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Be Your Best Coach, Or Your Worst Critic

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“Listen to that voice. That voice inside your head. What is it saying? Is it a coach or is it a critic? Is it an encouraging voice? Is it a voice that you would be proud of if it were broadcast over the loudspeakers?”

This advice is from Coach Ben Bergeron of CrossFit New England. He works with some of the top CrossFit Games athletes and his book “Chasing Excellence” is a behind the scenes look at the mental game of competing in the sport of fitness. This past weekend I was fortunate enough to listen to a speech of his on mental toughness that he gave at Wodapolooza in Miami. I also got to learn a ton from Ben when he hosted a CompTrain camp in 2017 at CrossFit Palm Beach.

“Is that voice inside your head a coach or a critic?” Ben asked the audience.

It made me think…How is it that when we talk to others, we always know all the right answers to their problems? We somehow always know the right amount of encouragement, tough love, and endless amounts of compassion that come with helping others. Yet when it comes to our own struggles, that coach can be MIA.

Recently in our CFPB Nutrition Facebook group, I caught a strong-mom member of ours publicly criticisizing herself. It was half-joking as we do a lot with ourselves, but I called her out on it anyways. I asked her, what if she talked to her daughter that way or knew her daughter was talking to herself in that way? Would she allow it? Would she put a stop to her daughter’s negative words to herself?

This is something I’ve been working on as I try to set the best example possible for my kids. I think about Ben’s loudspeaker analogy. If you have kids, you know they don’t need a loudspeaker. They pick up on EVERYTHING you do, whether you want them to or not.

I want my kids to undoubtedly believe in themselves, like I believe in them. It pains me to think they could even talk to themselves the way my inner critic has spoken to me.

Life has enough critics. There are already enough crabs that want to pull you back down into the bucket with them. You don’t need another one living inside of you. (Check out Bedros Keuilian’s Crab Story at the bottom of this post.)

My son is about to enter Kindergarten next fall. A time when kids start dreaming about what they could be one day when they grow up. For those of you decades removed from Kindergarten, where did those dreams go for you?

For me, they got lost in the sea of the self-conscious. I cared too much about what others thought instead of what I wanted to give to the world. All I wanted to do was fit in, and strived to be more humble than humble.

Every CrossFit workout I do is a chance to silence my inner critic, and give strength to my inner coach. It’s a battle, every single day. Yes still, after 7 years of CrossFit.

When I finally master this voice, I will be sure to post about it. But until then, it’s all about believing in myself just a little bit more than yesterday. Stopping that critic at the first sign of self-doubt, and letting the short, positive encouragements flow.

I’m grateful to CrossFit to allow me the chance to face my critic on a daily basis. Not everyone gets to do this. Be thankful for the chance to challenge yourself every day.

And when you meet the toughest part of that daily challenge, 2-minutes into the warm-up 🙂 ….who is there to speak to you? Is it a mentor, a friend, someone that wants only the best for you? Or is it that bully that picked on you decades ago in grade school?

Look back at your life resume. I’m sure that bully couldn’t hold a candle to the fire you light today.

Stop holding onto the critics and let them go.

The CrossFit Games Open is about to begin exactly one month from today. Instead of five weeks of nervousness and self-doubt, let’s break free of all expectations and just have fun.

Leave every workout knowing you gave your best, regardless of the score your buddy put up.

The Open is a great time to grow if you allow yourself to. I’ve seen athletes grow more in five weeks of the Open than in the other 47 weeks of the year.

While we all post individual scores, and we split the gym up into 5 teams led by your coaches, it really is a time to come together and get better as a family.

Encourage others like they are your family.

And most importantly, encourage yourself the same way.

Keep Living Superhuman,

Remove the Crabs From Your Life