Thursday, June 20, 2013

When The Going Gets Tough

I've had a lot on my mind lately. I work for a great company, but I am feeling very under utilized right now. I feel like I am not living up to my potential.  I am not really doing something that makes me feel fulfilled, and I think someone with a bachelor degree is overqualified for what I do.  I know there are people with degrees in my department, but they are in leadership roles. Or they are, like me, desperate for a job right now.  It also does not look like many leadership positions will be opening anytime soon.  They keep telling me to have patience, because there is potential to move up. But I have been hearing this for a while, and to be honest, I am really not excited to move up within the accounts receivable department.  I have great bosses and love the people I work with, but that doesn't mean I will feel fulfilled and doing what makes me happy.

Some say just be grateful you have a job.  Others say you need to live your dream and take risks.  I want to work with people, help people. I love training.  I need variety in my work. I really don't want to be stuck behind a desk all day. I have considered going back to school to become a PTA (Physical Therapy Assistant). I would be helping people. It would be new things daily. I think I would love it.  The thought of going back to school, though, overwhelms and angers me.  I've done school! I have a degree! I already have a ton of student loans that I cannot pay off, because we are considered way below the poverty line.  I just feel... stuck.

So how does all of this relate to fitness?  Just wait. It is coming.

I have seen a pattern in my life.  Right now, I am considering looking for other positions at my place of employment or even looking for work at other places.  I have to make more money. Things are tight. And no... I do not want to sell your wraps, bags or tea tree oil, so please don't ask.  In looking for another job within my work or outside, I fear rejection and failure. So I don't follow through. I start feeling safe and complacent again in what I do. I'm not happy, but I am not stretching myself and putting myself out there.  I am not living up to my ultimate career potential. I have grown comfortable in what I am doing now.

At first, I will get motivated and start searching for a job or reading a job description at where I am now. I will not find anything I am interested in or be qualified for and get discouraged.  I will read the job description of something I might be qualified for, and I will start doubting if I can do it. Of course, I can do the job. I finished college!  I lived in Southern California, learned Spanish and knocked on doors for two years!  I finished a marathon!  Yeah, I can do it.  But why do I doubt myself?  Why do I not want to grow?  Do I fear my own potential?

I have started seeing this same pattern in my fitness journey.  In running or CrossFit, you are always striving to push yourself a little farther and a little longer.  It never gets easy; you just keep increasing your intensity and weight.  You keep pushing to grow.  I find that my intensity might not be my best every time.  I might see the WOD and start telling myself, "Don't push yourself; just take it easy."  My mind tells me that I am fat and that I can't do it.  Put the weight down. Just walk.  I don't push myself to my maximum potential in that workout.  I know I can go farther and longer, because I have done it before. I am not strong mentally.

I will get motivated at the start of a workout, and as it goes, I start thinking, "This sucks. I hurt... Why am I doing this? I am last again! I will never be at the same level as everyone else."  I do feel good at the end of the workout, and I don't slack off every time. But there are times when I will not do those last 3 reps or will mentally give up in the workout, and it is discouraging. Finishing the workout always feels better. Some of my biggest highs have been after I ran the full 5 miles on the training run or after I did the whole set unbroken.  So yeah, I can do it, but why do I doubt myself? Why do I prevent myself from growing? Do I fear my own potential?

So how do I change and fix this?  How does someone toughen up mentally and step up to their life and fitness potential?

I am not a pro at this.  I am asking you.  How do I do it? I am going to really strive to be better in my professional and physical life. I am going to hold my head high and live up to my potential.  I think the key is just to do it. Keep moving forward. Realize your weaknesses and ask for help when needed.  I am going to try to be better.


Cupcake Kelly said...

I don't think that I am any better with the mental game, but I will share a piece of my story and hope that it helps. I am a slow runner. SLOW. When I ran my first 10k, there was a 5k option. I told someone out loud it was my first 10k and the mileage was perfect for my 1/2 marathon training but I was scared because it was such a tiny race. The 10k was 2 laps, the 5k was one. FIrst lap I felt great, my pace was a bit faster than usual. Second lap I noticed there were maybe 5 other people on the course. The course guides were gone, the water stop people left and I gave up. I walked. I figured they gave up on me so I clearly shouldn't be here. I realized I was 2nd to last. The guy behind me yelled and told me to start running, not to give up. So that's what I did. I came in 2nd to last, everyone had left the finish line. So he high-fived me and we went our separate ways. What it taught me was that sometimes we need a stranger to encourage us and sometimes we need to realize we CAN do things, so push harder. I ran my next 10k a few weeks later and shaved 4 minutes off my time.

You can push yourself and it's okay if takes you longer, because you are doing something that many others are not.

Christine said...

I can relate to so much in this post, both on the professional and the fitness level. Professionally, I am most definitely complacent. I mean, I do my job, do it well and it pays the bills but I realize that it's not serving me and not challenging or making me better or excited. And with fitness? I very much doubt myself right now. Everything feels hard and I feel like my body isn't cooperating with me and it's frustrating. I give up when under other circumstances I would have pushed through and felt great. I'm thinking and hoping that it's a phase. I'm trying to take some pressure off my workouts and just do what my body feels like doing.

I think recognizing these patterns is a huge step in the process. For me, I'm going to keep trying to put one foot in front of the other and focus on doing at least one thing that helps me move forward in both work and fitness, no matter how small it is. And I agree with Kelly - you are doing something that most people aren't.