Emotions fuel everything you do. At least that is my belief.
Learning to use your emotions in a constructive way can fuel your own fire and help you do things you never thought possible before.
In my own life, recognizing that I am angry or sad, or even excited about something can help me covert that particular emotion into needed energy and produce an action that breaks down walls, sets new records or achieves more than I ever thought possible.
This was the case for one client that I had a few months ago.
When she walked into the gym,
She did not seem to have any energy to train that day.
She proceeded to tell me about how her father was dying and did not have much longer to live. She had spent the night dealing with arrangements, taking care of her mother, and various other “duties” that needed attention.
I gave her the green light to go home, get some rest and deal with her situation rather than train that day. She declined stating that she needed an escape and that a good workout would do her more good than harm. We both decided that we would keep the session light and short.
This client normally works hard, but routinely has let fatigue rule her, meaning when she reached a certain point of tiredness she would usually quit and tell me that she was just too drained to do anymore.
I knew her well and knew how she dealt with physical stress.
We had spent the last two months working on increasing her time holding a plank. Each time out she would improve a few seconds more.
At this point, her best time was one minute and 30 seconds, which was very good for someone her age. Even when she reached 1:30, she struggled to do so.
She was holding up very well during the session, with only an occasional departure from what we were doing...obviously thinking about her father and the situation.
I allowed her to take as much time as she needed.
I asked her if she wanted to do a quick 30 second plank today just to keep practiced, but also to allow her some needed energy conservation.
We both agreed that 30 seconds was a good way to go on this day.
As 30 seconds approached, I let her know that she was just about finished with her plank, but she surprised me and kept going.
She was totally still, not moving and unwavering in that plank position.
Soon, the clock hit the one-minute mark and she was still holding…head down, in a perfect plank position, no movement...It was almost as if it was someone else doing the plank.
One minute 15 seconds…one minute 30 seconds…one minute 45 seconds…two minutes!!
She just wasn’t going to stop. I was going to let her go as long as she wanted and could at this point.
I could see the sweat dripping down on the mat from her head, and I could she her body starting to shake, but she still held that position.
Finally, I quietly let her know that she just passed the two minute mark and that she broke her record... but there was still no movement, no words and no change.
She kept at it.
Finally when I told her she hit the three-minute and 30 second mark, she stopped.
She kept her head down, dropped to her knees and appeared to be resting, trying to recover from this new record she just set.
She was very sweaty and the mat underneath of her was soaked with a puddle, a well-earned puddle.
I was excited for her, and I thought this would cheer her up...a new record, but I was also a little confused as well. She eclipsed her time by a lot, and hit a mark that I never thought she would see.
I stood there waiting for her to get up from her slouched position. I saw that she needed some time to rest, so I let her be for a while.
Finally as she slowly stood up, it was all explained to me in a moment’s time when I saw her face.
As she faced me, I saw that tears were streaming down her face.
She did not say a word, rather just looked at me, with uncontrollable tears coming down.
When she finally spoke, she relayed to me that at some point during her plank, she started to think about her father.
The emotions that were running through her must have turned to pure, unfiltered energy…to the point where she felt no pain, did not have any more limitations and continued to get stronger.
The puddle on the mat that I assumed was sweat was mostly tears.
In the next moment however, she smiled bigger than I have ever seen her smile before. I knew right then that the session was over. She got what she came for, and I learned a lesson as well.
She thanked me for the session and told me that she felt so much better and that she was so glad she trained, and hit a new personal record in the plank.
She thanked me for helping her to feel “good” on this very difficult day. I thanked her for her effort and more so, for reminding me what real mental toughness was all about.
Emotions can ruin you if you let them, but they can also help you to do crazy things.
The next time you are having a bad day, or you are in an angry mood, or you just feel some pent up emotional baggage, instead of keeping it bottled in, use it.
Make an appointment with your trainer, go to the gym, or hit the streets for a run.
Figure out what your emotions are, accept them, and use them for energy. You will probably be shocked at just how strong you really are.