The Big Power of Small Victories

By August 16, 2016Coaching

I’ve had two personal trainers. The first one overestimated my physical condition and pushed me to the point where I’m sure I almost died. I was in so much pain I wanted to punch him, but I had no energy left to close my fists.

My coach was a high energy dude. You know the type. Broad shoulders, wide open eyes, bright colored tennis shoes, yelling every word he spat out. He explained the day’s workout like it was nothing. “Here are ten exercises! I want 50 reps each!”—he’d say with a grin on his face. I’m convinced he thought his job was to make people suffer.

It took me a few days to recover full mobility, and needless to say, that was my last session with him.

Years later a friend convinced me to work out with his trainer. I agreed because I knew my friend needed the motivation to exercise, but I was expecting to get my ass kicked again.

When I met Jessica, she asked me how long it had been since I had worked out. “Probably years”—I said. She gave me instructions, taught me how to use the machines, and corrected my posture. She would set a weight for me to lift, asking me how I was doing, sometimes adjusting it up or down.

After our 50-minute session, I was surprised how good I felt. I told her I knew I had worked a lot, but I didn’t feel like a truck had run me over. “Well, I want you to enjoy your workout. What’s the point of giving you something you can’t do? You’re gonna feel like a failure, and you’re not gonna like it. You did well today. I’ll see you tomorrow”—she said satisfied.

How to Face Challenges

I learned from my coaches two ways to face challenges:

  • Here’s a challenge so difficult,  you’ll realize how unprepared you are for it. Now work hard to overcome it.
  • Here’s a difficult challenge you can achieve. See? You’re stronger than you thought.

The first one tells me I am weak and unless I do something I’ll stay weak. The second one tells me I am already strong, and I can get stronger.

If we measure our accomplishments by how difficult they were to get, we may never realize how much progress we are making. But if you notice your every-day accomplishments, you’ll see the difference.

My second coach helped me stay focused on my strength and not everyone around me who were lifting four times what I was. This way, I could tell myself “I am strong because I can do this,” not “I am weak because I can’t do that.”

Sometimes we don’t give ourselves enough credit for the hard things we do every day. Maybe we think our accomplishments don’t count unless they’re home runs. But we forget bunts —and getting hit by a pitch— can win games too.

Small Victories Become Victories

Have you been ignoring your smaller victories? Maybe you look around, comparing yourself with friends or coworkers. Wondering if you’re just wasting your time or no matter how hard you try, you’ll never catch up. It’s easy to think your efforts won’t accomplish anything, but they already are. And they will.

The key is to have a mindset where you realize how much stronger, smarter, braver and determined you are. This way, all your small victories become simply victories. And you have many reasons to celebrate.

Small Victories = Transformation

Jessica trained me for a few more months. I’d still workout with her, but we moved out of town. Since then I work out more often. It’s become important to me. I used to hate it, but I like it now. She helped me appreciate the value of small victories. Because I had a great coach, I learned that in exercise and in life, everything counts, and nothing is wasted.

Take the Next Step

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