Since I was in Junior High School, I have lived my life by a motto that I created and preached to my teammates: If you think that someone is better than you, that is because they are. Needless to say, as an athlete, student, general human being, I have always convinced myself that I am the best. Even if I have never tried something, I have an innate competitive edge that reassures me I will be the best at whatever it is after a few attempts. The point being that – greatness is a mindset and if you lack the mindset, chances are you will sell yourself short of your actual potential – albeit great, exceptional, or just mediocrity.
Recently, I did not realize that I was suffering from a case of “big fish small pond syndrome” at my primary gym. The fact of the matter is that I am generally one of the more fit women in the gym any given time of day. After sprinting 11mph tabata intervals, you can find me at the iron rack lifting with the boys, absorbed in my tunes, and feeling like a champ.
Well, a few days ago that came to a shocking screeching halt. I recently decided to try and switch my schedule around and hit the gym at 6:30am – instead of 10pm. Well what do you know…apparently there was some Team Bombshell or IFBB flash mob at my gym because suddenly there were advanced professional female bodybuilders (both Figure and Bikini) in MY weight room. They paid me no mind and all worked out together, as I occasionally glanced over trying to figure out why they were here (and keep my eye on what they were lifting).
I am not a morning person, so I was definitely not prepared to begin my morning with a blow to my confidence, but as it turns out it was the best possible reminder that I still have work to do. Sure, like Ali, I may have convinced myself that I am on the road to greatness, but that morning my ego definitely needed to take one on the chin like Ali vs Sir Henry Cooper.*
I have yet to see these women since, but the fire they lit under my sumo squat defined ass still remains. I have always had a desire to be the best at everything that I do; whether they were real or some sort of 6:30am post-tabata interval mirage – they reaffirmed my commitment to greatness, hardwork, and dedication.
My early morning ego gymtervention also reminded me that I may have come far in the past few months, but I still have a long way to go and to make sure that I never forget that there will always be someone behind me that I may not have even noticed, whom I may have humbled and consequently motivated, that is ready to put in the extra time and come for my spot. That’s just the nature of the competitive beast.
* Ali vs Sir Henry Cooper was the first time that Ali really got hit, stunned, and actually knocked down in a fight. It was a fight he assumed would be easy and a warm-up to facing reigning Heavy Weight Champion Sonny Liston for the first time and “shocking the world”.