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Why We Need to Train Our Weaknesses

"We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training”.

- Archilochus

Point To Ponder: Thinking beyond the physical, what weaknesses do you need to train? In other words, what are your training/strengthening opportunities?

While continuing to read the Art of Impossible, one of the things the author suggests we do (to be our best and achieve “the impossible”) is: train our weaknesses.

According to the Greek poet Archilochus, “We don’t rise to the level of our expectations, we fall to the level of our training”. OUCH! That hurts, but it’s true. A “training your weaknesses” story that instantly pops into my mind is about Russell, my husband. He’s a 6’2” basketball coach who's admittedly very inflexible. His lack of flexibility will be where he falls and will be the reason he gets injured. Years ago I invited him to take a yoga class with me and his response was, ”Before I can take a yoga class I need to work on my flexibility.” With a perplexed and confused look on my face I said something along the lines of: "Ummmm..isn’t improving flexibility one of the purposes of taking a yoga class?"

Looking back, what I knew he was really saying was, “I am not confident enough in my flexibility to take a yoga class and I don’t want to embarrass myself in front of you and everyone else…and feel like a failure.” Bingo! This is why we don’t like to train our weaknesses. It’s uncomfortable and we don't want to experience failure...and being uncomfortable and feeling like a failure and is not fun. However, I would argue that if we don’t train our weaknesses they will eventually prevent us from reaching our fullest potential, prevent us from living our greatest life...and that’s also uncomfortable, un-fun, preventable.

So, what’s the solution? According to The Art of Impossible, we need to “identify our biggest weaknesses and get to work.” In my opinion, identifying physical weaknesses are the easiest so I'll use these two examples:

  1. If you don’t like strength and cardio classes because they are hard or don’t come naturally, then you probably lack strength and cardiovascular endurance and stamina and need to incorporate them into your routine.

  2. If you don’t enjoy yoga and Pilates because they are slower, you lack flexibility and therefore they are uncomfortable for you, improving your flexibility and learning how to slow down and be still is your opportunity, and you need to incorporate them into your routine.

BUT…what about the emotional and cognitive? Identifying those may take some compassionate truth-telling from friends (not family), as these can be blindspots that keep us in perpetual unproductive cycles.

The main point is: In order to be our very best (physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually), we must be willing to set our egos and pride aside, identify our weaknesses and begin training and strengthening them.

In closing, in addition to frequently asking “what did I learn”, one of my goals for 2021 is to get more involved with things outside of my family and iGnite. The reason for this is so I can expand my knowledge base. I love my family and iGnite and they are fun for me (with challenges of course), but if I’m truly committed to growth and being my best, I need to involve myself in things that are unfamiliar. In addition, throughout the past year I’ve learned that nothing is permanent or predictable. Therefore, the more I learn, the more I can contribute, be part of the solution and hopefully, be my best. With that, during the fall our neighborhood experienced an HOA crisis. The whole board resigned. Prior to this I didn’t know anything about the HOA, except assuming their job was to ensure everything in the neighborhood worked and looked good. I've since learned that having a functioning HOA is of critical importance and when there is an HOA issue or a non-functioning HOA, this affects the reputation of the neighborhood and therefore negatively impacts the value of homes. As the neighborhood went into damage control I stood on the sidelines and thanked and cheered on those trying to pick up the pieces. In doing so, a neighbor said, “Neissa, I appreciate your encouragement and support, but we need people stepping up to help.” The short of the long is I am now the interim HOA board president, which was never a goal. Not only do I not have the time for it, but when it comes to all things HOA, I am 100% ignorant. I know zilch, zero, nothing! However, I started getting curious about how I could help, how I could be part of the solution and what I could learn, so I stepped up to being a beginner and decided to help.

Serving on the interim board with me is an attorney, retired priest and a COO, and within only a few months I feel like I’ve gotten a crash course master degree. Unfortunately we don’t speak in terms of squats, pushups, women, fun, and retreats, but instead bylaws, covenants, amendments and motions (blah!)--an entirely uninteresting and foreign language (to me), but we do have community in common so that helps. With that being said, I've used the wrong words countless times, had to ask "now what do I say" when starting and finishing a meeting, and very often feel inadequate. However, we’re a great team and we're making excellent progress... and every time we meet my brain hurts and I want to take a nap :-)

I've referenced "this person" before, but ultimately we all have an insecure 12 year old living inside of us. She tells us 12 year old lies and can make us think we're awkward, dumb, incapable and that everyone is going to laugh at us, etc, etc et. The truth is: She's lying! So every time she rears her insecure head, don't just put her in time out. Instead, lock her in the closet where she deserves to be...and throw away the key. She needs to go away, forever!

Here's to the being a beginner, doing it afraid, strengthening our weaknesses, being our very best and crushing the "impossible!"


Action Item: Start training your weaknesses :-)


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