By Lou-anne Stefankiw
The other day I was coaching the on-ramp in class and a couple of guys who had a background in boxing were in it. The fact that they were fighters intruigued me. They were always bouncing around on their toes and I was fascinated at the thought of what it takes to be a boxer.
I’ve often wondered how I would stand up in a fight. I’ve always thought I just don’t have the toughness to do anything like that and pictured myself cowering to the ground, getting a good beating.
Throughout the session I kept quizzing these gentlemen about boxing. I also kept thinking, I want to have that toughness. I want to be able to get hit and to still keep going.
I think I’ve been able to practice time and time again getting hit and getting back up in my personal and professional life, but I want to apply it when I’m training for Strongwoman. I want to be able to push that extra bit when it’s time; I want to know that I’ve given it my all.
I questioned these men because I’m curious as to how to get there. How do some seem to rise to the challenge and dig so deep in training or competition? It always seems so magical – like these people go to another place or something when they get into that mode. I’ve observed, and many times, these are the people who win. They are the athletes who can get themselves into that zone and push as far as possible, and because of that unique drive, they come out on top. They are the fighters.
I asked one of the boxers, “Do you think you can develop toughness, or are you born with it?” I wanted to develop that skill, and wanted to know if I was doomed from birth or if I could learn it.
His response got me thinking and I’ve been contemplating it ever since:
“I don’t think you’re talking about toughness. I think you’re talking about heart. There’s a difference between surrendering and getting the shit beaten out of you in the ring and in holding your own in there, not quitting, and fighting back even though you have nothing left. That is heart.“
His words hit me hard. I guess the ability to get into that zone might not come from being tough after all; it might actually come from something I’ve had within me all along. Anyone who knows me knows I have a big heart, and as I mentioned, I don’t give up on my dreams even when I get knocked down.
Heart is that force that helps you find it in you to drive past what you believed is possible. It gets you so in your zone that it feels like something more powerful than you is pushing you onward. It’s that place so deep inside your body, mind, and spirit that it scarcely gets reached.
My theory is that tapping into your heart can be learned. It isn’t practical to always go into this place, but when the time is right, it’s a powerful tool to help you go above and beyond what you believe you have the strength to achieve.
Physical competition is only one space to get into the zone. Chatting with these boxers helped me learn I’d done it professionally and personally. For some, it’s easier to first get there through training. The more comfortable you get with applying heart in training or competition, the easier it gets to apply in other situations in life. The application of heart is physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental in varying degrees.
In closing, I want to share with you my favourite quote of all time, because now I get it even more – it’s all about heart:
“The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place. And I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is going to hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.” – Rocky
Are you a lover or a fighter? To be the best at either you need to be a bit of both. You need to have heart.
Check out Lou-anne on Facebook. She has a program for helping you live with your whole heart.
Past Articles by Lou-Anne: