How to Measure Your Success

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Last quarter was the first time in my two and a half years at Tradewinds that I didn’t make the “Top 10 Committed Club”. This is for a few reasons:

  1. I went on a few lovely vacations over the summer and missed a couple weeks of workouts. No regrets there; I had a blast.
  2. I am coaching more often (woohoo!), and sometimes need to workout at odd hours to allow myself time for school work, and TW work. This means I don’t always “check in” to classes, and don’t get the “credit” for being there. This is exciting for me, because I get to be living out my passion more often than I was before. 
  3. I started being more lenient about skipping days when I needed rest, an action I NEVER would have taken two years ago.


I used to believe that, in order to be healthy, I needed to workout almost every single day. I wouldn’t even take rest days when I was sick, let alone if I just needed a day off or was spending time with family or friends. We all know that consistency is key, but I officially took it too far when I refused to do things with the people I loved in fear of missing a workout. And even though I logically know that all of the above reasons for skipping a day or two are perfectly fine, and that I am probably in a healthier spot now more than ever, the day that I didn’t make that committed club, I was hurt. I felt that I had let myself down, and let you all down, as well.


Being a coach means that I am a leader, and good leaders recognize that people will look to them for not only support, but also motivation. What would people think when they saw that I dropped off that list? My thoughts ran wild, like a stampede:


“I KNEW Colleen was not a great coach.” 

“Can you believe she let herself go like that?”
“Can’t you see that she isn’t committed anymore?”

“Why would we follow her lead when she can’t even get herself to the gym?”

The list drones on and on with more self-deprecating thoughts and words, each one like a paper cut to my ego. 


For the record, the only person who said those words to me was myself, but that didn’t stop me from believing that they were right. Maybe I had lost motivation, or “dropped off” or “let myself go”. Even though I knew I was working hard while I was away, and that I felt better than I had in years, the only thing that mattered to me was the criticism that quite literally did not exist outside of my own mind. 


Unfortunately, it’s common that we are our own harshest critics. I have known this since I was a teenager, and can usually pick out when I am being overly-critical of myself. But sometimes we slip back into our old ways, repeating a history that has been ingrained in our brains by societal pressure and expectations to be perfect. It’s a story I’m sure we all have, and one I wish we could all rewrite.


Luckily, I have since gotten over the fact that I am not a part of the “Top 10 Committed Club”. In all honesty, I am proud of the fact that so many of you all had the opportunity to be up there! My point is not to make anyone pity me or feel bad about the list (it’s an incredible feat!!), but instead to point out to you all that our successes don’t always have to be measured by accolades or outside praise, but can instead be quantified by the way we feel about ourselves despite the pressure around us. 


I have never felt stronger, happier or more balanced than I do today. I am proud of myself for knowing how to take rest days and not overdo it. I may falter with my thoughts sometimes, but when it truly comes down to it, I love who I am and how far I have come. I may weigh more than ever (thanks to my new muscle!), eat more than ever, and skip workouts more than ever, but I know that I am achieving my goals because of how great I feel, and that’s the greatest success of all.


To all of you crushing all the workouts and getting achievements and accolades, KEEP GOING, but never forget that the greatest achievement is being truly comfortable in your own skin. 

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