Sitting at my desk, I glanced at the contest entry form and then back to my phone. I had missed cardio that morning and was falling short of my contest protocol in almost every dimension…including the wine dimension.
This is not my norm. When I’m in contest mode, I’m typically 100 percent in. If I’m instructed to do 60 minutes of cardio, it’s 60 minutes, not 59, and not 61. If Meal 3 calls for a cup of broccoli, it’s precisely that. Precise measurements, precise commitment, precise results…and precisely why I was close to picking up my phone and calling in a “f#ck it” ruling on this contest.
No explanation would be required either. The x-factors have been in full swing the last few weeks. And yet, a glimmer of hope…a flicker of uncertainty persisted. Should I or shouldn’t I? Stepping away from judgment, I became curious. What was behind my desire to give up…and also behind my desire to live in?
Like most “f#ck it” rulings, the biggest payoff is the ensuing sense of relief. You’re off the hook. In my case, off the hook from the rigors of contest prep and the pressure to bring it all together in two weeks. I would receive some much needed time to dedicate to my upcoming trip to Tokyo, to plan a community event at the studio, and to unapologetically enjoy the fall season…watching football while knitting Desiree’s winter blanket and sipping wine. I could be extremely productive, enjoy life, and feel all sorts of gratitude in a “f#ck it” ruling. No harm, no foul, right?
Flag on the field…
Distraction and displacement seem innocent on the surface. How can we be harming ourselves by having fun, or seeking romance, or enjoying the fruits of this big, beautiful world? But lives go down the tubes one repetition at a time, one deflection at a time, one hundred and forty characters at a time.” ~Steven Pressfield
The qualities you wish to cultivate will necessitate overturning the “f#ck it” ruling. Character qualities, such as resilience and tenacity are not developed when skies are blue and the sun is shining. They are cultivated in the presence of storm clouds. This is precisely the time to abstain from saying “f#ck it” and rein yourself in. Question your resistance to move forward. Are you resisting because you are afraid of or addicted to failure?
There’s a difference between failing (which is a natural and normal part of life) and being addicted to failure. When we’re addicted to failure, we enjoy it. Each time we fail, we are secretly relieved. … When we fail, we are off the hook. We have given ourselves a Get Out Of Jail Free card.” ~Steven Pressfield
I realized if I wanted to move forward toward stage, I would need to come face-to-face with my resistance and the shadow word of “precision”: perfection.
Perfection is the overrated mask we wear or aspire to wear. Perfection is controlling. Perfection is an eating disorder. Perfection is fear. Perfection is people-pleasing. Perfection is unrealistic. Perfection is superstition. Perfection is slavery. We become hung up on rules, restrictions, and rituals when we’re lacking something else. That something else could be self-worth, confidence, knowledge, or self-love. Looking at my first several years of competing, it was as if I thought there was something magical about broccoli or the exact number of minutes of cardio. Of course, consistency does breed results and there is a science to body transformation, but, at the end of the day, we are human bodies, not perfect bodies… and not robotic bodies either.
The amateur believes precise inputs create a precise output, but the pro knows growth is rarely linear. Growth is typically experienced as either logarithmic or exponential. Knowing this helps us get past the strict one-for-one input-output mentality, which often leads us to call out a “f#ck it” ruling the first time we miss our mark. By seeing the cumulative gains, the insight compounded over time, and the sudden leaps we make in the face of adversity and times of rapid learning, we become steadfast in our pursuits.
When we dwell on comparing this experience to our past experiences, our expected experience, or others’ experiences, we are one play away from a “f#ck it” ruling and in the fast lane to a “f#ck it” life. To overturn the “f#ck it” ruling, we must stay present with the unique intricacies of our current situation, honor our current body, and stretch our current belief system. The goal is to align and commit to becoming the best version of ourselves. Not perfection per se, but the version that fosters the most personal growth and joy.
Comparison is the thief of joy.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
If comparison is the thief of joy, you have to ask yourself whether your joy is ever worth stealing? I’ve decided mine is not… so I’ll be waving to you from stage in two weeks!
Dream Big. Desire More.