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The Steps to Success

“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Michael Jordan

We normally associate the word failure with negativity. We fail at something and usually feel defeated, sad, sometimes angry. But every failure is a step toward success. If we never failed we wouldn’t get anywhere. We’d never grow, forever stuck in the same place. How boring is that? How sad is that? Lots of times I am afraid to try something just because I may fail. It’s a pretty irrational way to think but my mind just goes there. Oftentimes the voice in my head is saying “What if you not only can’t do it, but what if someone sees you fail?” Well I’ve got a story for you.

I was a member of a gym a few years back and one of the owners talked me into entering an “Old Time Strong Man/Woman” competition. I’d never done anything like that in my entire life and was terrified to do it. His faith in me and his encouragement were enough to make me say yes – that and the fact that my friend Karen was also entering. There were five different events: 110# Clean and Jerk (bar from ground to collar bone to overhead with lock out), a grip exercise where you had to pick up heavier and heavier dumbbells with one hand and they had a handle diameter of about 3 inches – that’s a big handle. Keg shouldering – just like it sounds, get a keg up on your shoulder the lightest one being 100#, bending re-bar, and finally anvil deadlifts and place them on a platform that was almost to my knees.

The hosting gym was called “Jakked Hardcore” . That should tell you something right there. When we got there and I saw the other women competing I was shocked to see I was the smallest one there – and I’m not a small girl. I started to get really scared when I met another competitor who only had one leg. I kid you not. But the worst thing that happened was that when the competition started I had to go first. With a room full of people watching me. I was in a freaking nightmare because I knew that first event, the clean and jerk was not going to go well for me because it was a large diameter axle. What that means is that the weight was not on a standard Olympic bar that is easy to grip. And a standard Oly bar spins so it is easier to get the weight up. At that time in my life I had done clean and jerks over 115# but never with this type of bar. I could barely wrap my hands around it.

So with about 60 plus people watching me the timer went off and I had one agonizing, painful, humiliating minute to complete as many clean and jerks as I could. Guess how many I did? Are you guessing? Zero. Not one. I could not for the life of me get that bar over my head. Hell, it took me 30 seconds just to get it to my collar bone. At one point the host actually said over the microphone “At least get in one rep!” Total fail. Completely embarrassed. Wanted to cry. But then it was over. Mercifully it was over. It was the worst event of the day ( I actually came in third for bending re-bar!) But overall I came in dead last. I lost to a girl with one leg – she was pretty amazing.

I never did another competition again, but I didn’t stop lifting or trying to improve my clean and jerks. In fact the other day at Evolutions I was doing them. I hadn’t done heavy C&J’s in over two years. What if I lost all my skill or had no strength? I had 100#’s ready to go and was nervous and scared. Could I do it? What if I couldn’t? What if I failed? What if someone saw me? Well it couldn’t be worse than that competition. So I just took a deep breath and pulled…and up it went. And it felt so good I did it four more times. Face your failures – then crush them.

See you in class and the studio!

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Kelly Bojan

About Kelly Bojan

Kelly has been involved in the fitness industry for over 15 years. An interest in teaching classes in the 90's became a passion for all aspects of the industry. In addition to being an A.C.E. certified personal trainer and Power Pilates instructor, Kelly has managed several small chain and privately owned clubs. In the past eight years, she was the fitness and program director at a privately owned club. Kelly is the Assistant Program Director at Evolutions helping to generate ideas, quarterly challenges, assist with staff communication and auditing classes.

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