Measuring Success

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This post will relate to Nabil’s post on remembering your why and JB’s post he made a while back about you versus you. I wanted to make this post because when I am not blasting the latest EDM hits while I am driving around, I like to listen to a lot of podcasts. One of the podcasts that I recently started listening to is the Brute Strength Podcast. Brute Strength is a team of elite coaches who provide a lot of information for a variety of levels of CrossFitters. On a recent podcast featuring Mark Bell, the topic of measuring success came up and how we can better define it. Mark Bell is the owner of Super Training gym in Sacramento and creator the slingshot and hip circle (those bands we make you guys put around your knees to get your buns firing). Mark is one of my favorite gym owners and aside from running an extremely successful powerlifting gym he puts out a lot of free fitness and business related content that I find very interesting.

                 Aside from running a successful business, Mark is an Elite level powerlifter.

On this most recent episode of the Brute Strength Podcast Mark discussed a number of things in terms of fitness, business, and how he blended both together to create a successful lifestyle. One of the more interesting topics he covered was how he measures success inside and outside of the gym. He talks about how in the gym people feel the need to compare their end results to those of others to find validation that they are successful. This can be an unhealthy practice for a couple reasons. The first reason is that focusing solely on the end result for validation is disregarding all the work you have put in to achieve that result. Lets face the only way we get results is by putting in a sustained effort, so why should we disregard all the hard work we have put in that will lead to our eventual success? Another reason why this is an unhealthy practice is everyone is different. People have different goals and abilities so trying to directly compare yourself to someone else can most of the time give you a false sense of where you are. For example if I recently hit a squat personal record and immediately compare it to Connor Banks squat personal record, I would probably get very discouraged because I can’t squat anywhere in the neighborhood of what he can. To get that squat personal best I had to focus on improving my squat over the course of the course of a couple months. I put in a lot of extra work not only just in the gym, but also outside of the gym to make sure I had enough focus on my recovery to make improvements. Now instead of feeling like I was successful because I was able to put in a conscious and sustained effort over a long time and made a significant improvement, I now feel bad because all I focused on was my end result against someone else’s.

Mark was talking about how instead of only measuring success based on the end result we need to look at the entire process that got us there. Did you put in sustained effort? Were you diligent and staying on your program? Did you improve mentally or physically? If you can answer yes to these questions then congratulations you are successful! We have heard it before but success is just a reflection of all of the heard work you have put in leading up to that single event. If you look at any successful athlete or even a successful entrepreneur, their status is a reflection of the sustained efforts they have had overtime. They did not just wake up one day and decide they would be wildly successful in their field. So next time you get down about not hitting a monster PR or not smashing a workout, trust that if you stay on the right path and keep pursuing greatness you will be successful!

Nabil and JB touched on this subject briefly and I just wanted to reiterate it because as much as we want to think about CrossFit improving ourselves physically, we also have to work on improving ourselves mentally. We get so caught up in playing the numbers game and tracking our quantitative results that we forget to measure to the qualitative aspects of our improvement. When we can improve both physical and mental aspects of ourselves we not only will see benefits in the gym, but outside the gym as well! Check out Mark Bell or the Brute strength podcast if you want something to pass the time on your commute.


6 replies
  1. Marko
    Marko says:

    Nice DJ! This part really sent it home for me…

    “…success is just a reflection of all of the hard work you have put in leading up to that single event.”

    Big picture! Being patient and trusting the process is easier said than done, but hard work WILL pay off with the right attitude/mindset. Over the past couple of weeks there has been some legit posts about mental practices, your “why”, big picture, and now measuring success. I know personally, I learn a lot by reading ya’ll’s posts! Thanks!!

  2. Roy
    Roy says:

    Right on DJ. this and the other recent posts have resonated so much to me. It’s been rough not being able to lift and do what I was doing before my injury. I’ve had to temper my expectations, and define what success is for me right now. That happens to be just being able to move and walk without knee pain. I’m still not entirely there, but I am definitely getting close. Thanks to you and all the other coaches guidance, I’m getting there. Baby steps… listen to what you have to say and trusting the process… it’s working.


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