By Elaine McCaffrey
(n.) fear of failure; fear of not being good enough
Pronunciation | at-i-kuh-foh-bee-uh
A couple of weeks ago I gave my wife, the creator of this site a bit of a pep talk. Running a website that predominantly champions amateur Strongman and Strongwoman it’s easy to lose sight of one’s own goals and successes. And it is easy to fall into a trap of feeling like we should be striving for the same goals as others. An ongoing injury and being hindered by reduced gym opening hours Sarah’s training has suffered and she was feeling like she wasn’t doing enough. But what should be her enough?
And what really is your enough?
I currently train 2/3 times a week and once a week with a PT. Could I train more? Yes. Could I push my body more? Yes. Do I want to? No. For me, currently – this is my enough. This is enough for me to get to a level of fitness to enter my competition in April with confidence. Is it enough to get me to the podium? Probably not. But for me showing up on the day and having fun, spending the day with women who make me feel body confident, learning new things and doing my best is my enough. (During lockdown training in the garage as and when I feel motivated is enough for me)
You see not everyone’s enoughs are the same. Not everyone enters the same competitions for the same reasons. A concept I think will be alien to some people. Yes, not all people enter competitions to win.
I’m not saying this will be my enough forever. But currently whilst I work in the funeral care industry during a global pandemic my enough is also being kind to my brain. Something I believe a lot of us often forget to do. Focusing solely on my competition and wanting to win it at this moment in time to me is adding unnecessary pressure at a time when I am dealing with significant amounts of other daily stresses. Could I train more to reach that podium place? Yes, but could it fatigue me to a point that could make the physical aspect of my work role difficult? Probably. So I have assessed my individual situation and realised that this will have to be enough for me at the moment without risking injury, detriment to my mental health, burn out etc.
In time my goals will change and my desire to improve and to move forward will too. But what is achievable and a success will still be measured by ME and not by what is compared to others and that really brings me to the point I wanted to make from the beginning. If your goals aren’t your own and are made as a comparison to others or because of a pressure by others; are you truly going to be satisfied by them? There is a quote that I feel is apt:
“If you are not content with what you have, You would not be satisfied if it were doubled”
This should also ring true with goals. Training, goals, body image, competitions, weight....all of these should be set by what is true to you.
So back to Sarah. Her wobble was because she didn’t feel like she was training enough but when questioned she didn’t know what she really wanted. She wasn’t sure what her goals were, what competition she should be entering and with a chronic injury a timeline for when she should be comp ready. She was measuring her enough against the successes of others. Although hard to admit; work, lockdown and injury have restricted Sarah’s training so her commitment to training is not the same currently as it will be next year. So this is her new enough.
Staying committed to a goal and fundamentally its success is dependent on your determination to reach it. This requires focus and effort. If you are going to become disheartened during the journey or the end goal is not something that is attainable then is this really your enough? Answering this may be difficult and doesn’t have to be a permanent answer, but answering it will help you set goals which will lead to your enough.
Let’s address how to ensure you are staying focussed on your own goals and they are true to you. I’m sure you’ve all heard of the acronym SMART used for goal setting.... well let’s change it up:
E – Evaluate – Have a look at the progress you have made so far, what has worked and what hasn’t, what have you enjoyed and what haven’t you? Were there specific events that you really thrived at, were there events you despised and if so are you the kind of person that wants to battle to beat this or avoid them again at all costs?
N – Now – Are the gym closures seriously hindering your training progression? How is your mental health right now? Is your family dynamic supportive? Are you financially able to compete/train?
O – Open – Be truly honest answering all the questions above and more to really find the answers to what makes you happy and unhappy. Are you entering competitions because you think that is the natural progression of strongman/woman training but you actually don’t like competing? Are you entering the wrong type of competitions? Are your goals based on who you follow on social media? Are they really true to you?
U – Undo – Habits, let’s be honest we are all guilty of having them and some are healthy and some are not. Reflect on the habits you’ve developed that have led you to compare yourself to others and start undoing those behaviours. This will take time. Be kind to yourself while you do this.
G – Goals – Now you know what your enough is, time to set the foundations on the work you need to do to get there.
H –Help – Set up a support network, have a buddy to call when you wobble, tell your partner your goals, someone who can help stay on track and who you can rant to when the world feels like it is against you.
To wrap this up take a step back and reflect on what goals you are working towards and if they really are what you want and if they are realistic to the situation you are in currently. Being inspired by others is one thing but don’t allow yourself to get disheartened by making unfair comparisons to them. Find your enough. 2020 has been an unkind year to most of us, so be kind to yourself as well as to others.