I thought this might be relevant to share with you all. As part of a leadership program at work, I had to write a Teachable Point of View (TPOV). After taking a freakishly accurate profile assessment, a report was generated that identified my strengths and areas I need to improve. From that, I came up with a TPOV. Without further adieu, here it is:
My friend and I have been training for a Crossfit partner competition for the last two months. It’s been an emotional roller coaster as we have had highs and lows depending on the day, depending on whether we are energized or fatigued, whether we are mentally encouraging or psyching ourselves out. Finally, less than a week away from the competition, we were feeling pretty good about it. There will be 3 workouts and we had strategies for them all. We have practiced, hit new PR’s and finally felt like we can go there and kick some butt.
Then today, we noticed that we made an incorrect assumption in one of the movements and it sent me straight into a panic. There’s a movement called wall balls where basically you face a wall, do an air squat holding a weighted ball and on the way up from the squat, you release the ball upwards to hit a target. We incorrectly assumed the target was 9 feet. Turns out its 10 feet. For someone as short as me, an extra foot is a huge adjustment. Wall balls are my nemesis to begin with but I somehow managed to conquer them …at 9 feet anyways. Now 5 days away from competing, my confidence is totally shot. How on earth am I going to hit a ten foot target, 40 times no less? We were planning on alternating sets of 10 to complete the total of 80. Every expletive you can think of crossed my mind and I was about ready to say forget it; I am not cut out to compete.
Thankfully my friend reminded me it’s a PARTNER competition and we can still do this. She suggested that she could do more of the Wall Balls if I can do more of the burpee deadlifts. (In case you are wondering what in the world is a burpee deadlift? Here’s how it works. With a weighted bar on the ground, you grip it about at shoulder width, jump down into a push up, keeping your hands on the bar and your toes on the ground so that your chest hits the bar. Then you jump back up to your feet hip width apart and deadlift the bar up so you are in a standing position). Compared to wall balls, these are my strength. I can do this movement fast. So to play on each of our strengths and weaknesses, we changed up the rep scheme and now have a new plan. Instead of sets of 10’s for Wall Balls, my friend will do sets of 15 and I will do sets of 5. For burpee deadlifts, instead of alternating sets of 5’s, I will do 10’s and my friend will do 5 (so that I end up doing the majority of them to make up for my deficit in wall balls). I drafted up a new strategy for each of the 4 movements for that workout, sent it to my friend and we agreed we would practice before the competition to see how we feel.
I failed myself about a hundred times in the 5 minutes of panic I experienced this morning. I focused right on the negative (wall balls) and never once thought about the other movements I am strong at to find a way to balance it out. I let one movement undermine all my training and confidence. In a heartbeat, I went from feeling like Super Woman to feeling like the weakest woman on the planet. And it hit me hard that here I am, case and point, holding myself to such a high standard that I am way too critical.
I am fortunate to be partnered with someone who instead of giving up on me or trying to find a partner replacement before Saturday, she said ok, let’s take a step back and come up with a new plan. It won’t be easy but it will be doable. She reminded me I am still strong and I will not be dead weight. We can do this.
Once I got past the panic and self-demoralization, I was able to rationally come up with a few different rep schemes for the workout. I looked at the “process” if you will to find out where it can be improved. I didn’t want to have either of us doing the majority of the work for all movements as it would slow us down as a team. With balancing out the schemes for wall balls and burpee deadlifts while not messing with pull ups or clusters (don’t ask, that movement is just downright nasty), we were able to recognize what needs tweaking and what works. Like any process in the workplace even, it’s crucial we know when to execute it versus when to take a step back to see where it needs to be adjusted or improved. This is something I tend to do well and pride myself on. Processes are in place for a reason yet it is important that we know when it will not work. My problem is before I can evaluate process, I need to remove the self-doubt and self-criticism so that I can think it through logically.
There are “Wall Ball Situations” in the workplace all the time. You get called into your boss’ office to help with a project and your immediate thought is “I am not skilled enough to take this on.” Or you get an email from a colleague that says “let’s chat about this project” and your first response is, “Oh no what did I miss?” Your boss is selecting you based on your skills while you so quickly rule yourself out based on your weaknesses. Your colleague might just have standard questions to understand the project better. Not every initiated contact necessarily means someone is desperate to tell you that you are not good enough at your job. Ok so I shouldn’t speak for you but for me, these are common thoughts that go through my head. It’s the self-doubt and ridiculous standards that can get in the way of good judgment.
We are all part of a team, part of a process. We do not always need to have all the pieces to the puzzle. It’s ok that we lean on other people. In fact, that’s what teams are for. We collaborate. We strategize. We support. We balance each other out. Nobody is perfect.
So I am vowing to do this for myself (and I encourage you do the same): The next time I encounter a wall ball situation, instead of beating myself up about it, I will take a deep breath. Remind myself that if let rational thoughts in and the emotions out, I can make things happen.