This photo was of Olympic marathon runner Hayley Carruthers of Great Britain. She collapsed short of the finish line of the London Olympics, and crawled her way to the line. Apparently it is a licensed photo that I was asked to remove…
You never know what you are capable of until you are really tested.
I’ve been there, call it my own personal Olympics. It wasn’t on a grand scale in front of the world, but my situation meant a lot to me. I have learned that you can’t measure things like this based on outside perception, but rather internal importance. I have been fortunate enough to have been in more than one situation that was so difficult I literally thought I might die in the process of this. Yes, the actual thought that I should stop what I am doing it going to be too much for me to take, for my body to withstand, that I should stop for my own good. That’s when you have to decide one thing:
How much pain am I willing to endure?
In my mind, that’s all it comes down to. How much pain are you willing to endure? As my personal situations ended up proving, I have a far greater capacity for physical pain than many. One example that I shared a while ago was this story, and as you can see, it was a stout physical test. Like I mentioned earlier, it wasn’t in front of the world, or even during a competitive event. This example took place during a routine workout at the Phoenix Swim Club with a bunch of NFL players doing off season training. I wasn’t planning on anything other than surviving the drill we were doing, but as it turned out, I learned an awful lot about myself that day. I learned that just because you are a multi-million dollar athlete doesn’t mean you have the heart to push onward. The kind that the trainer decides that you need to stop. As he said “We need to shut this down, otherwise Schenck is gonna die out here and I can’t have that on my record”. Heart, determination, inner strength, whatever you call it, its the thing inside that allows you to take more, to WANT to take more. That is what your inner voice telling you, to the level that makes you question your own sanity at times.
As the old saying goes, “Its mind over matter, and if you don’t mind, it don’t matter“. Of course, not everything should be suffered through, there are plenty of life situations that should be changed, exited or avoided. But when you have the chance to really test yourself, to see what your breaking point is, you should take it.
As a coach, I did my best to push people beyond what they thought they could do. To help another person break through pre-set limits they have for themselves is an awesome privilege, and I can’t thank enough those who have shared those moments with me. It is a special moment in time, a bond that will never be broken. I don’t want to single anyone out as an example, for fear it would diminish the story of others. But I can honestly say that each one of these experiences is burned into my brain and my soul. It changes you to go through these moments, whether as coach or player.
Maybe your challenge isn’t physical, but mental or emotional. The above still applies, in my opinion. You just have to reframe the story to meet the narrative. If you have started a business, changed jobs, undertaken a creative endeavor, whatever it is, you have to learn to suffer. And you have to build the capacity to suffer just a little bit more. Remember, pain is temporary, but victories are forever.
Quitting is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Everything worth while has a price; in some cases that price is blood, sweat and tears, in others, it is emotional or psychological pain. Everything that takes work has an element of pain to it. It is a barrier meant to separate weak from strong, good from great, and ordinary from extraordinary. But that pain does not mean you have to suffer. Suffering is a mindset, your own perception of the situation. The pain you feel is the test. The amount that you can get used to will dictate how far you go in life. In any endeavor, you have to learn to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, push through what you think are your limits, and keep going. But NONE of this means you have to suffer.
I wish you luck in your endeavors.