Lean into the stress, and challenge yourself.
Updated: Apr 29, 2020
In her book “Emotional Agility”, Harvard psychologist Susan David talks about mans contract with life; “discomfort is the price of admission to a meaningful life”. I’m not sure she was talking about a global pandemic, because right now, we’re pretty uncomfortable! The stress surrounding fear and uncertainty can be overwhelming. This may sound counter intuitive, but sometimes the best way to deal with stress is to actually lean into it! A couple weeks ago I read about ex-Navy Seal David Goggins challenge; The 4×4×48. Run 4 miles every four hours for 48 straight hours. Goggins said; If you can complete that, put it in your “cookie jar“ and when times get tough, know that you can reach in, take it out and it’ll give you strength, it will give you clarity. I thought “that’s pretty bad-ass”. So, since I had the time anyway, I took him up on it. I started at four in the afternoon, and every four hours for the next two days I slogged out four miles. I’m not gonna lie, it pretty much sucked, especially at 4:00 am. When I got to the last run, my son Jack decided to come along and support (which was like a shot of adrenaline). I have to say, I’ve done my share of IronMan triathlons, marathons, ultra marathons, you name it, but this one was tough, mentally.
But it was also one of the greatest, most liberating things I think I’ve ever done. I did it, with little fan fair, but I did it on my terms! So let me pose this to you; not everyone has the desire to run for 48 hours, I absolutely get that. But you can lean into the discomfort we’re all experiencing and do something to take some control, push yourself, get out of your comfort zone and get something in return. And the key to this is; you can do it on your own terms! I happen to coach a high school wrestling team and I posed this challenge to the kids; 1x4×5. Run 1 mile four times a day for five days.The kids took the challenge and surprisingly, so did some parents and alumni. The results were incredible. We kept in contact through Zoom and the kids sent pictures from the road every time they went out on a run. They pushed themselves and stayed connected with their teammates in the process. They were unbelievably proud when Friday evening finally came, and I think they would tell you it was a great experience. Yes, it was hard! But it was manageable. If you can’t run four times a day, run three times. If you can’t run, walk, if you can’t walk, ride a stationary bike or do calisthenics for 12 to 15 minutes. But do it! And do it consistently for a full “work” week. We get fulfillment in life from doing hard things! Do this on your schedule, on your terms, but do it! I promise you, at the end of five days you too will feel liberated! Get your friends to do it. Connect with each other. Support one another, cheer each other on. Be grateful for the opportunity to get out and improve your physical and mental state, in a time when our health is our most precious commodity. Gratitude is contagious! Put that in your cookie jar! Be safe, be healthy, be happy! John Baldwin Mental Conditioning Coach Headstrong Performance Training