I want to ask you a question and I want you to be honest with yourself. If you are serious about working on yourself, then you must answer truthfully. Here is the question: Can you find success and growth without challenging yourself to do hard things? Think about it.
I don’t believe you can. My theory is this: If you go through life without challenging yourself and you do things half-assed, you are going to show up in your life exactly the same! It will reflect in your life and the energy you carry with you. I think it will make you feel meh, as you did it but with little effort put into it and you will not find satisfaction at all.
When you physically challenge yourself you are doing so much more for yourself beyond the physical realm than you recognize. Yes, the challenges may increase your physical capacity but you are tapping into the mental mindset and that internal dialogue inside. When we teach ourselves to work towards our goals, we are developing our mindset, our body and ultimately personal growth. I believe it is why kids who do sports navigate the world a bit differently than other kids. They make that connection with the mind and body early and if honed they will take that physical and mental ability forward.
I would like to share a story about my daughter. She decided as a young teen to ride her bike from her father’s to my kettlebell studio; it was 10km. When she arrived, she was hot and tired. Her friend’s mom picked 2 of them up. She and her friend asked if I could drive them home. I said I could but not till later as I had to work. She didn’t want to wait so she and her friend cycled back to her dad’s. That would be a 20 km ride for them in one day.
When she got back, she called me and said “Mom, I feel so proud of myself, I feel so accomplished!”. Was it hard for her to complete the task? Absolutely! But it was because of that hard that she felt so proud and accomplished inside. You see, you can not hand that over to someone. You can’t buy it. It is earned, and that is why when it is earned, it is so special. When you earn it, it lives within and just as nobody can give it to you, nobody can take it away. It is the start of building your self-worth. I always think about that day and think about if I didn’t have to work, I would have robbed her of that experience and I am so glad I had to work. I also learnt something that day that by “doing” things all the time for our children we are not helping them in the long run but potentially hindering them.
Challenging yourself builds physical strength but more importantly, it builds grit, confidence and internal strength. That is why a few times a year, I will do something that is intensively challenging. It reminds me of my capabilities and more than challenging my body it challenges my mindset which ultimately is why I do it.
One of the challenges I have done is the 60 minutes of kettlebell swings. You do 30 swings and rest for 20 seconds and repeat for 60 minutes. The interesting thing about this challenge is that I have done it alone in my apartment and at my studio with a group of clients. In a group setting it moves much quicker and you have the energy of the team for motivation, hence why training in groups or with a tribe is a very positive experience to keep you on track and to have support. The flip side of doing the challenge alone which I personally also like because it allows you to go inside your own head. For me, it usually goes like this, 15 minutes, okay not so bad. 24 minutes, I think “Jodi why do you think you need to do these challenges.” 30 minutes, I think “Jodi why do you have to be so dedicated, nobody would ever even know you stopped!” Then I quickly remind myself, I would know that it is so important to do it for me and it is really why I am doing it. That is the point and shift in my mindset/ internal dialogue that takes over. No more questioning, just showing up to finish what I said I would start.
Challenging yourself builds physical strength but more importantly, it builds grit, confidence and internal strength.
That is what challenges are about, it is about showing up and trying. If you don’t succeed you try again, always giving your best in that moment. Another challenge I did was with Ex-Navy Seal Thom Shea. One was a 48-hour challenge in which you exercised 1 hour every 4 hours and another was a 24 Hour Walking Challenge. Each had physical activity present within the challenge. Why? The mind-body connection is needed. You need to ask your body to ask your mind. You need to get to a state of exhaustion when you work on that mental ability.
On the 24-hour challenge one of the SEALS came to me late at night and said if I didn’t start to tire, he was going to take me for a run. You see as you build up grit in this life it is harder to break you down. If you are physically and mentally stronger, it is harder to break me down. Before I arrived on this trip in North Carolina, they kept saying we are going to make you cry; I said well why would you want to do that but okay go for it! I didn’t cry I got really tired and my legs ached that is something I remember laying on the ground as we all stared up at the most beautiful sky. I lay there as I put my legs up in the air to try to find some comfort. You see, they told us to sit or lay down several times as it is harder than to keep moving. It makes your body rest and crave falling asleep. I think I almost fell asleep but Thom kept asking me questions, and had to be on my game. The best part was the morning stretch that I led the team through, it was the finisher for the challenge. After everyone departed to go back to sleep until we met up later I had one thing left to do. I had my final push-ups to do. As I do 100 a day. After 24 hours you see I honoured my word to myself to finish. Did anyone else care that I did this? Was I looking for a pat on the back? The answer is no. When you learn to train for yourself the only person that you are needing to complete the task for is yourself. You see at the end of the day whether you go to bed with a partner or solo it is still your mind that you sleep with. If you can lay your head on the pillow with peace within, then you accomplished your day.
A challenge to me is a promise to show up in every capacity every day because it trains me mentally and physically. The continuous challenge to strive to be the best version of oneself… And for the Love of the Challenge within!!!