So you are a CrossFitter? Let's take this outside...

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So you are a Crossfitter? Let’s take this outside…

By: David Folmer

In high school, I vividly remember coaches saying, “half of your education is going to come outside the classroom.” At that point, the pearls of wisdom were sandwiched with charged epithets in reference to our respective failures or “areas of opportunities.” Good times.

Yet, as I continue my pursuit of betterment in terms of professional development, leadership, and CrossFit, the interplay of each of these things strikes me as undeniable, and though I had mostly blocked out those high school coaches, the “outside the classroom” idea has crept back into my mindset.

Ben Bergeron, coach to Crossfit Games Athletes and current champ, Mat Fraser, two-time Games champion Katrin Davidsdottir, Washington Husky alum and Games Athlete Cole Sager, three time Games Athlete, Brooke Wells, and former coach to Crossfit Legend, Chris Spealler, is widely known as the most successful CrossFit Coach in the world. Part of the reason for his success is that he has broken down the methods to chasing excellence into digestible bites, as articulated in his book, “Chasing Excellence” In sum, and paraphrased, they are show up, show grit, be positive, embrace adversity, have confidence, commit to the process, control what you can and relinquish what you can’t, be humble, don’t complain, and be clutch.”

Now, what is striking about these “bites,” is that read out of context, they could be keys to success to any facet of one’s life. Personally, I think this is convenient as it gives us an opportunity to commit to a single behavior or goal or attribute, and it can pour over to any other circumstance in your life, personally, professionally, or athletically.

Relatedly, in a previous post I referenced an idea of having an “interest” bucket, a “what I find important” bucket, and a “core goal” bucket. And while the focus of that post was on being honest and doing our best to consciously identify our core goals, I think it warrants taking time to acknowledge that there is also the potential for values to make their way into each of these buckets on a subconscious level.

Positively, if you make the conscious effort to do things like always work through the clock, hold the standard on every movement, and maintain the mindset that struggle is synonymous with growth, you are naturally building positive character traits of doing things right, stick-to-itiveness, and driving to maintain a growth mindset. Each of these character traits will not only make you a better CrossFitter, but you undoubtedly will develop a competitive advantage in your life outside of Crossfit such as finishing projects with full attention to detail, effectively battle procrastination, call people back, spend time with your family, have difficult conversations when appropriate, and following through when setting expectations. In other words, without consciously choosing to do so, you are kinetically building a competitive advantage and can result in an extremely positive impact on your life outside of the gym a

Alternatively, and more scarily, because the things we house in our “core values” bucket are the result of what we repeatedly do, if one chooses to embrace indifference, see all challenges as trivial pursuits, and always think “good enough” when managing workouts, then I contend that person is training themselves into a behavioral pattern of underperformance.

In a professional setting, this is a person that shows up but focuses on the minimum workload requirements, sends emails without proofing, thinks “customer service” is only ever received, and then gets the most upset when they are passed over for promotion. In a lifestyle setting, this is also the person that “doesn’t have time” to meal prep, does a half-hearted job on any house project, or always takes advantage of or bails on friends without acknowledgement of the deteriorating impact on the relationship. In other words, this person is cementing behavioral pattern of satisficing.

Now, I would also contend that no one is going to finish the statement, “I am the type of person that…” with “cuts corners,” “leaves things unfinished,” or “doesn’t give a ‘hoot’.” But, as we are what we repeatedly do, if we allow ourselves to always take the easy way, never get out of our comfort zone, and chose indifference versus toward betterment, we are at risk at subconsciously allowing negative behavior attributes to creep into our core value bucket.

Additionally, because we know that perception is reality, this also presents a risk that if others perceive a certain behavior, your actual core values may end up being a good deal different than what you think.  So, be conscious. If you find yourself in a situation where your personal “core value” trait is tested, try your best to recognize the opportunity, and execute your core value behavior. Stuck in traffic? Demonstrate your patience and your ultimate coolness. (*note, Google says the “coolest human in the world” is Morgan Freeman. lol.) In an discussion with a charged employee or customer, showcase your commitment to gratitude and demonstrate your appreciation of their willingness to provide feedback. Perception is reality, and each opportunity is a chance to establish yours.

So, see the difference. See that you are not just training your body, but training your mind. See that by driving to do things right, committing to the complete package of fitness, and by taking massive action to excel, you are actively building the character traits of a successful human, and not just an engaged CrossFitter.

Thus, there is a lot of value showing up fully and engaging in the community and the workout, listen for understanding and connecting with the speaker versus simply listening to formulate a response. By being responsible, holding the line, and taking massive action until complete goal completion, we are fully ready to take those skills outside the box.


Good luck.


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