I’d like to talk today about personal growth through fitness. I know that your physical success can allow you to have success in other areas of your life. I’ve seen this is my life and in the life of many other athletes. For example, doing an unassisted pull up, push up, more squats, whatever it is, can encourage you to start asking yourself ‘well what else can I do, and I don’t mean just what else can I do physically, but what else in my life in general can I also do.
Can I write a book, start planning for a way to visit somewhere I’ve wanted to see for a long time, etc., etc., the examples are endless. Let’s say I want to open up my own business/’do my own thing.’ Maybe doing 1 pull up unassisted ( a step in doing many more pull ups unassisted), would encourage me to start learning about local companies I like (a step in opening up my own business). Do you see what I’m saying?
Many times what we learn physically will teach us to carry it into other (and many) areas of our lives.
I used to be so scared of going up steep hills on my bike while being clipped into my pedals. And as soon as I’d start on this dang hill (especially one steep one I recall in particular here in Austin, TX where I live), my heart would start beating even faster and I’d imagine myself not being able to keep pedaling up the hill and not clipping out on time and then just all of sudden falling hard. So imagine envisioning this as I’m going up the hill. Not helpful.
But somewhere I came across a quote that said something like, just because I feel fear, doesn’t mean I’m afraid. Hmmmm, interesting I thought, what’s this about. So I began experimenting and began thinking this as I went up that hill. I would literally be thinking this over and over again as I chugged up that killer hill. And I started noticing that I would start moving up that hill much faster as soon as I started thinking that. And by ‘as soon as, ‘ I mean in that exact moment. That caught my attention.
And I didn’t feel like my heart was going to come out of my chest. My heart was not beating abnormally fast as I went up the hill anymore, because I wasn’t as anxious about it anymore. There’s a difference between your heart beating fast because you’re working your tail off, and your heart beating fast because you’re working your tail off AND you’re nervous as shit because you’re afraid of falling off your bike.In case you don’t know I tore every ligament in my knee in a bike accident 9 yrs ago, so falling off my bike again was a huge anxiety provoking thought for me.
Later I began using this thought, just because I feel fear, doesn’t mean I’m afraid, for other scary situations…at work, in relationships (before difficult conversations….we’ve all experienced how our mind makes this WAY scarier than the conversation itself). There is always some level of being afraid. That is normal because you’re human. But I can tell you that when I think this thought in the midst of difficult situations (and we know that difficult situations usually involve fear), I always become much more relaxed and confident.
When you’re more at ease, you think more clearly, when you can think more clearly, you analyze/process better and when you can analyze/process better, you come up with better answers/solutions. And well…if you can come up with better answers/solutions in your life, well then isn’t that one of the best things you can do?
And this is how a physical challenge (going up killer hills) transferred to other life challenges (professional, relational, etc). In this case going up those hills made me ask myself, well what else can I do and the fact that I used that thought while something was physically challenging and so intimidating, then showed me I could use that thought when anything else was scary, intimidating, challenging. It’s all common sense. We’re all much smarter than we think 🙂 Is there anything you’ve learned through fitness or a physical challenge that has empowered you in other areas?