Written by Adrienne Thomas
My name is Adriene! I am competitive, extremely goal driven and work my butt off. I have never been “the best” at anything but I have always given everything my all. These traits are all things that contribute to my drive as an athlete, but they are also a crutch at times. When it comes to powerlifting I have big goals, regardless of my limited time in the sport, my goals are what drive me and I have no doubt that I will one day achieve them; whether that be 5 or 50 years from now. However, I am starting to notice that this focus on specific numbers or milestones has really been crippling my experience surrounding training.
I wouldn't say I have been unhappy with my training, but something has been up, and I knew I needed to figure it out. Through some self-reflection, I realized that there hasn't been much celebration in my last year of training. Since June 2016, I have been dealing with injuries, rehabbing and fixing my weak points, all while trying to build strength and a solid foundation. The drive has been bumpy, it has been bumpy af and full of its ups and downs, crashes, flat tires and so forth, but it is undeniable that I have progressed as an athlete. I have hit some milestone numbers, progressed in technique and I am finally not feeling broken … and with all that progress there hasn't been much celebration and that is a problem.
I noticed that I would hit a small PR, or a milestone and instead of being excited and proud I would think things like …….
- Time to get to (insert arbitrary #)
- Eh, it is okay but it still isn’t ( insert arbitrary #)
- Well, of course, I hit that PR, I should have had this months ago.
When people ask about my numbers I shyly skirt around the topic. I didn’t think I was embarrassed about my numbers, but I was starting to realize that maybe I was, but why? I know my numbers are not elite, but they are still mine, even if they are not my “goal” numbers. I guess I was just having crippling thoughts of inadequacy because I was so focused on specific numbers. I wrote before about riding myself of comparison to others, but I am also realizing that I am still learning how to enjoy the journey and not focus so much on the end goal. I will never forget something I heard Mark Bell say on his youtube, it was something along the lines of “ Guys will say to me, man Mark that guy is benching 500lbs, how do I do that, and I say to them, by benching 400, then 410, and 420”. This quote is something that has stuck with me since I heard it, and as it popped into my head this week I had a holy crap moment. THAT IS MY PROBLEM RIGHT NOW. I am not enjoying the journey to the goal. The little steps that are necessary to get to the goal. I am not going to magically squat 400lbs, but every pound I add to that bar is one step closer I will be to doing so. The reality is while the goal may be 200 or 400, it doesn't mean that everything in between that is insignificant. ALL OF IT IS PROGRESS.
A friend also reminded me that there is so much more to celebrate than just numbers. She reminded me of the community I have helped foster at my gym, how I have been able to travel to judge meets, how I help anyone who asks, and how I now have access to this entire community all because of powerlifting… AND SHE IS SO RIGHT!
Anyway, I don’t really have much specific advice on this at the moment just wanted to share with you all the words and thoughts running around my brain. I always try to set non-performance based goals, so this will be a non-performance focus of mine moving forward. I am going to be more intentional about enjoying my process, lifting milestones and the community I get to be a part of. I don’t want to rob myself of my journey anymore or my celebrations!
So I want to end this with a BRAG ON YOURSELF moment. If there is something you are looking back on now and realizing you never celebrated or shared, do it now! Let’s celebrate our wins together big or small!
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