Tales from the CrossFit Gym: The Importance of Self-Awareness

There have often been times when I will notice someone struggling with something that they’re trying to change or get better at. They will swear that they’ve done everything in their power to do what’s necessary but still nothing positive has come of their efforts.

It really hit me this past Friday. I was listening to sports radio in my office and the head coach of the University of Notre Dame was a guest on the show. The hosts of the show asked him to talk up one of his players for the Heisman trophy, which is the most prestigious award in college football. The coach really kind of brushed away the question. He didn’t really give his player a lot of praise, and he didn’t really want to comment on who should win the award right now. He said it was too early in the season to do that.

I listen to a lot of sports radio and I’ve heard coaches get asked that question hundreds of times. Every coach in America would have taken that opportunity to tell the world just how amazing their player is on and off the field. They would have showered their player with praise as if it were their own child – but, not this coach. He just couldn’t do it. He had to dodge the question. He had to make his relationship with his player seem impersonal. Notre Dame has had a good football program in recent years, nothing special. They believe they should have a GREAT football program because they consider themselves one of the top schools for football in the country. The problem is, during the recruiting process, kids turn them down. They don’t want to go to Notre Dame. A lot of people point to the academics as a possible reason most of these kids choose to go elsewhere but a lot of universities have strict academics. The problem is this coach and his ability to praise his athletes when the time comes. People, kids more so, want to know when they’ve done a good job. These kids hear these interviews. They know that this coach is never going to tell you that you’ve done a good job no matter how spectacular you may have been. It’s just not in his nature. Those kinds of things matter to these kids. This coach just does not have the self-awareness to change his personality to allow for more talented kids to want to come to Notre Dame. 

I want you to think of a problem you’re having. Really analyze the whole situation. There are always things that we have to do that most of us don’t like doing; the problem is that’s where growth happens. If you can really look yourself in the mirror and admit to where you have room for change, you will accomplish amazing things. I have no doubt that this coach is an amazing coach. He definitely understands strategy and all the things a coach needs to understand.

However, there’s more to it than that.

The same is true for you in all of your endeavors. You may be great at most of the aspects of whatever situation is causing you problems, but there is one little sliver that is holding you back from truly reaching what you want to achieve. You have to be able to see those flaws within yourself and work toward changing them. I’m sure for this coach handing out compliments is like pulling teeth out. He just doesn’t want to do it, but I’m sure if he did, he wouldn’t have to worry about getting the best players to come to Notre Dame anymore.