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Mindset Training Week 14: Enough

August 11, 2022 by

From a very young age, I showed obvious signs of not being athletically gifted. If there is an awkward gene, I inherited it. Scrawny arms and legs, puny and ineffectual efforts at coordination. My first attempt was gymnastics.

I stared down the pommel horse with determination, after watching all the other kids launch up and fly over it with ease. Taking off at full speed, I scrabbled my little legs down the runway, hit the platform with an unceremonious flail, and smacked gut-first into the horse. Gasps from the audience, as my four-year-old body slid into a defeated puddle on the floor. “Over the horse, Amanda, not into the horse,” I heard someone say.

My mom never brought me back to gymnastics. “We’ll find you something else, Amanda.”

My older sister, graced with a strong, athletic build, was always stuck with me and my lack of coordination. Once, my mother demanded she take me on a bike ride. Big Blue had a large sparkling banana seat and swooping silver handlebars with blue and white tassels fluttering from the end of the grips. Secondhand, sporting duct tape on the seat, she was rough around the edges. The training wheels my dad attached didn’t quite fit the large frame, wobbling me from side to side as I strained to reach the pedals. Not wanting me to slow her down, my sister devised a genius plan. She grabbed a rope and tied the back of her yellow banana seat to the silver handlebars of Big Blue.

We didn’t make it past the length of the house before I crashed sideways. With me attached, she dragged both me and Big Blue down the sidewalk a few feet before she realized her design flaw. I entered the house bawling, with skin raw from shoulder to ankle.

I continued to prove I was bad at everything. I kept trying. Tap, ballet, swimming, tee ball. Doggedly, I then tried non-sporting activities: sewing, cooking, crafts, piano, violin, theatre. I was terrible at those too. My dad concluded that I didn’t have the athletic gene. “You’re either born with it or you aren’t,” he would say. I, obviously, was not born with “it.”

One sport I kept up with each summer was softball. This may have caused more trauma than it was worth. I was the one everyone hated to have on their team. Each turn at bat resulted in a strikeout. They fobbed me off on the position that would do the least amount of damage: catcher. When I did have the chance for some action, the pitcher would body check me and my eager mitt out of the way to make the play instead.

In junior high, I persisted to find something I was good at: volleyball, basketball, cheerleading. I never made the team. The only sport I showed even the slightest amount of talent for was track. And that was cut short after a badly rolled ankle. “You have the weak Stoker ankles,” I was told. I quit.

I wanted to be an athlete. I would lie in bed at night and imagine myself pirouetting on ice skates, making a buzzer-beating shot, or being lifted on my team’s shoulders in triumph. Each time I tried and failed, instead of receiving the message of “keep trying” or “practice, you’ll get better,” I received the message, “you’re not good enough.”

What I wish I knew then: The value of grit. The strength of hard work and resilience in the face of untrue stories. I was conditioned to give up if I did not show innate ability for a skill. I kept being told that I was not enough, and I believed it.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH

At 35, I began my athletic career with the one thing I knew I could do: run. One foot in front of the other, I can do that. As a first step in my journey of emotional and physical health, I signed up for my first marathon. I knew I had a conditioning to give up, so I found a training method to tackle that mindset. Rather than focus on the impossibility of running a marathon, how slow I was, or how much everything hurt, I turned my mind to emphasize what I could accomplish that day. The sense of accomplishment I felt when I crossed the finish line in each training run began to rewrite the long-held story that I was not athletic and I was not enough.

I found CrossFit a year later. My lack of athletic ability was exposed daily, but I didn’t care, I loved it. I think some coaches thought me hopeless after the vast number of times I fell over, fell down, and ran into things. My first wall walk into a handstand resulted in me flat on my back. I saw actual eye rolls after trying to squat snatch the lightest weight possible. I ignored the familiar, nonverbal messages that I was not good enough. Through learning about my body, I began to build confidence. My coordination and agility were poor, but over time they began to improve.

A year into my CrossFit fitness journey, I began to compete in off-road triathlons—open water swimming followed by mountain biking and trail running. I swam crooked and was last out of the water most times. Once I was close to tears, staring down a steep, winding slope of black sandy trail known to be frequented by bears. Prayer kept me going. When I finally crossed that finish line, the volunteers had already begun taking the course apart. No fanfare, no medal, no one to congratulate me, not even a banana. I said quietly to myself “Yay. You did it.” In my mind, I had come in first place, not last.

Slowly, the judgments and validations from others started to carry less weight. My work was for me, not for anyone else. Only I knew how much effort I had exerted to climb all those hills. Only I knew how I slid out on that turn, told myself to get up and keep going. Only I knew how I spoke to myself throughout the entire race. Don’t give up. And only I could give myself the congratulations I deserved. I proved to myself that I was strong. That was enough.

WHEN IS IT ENOUGH?

There will always be someone you can perceive as better than you, stronger than you, smarter than you. If you hold yourself to this futile standard, nothing is ever enough. You become a victim to your own judging mind. You wish and want to live someone else’s life. Live your own life!

Believing the story of not being enough defeated me and kept me small for so many years. I turned the emotional pain of this story into suffering, until I let go of trying to meet an impossible standard. Now, when I am complemented on my physique or abilities, I laugh at the thought of where I was when I started. I couldn’t even squat. While still a bit clumsy at times, I learn and grow with every training session. I find joy in my accomplishments, laugh at my mishaps, and stay motivated by the challenges in front of me. I am enough.

Don’t worry about where you are starting from, just start. You can do anything and be anything you put your efforts toward. The only limit is the mind. What do you want, and what is the first increment to get there? Who cares if people laugh, roll their eyes, or criticize? That’s not your problem. Get up and get after it. You are enough.

FEAR OF FAILURE

What is holding you back for fear of not being good enough? Physical pains in life are obvious to us, and take proper medical care and patience for our body to heal. Emotional pain from trauma and limiting stories create invisible wounds that lurk under the surface, holding us back from our vast potential.

Growth happens around the edges. Confront the false stories behind your fears and set your life up for success.

PRINCIPLES FOR SUCCESS

Compete with yourself.

Wake up each day committed to give your best effort toward everything you do. Think of each day and every task as a competition with yourself. Ask “how can I do better and be better than yesterday?” Comparing yourself to others will leave you feeling isolated when you beat everyone, and not enough when you come in any other place except first. When you use your willpower and strength to advance yourself, the possibilities go beyond first place.

Support the success of others.

Shifting your intention away from beating everyone, and toward wanting success for everyone including yourself, frees you of the limiting bar of negative thoughts. When your peers succeed, you succeed. Healthy competition occurs alongside the energy of everyone working tirelessly to be their own best self. Encouraging others with your thoughts and words revs the engine of your mind and spirit, and builds a collective effort toward the common good.

Focus on what you’re doing now.

Be present with the task at hand. The wishing and wanting of a task to be done creates anticipation and distraction in the mind and suffering in the body, and consciousness fades. Ask yourself “What am I doing right now?” “I get to do this.” “I want to do this.” “I like doing difficult things.” Bring yourself back to this moment and this movement. Being present allows for calculated, precise action in everything you do with the least amount of resistance.

Disregard criticism that’s not constructive.

From your work deconstructing your own emotions, you know that limiting emotions reveal old stories you’re telling yourself. If emotions arise, take them through the deconstruction process. There is a narrative here about needing permission from others to succeed. If you perceive others’ direct negativity toward you, remember that this comes from their own insecurities. Let that negative energy dissipate. Wish them to be happy and move on. Do not make yourself small for anyone.

Enjoy the challenge.

Have fun and enjoy the process! Discover the joy of living. When you embark on a life of growth you fall in love with the challenge, because you know how good it feels to accomplish your goals and prioritize what’s most important. Celebrate not only your victories but every single effort it took to get there. This is how you win in every moment. Love your life and love yourself.

Do not quit.

Persistence is the key to success. Failure does not exist. Every perceived setback is part of the process of transformation. Assess each challenge that arises and see what it has to teach you. Never quit. Never give up. Push on. Get up every single time. You’ve got this!

MEDITATION PRACTICE

Through meditation you dissolve fears and old stories of not being enough. Disconnect from the pressures and expectations of the material world, and focus on your infinite nature. Connect with the limitless part of you that’s more than enough.

ON-CUSHION: 14-MINUTE MEDITATION

Meditate first thing in the morning and just before bed. Begin your meditation practice by repeating a statement of intention and liberation. Filter the truth of the words through your heart and mind. I am enough. I let go of negative judgments that make me small. There is nothing I cannot do with effort and determination. I believe in myself.

10-MINUTE EMOM + FOUR MINUTES OF STILLNESS

  • Set timer for 14 minutes with 10 one-minute increment bells.
  • Sit with your spine in neutral, shoulders over hips, ears over shoulders.
  • Close the eyes and focus gently at the third eye point between the eyebrows.
  • As you breathe in, imagine a golden light entering your chest and exiting through the back of your heart.
  • As you breathe out, imagine the light entering the back of your head at the point where the skull meets the spine, then exiting through the third eye point.

Minute 0:00 to 10:00 (five rounds)

Even minutes

  • Circulate energy from the heart to the mind as you inhale and exhale.
  • Keep count of the ten bells by extending your thumb for minute 1, then placing your thumb to each finger pad for minutes 2-5. Repeat for minutes 6-10.
  • Inhale: Silently repeat “Heart.”
  • Exhale: Silently repeat “Mind.”

Odd minutes

  • Retain breath.
  • Concentrate at the third eye point between the eyebrows.
  • Silently repeat “Love.”

Minute 10:00 to 14:00

  • Sit in silence for 4 minutes.
  • Concentrate at the third eye point of intuition.
  • Circulate the breath
  • Silently repeat “Om.”

Notice the feeling of self-love awakened from meditation. Affirm I am worthy of love.

OFF-CUSHION: PROGRAM SUCCESS

Throughout your day, notice when the story of not being enough creeps in for you, through non-reactionary exploration of the mind. Ask why you snapped at a colleague and allow yourself to feel the emotion—anger, fear, jealousy, sadness. Deconstruct the feeling to get to the underlying story you’re telling yourself. Release your psyche from weights of the past.

Tell yourself “I am enough” and “I succeed at everything I do” throughout the day, and especially when taking on a difficult task. This empowering phrase resets your consciousness to find the grit and resilience necessary to excel and exceed your potential. You will become what you believe. Telling yourself “you suck” becomes the truth. Tell yourself that “I am enough,” “I can try harder,” “I like to do difficult things,” or “I can try something different or reroute my objective.” This trains the higher mind to growth and evolution instead of defeat and misery. Stop believing the story of “not enough” and start living your life.

Complete introspection questions and Chapter 14 exercise from your TMHH Workbook.

Train the Mind, Heal the Heart, Mindset Training Program.

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Photo Lincoln Brigham

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