Derek Neighbors

The more I learn, the less I know.

Personal Seeking Courage

By Derek Neighbors, Published on September 24, 2015

I struggle with what level of disclosure to give in public forums, because vulnerability is a hard. I don’t care for writing and know a path to getting better at something is to do a lot of it. At least that is the excuse I hide behind when it comes to sharing more freely. A while back during a long period of seeking self awareness it became apparent that I didn’t really believe in myself very much. Other people believe in me. I believe I am able to get results, but I haven’t been able to really believe in me. I was smacked in the face on this topic looking in the mirror and seeing myself over 250 pounds and utterly out of shape and control.

I asked those around me to support me in helping me believe in myself. I got that support and started to believe it was possible. I spent almost a year walking every single day. I had co-workers, clients and family supporting me by walking with me when I didn’t feel up to it. If you are reading this and you remember walking with me, thank you so much for the support! I slipped and broke the streak one day. I panicked. I gave up. I took time off from walking, then I started Crossfit with my wife (who had been going for a year already). Crossfit was miserable. It was humiliating in every way. It punished me mentally and left me feeling crippled physically. I hated it. I mean, I really hated it. Every minute of it. At the same time, I couldn’t stop going because it would prove to me every minute, for 60 minutes, 1 time a day that I could do it. Every minute I thought I can’t go another minute, but I could and did.

Our box started a Smolov program that summer. About half way through nearly everyone quit. Smolov is evil, I don’t blame them. I kept going. I kept going everyday. There were days I struggled to walk. Why did we buy a two story house again? There were days I cried. There were days I called my wife and told her I might have to go to urgent care because my body was revolting against me. Regardless I showed up and squatted the next day, on schedule, like clock work. I remember people asking “Are you still doing Smolov?” and then shaking their head. In under 4 months I put 80 pounds on my squat personal best. Smolov is evil, but gains baby, gains.

Fast forward to, I believe I can do it. However, there are times I lack the courage. Okay, most of the time I lack courage. Like that time my wife suckered me into doing a Tough Mudder type obstacle course with her. We come up the a-frame rope climb. Terrified. No way. I don’t do heights. She told people I was scared and to give me some room. I about died of embarrassment. Until all of them started encouraging me and telling me I could do it. Guess what I made it up and over.

Recently I have been trying to do more work with my hands. Finding my zen place. Working on cars. Building cabinets. Fixing broken things around the house. Amazingly, almost every time I go to start something I tell myself “no way I will be able to do this”. Then I start doing it. It goes well and I get excited. Then something goes wrong and I get ready to give in. The difference now is I believe I can do it. So I recollect myself, step away rethink the problem and keep trying.

This morning I had my headphones wrapped around my backpack and when I pulled my backpack out of the car the end of the ear bud ripped off. A decent pair of Beats that I really like. I was so pissed. I picked them up and put them in my bag in disgust. Tonight I started thinking, “I bet I could crack them a part and fix them”. When I got home I found out how to get them a part. I decided to bring them to hacknight at Queen Creek Gangplank and see if I could fix them.

I set up a soldering station and tested getting them working. I was able to. So then I soldered them. I broke the solder putting them back together. Then I couldn’t get them to work again. I was devastated. I got up to the throw them in the trash almost in tears. Then I remembered all the support I have gotten in the past. I sat back down and kept at it until I was able to get them working again. I got them reassembled.

As I put the final touches on them my favorite song of peace “Seven Bridges Road” by the Eagles started playing through them.

Maybe this is what courage looks like? One thing is for sure, the biggest supporter I have is my wife. I don’t know what I would do without her.