I really believe that.
But I also really believe that no matter how awesome you are, you (and I) can always be more awesome.
There are lots of ways that you can go about doing that, but I think I’m pretty sure I’ve figured out the #1 way to increase your awesome quotient by a significant percentage.
Go outside of your comfort zone.
Because no matter how awesome your status quo is, it’s just that: your status quo. When we do the same things day in and day out, no matter how impressive or important those things might be, we’re not getting any better (even if you don’t think you need to). But when we go outside of our comfort zone, even just a little bit, it allows us to grow stronger both mentally and physically, and sometimes allows us to see that we can do more than we think we’re capable of.
Yesterday, Will and I went rock climbing for the first time. I have to admit, when he asked me earlier in the week if I wanted to go with a friend of his from work (who is an avid climber), I jumped at the chance but also felt instantly nervous. Not nervous because I thought I’d hurt myself or anything, but nervous because it was something new, something far outside of my comfort zone, and I had no idea what to expect. What if I was embarrassingly bad at it? What if people could tell I had no idea what I was doing?
But the thing I realized pretty quickly is this: Who cares? Who cares if people can tell it’s my first time, because it was my first time. If you never try something new because you’re afraid of looking stupid, well, you’ll never learn to do anything new. Because in reality, we all have to look a little stupid sometimes, and that’s ok, because that means that we’re challenging ourselves to do better and to be better.
So long story short, when yesterday morning rolled around, I was ready to go, even though I had no idea what I was doing. When we got to the climbing gym, I was a little bit intimidated at first — the harnesses, the special shoes, all of the instructions for us newbies — it was a tiny bit nerve wracking. But as soon as I started climbing, all of that went away. I realized something pretty quickly: I absolutely loved it.
I loved the challenge of finding the proper foot and hand-holds. I loved the feeling of making it up to the top of a track that I had failed a few times before. I loved the feeling of being fatigued and sore in a way that I am not used to, and being pretty damn certain that every inch of my body would be sore the next day (yup, I was right).
I’m used to challenging myself in the weight room, and working towards new PRs. I’m used to the feeling of sore hands from heavy deadlifts, and the callouses that I get from the barbell. But this was much, much different. Gripping a bar has nothing on the grip needed for rock climbing, and my hands have never ever been more sore and beat up than they were yesterday afternoon.
Funny story to give you some perspective on just how tired my hands were: we went grocery shopping after we left the climbing gym, and when I went to pick out some sweet potatoes, I literally couldn’t even grip them to pick the ones I wanted out of the bin. I stood there like an idiot, pushing the sweet potatoes around, pawing at them like an animal, because I could hardly even grip them enough to pick them up and put them in my basket. That is how tired and sore my hands were — and the weight room has never, ever done that to me!
Anyway, I absolutely loved climbing, and now I realize how silly it was of me to be nervous. Sure, I made myself look like an idiot a few times yesterday, but I also was able to accomplish some pretty cool things and did a lot better than I expected. I can’t wait to go back again, and if I think it will only get more fun as I begin to improve my climbing grip! And as an added bonus, it was one hell of a workout, most certainly a new challenge for my muscles. And no matter how much you love your workout routine, it’s always fun to throw something new in there, right?
Long story short, I made myself more awesome yesterday, and I did it just by doing something that I was a little bit afraid of. How will you become more awesome today?
Readers: When is the last time you tried something that you were afraid of? Have you ever been rock climbing? What is something fitness related that you’ve wanted to try but haven’t yet?