Welcome to the third and final installment of Battling Your Own Bullshit; we’ve reached the end, but as I found out, this was just the beginning on the long road that is self awareness. In part one I seized upon my ‘moment’ for personal change, and in part two I began to recognize the self destructive habits and behaviors that had been holding me back. But now, after all that, came the process. Welcome to the grind. This is where the real work begins, and where, gradually, real progress is made.
‘Training is like moving a big ass pile of dirt. Some days you get a shovel, some days you get a spoon but as long as you move some dirt everyday, you’re headed towards your goal’ - John Welbourn
YOU CAN'T RUSH THESE THINGS
As coaches, we constantly strive to better ourselves in every aspect. But, ‘real’ progression only comes from moments of self-reflection. In the Strength & Conditioning world, we understand the ‘Process’ as programming, planning and periodization However, we can adopt and foster the same concept when it comes to personal progression.
I had taken my moment and seized upon it, but I recognized early on that if I was going to ‘level up’ and have it carry over into both my life and coaching, I would have to take myself back to Bedrock. I would have to ‘re-lay’ the foundations of my mind. Initially however, there was a problem. Much like a beginner starting to lift weights, when it came to ‘leveling’ up and developing my mindset, I wanted to run before I could walk. I wanted the ‘PR’s’ over the process.
The self awareness ‘process’ is about taking you to a higher level of consciousness, but my initial reaction to it was to fight and be frustrated. Once you recognize the destructive traits of your character, you not only have to embrace it with the utmost humility, but you must take time out to process the many new realizations you are having. Unfortunately, things are changing, and those ‘moments’ of self reflection cause changes within you that can take months, or in some cases years, to come to terms with. You’ve taken the red pill now, and once your ‘third eye’ is open, there is no going back. New ‘dots’ are placed in front of you, and it is up to you to connect them. Yep, this is all part of the process. And, just like training, in order to ‘progress’...we must stress.
STRESS TO PROGRESS
‘I count him braver who overcomes his desires than him who conquers his enemies, for the hardest victory is over self.’ - Aristotle
When it comes to making the darkness conscious, we must stress to progress. Just as we do under the bar with consistently ascending loads, we must continuously ‘add weight’ to our minds and thought processes. There are many twists, turns, peaks, and valleys on the long road that is self awareness. When I thought I was starting to emerge from the woods, another set of realizations would blindside me, causing me to stop and process these new revelations. Yet overtime, and under consistent ‘load’, I became stronger. My mindset hardened, and each time a new wave of realizations hit me, I was and am now able to process them at a rate faster than previously before. In Power Athlete land, we amass ‘tensile strength’, which we define as the forged strength an athlete develops by spending time under load. The longer an athlete has trained, the greater the tensile strength. Similarly, one could say that this process is about cultivating the ‘tensile mind’. The more we expose ourselves to ourselves, the greater the tensile mind.
Yet, you may still be asking, “JC, why is the journey of self so important? And ultimately, how did crossing the precipice and embracing this ‘process’ have an impact on you as a coach?”
‘Understanding of ‘self’ brings about an understanding of others and therefore a capacity to empower at a rate greater than previously before.’ - Self
I believe that as a coach this self realization and reflection is absolutely vital. To know thyself, and to be on that ‘journey’ so that we can ‘see’ others and what makes them ‘tick’. As coaches we are on the front line, in the trenches, day in day out, and this job exposes us to the face of human nature, whether we like it or not. Yes, our job fundamentally is about empowering their performance. But, a big part of that ‘puzzle’ is the development of the mind.
Morpheus said it best, ‘The body cannot live without the mind’, and the development of both is what ultimately separates the good from the great. Again, if we have a firm grasp on ourselves, and are constantly exploring our own ‘depths’, then we can recognize the limited beliefs in our athletes, and ultimately empower their performance at a rate greater than previously before.
A sportsman throughout his youth and adult life, James has always had a vested interest in everything 'athlete'. His personal athletic endeavors took him most predominantly to rugby where he represented his state on a national level. After leaving the sport in 2009, he found CrossFit, and the start off his coaches journey. In 2011 James came across the original CrossFit Football website and used the training to empower his own performance. After following CF football for several years with much success, he attended one of the few UK seminars, which sent him on a path towards Power Athlete. Then In 2017 James journeyed across the pond to Texas, to test his coaching abilities and became the UK’s first Block One Power Athlete Coach. He now uses the Power Athlete Methodology to empower individuals and athletes from all backgrounds.
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