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.
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.