Most of us enjoy being comfortable. I'd venture to say an equal amount of us enjoy being "the best", or at-least good at certain things. A great question to ask however when comfortable or one of the best is, "am I actually improving myself?"
Unless you are a freak of nature (in which case, my blog really won't teach you anything), improvement does not happen in stages or environments where one is comfortable or even proficient.
Improvement occurs along the path of discomfort.
People cannot be afraid of putting themselves in environments where they may mess up, or "fail". Not to continue making everything about Crossfit...but this next anecdote involves Crossfit (sorry Crossfit Haters).
This past weekend I entered my first-ever Crossfit event. The Crossfit for Hope event is a charity fundraiser to benefit St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital. Participants (and their affiliate gym) raise donation funds for the right to participate. As I've covered previously, these environments can be very intimidating upon first walking in. Thankfully I'm a part of a tremendous gym that has a great team-oriented mentality. We had more than a dozen members there, cheering each other on during our respective heats.
Having only been doing CrossFit for close to six weeks, I am reminded daily that I have a LONG way to go before I can hang with the "big dogs". Fairly consistently I am in the bottom 25% of the group when it comes to WOD times or rounds achieved. During the Hope WOD this past weekend I only improved my score by two points (from 191 to 193) and definitely ran out of gas during the 2nd round of 3.
I am not a person who enjoys being "bad" at anything (especially competitive sports), so you can imagine what a beating Crossfit gives my ego on almost a daily basis. There's actually a bit of embarrassment that comes with being one of the final people to finish a tough WOD while the fitter members cheer you on and encourage your effort (only because I'd rather be the fit one encouraging everybody else).
So you might ask, why do you even put yourself through this stuff?
Why even do Crossfit if you're so bad at it?
If you ask that question, then you're respectfully missing the whole point. It's BECAUSE I'm bad at Crossfit that I keep coming back for more. I love the fact that it shows me where my athletic deficiencies are. I love the fact that on a daily basis I find something else that needs lots of hard work and improvement.
I'm not the only one. On a Sunday "Open Gym" session we have several girls who have struggled with their Olympic lifts, showing up to throw barbells around with the guys. They're not afraid to tackle their weak points. They're not intimidated by barbells and bumper plates, they attack them head on, even during a "free" day when they could easily have been on the couch or out at the lake. They chose to come in do work with the guys, and fight the fight to better themselves.
The point is this - don't be afraid to dive into the disciplines that normally scare you away. The road to improvement will have bumps along the way.
There will be setbacks.
You will have days when you want to hide your face in embarrassment, or crawl into a hole, or burst into tears.
If that's what you need to do in-order to overcome whatever emotions surface as you struggle with being one of the "worst", don't be ashamed.
Just keep coming back for more next time.
You climb a mountain one step at a time, and you improve yourself one workout at a time, one exercise at a time.
Don't be afraid of being one of the worst, embrace it. It will be that much more satisfying when you look back after a while and are amazed at how far you've come.