Make the choice to do the hard things- that's where the fruit is.
We’ve moved through major lifts in the last few weeks, and, in the process, through many mindset stumbling blocks that exist in the gym and in life.
We’ve addressed the fact that wishing we were smaller is a waste of time and mental energy – energy that could be better put to use by cutting the distractions and living into our true purpose: loving, being loved, learning, and teaching.
We’ve learned how we learn and that not knowing how to do something is a step in the process, and we don’t get to skip steps.
We’ve mastered how to properly breathe and brace, a tool that sets us up to bear external heavy loads in the gym and that will return us to center when bearing external heavy loads in life.
We’ve taken the intimidation factor out of the squat, knowing how to set up properly, break down the movement, and move forward – a systematic breaking down of technique that strips the challenge of its scary, providing a crossover for the next scary relationship challenge we face.
We’ve embraced the suck of the bench press, taking the fact that women have less upper body strength than men out of the equation that we normally use to skip the heavy upper body lifts and seeing that just because something isn’t what we want doesn’t mean it doesn’t hold value.
We’ve harnessed the power of the deadlift, finding workarounds for our individual situations and turning the nerves into badassery, learning that we can always find a way to do things others deem difficult.
In short, we’ve moved from exercise-as-punishment to what fitness is really about: exercise as expansion. It’s a method to change our bodies, yes, but also to change our minds. We create space to step into who we’re meant to be, casting aside the distractions of smallness and shame and should.
It doesn’t have to be difficult (but the fun is when it is – we get to see what we’re really capable of, when it gets down to the nitty gritty); it doesn’t have to take hours (it can fit into our real-life schedules); it doesn’t have to be full of crap we don’t actually want to do (because it’s supposed to be fun, overall, despite the parts that aren’t). It’s about shoving off the notions of tiny, abandoning the small to step into the big. It’s a journey in itself and a means to an end. It’s a way of life – not just a lifestyle, but a mindset. And it’s magic.
Because, you see, when we abandon the idea that we need to be small, quiet, meek, and submissive, we gain so many more things: the freedom to choose our values, the ability to say what we really want for ourselves, the energy to work toward our desires, the focus to solve our problems, and the confidence to achieve every goal along the way (and empower those around us to do the same). We don’t need to be angry, yelling, screaming warriors (unless you really want to be); we can be composed beacons of fiery strength, standing up for ourselves and what we believe in with grace, dignity, and eloquence.
Moving from one camp to the other isn’t necessarily easy. The best way I know how to do any hard thing though, is to start with the physical. Because emotions can be messy, but lifting is not.
It’s pretty simple really: when we don’t know what to do, what should we do first?
Because action and stewing in thought are incongruous: we can’t be doing and agonizing about doing at the same time. So, my shift from the world of meek to a life of mighty began in training.
To train for physical strength is to train for mental strength. The iron is a proving ground, and it never lies to us: we can either lift the weight or we can’t. And when we discover that we can – and that we can do more than we imagined we could – we begin to discover that we can do other hard things too.
Every moment of every day presents a choice. We get to see it for what it is whenever we want to, and there’s no judgment: at every challenge, do we embrace our new #WonderWomanLoading mentality and expand, or do we stay small and safe? The time is right for either; we just have to choose. If we choose small one day, that’s okay, because we know that a new choice is right around the corner, and we’ve chosen big – and succeeded! – before, so we can do it again.
We can learn new skills. We can smash PRs. We can get to know who we really are and what we really want. We can deepen our intimacy and trust in relationships. We can pursue our passions. It’s all available to us; the door is wide open. We have to cultivate the courage and create the space to step through it.