Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Passion on deadline

Can we please call a New Year's Resolution something else so that we can stop mocking the idea and hunker down for a little self improvement? I believe we trainers call it goal-setting and I have a loftier one for all of us this year. Passion.

I'm Sicilian and I'm a passionate person. My mother's the same way and when I was growing up her intensity made me think she was angry all the time. The woman has a rather expressive eyebrow that when raised inspires a very rapid adrenal response from me. She also has a fierce reaction to even a whiff of threat to her children's well-being. Don't get me wrong, at 5'6" (and shrinking - sorry, mom), and only a bit less of the warrior queen I remember, she still scares the bajeebers out of me but now I find it endearing.

I channel my own passion into the things that I do. Don't mistake that for the idea that I do everything well. I started Muay Thai again recently and frankly I'm terrible at it. That's not a low-self-esteem assessment that's just what's so. But if I approach this with passion and don't get self-conscious about my poor performance, I'll excel with time. Imagine how little I'd accomplish if I only did the things I'm good at.

I'm not sure if I was bad at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Who remembers five years ago? Uncoordinated, probably, but persistent and passionate. Now I have experience to share because I stuck with it and I've reached a level of expertise that's respected. I know that's not what I saw happening years ago. What I saw is one lost girl getting knocked about by a bunch of SWAT officers and trying not to be seriously injured. It wasn't pretty but I knew time, commitment and passion would make the difference.

My mom's example - obstacles are meant to be knocked down, out-strategized or just plain intimidated - was an important one. It's not that she beat everything - she's still a diabetic with the complications that go with that. She goes down swinging, though and I'll never make the mistake of telling her she can't do anything or underestimating what she's capable of.

Be courageous and declare out loud what you intend to do with passion. What will consume you, drive you, and occupy those spaces in your mind when your thoughts drift? Decide now, lay the groundwork, make a real commitment to it and be prepared for a change in how you approach everything in your life once you develop a passion for something. Oh, and do all that by January 1st.

The Challenge
Those of you who have been around CrossFit for awhile know how 'Fran' can make your stomach lurch and your eyes search for an exit. Until you get used to dealing with fear and discomfort as nothing more than fear and discomfort, you dread starting this workout. I dread it and I managed to finish it in 4:01 which seems like a lot of anxiety for less than five minutes of work. My challenge to you is to face 'Fran': Tear it up, make loud noises, draw blood, fall to the floor with chest heaving and give your best stink-eye to anyone who has the audacity to stare in horror.

Thrusters (95# for men, 65# for women)

Modify as necessary.

Note: This is a CrossFit workout. You can find the rest of the 'Girls' - benchmark workouts named after hurricanes - in CrossFit's FAQ.