Ego Is The Enemy

I did “Murph” yesterday, and then when I saw today’s workout, my initial reaction was, “Oh my gosh, that is so dangerous after doing Murph! I’m not doing that!” And then my “coach voice” stepped in and replied, “Oh really, Kara? Do tell me why this is dangerous.” I had plenty of reasons, and I started listing them off to myself, and as I was scrolling through my list, I suddenly had an image of myself as a coach, arms crossed, facial expression indifferent, foot tapping, and heaving a heavy sigh.

You see, folks, I am JUST AS human as the rest of you, and even to this day, after doing this for over 10 years, I STILL have battles with my ego and inner demons from time to time. Thankfully, though, after doing this for as long as I have, and coaching even longer, I have my own internal coach to check me when I need it.

Whenever I am resistant to something, whenever I react negatively, and whenever I wanna fight, I always bring myself back to the ground with one simple question…

What do I have to lose from this, and what do I have to gain?

In doing today’s workout, all I really had to lose was my own pride, but there were a lot of things I could gain. Full disclosure, I am super sore from Murph, so in doing today’s workout in any capacity would be a great recovery for my body, and prevent further super soreness the following days (Yes, it actually works that way. Resting, AKA not doing anything at all because you’re super sore will actually make you even more sore the next few days).

I also had humility and grace to gain in doing today’s workout.

I am old enough that I can’t just jump into a workout anymore, I need a long warm up, and I can’t bounce back easily from any sort of injuries, even little ones, and currently I have three little ones depending on me too much, soooo… Whether my ego likes it or not, I HAVE to scale and modify as needed to remain functional. I knew because I am super sore from Murph that I would have to scale today, and my ego never likes that. He’s annoying like that.

Initially, I told Coach Robby that I was just going to do Burpee Box Jump Step Overs instead of the Box Overs, because I cannot clear the box and I didn’t want to do the PVCs. Again, because my ego was being loud today. But then, as Coach Robby was going over the standards and some scaling options, he had plates stacked in place of the box. I knew I could do Burpee Box Overs like that. I shoved my ego aside, moved the box outta my way, and stacked three 45# plates.

I had a great workout. And, I felt great afterwards. It WAS a great recovery workout after Murph. It wasn’t dangerous, I didn’t get hurt, and my ego wasn’t even bruised.

Look - I know I wasn’t the only one to have this initial reaction today, and I know I wasn’t the only one having these internal battles. There’s that saying, “We are all fighting battles daily that the rest of us know nothing about,” and so I share mine in the hopes that you can relate, but more importantly, so you can self-reflect and consider challenging yourself in a similar way.

Just as your coach it is my job to challenge you body, mind, and soul, so too am I trying to constantly challenge myself.

The moment you stop challenging yourself is the moment you have accepted complacency and stagnancy. Our goal is constant self-improvement. NOT to be able to do a workout “Rx,” NOT to be able to deadlift 3x our bodyweight, and NOT to be able to fit into a size 2. While all those are totally acceptable and good goals to have, don’t ever let your ego get in the way.

“Ego is the enemy” as Ryan Holiday so eloquently writes about in his book. The thing about ego is that it can camouflage itself so that we THINK it’s our voice of reason. Telling myself that today’s workout was “dangerous” gave me permission to either skip today all together, or scale it how I wanted to in order to please my ego.

But, let’s get real here - Coach JonMichael & Coach Phil have been doing this just as long as I have, and have years of exceptional experience and knowledge that I KNOW they would not program something dangerous or stupid.

Whenever people tell me that CrossFit is dangerous, I always respond with, “Actually, CrossFit isn’t dangerous. Bad coaching and a big ego are dangerous!”

Ego is the enemy. Humility is your friend. Know the difference. Fight for yourself.

Kara PurvesComment