Progress, Not Perfection

You don’t have to be perfect. 

You already knew this but probably haven’t heard it in the context we are exploring here.

Today I want to talk about making sure your focus on perfection doesn’t impede the progress you’re continuing to make in the gym.

I see people everyday, both professionally and in my personal life, that are paralyzed by the fear of not looking perfect. They are afraid to add five pounds to their barbell for fear their lift won’t be flawless.

They are afraid to take on an extra work project because the outcome may not be perfect. I love a job well done as much as anyone else but I also love the “messy” parts that come from reaching for that next level. 

We, as crossfitters striving to do our best, need to stop beating ourselves up about this. Life and crossfit are both messy so some simple mindset shifts can go a long way. Here are a few examples:

You hit a 10 lb PR? GREAT! Oh but it wasn’t perfect? WHO CARES (unless you are in danger of injury)! BE PROUD!!!

You know what that 10 lb PR means? That your lift at ten pounds less is probably much more crisp and solid. You could probably hit 3 lifts at your old PR now. That is progress, my friend!

And just because your lockout was “ugly” doesn’t mean you aren’t gaining the strength to go even further. It’s a new weight. That means your body needs time to adjust.

You just hit a PR-regardless of the weight increase-and it’s important. Mindset shift: every victory is worth celebrating.

Now think back to the first time you hit your first snatch PR. Was your form perfect then? Likely not. How about trying that weight now? I bet it’s nearly flawless. How did you get there? By being brave enough to be a beginner.

Don’t lose that mindset just because you’ve been at this for a while. Continue to feel that vulnerability.

Progress comes in the moments of discomfort and insecurity-it’s the only way to grow! It doesn’t come from being disappointed we aren’t perfect at everything all the time.

I have to remember this, too. I’ve gotten comfortable with the things I’m great at, leaving little motivation to test the things I’m not so sure about. It’s tempting to try and feel comfortable and perfect all the time-but where’s the growth in that?

Mindset shift: being a beginner is uncomfortable AND necessary for growth. 

Finally-congratulate yourself on being brave. You tried something new. Maybe you failed the lift entirely and dropped the bar. Ok, so?

You are lapping everyone else comfortable in their complacency and afraid to try something new for fear of failure.

Even if your new skill is not yet perfect there is so much silver lining in reaching for that next level.

Mindset shift: celebrate the bravery it took to get you here. 

Moral of the story-don’t let perfection get in the way of your growth. I can tell you from experience the pain of staying where you are is much greater than the pain of taking a risk.

Remember to celebrate the little victories, become comfortable being a beginner, and know you are brave for trying, even if it doesn’t go exactly how you’d planned.

It will be messy and imperfect and you will be grateful you did it.