by Emily McLendon

We exist in a culture of comparison. The world we live in allows up to compare ourselves to others literally every second of the day. We compare jobs, homes, vehicles, kids, abilities, and even values. CrossFit can
sometimes feel similar. We all know our numbers – 1 RM lifts and benchmark workout times, and each day we enter the gym, we are working and laboring to beat not only our numbers but the numbers of everyone around us.

While this constant striving and go-getter attitude are traits we can all be proud of, often times the results and improvements don’t seem to come as fast as we expect and we are left feeling as though all our hard work is for nothing. We think to ourselves that something must be wrong…why am I working so hard and not getting that PR snatch or six pack abs or ring muscle up?

In life, there will be times when we do everything right, perhaps even perfectly. Yet the results will somehow be negative: failure, disrespect, disappointment. Depending on what motivates us, this can be crushing. To be quite
honest, this is reality. Maybe we never get that six pack or we are constantly chasing a PR number that we simply may never reach. The idea that your success in CrossFit and in life are tied only to achievement CANNOT be what motivates you! Doing the work is enough. How do you carry on then? How do you take pride in yourself and feel successful if the achievement may never come? You change the definition of success. “Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best you are capable of becoming.” – John Wooden. Doing the work is enough. As much as we all wish this wasn’t true, most of the time we cannot control the outcome of our work. When our satisfaction with our work or our sense of success is attached to whether or not the outcome was a good one, we are setting ourselves up for quite a painful existence. If we are truly working with our full effort and doing everything within our control to be the best we can be, this is when we truly feel successful.

Letting go of the outcome isn’t easy and it doesn’t mean we stop trying or working hard. I understand if you leave the workout feeling upset with yourself because you feel that you could have pushed harder, but if you are truly giving everything you have (this also means being realistic with how much time you have to devote to getting better at CrossFit) then there is no reason to second guess yourself. The next time you start to feel discouraged about your results, ask yourself these questions: what is it that I really want, and did I do everything in my power to get closer to what I want today? When you step into the gym each day, challenge yourself to only make comparisons between the person you are today and the person you were last week. Your true goal as an athlete should be a steady state of progress in your work ethic, demeanor, tenacity and your mental toughness to come in and do the work. Doing the work is enough.