The Moment Before - CrossFit Jääkarhu

The Moment Before

The moment “right before” is easy to overlook. It’s easy recall the game-winning touchdown or hitting a PR in the gym. But what about right before that? 

Earlier this week I was in the gym taking pictures for an upcoming seminar and I accidentally took the photo above. This happens often and I normally discard these misfires. But this time I didn’t, instead I just starred at it. It’s right before Jess performed a muscle-up. She’s done 100s (if not 1000s) of them. This one wasn’t any more special than the last ten she has done. But look at the picture, it’s beautiful. She’s completely calm, focused and ready to do something uncommonly well. Seeing this made me wonder about how many of these moments are missed. They are definitely significant. Without them, the finished product would not occur. Excellence isn’t an accident. It’s a product diligence.

My takeaways are to see more beauty in abstract moments and focus on perfecting the “moment before” and see how it affects the finished product.

Details are the difference maker. Enjoy the adventure.

Jessica Estrada Karhu Academy copy

 

Photo courtesy of CrossFit Jääkarhu

Travel Sweats

I am on a plane again. It seems like I have said this 30 or more times this year (and that’s probably accurate). This time I am headed to hang out with one of my bros. We are not related by blood, but that doesn’t really matter. He is one of seven people who have hung with me—through thick and thin— since before I knew who I was. That feels like such a long time ago. More than 15 years. Wow. Anyway, he is working to become a sustainable farmer and set up a working ranch for youths. I am heading his way to help do some farm stuff, teach his kids bad habits and kick it.

 

Sitting in the airport a few hours ago, I could feel myself start to throttle back. I have been on-the-go since … January. I can’t tell you where this year has gone. It has blown by for me. I didn’t get it when people said that in the past, but this year, I felt the wind.

 

There are three big goals on my radar. There is a focus, a passion that drives me towards these goals. At the base of all this is my family and faith. Without those two things, it can be next to impossible to press on at times. I am thankful for the people in my life who have support me regardless of where I am or what I am trying to do. It’s a replenishing comfort and a fueling drive. I am making it a point to show more appreciation of that gift and not just wait “till I make it.” Being driven is not an excuse to not appreciate the ride. I am looking forward to catching up with loved ones and throttling back on “what I do” for a little bit. It’s Christmas after all. Make sure the ones that matter to you know so.

Enjoy The Adventure.

Thanksgiving

Today is Thanksgiving and the meaning of this holiday rings especially true with me. 

It’s been quite the year for me and for many. Many of the people I have interacted with this year have gone through a great challenge or change. This collective period of growth has shown me so much about myself and the company I keep. I am grateful to be counted among the CrossFit Community at large and CrossFit Jääkarhu. The people of CrossFit Jääkarhu are a special bunch to me. It is beyond my capabilities to describe how much their support and involvement fuels my drive to help make their desires a reality.

Thinking about what I am grateful for is an overwhelming activity. There are so many people who have influence my joy, some without even knowing it. I am thankful for the opportunity to travel and experience life outside what’s comfortable. My support system … my family … close friends, words cannot convey my thanks.

I am thankful the opportunity to live life the way I believe it should be lived—the ability to try new things, make mistakes, continually learn, push to improve and make an impact. Ingrid, Michael, Karen, Ben and Jessica are leaders of a shared dream that I am grateful to be a part of.

This list could go on for a while. It’s hard to narrow it down and cover everything … but if you are reading this now, you have a slice of my gratitude. Thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving

Read the full blog here.

Pause

I thrive in Go Mode.

Constant momentum and activity makes me feel like I am inching myself closer to goals, dreams and aspirations. When things are hectic, I am at my best. But this is not possible to perpetually operate this. Despite my stubbornness, I have found that I do have limits. There is a point where, if I am not careful, I  break down and my beloved momentum grinds to a halt.

 

It feels as if someone pulled the e-brake when I am trying to step on the gas. I am suddenly  lurched forward and then quickly yanked back into a submissive position by my seatbelt (safety first). I’ve hit this “wall” several times before I finally realized that I needed to introduce and appreciate a balance in my life. As hard as I push myself is as hard as I have to relax and rest. That ebb and flow creates a tide of peace in my life,  allowing for hectic activity and stillness to be welcomed in my life.

 

To reinforce this belief I build in times to unplug and unwind immediately following high-energy weekends and big projects. I’ll go to a movie during the day, visit the spa or do something that allows me to separate myself from my craft and miss it. If I am traveling, I try to export in search of beautiful to get lost in. It is a blessing to press pause.

 

In practicing this, I’ve been able to perform at high levels when it’s time to be “on.”

 

I thrive in Go Mode, but I don’t live there.

Identity

Picking up from my last blog:

I landed safely in San Jose, gathered my things and took a very thought-provoking Uber ride to the hotel. “Thought-provoking ride” is not an option on the Uber app (although it should be).

 

After normal introductions and questions, the driver began immediately break life down to me. I don’t know what provoked this micro-inquisition and subsequent imparting of wisdom, but I went with it. He really liked that I had been exploring a lot this year, saying it was “good for my mental health.” The conversation contained a lot of insights and cool exchanges. While this was taking place, a thought struck me.

There is power in explaining who you are and what you do. It is an excellent opportunity to check your work.

 

Inside the conversation both me and the driver where proud of who we were and excited at what is to come. That is probably what enhanced the conversation. But there have been so many times in that past that I have run in to someone who is stuck, frustrated with there current state and been that way for a long time. Having to explain that you are miserable to everyone (or most people) that you encounter is demoralizing. It’s not always going to be sunshine and rainbows, but if you find yourself in a stagnant miserable situation, don’t stay there. When explaining yourself to people, don’t let your story suck forever. Keep moving. Progress. Find the smallest of victories to celebrate and build from there. Let that become your introduction. Put yourself in a position that when someone asks who you are, you begin with a smile.

 

I set out to write a blog on a different topic but this came out instead.

Photo by Brian Sullivan 

Special Cadence

I am on my way to San Jose to cover the CrossFit Invitational. It is an honor to be able to step on a plane and go off to cover the Sport of Fitness. I get so excited every time I clear security and settle in at my gate. As soon as I sit down, thoughts of my execution, approach and style race through my head—encapsulated by an overwhelming feeling of excitement.

Boarding the plane triggers the final preparations for work. This entails subject research, reflection and enjoying the final bits of relaxation before the plane lands. As soon as we taxi to the gate “I’m on.”

No I am not competing. My role is not super significant, but it is everything to me. I am passionate about the stories I have a chance to tell, so I give it everything—sometimes more than I knew I had.

I’ve gone through this cadence several times over the past few years, but it has not once been boring. I have not once been underwhelmed. Each journey bring lessons, surprises, challenges, frustrations, disappointment and excitement. At the end of the day, I enjoy it all and take nothing for granted.

Vulnerable Clarity

Every day holds so many lessons. I wonder how many I miss, over look or forget. It’s not something I will lose sleep over but I definitely want to begin to limit it. In response to that, I am again challenging myself to increase my writing frequency.

Writing is the most selfish thing I do. My primary purpose for it is clarity and understanding the things I think about. The desires I have are too big not to document. Some are absurd and some are very possible, but it is hard to decipher which is which on my own.

It is one thing to have a concept float behind your eyes and completely different ballgame to publish it. You can easily convince yourself of just about anything when you are the only audience. But when your thoughts are visible that makes them vulnerable. That vulnerability is something that you can either fear or utilize.

Choose the latter.

Practice sharing your thoughts, dreams and goals. Constantly call-out, identify and describe the things you desire in life. How else do you expect to locate and attain them?

All

There is a desire to do it all, to have it all. Right now. It’s undeniable and ever-present. Is that wrong? Where does that come from? Who knows, but the only logical solution is quench that desire.

So now that destination “Do it All” has been identified, it’s time to begin. But be careful. The path is crucial. Ignore the surround elements and the journey may fail. Attention must be devoted to each decision, the details of each move need thoughtful consideration. Utilize all available crafts and develop deficient areas. Be present—alert in each moment—acquiring all things necessary to continue the journey.

Stepping lively, with care. Being alert and ready to adapt in a moment’s notice. Appreciating each detail for the part it plays. Wait a minute. The journey has become the destination and the desire is now quenched. In a beautiful irony, life brings an unexpected gift. It is focused purpose-filled action to be sought after. Having an identity, a dream and leading the construction of it. That is when we have it all.

Always. Be. Creative

Let me welcome you into my thoughts for just a minute or two.

For years, I have been a hesitant writer. Most of the time I avoid it until inspiration is so potent that I absolutely have to express my thoughts. Stalling like that is not a good way to progress in any arena (oddly enough) and I am determined to make improvements as this year comes to a close.

Creativity is both a gift and a skill that I use far too sparingly.

Volume Control

Taking these initial thoughts into consideration action is required. I want to create more — not just more — but better. That’s the goal. But how? It’s time to turn up my creative volume. The idea that I can only publish something if it’s perfect and polished is not conducive to the sharpening of my skills. Painters continually paint. Writers write. Creatives create. You get the picture. To be better, repetition is required.

This proposed increase creates the opportunity to perfect the process and produce at a higher quality more often. Also known as “practice makes perfect.” Catch phrases and popular sayings need to be unpacked sometimes to truly appreciate their value.

Noticing New Outlets

Time to turn up the volume. I enjoy writing, photography, designing, strategy and many other design related things. That’s a fortunate position to be in becuase that means I have multiple options to express if I get stuck or stalled in one of my outlets. Recently I have been switching between outlets when I get stuck in one. If I can’t seem to organize my words, picking up a camera and going to explore has proven to be a effective cure. I return to my pen and paper with new ideas and approaches that weren’t so obvious just a few moments before. That diversity sparks creativity. Creativity thrives in a state of flow. In that zone comes a direction that needs to be fluid and adaptable in order to produce art. Changing instruments may be the best adaptation for me to remain in flow.

The Glengarry Glen Ross Way

Always be closing. A phrase that has stuck with me since I’ve heard it. The idea of persistence, adaptatation and relentlentless devotion to achieving a goal is something to be absorbed in applied in many aspects of life. However, it doesn’t quite activate me in the way I need it to so I made a small change. Creative is something I always aim to be, in everything. My challenge is to add my own signature touch to everything I do. From my presence in a room to artwork produced, I aim to Always. Be. Creative. The more creative I am, the more me I become.

We all train for the Games

It’s CrossFit Games week and this is my fourth year making the trip to the proving grounds for the Fittest on Earth. Each year my understanding of this community and its sport grows—fueling my love, passion and excitement for the gathering that takes place in a few days.

 

Since Froning and Briggs were crowned and the tennis stadium emptied last year, the clock immediately reset and the countdown began for 2014. I imagine many Games athlete left StubHub Center with internal promises and pacts to themselves about how they would prepare for the coming year. But so did many of the spectators. A unique aspect of this sport is the crowd. The CrossFit Games allows for immediate participation and advancement if your training, effort and execution is sufficient.

 

Competition means many things to many different people. Not everyone in the CrossFit community has hopes of competing at the Games, but we all train. Each person has their own goals and aspirations that reach beyond the gym, but we all train. We show up to the garage, backyard or affiliate to prepare our bodies and minds to go out and conquer whatever is front of us.  Many workouts beat us and we are better for it. We practice failure and recovery in training to be better equipped for life. Consistent training  can confirm the idea that we have the ability to continually improve and turn a goal into an accomplishment. A great opportunity for that is the test of fitness, Open to anyone as personal measurement of progress or a worldwide competition. The choice is always yours.

 

From this worldwide competition of athletes, about  550  have earned the right to take the field in Carson, California. They were tested against a community of hard workers. One that carries countless stories of struggle and triumph from all walks of life. Each year the test gets tougher. I think a tougher test is almost required because we’re getting better. As a community, we sharpen ourselves against each other and collectively test and advance our limits. We progresses together through the Open and Regionals and produces some of the Fittest on Earth for the final test. These athletes represent their dreams, family, local community and much more. They are representation of our collective commitment to wellness.

 

This week athletes from all over the world are filling Carson, California. Some will prove themselves on the competition floor. Other athletes will hold cameras, run media, coordinate event logistics,  volunteer and work as judges—while the large majority of athletes celebrates and cheers from the stands. There are many roles in this community and none insignificant.  Year after year, regardless of  role or responsibility, we all train for the Games.

 

See you there.

 

We all train for the CrossFit Games