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What I’m Teaching Myself about Myself: My Thoughts After 18.1

March 05, 2018

What I’m Teaching Myself about Myself: My Thoughts After 18.1

By: Mauri Konell


Before last week, I was (seemingly) very apathetic about the Open. I’ve lived my life in a series of extremes, highs & lows, all or nothings. As a result of getting more honest with myself, my fitness goals and my intentions behind the lifting of the weights and moving my body through time and space have changed significantly over this past year. Before last week, going into this Open, I felt a sense of profound indifference. But the TRUTH is, it was NOT indifference, apathy or lack of excitement. I am actually not in total acceptance of or clear about how my fitness goals are changing. I went to indifference as a coping mechanism, instead of being totally honest about where I really am with it: UNclear. Then, when I don’t do as well as I want to in the Open, I can just pass it off and say, “I don’t care.” Ha. Good one, Maur. Nice try.


In Opens past, I gave myself tremendous anxiety and put unrealistic expectations and pressure on myself. I thought I wanted to be a Regionals athlete, go to the Games even. But it was really only because, up until this point in my life, I have only done things if I could be the very BEST at them (#extremist). Otherwise, what’s the point in doing them at all, right? #recoveringperfectionist. As soon as I wasn’t the best or it got hard, I quit & went on to something else. (Exhibit A: velvet figure skating leotard). Since those old goals/pursuits in this sport were not coming from my truth (they were coming from ego and an IDEA), the Open used to be miserable for me. I could not perform even close to the level I wanted to. I compared my inner experience to others’ outward APPEARANCE, instead of really understanding and honoring my body and my self. Also, I was not even close to putting in the time, work and recovery necessary to perform the way I thought I wanted to. I was OVER training, under recovering, counting macros but eating in a disordered way, treating food as a reward system instead of fuel, and I was inconsistent in my self talk and unclear with my vision. 


If you don’t know where you’re going, how are you going to get there? 


After almost a year of working with Perform Stoic to train SMARTER not harder, diligent, rigorous inner work with myself (and so much help, guidance and sometimes *tough love,* thank you, Josh), trial & error with small competitions, and some brutal honesty and constructive conversations with my eating disorder voice, I did the first Open workout last Friday, and it was... FUN! Why? Because I had a clear vision and plan. I wanted to FLOW through the workout, and I did. Although I didn’t stick to the plan EXACTLY (another opportunity to see how I can let go of that perfectionist a little more), as soon as the 20:00 buzzer went off, I knew exactly how I could improve AND I spent 0:00 beating myself up or feeling sorry for myself. I felt SO good. I felt really... proud of myself. I don’t think I’ve ever felt genuinely proud of myself after an Open workout until that moment. 


THEN I started looking at the leaderboard. I started obsessing over what OTHER people would think of my score (WTF!). I thought I’d regret it if I didn’t redo the workout, and I thought there was no way I COULDN’T do better. Allllll the misery from Opens past, all of the feelings I was trying to avoid by masking them with “indifference,” came creeping their stinkin’ way back in!


When we do things from EGO and FEAR, we get what we are afraid of. 100% of the time. Guaranteed.


I lied to myself and said I wasn’t redoing 18.1 because of fear, and I finished 8 reps behind my original score, in tears, sobbing in the middle of the gym about how frustrated I am with my negative self talk and how terrified I am that I’ll never believe in myself fully and I’ll never let myself reach my full potential. 


The POINT to all of this is, whatever we are focused on will always be the stronger, dominant, driving force in your life. Fear is STRONG. And when you’re not dealing with the sh!t that’s holding you back from what you truly desire, your ego is doing squats and deadlifts in the corner, getting stronger any way. I couldn’t stay in the space of that proud, accomplished feeling I first felt on Friday, because I wasn’t being completely honest about or dealing with everything else. I am not traveling backwards, I am not beating myself up about it, but now I know what I need to do to move forward and stop repeating that same pattern, so I CAN stay in the flow, in the positive experience. 


SO, *deep breath* I am working on acceptance of where I am athletically, physically, emotionally and mentally. I am working on getting clear about what my current goals are, so I can move forward with an inspired plan towards a positive vision. I started writing a list on my phone of all the things I am learning as I complete the Open workouts and my regular training through these five weeks (hint: at least three lines so far say, “F your ego.” ;) ) When I refer back to my list, I feel gratitude and appreciation for this journey and process, instead of criticism and judgment around the outcome and results of my training and experience. I don’t want to suffer tomorrow (ok, there might be a little suffering with the burpees). I want this Open experience to continue to be a positive one. WHAT the heck is any other point to it, if it isn’t being ENJOYED?!


Man, the one thing about this sport that really gives me the warm and fuzzies - ok, two things: the EXTRAordinary support system it’s built around me - AND the self-improvement and the ability to see how far you’ve come. It. Is. Remarkable. 


“It works if you work it.”


A few days ago, @yung_peublo said, “I knew I was on the right path when I started feeling peace in situations where I would normally feel tension.” 


A-MEN. Thank you, Open, for helping me teach myself about myself once again. It is the greatest gift to give oneself, and I can honestly say I’m now EXCITED for these next 4 weeks! Cheers to us, everyone! 

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