Last weekend my wife and I completed our recertification as SFG Level 1 Kettlebell Instructors and were certified as SFG Level 2 Instructors.
It was an intense 3 days – we were tested Friday morning on strength, tested Friday evening on technical skills, practiced and trained all day Saturday, took a written exam Sunday morning and tested on advanced strength and technical skills on Sunday afternoon. There were about 80 candidates from at least four continents there. All participants were equally strong, determined and focused on achieving elite status as kettlebell instructors.
I want to relate the back story behind this announcement.
This past weekend was a big deal for me. It was much, much more than another “certification” or an opportunity to add more letters after my name. For me personally, this was the most intense and challenging – both mentally and physically – event I have willingly participated in my entire life. Seriously. When I decided to do this at the beginning of the year I knew that I would need all these past nine months to do to all that was necessary for me to succeed. My goal was to pass this advanced, strength-based, elite certification on the day. (This may not seem like much, but not everyone passes on the day; typically about 30 percent of candidates have to re-test certain skills within three months.)
What I did was to set a goal for myself that I knew would be essentially impossible for me to achieve unless I really, truly, deep down inside wanted to accomplish it. That meant I would have to go above and beyond my current capabilities. Practically, it meant that I would have to treat this like a new and radically different vocation outside of my normal day-to-day life – I would need to get a coach to guide my training; I would absolutely have to maintain a rigorous training schedule no matter what, despite my day job; I would have to eat well – I would have to constantly focus on the goal no matter what life stuff happened.
I told a lot of people what I was planning on doing: “At the end of September I’m going to Philly to an advanced kettlebell certification. It’ll be three long days of intense training and testing.” I was now accountable not only to myself but to all my family, friends, and peers. I put myself out on a big limb, willingly, on purpose. As the certification loomed immanent reality set in. In my mind, if I didn’t succeed – if I didn’t “pass on the day” – I would be humiliated and embarrassed with respect to others’ expectations.More importantly, to myself, I would have failed at achieving the most important goal that I ever set for myself my entire life. Why did I do this to myself?
Why I really wanted to do this – which is the point I want to make – is difficult to adequately articulate what is in my mind and heart. The best I can do is to state that this was my opportunity to do something beyond my current capabilities as a way to overcome severe emotional baggage from my childhood, the fact that I was always the last kid picked for a team in school, to redeem myself for not passing my original kettlebell instructor certification on the day, to let go of self-limiting self-doubt, and to prove to myself that I really am strong, inside and outside.
As I stated in the first sentence, I succeeded in achieving my goal. I had help from an excellent coach, a loving wife, and from friends and colleagues. Ultimately, however, it was up to me and me alone. I learned a lot about myself from this experience. I am strong. I know that I can do anything when I persevere and dedicate myself to achieving whatever it is that I truly want.