Your Kind of Strong
From day one, what I liked more than anything about CrossFit was that everyone had different strengths . . . and no one dominated every skill. What defined strong was no longer clear cut.
- Those who believed long distance running was the golden standard of fitness, found themselves destroyed by a four minute, 1000m row.
- Body builders who focused on 3 rep back squats were brought to their knees by 45 thrusters.
- Young bucks who could deadlift 2x their body weight, couldn't hold 45lbs in an overhead squat.
As if that wasn't fascinating enough, there was yet another layer of distinction beyond these physical tests . . . another kind of strong that was less tangible. And just like the physical, it could be practiced, developed, and honed. Yet, unlike the physical, it wasn't always obvious where someone stood on the continuum.
From the outside, since the dawn of humanity, the shiny, confident, sunny sort of strength is what gets others' attention: It's youthful; It's impressive; It begs for us to place it on a pedestal. Yet, it is often built on untested grounds . . . and usually covers up an un-faced weakness. This kind of strength can be found in the person who values being seen as the best at something . . . the strongest, the thinnest, the prettiest, the smartest.
Yet the kind of strength I'm referring to, is not always apparent to the eye. Perhaps it resides in a 78-year old grandmother of 12 who has never stepped a foot inside a gym. Or, it lives in a mom who is coming off the birth of her second child and can't do a sit-up. It might also be found in a young man who never did sports and was overweight as a child. This kind of strength knows that who we are and what we can do are not one and the same. This kind of strong is not defined by being good or bad at a skill. Instead, it defines itself through the effort of developing the skill. For it is the act of becoming where the true definition lies . . . not in achieving the end result.
Faced with the choice, I will always place my bet on the person who knows that with time and careful practice, anything is achievable. Given the right support . . . with fertile opportunities for growth . . . these are the underdogs who will blow your mind.
So, whether you're the person who still needs to discover that it's ok to fail and expose your weaknesses, or the person who has already failed and discovered that fear is a much greater enemy . . . find your kind of strong and nourish it. For that is your wellspring that you'll pull from when you need to face the challenges of life.