Monday, September 9, 2013

Permission to suck

It’s been a crazy summer filled with adventures and new experiences. One of my decisions to start CrossFit was to improve my functional strength so that I would be able to do more with my family. Mission accomplished – we do more as a family than we used to. Weekends are exhausting! As we do more, we try even more new things to do. And guess what? I suck at most of them. But here’s what I’ve learned – it’s okay to suck. Give yourself permission to suck at something – so that you can explore and discover what you are capable of.

Over Labor Day weekend I was home in Alabama visiting family and I skied for the first time in 13+ years! I attribute the successful effort to a few things. One – great patience on my brother’s part for repeatedly pulling me and encouraging me. Two – coaching by a friend who stayed close by on a wave runner giving me tips and advice. Three – CrossFit – with strong legs and arms – my efforts weren’t stunted by weakness. My effort became about timing and technique. I was even surprised by how little I was sore a few days later. But one of the biggest reasons for the successful attempt at skiing – I believe was my willingness to suck.

One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned in my treks of the Canyon is to check my pride and just be open to learning. I found myself doing that again. Of course I wanted to look amazing pulling up for the first time. Of course I wanted to spray my family on the dock with a rooster tail. Of course I wanted to look like a rock star. Of course none of that happened! But the reality is even better. My son didn’t see any of that occur. What he did see was his mom determined to do something and not scared to fail. He saw me fall, get back up, fall, get back up, semi-successful stand-up attempt, fall, get back up, make adjustments, listen to those around me trying to teach me, fall, get back up and stay up, still up, still standing, VICTORY – WOOHOOO!!! I’m not going to pretend it was all pretty once I was up. I wobbled, struggled for control – and clearly my brother didn’t prepare me for crossing the wake – but it’s going up on the life scoreboard as a success. I suck at skiing – but I skied!

When I first started my fitness efforts – it was all about trying to recapture the thinness of my youth. Then I learned it was more about strength and nutrition. I still fight the demon that wants to be tiny, but on the days when functional strength shows me what I’m capable of – I choose to celebrate. Go suck at something new today! It’s awesome!

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