In the box, there’s plenty of room. There’s room for two, maybe three, classes going on at the same time. There’s room for barbells, kettlebells, rowers, and racks. Room for kids, gymnastics mats, GHDs, and sleds. Hell, we could probably fit an entire globo gym inside the new Cerberus location. But you know there’s no room for? Ego. Absolutely no room for that.
Why? I could give you the mom answer. “Because it doesn’t help.” Or, “Because I said so.” But I can do better than that.
Ego is the thing that will bring us down right when we’re ready to be at our very best. It’s the little voice that whispers in our ears and tells us crap we don’t need to hear.
Yesterday, when we were all practicing kettlebell technique, Coach Carl said, “If I see bad form, I’ll take your kettlebell away, and I’ll give you a chain to practice with. And that may hurt your feelings.”
Well, that was sweet! But then he went on to give us the real message.
“But I don’t care. I don’t care if I hurt your feelings. I’m here to make sure you do this right and don’t get injured.”
And that’s what this whole thing is all about. No one got their kettlebell taken away, probably because we were all scared of being embarrassed or called out in front of the class. Or more likely, his reminder kept us focused on what we’d been taught—and it kept us from getting lazy with our form.
But if we had been stripped of our kettlebell privileges, would it have hurt our feelings? Probably. Our natural human reactions to events like that usually run somewhere between, “How could he/she/they do that to me?” to “This is ridiculous! I’m going to write a letter/stomp my foot/cry/be mad.”
Why? Because ego gets in the way. I know mine does. It’s a natural thing. We don’t want to mess up or be wrong. We don’t want to stand out or be embarrassed. But when you think about it, there’s nothing embarrassing about accepting the fact that we’re learning and growing. And the cool thing is that once we’re able to recognize it for what it is, it’s much easier to keep egos in check.
Ego is a liar. It says things like:
- I am competing with everyone.
- I have to prove my worth and be perfect.
- I have to make this deadline/lift/jump or I’m a failure.
- I messed up, so now I have to make up for it.
- I can’t fail.
- I am offended at being corrected.
- It’s not my fault.
- I deserve a break.
The list could go on and on. But take a look back at it, and put every one of those thoughts in the context of CrossFit. Not a single one of them fits. Those ways of thinking don’t fit with what we do or how we function as a group overall. In fact, if that compilation of thoughts all came from one person, we would probably think that person was seriously unhappy, right?
Here’s the thing. We all have an ego, and that’s good. The trick is knowing when to give it a little bit of slack and when to reign it in.
Confidence is good. Unrestrained chest-beating accompanied with high doses of howling across the plains about never-being-wrongness is…ehhh…not so cool.
Don’t get me wrong. It sucks to figure out we can’t do something we thought we could do. Or thought we should be able to do. (I found myself feeling like a little pouty pants just the other day! And I’m calling myself out, because I’ve learned from our coach that’s an attitude mistake, and I have full control over that.)
But it’s a mistake when we get mired down in the suckiness of being unable to do something. Instead, we’re gonna put on our big-girl (or big-boy) panties, buckle down, and do some work. There’s plenty in this big, bad world I can’t do—and there’s still a lot I want to learn—so my little ego is just gonna have to take a back seat. It’s gonna have to sit down, shut up, and hang on for the ride while I keep on learning!
Lift on & learn on, CrossFit family!