I cleaned 205# last night, from the hang position.
I never expected to clean over 200#, ever.
Not last night, walking into a workout where I didn’t really want to be.
Not the previous three weeks where attempts at 200# fell on the ground in a failed lift.
Not when I told myself months ago that a 200# clean would be a nice “next goal” for my lifting.
I didn’t believe I could do it. I didn’t believe in myself to accomplish a lift of that weight. For all my bluster and arrogance and cockiness, never did I believe in my heart that over 200# was achievable. I’d rationalize this with either potential injury, or mental blocks, or genetic limitation or any number of things. Despite all my accomplishments and the overcoming of self-doubt, and doubt of others; despite all the encouragement and first-rate coaching and commitment to myself from myself and others; I didn’t believe I could do it.
Just A Number
200 is just a number. It carries no significance outside of being round and even and tidy. In weightlifting, 200 is awkward, but the number rang in my head as a ceiling.
205# happened in the moment. I didn’t know what we were doing walking into the gym yesterday. I didn’t know how I would feel. My warm-up weight felt tight and slow. My first lift was better but still nothing special. My second lift was rushed and succeeded because the weight was still comfortable. My third lift was likely my all around best. Then I flew out of the bottom of my fourth lift (195#), got it overhead, and realized I had plenty of time and energy left. I grabbed a 10# plate laying next to me, oblivious that it was set there by Kevin – who smiled as I did and quietly handed me his other plate – and dropped the 5# off the side. A 45, 25 and 10# plate are now on each side of my bar. 205#. Neat and tidy. Get set and go.
I failed the first attempt. No hips and I shrugged the bar to my shoulders, caught it forward and fell to both knees. Bail.
But still energized.
Attempt two, somewhat rushed but much more committed. I open my hips fully though twisting into the bar a bit, land on my heels and drive out of the bottom, awkwardly but with ease and yelling, “Yes!” all the way up.
205#, just like that.
I failed the jerk, but that’s not the point here. In fact, the lift in and of itself is not the point. The point is that goals can be absolutely worthless.
The Truth is Stranger Than Fiction
Often said to describe an unbelievable real life event, “The truth is stranger than fiction,” to me, is one of the most obvious statements in life. Fiction is created, and in order to be accepted it must first be believed. The consumer of fiction must be able to suspend disbelieve enough to conceptualize any fantasy, or plot, or idea. Fictions must be salable.
Goals are often times fictions we create for ourselves.
Goals are often times reflections not of what we want, but of our view of our own limitations. They are often compromised and almost too accessible to be any measure of capability. Goals are something we have to sell to ourselves and then buy to achieve.
This post is an admonition, to myself or anyone else that may find themselves blocked by their own goals, dreams, wants or ideas. It is an admonition to remember that goals are little more than potential milestones. Milestones, as someone in my past once said, are things one leaves behind you to count where you’ve been but not a representation of where one is going.
Make goals, have wants, dream… but don’t suffocate under them. Listen to coaches, friends, well-wishers and most importantly listen to yourself in the moment and don’t be limited by an idea that existed prior to that moment. The Universe sometimes allows you to see or be more of yourself than you can ever possibly believe. Make the choice to listen.
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