How many times in life have you witnessed something that “ain’t right”!? You know the basic premise and the general path one should take to get there…the RIGHT way. You watch as someone toils, taking the road MOST traveled. You know the one. That circuitous route we ALL get sucked into and often the ONLY path we know. Running with the heard at full speed can get us there fast but…where do you end up? Have you arrived at your “destination” (physically or mentally) in the most efficient manner possible? Are you better than yesterday? Are you continually addressing faults, actively seeking virtuosity or do you have your head down going 100mph?
Oft times, the distance of being one layer removed from the task at hand gives us a unique perspective. You see things a little clearer and more objectively when they’re not 2 inches from your face. How do you tactfully slow someone down, get them to take pause or a theoretical step back? How can you gently encourage that person to reevaluate their approach without actually saying “You’re doing it WRONG!”?
Welcome to coaching:) Coaching, like any other interpersonal skill set, can be a volatile balance of instruction, empathy, encouragement and guidance. Fortunately, we are blessed with top notch coaches at Cadre. Personally, I learn the best from my failures. Those that know me well understand that I have failed WAAAAAAY more often than I’ve succeeded. We all learn through pain and believe me…I could run a clinic from mine!
Flash back to Friday October 6th. The workout had an arch nemesis of mine (hand stand push-ups) craftily woven in. I’ve been actively working on this weakness since 2009. I’m much better and more efficient but…they STILL aren’t my friend. 321…GO! Start off feeling strong, smash a set of 15 no problem. What a great day to be alive!!! Then…round 2 hits. I’m sucking wind! Everyone is on to the next movement or more. The clock is ticking by. I’m on “E”, “bonking” questioning if I want to finish the workout. The sneaky and subtle voice from the back of the pain cave starts in “…quit”, “…give up” “…this really sucks! Heh heh heh!” I slowly begin to think my life is a complete lie. Then…people are done, finished with the workout. I’m an entire round behind…EVERYONE!
In our unique, communal fashion, the athletes that finish begin filing in around me. They’re cheering me on but at this vulnerable stage I “see” or perceive to see some head scratching and surprised faces. “Jason is last!?” “Wow! He’s really hurting!” I finish my 400m row with all I have, fall on the floor in a pile (not a great practice but sometimes necessary) and say to all who can hear me “That’s why I love CrossFit!”. I see some people tilt their heads wondering if the hypoxia is getting to me.
You see, if you ARE doing it RIGHT, you fail! Failing is the path less traveled for fear of losing ground. We’re pre-programmed from youth that failure is unacceptable, a stigma to be avoided at all costs. We use “LOSER!” to define people who don’t amount to much. If you really think about it, failing helps us grow IF we take the time to “pump the brakes”, look inward and learn from it. Humble introspection is one of the most underutilized tools we can use to become better. John C. Maxwell has an outstanding book titled Failing Forward: Turning Mistakes into Stepping Stones for Success. Read it!
Let’s pivot back to the volatile balance of coaching. Over the years, I’ve learned that being a good coach involves transparency, putting yourself “out there” and owning your failures. This resonates with everyone! Why? Because we ALL fail. After you read and digest this, I want to challenge you to take a different approach. Single out your failures; Learn from them and attack their potential causes.
Did you get enough rest the night before? Are you coming in too often? Yes! I said it! Too often. The adage is “You don’t over train you under recover” holds true here. You’re human, you need to recover. Recovery is even more important for us…ahhem…more mature athletes. Have you met your nutritional and hydration benchmarks? Are you taking the same approach to your technique/movement patterns? Have you asked a coach to check your BEST movement pattern? The one you think you “knock out of the park” every time. Are you getting the right depth in your squats or scaling weight and movements to get better functionally? Are you focusing on weight and time caps when you should be focused on getting stronger through your range of motion? The list goes on and on.
Suffice it to say, we want you to improve EVERY time you grace us with your presence! Just know that the pathway to improvement runs straight through “Failure Town”, population… EVERYONE! Be the Mayor if that’s what it takes. NEVER be afraid to Fail Forward so you know for a FACT that you ARE doing it right!