On my way to Byng Pool this morning I passed some angry graffiti sprayed onto the side of a building that reads: “F*ck the RCMP”. I was moved by how powerless a person must feel in this world that their only means of expressing their sense of oppression is to vent impotently on the side of a building. It made me sad.
Too often people complain about the world beyond their control. They sound scared, frustrated and powerless. They make themselves the perpetual victims of powers and circumstances outside their control. The more attention you give to things outside your sphere of influence, the more power you give up. You cannot do anything about Trump, the Coronavirus, the economy, gas pipelines, the weather or the machinations of Russia or China or whoever.
Focusing on things outside your sphere of influence is dis-empowering. So is apathy. Long ago I was introduced to the serenity prayer:
“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.”
It’s a simple and empowering way to live your life.
I cannot change the bad attitude of the driver who cut my off in traffic while flipping me the bird but I can offer up a genuine smile of appreciation to the harried barista serving my coffee. I can’t do anything about property tax increases but I can intervene when I see a bully trying to hurt someone.
When all your energy and attention is directed outwards at the things beyond your control, you have few resources little left to apply to things that are within your control. Living this way produces a lot of discontent people who are powerless and ineffectual.
When you narrow your focus to those things within your sphere of influence you will begin to experience a dawning sense of power and control over your life. You may not control the circumstances but you do control your response to them. You can choose to demonstrate grace in the face of challenges, generosity in times of scarcity, courage in moments of fear, love in situations of anger.
Focus on you: your habits, your thoughts, your words, your actions, your attitudes. Take control of the things you can control: your work, your relationships, your nutrition, your health, your fitness, your character, and you will begin to feel powerful.
Politics, weather, economies will come and go shifting the world around you but the world within your sphere of influence will remain within your control. And the better you are at this, the wider your sphere of influence grows. World leaders began by mastering their own sphere of influence until it grew large enough to influence the world.
There will always be things outside your control.
Recognize what things you can or cannot influence.
Save your energy and attention for those things that are within your control.
And don’t be afraid to stand up for what you believe in when your voice will make a difference.
Not sure what this has to do with fitness? I didn’t give up lucrative, stable careers elsewhere to go broke making people buff for the beach. I recognized that the gym is life in a microcosm. How you show up in the gym is how you show up in life. Mr. Fantastic isn’t just fantastic in the gym, he’s fantastic in every aspect of his life because “how you do anything, is how you do everything!”
The name CrossFit Empower is aspirational because that is our mission: to empower you in your life! The gym is just a practice arena for the skills you will take out into the world to transform your life. If your focus in the gym is on how great Silk is or how often Motor works out or how poor your genetics are then you are focusing on things outside your sphere of influence.
What you can learn to focus on is you: how often are you getting to the gym? How good is your nutrition? Are you sleeping well? Are you getting ample active recovery? Are you training with focus and intention? Are you engaging in positive self talk? In other words: are you mastering the things within your sphere of influence or is your energy dissipated by peering outward?
What’s holding you back in the gym is holding you back in your life. The great news is, what we transform in the gym, we transform in your life! This is how CrossFit transformed my life and why I have dedicated my life to it as my calling!