Life shines when you persevere through adversity, not when you give up.
I recently returned from another amazing coaching trip in California at SEALFIT. I love these trips, and this time around I had the opportunity to teach some additional classes, including meditation and breath work (pranayama) as well as the normal running technique & functional training sessions. It’s a dream experience for a coach and a real gift to be able to spend such quality time with a world-class team of coaches and warrior athletes.
When I’m out there in this unique setting, I have the opportunity for an in-depth view into the hearts and minds of athletes, special forces prospects, executives and others who dare to enter the weeklong SEALFIT Academy and the crucible 50-hour Kokoro challenge. It’s awesome, to say the least!
I’m always in awe of the transformation that most successful participants make throughout their experience. Their joy the moment the Kokoro class is secured is priceless, as is their approach to life in the weeks, months and years after completing Kokoro. On the flip side, I’m also puzzled at the ones who quit.
It’s often the ones who appear quite fit and strong who quit at Kokoro. At one of the Kokoro camps last year, an accomplished athlete quit minutes before the end of an evolution. I told him three times not to quit and that he owed it to himself and his team to keep going. He still gave up and walked away from a challenge that he had endured for over 30 hours. What a shame. His expression when he realized what had happened spoke a thousand words. I hope he returns some day to finish.
No coach enjoys seeing an athlete quit – that’s not the goal, in this setting at least. We can only hope that there is a lesson to be found in quitting on any challenge and that the person can use it to grow and perhaps return and realize what they really are capable of. It’s always special to see the ones who appear the least fit in Hour 1 hang in there and perform beyond expectations. It’s inspiring and it fires up the entire class, as well as the coaches.
The real treat though is there for those who persevere through the darkest moments. Whether that’s in cold ocean waters at SEALFIT Kokoro, in the Moroccan sand dunes at Marathon des Sables or on your 2nd consecutive night of running in an ultra marathon, like the UTMB: persevere and the darkness will eventually give way to light.
This bears repeating as there’s an important and simple lesson here. Wherever you are, whatever you’re pursuing: don’t give up, especially when things get tough and the situation seems grim.
I coach athletes that when they see a hill, their immediate reaction should be to embrace it with a “Hooyah Hill!” as opposed to losing the fight in their mind with a negative “oh crap, hill” response. Try this approach on your next run, training session or work crisis. Win with your attitude and the rest will follow.
My closing thoughts for today: never forget the inspiring quote from Winston Churchill “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
All the best from Zurich,
Jeff Grant is the author of Flow State Runner: Activate a Powerful Inner Coach’s Voice, Hill Running: Survive & Thrive, Run Faster: Unlock Your Speed in 8 Weeks, Running Heavy, and UltraRunning: Coach’s Handbook. Based in Switzerland, Jeff is a coach and writer who specializes in mental coaching, peak performance, and transformation. Jeff’s popular newsletter is a digest containing inspirational and instructional resources, including his latest content. See recent issues and subscribe for free here. Refer to Jeff’s bio for more information, and please check out Jeff’s Coach & Author page on Facebook.