how do you take your experience of what you’re passionate about and make it positive when you felt your expectations were defeated?

he must have seen the disappointment on my face before i could hide my emotions. “heids. welcome back champ. how are you feeling? you should be proud. coming back after your injury and giving it your all. i’m proud of you.”

the last four words were all it took to begin the process of coming out of my post-competition depression. now it is three days later and i am starting to acknowledge my accomplishments, rather than feeling only the defeat that had been hanging heavy in my heart.

i was never an athlete. growing up, i was forced into ballet and tap as a kid. then i moved onto gymnastics for a couple of years, only to injure myself and i was never encouraged to go back. shortly after, music entered my life and followed me all the way to college. while i thoroughly enjoyed playing the piano, drums, marimba, saxophone and violin, i secretly wanted to be running around outside and involved in a more physical activity.

it wasn’t until the last year of college that i joined a local kickboxing class that also introduced me to taekwondo. i was drawn to this martial arts form quickly. i had finally found my sport, along with an amazing group of friends who are forever my “taekwondo family”. i trained and competed for three years at Extreme Martial Arts. during those three years of competing, i took silver at states (Ohio) in 2005 and then in 2006, i won gold at states and gold at the AAU taekwondo national championships in my division.

not until three years later, with much time off and time spent, enters: CROSSFIT.
two years of training. various competitions. full-force. injury. complete time off. heartbreak. inconsistent training. hesitant movements. developed skills. focused form. humility. accomplishments. goals satisfied. gain in strengths, both mentally & physically.

i went into this day with the expectation to win. and i placed 8th out of 35 woman in the scaled division. (yes, i have accepted that i will always be a scaled/amateur crossfit athlete. this i am ok with.) but the final outcome was what burned under my skin. the competitive bones in my body awoke for the first time ever and i was completely devastated and jealous of those before me. i immediately forgot everything that the day had brought me and couldn’t see anything else but the failing that i brought upon myself. my mind started racing to go through each WOD i had performed and questioning every move, rep, count, minute and moment. where did i go wrong?

(picture courtesy of Lisbeth Darsh - huge inspiration in the Crossfit community.

i finally awoke to my existence and realized that i had been defeated by my own expectations. my incredible accomplishments from everything leading up to and during the competition were crushed by my trap of expectations. i had diminished my experience of the Games and i felt like a failure. longing to find comforting words to heal me out of my negative thinking, i picked up my book “Kindred Spirits” written by the founders of Cafe Gratitude, and re-read the chapter titled, “the trap of expectations”. i want to share the excerpt that spoke strongly to me:

“nothing i know of diminishes my experience as much as expectation. i simply set myself and others up to fail when i hold or place expectations on them or on life itself. when i’m living in expectation, i’m not present either, since expectations always live in the future, in what hasn’t happened yet. even if life responds by fulfilling my expectations, all i have is the simplest of satisfactions because underneath most expectations lurks some version of the hungry ghost…real power is found by realizing that whatever experience i am having i am the one creating it.”

i realized that i had been creating expectations in my day to day life over the past month, instead of putting my intentions into what i wanted to create and experience. with this new reflection, i immediately shifted my sketchy negative thought patterns and began to see all the beauty and glory that being a part of that day brought to me.

crossfit has become my passion but, like with all emotions attached to love, we need to constantly be “in the change” with them or we will grow apart. i have definitely been following the ebb and flow of this journey over the past two years. i know that i performed to my best ability and i laid it all out there with an open heart and some tears. i got to perform and cheer next to all my incredible, amazing, determined and talented teammates! we gave it our all on that day. i am so proud of everyone–all of you who competed. and, i am so proud of myself for allowing crossfit and the community i am a part of, to have taken hold of my heart and allowed me to be confident enough to pounce and jump into a higher level of existence. to my crossfit lover: i commit for life!

i would like to share my appreciation and gratitude for some important people who have been with me along this journey:
TJ and Yago, two of my incredible coaches who showed me how to throw weight around properly!

my bros – Jerimiah and Dylan. you two always support me in and outside the box and shower me with so much love!
to all of the strong & beautiful women that i get to train with at TJs Gym. you all inspire me every day and bring much happiness and so many smiles into my life πŸ™‚

Dr. Doug – i would not be sitting here at this very moment, pain-free, if it wasn’t for “the thumb” and your healing touch. thank you for offering your services to our community and bringing my body back to good health.

My WOD Gear family. i feel honored to be a part of the team and wear my gear with pride!

and last but not least, Toni – you’re not just my coach but my mentor and friend. you believe in me when i have given up and you know how to push me past my limits in crossfit and in life. i am so grateful for all you have taught me. i love you, Toni and Thor! ❀

  1. Alicia B. says:

    Heidi – phenomenal post. Thank you, as always, for sharing and baring your soul to us all! We could all learn a little by taking your lead and having some true instrospection into our experiences and why we feel the way we do. If there is anyone who is able to go with the ebb and flow of life with an open heart, that would be you! I think lowering my expectations before an event has done wonders! I did enter the competition completely relaxed, firm in my belief that it is what it is, and prepared to let in whatever came. And so….it was a great day. Or so I thought! When I crash and burned on the 1st wod, I was shocked at how upset I was. I was determined to let things go, but I was dissecting that one to sort it out! It DID take some time to settle down and refocus on all that was good that day! I am, as always, immensely proud of you in countless ways! xoxo alicia

    • woman, you are amazing! your words brought so much joy to me. thank you for your incredible support and love and always baring yourself in the box, too. thanks for sharing your journey as well and you were incredible to watch, as always. big love xxo

      • Mike C says:

        Great post Heidi! Loved every word. And if it makes you feel any better, I constantly use you as a model of form, technique and heart. A lot of the movements in there (DUs especially) I watched you to learn the “right” way to do it. And, I’m sure I’m not alone. Cheers!!

      • michael charlie – thank you so much for your response and taking time to read my thoughts. i am glad my form and technique have helped you! πŸ™‚

  2. tjgym says:

    Wow that was amazing Heidi, love how you write and how honest you are. And thank you so much for the shout out, you are a wonderful person and sometimes(thank you therapy)it takes another to help you see. I am homored to help you in anyway. Love and More Love Toni and Thor

  3. Cynthia says:

    Thanks you for the honest words Heidi. I can definitely relate. Just want you to know that I really appreciate how you have been welcoming and supportive to me as a newbie. Look forward learning more from you. Cynthia

  4. […] Brilliant perspective from our own Heidi George. […]

  5. dust says:

    Wow! You are really an inspiring soul. Thank you.

  6. Deirdra says:

    Isn’t it amazing how wrapped up we get in these workouts and competitions? Where do we get this competitiveness? Isn’t it interesting how we dissect every move, analyze the strategy and get so upset with our mistakes? it’s hard not to reach your expectations. But I think you’re on the other side of the “defeat” and you’ll just enjoy the “passion side of it.

  7. coreyrennell says:

    great excerpt from Kindred Spirits! totally inspiring post heidi–i have been victim to the same thing so many times. you rule!

  8. lisbethdarsh says:

    Nice words. But that’s my photo of the barbell on wood. It’s cool to use it, but it’s cooler to give credit. Thanks.

  9. […] ended in an ecstatic version of “giving thanks” when i discovered that my blog post “passion & defeat” was featured on the CrossFit Affiliate page for that day! i was overflowing with happiness and […]

  10. […] Foods Experts Won’t Eat Passion & Defeat Venus with Biceps: A Pictorial History of Muscular Women Meat […]

  11. […] to go to the places that scare you the most and come out a winner in the end. but. it was not my story to tell this […]

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