I’m doubled over, red faced, gasping and wheezing for every breath. “Oh man… I think I’m going to puke…“
“If you gotta puke dude, do it outside. “
After a mere 30 minutes, I was spent, in pain and on the brink of collapse, but I was also over joyed and amazed I went as far as I did.
For the first time in a long time I felt the exhaustive exhilaration of pushing myself to my limits. Of course, I had the help of a trainer and 5 other people working out with me, but you get the idea.
I was spent, taxed, toast.
We’ve all pushed in our lives and we’ve all felt what I am talking about, but how often do we do it? How often do we stretch our limits and test ourselves?
How often do we peer into the void of our unknown ability? I bet it’s not as often as we’d like or should.
Some of the greatest accomplishments throughout history are marked by our capacity to push through incredible amounts of physical and mental pain to reach new heights and new goals.
Let me illustrate…
- Thomas Edison – Do you think it was stressful and painful for him to fail thousands times on his way to inventing the light bulb?
- Roger Bannister – Do you think he was pushing himself to the breaking point when he finally broke the 4-minute mile?
- Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay - Do you think they felt the pain, the joy, the exhaustion and exhilaration upon summiting Everest?
You and I share the same common abilities as these great pioneers. The ability to push ourselves beyond what we think we can do.
It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things. – Leonardo da Vinci
In order to push you must do the following:
- Create a goal – This will help you when you need the extra mental energy to push. This goal must be attached to your core being, be something you are passionate about or be something where you have a burning desire to be the best.
- Push in short bursts – This will help you build your tolerance. Push for short amounts of time and work your way up. Once you get the feel for pushing yourself again, you can begin to extend the sessions.
- Challenge yourself to take one more step – Every time you feel you are at your limit, go one step more. When you feel like you hit the wall, push against it as hard as you can until you go a bit further.
- Learn to play with pain – You must play the metal tennis match between quitting and going forward. This maybe the toughest challenge of them all as we are hard wired to avoid pain at all costs, but it is only through this pain can you experience the higher levels of joy on the other side.
Great, so everyone can push and we all have the skills, but why do it? I can’t speak for everyone but I’ll tell you why I push.
Back to the BodyLab
After going through 3 grueling workouts per week for about a month, I began to notice that pushing myself to my limit at the gym started to bleed over to other areas of my life. I started pushing myself harder in my work, in my writing and in my personal life.
I began seeing greater gains and rewards. I was accomplishing more in a day than I had in a long time.
I was pushing my coaching skills harder to better serve my clients. I was pushing myself to understand my relationships and be a better person.
Most importantly, I was fully investing all of my talents and passions to accomplish things I hadn’t done before.
When was the last time?
At one point in time you pushed beyond your limits to accomplish something great, but when is the last time you physically or mentally pushed yourself so hard you felt those incredible feelings of pain, exhaustion, joy and success?
Now I am not saying you need to go out and run a four minute mile, spend half your life inventing the light bulb or summiting Everest, but…
Be a leader and do something
Today, right now, write down one thing you are going to do until it hurts…
It can be a simple as running a bit faster on the treadmill or staying few minutes later at work to get ahead on the project. Anyplace is a good place to start as long as you get started.
Seriously, write down one thing or better yet just go do it!