourself – running is bullshit, this program is pointless and I really couldn’t give a shit whether I ever run 10km or not.

But friend, that’s not even your truth. You do care. Telling yourself you don’t care is the easy way out of facing what you are really up against.

You are likely up against perfectionism. Before you roll your eyes at me, hear me when I say, being a perfectionist doesn’t mean you want everything to be perfect necessarily. It can mean that you fear judgement, shame and criticism from others unless you do something perfectly.

Its likely that somewhere in your upbringing, at some point, you were shamed in some way that has now made you fearful of being seen to fail again.
Maybe it was something someone said to you. Maybe it something you experience and what you made it mean to you.

When I was 14 years old I believed I was a good little athlete. Confident and coordinated in most sports and activities, my sense of self was rooted in the achievements I was praised for in the classroom and in sports. At the tender age of 14 I was put into one of Sydney’s most prestigious private girls High Schools. Desperate to find my place in this highly competitive environment, I was confident that my physical performance in sports would see me stand out from my peers. Some 20 years later I can still remember what it was like to try out for the athletics team – and failing. I put everything I had into the 100m dash. I pumped my arms hard and gasped for air as I relentlessly propelled myself forward. As I stood at the finish line, bent over trying to steady my breathing and comfort my ego, I said to myself “they have more experience than you – you just aren’t as good”

Of course, there are many other experiences that have solidified this limiting belief within me. This belief has not been present to hold me back, it shows up to keep me safe. Any time I am about to extend myself in anyway, that cautionary thought shows up to ask me if I am really willing to try and probably fail.

That inner critic is triggered in so many ways & its impact has manifested in many ways. Its been seen if my self sabotage and the opportunities Ive denied myself. Its also been seen in my somewhat unhealthy work ethic and relentless desire to achieve, create and conquer.

In meeting my husband Steve, I was captivated by the way in which he was able to humbly and confidently take opportunities, put himself under pressure and somewhat fearlessly face any and every situation with complete conviction. Observing him has made me realise one powerful thing – PERFECTIONISM IS NOT A CHAMPION MINDSET.

In allowing myself to lean in to perfectionism in any way, I am actually setting myself up for failure. Steve is so successful because he is so willing to try anything and everything without being committed to the outcome. He is willing to fail without making it mean anything more.

I have been able to form a response to my inner critic that allows me to see and hear all parts of myself and still move forward confidently. The fearful, embarrassed and shamed parts of me that still exist come forward and say “they have more experience than you – you just aren’t as good” any time I am pushing my limits and stepping into a new opportunity. This happens in the gym, in business and in life again and again – but now, when I hear that voice I don’t recoil, and pull back and limit myself, I nurture that part of myself and lovingly reassure it that “your efforts are valid and Im proud of you”

That exchange between the wounded parts of me and the experienced, resilient parts of me has made me feel whole and centred. I am not at war within myself. I don’t self sabotage and I am certainly not hard on myself in any way that is mean, degrading or belittling.

I mended my relationship with running and myself simultaneously. As I learned to trust my mind and my body, I would simply run for the experience of finishing what I started. I removed judgement. I abolished my own competitiveness. I allowed myself to enjoy the process of becoming fitter and building my capacity to run further. I have since run countless half marathons and full marathons around the world. I have always had to remind myself that my efforts are valid and that Im proud of myself. Running daily presents me with the opportunity to say that to myself every day – its powerful.

Now, I run not to get anywhere, or to prove anything. I run because it aligns my body, mind and soul. I run because it energises me. I run because it is fun. I run because I have a toddler and we have so many things to see and do in a day together.

Experiences in the gym can have meaningful, long lasting impact on every area of your life. The struggle you face in a workout may allow you to hear the voice within you that pulls you back and keeps you small. The justifications for not following through are probably trying to keep you safe from re experiencing something painful from your past.

We move forward when we understand what is going on within us and allow it to surface. We can then create disconfirming experiences for ourselves to rewrite the ending to the narrative that we have embedded within ourselves.

Deepening the relationship you have with yourself is the fastest way to make progress in every area of your life.

Next time you are in a workout, and you hear that negative, limiting, disapproving, judgemental voice pop up, telling you you cant – bring awareness to it. Then find time to follow that voice. Ask yourself when was another time I heard that? And another time? And another time? You might need professional support to help you trace that voice, or you might be able to journal or share with a loving friend or partner. Follow that voice to truly understand what you are trying to keep yourself from feeling or re experiencing – and then give that part of yourself whatever it needs to free you.

Everything we are searching for or seeking if already within us. You have everything you need already.

I look forward to sharing this conversation with you all and if this has resonated with you today, I would love you to reach out and message me on our facebook or Instagram page at The Training Room Geelong and let me know what your triggers have been teaching you.

Ill see you in the gym!

*ROUND 6 OF THE TRAINING ROOM GEELONG 10KM BEGINNERS RUNNING PROGRAM STARTS AUGUST 1. This is a free offering for members and guests. DM for details and to join!