The Open

The F Word !?!

I’d like to weigh in on a word and certainly an emotion in which we can all readily identify….

FEAR – As defined by Webster’s dictionary; An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain. I would like to share a little bit of perspective on fear. I’ve spent a great deal of time thinking about fear during my struggles with substance abuse, PTSD from my time in the Marine Corps, competing in MMA as well as my time spent in CrossFit. I began to ponder whether fear itself was real. Why do we have fear? Why is it so crippling and yet can be the motivating factor to the very freedom in which we are seeking?

Is fear real? The short answer is no. Fear is a response in our body to a perceived danger in our environment. However, danger is real. Fear primes you to react in the most efficient way possible for survival. Most who struggle with pervasive fear have encountered a dangerous or near-lethal event(s) in which fear saved their life. In this context, is it any wonder that people lean towards cautious trepidation when sensing danger? Absolutely not, and I would tell you that your experience is valid, understandable and pretty normal. You can, however, get stuck behind the “what if ” wall; What if I go to the gym and people make fun of me? What if I start going to school and end up having to drop out? What if I run in this race and everybody is faster than me? What if I get knocked out, what if I fail, what if I fall, what if they beat me? These are examples of a few of mine, believe me, the list is much longer than this. Letting fear run your life may lead to further disappointment, isolation, loneliness and disconnection. It becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy of sorts. The saying, “those who believe they can and those who believe they can’t are usually right” is spot on.  So then the question becomes, how do we overcome fear and how do we use it to become the truest, best form of who we can be?

What does it take to begin breaking the cycle? While everyone is different, a great place to start is to make up your mind. Just decide. Make a public or private declaration. Whatever it is you want to do, your goals, your dreams, your life and your passion, commit to that action. You can figure out the details along the way because there will never be that perfect moment to act. Once you decide, you need to understand that you are going to fail at times. This doesn’t make you a failure, this gives you experience. Nobody ever achieved great feats in their life and did it without fear or failure. Don’t be afraid to fail, you can’t always win but you must engage in your life and take the good with the bad; use that to build upon yourself. When you decide to say yes to your life, you need a positive support system. This can come from anywhere, but a practical place to start is most certainly CrossFit.

CrossFit teaches many life lessons. It presents friends, knowledge, and challenges in a safe environment, in which you can become the best version of yourselves. I’ve seen countless people use the gym, myself included, to begin applying the principles of CrossFit to life. Stepping up to that bar, knowing you may fail, but if you do, that’s your current limit and now you can begin fighting to expand that capacity. Looking over at your friend during a workout but continuing on because you know if they can keep going, so can you. Putting in for that new job, knowing you may not get it this time but still having the confidence to put yourself in the arena. In those moments when you achieve the goals you set, whether inside the gym or out, they become beautiful moments in the pursuit to establish your foundation of a better, more fulfilled life.

Maybe you’ve signed up for The CrossFit Games Open, maybe you haven’t.  Maybe you want to switch your career or take that next step into the unknown. Whatever it is, decide, declare your intention and allow your friends and family to help support your goals in any way possible. Don’t let fear stand in your way. You will learn as much from your failures as you will in your successes.

Last, I would encourage everyone to build a social, emotional and physical support system. Life can be scary and less fulfilling when living it alone or in isolation. Destination CrossFit isn’t just a gym, it is a family that supports, loves and pushes one another to be the very best versions of themselves. The women here are among the strongest I’ve ever seen, always willing to build one another up, same goes for the men. We always welcome and encourage everyone to join our family. You can count on us to push you and be there through the good times and the bad, it’s what we do and we most certainly love what we do!  

I will end with this quote from Marianne Williamson - “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, but that we are powerful beyond all measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. Your playing small does not serve the world. It is not just in some of us it is in all of us. When we let our light shine, we unconsciously give others the permission to do the same. We are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Coach Brandon Spangler