I hopped in the car for a two-hour ride to weigh-ins. I had been texting one of my closest friends for the last hour, letting her know I was already at weight. I feel guilty even thinking about that under certain circumstances, but I’m also consciously making an effort to let people be “in” things with me more. There was a little banter back and forth, as well as some “real talk.”

“A fifth of my meds for the week” is the text I got from her, with a picture of a gallon Ziploc bag stuffed to the point it could barely zip.

I was very articulate with my response.

“Holy crap.”

In my profession, you never have to look very far to realize just how vulnerable the human spirit can be, and just how quickly things can change. It’s humbling when it hits so close to home. She’s too healthy. She’s too young. She’s out doing reality shows, bikini and figure shows, and all sorts of totally random and other athletic endeavors (like professional rodeo teams if she chooses to). She is an absolutely amazing blend of joy, humor, and emotional empathy. She lives with “yes” on the tip of her tongue.

We met on the platform at RUM8, where she literally cheered for me at every single attempt on the day. There are so many women that tend to be on either side of the spectrum of humility or arrogance, but she had something different in her that took her off that scale or spectrum entirely, like it didn’t even matter. I had to learn from her. I wanted to be like her. Fast forward a few years later and she has become the first person that knows my immediate joys and sorrows. I am more open with her than any of my other girlfriends, without a doubt.

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And she is that for probably half a dozen or more other women that are safe with her. It’s just who she is: she finds humor in almost anything, laughs hard, and loves hard, no matter how tough you make it. She embodies what I believe women in powerlifting aspire to: strength, courage, empathy, and more humor than should fit in her five-foot-three-inch frame. No matter what’s going on, you’re enough when you’re talking with her.

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I had a lot of thoughts rolling around in my head coming into this meet, largely about my reasons for doing what we do, training and elsewhere. These last few months have been a season of evaluating why I’m doing what I am, on all accounts. It’s easy to stay busy and to keep adding more onto an already heaping plate. The second I feel like I’m not achieving enough, my first response is to (drumroll please) add another avenue to try to succeed.

I all but broke down after moving to Kansas City from Colorado, because I’d finally reached my breaking point where I was no longer doing anything productive so much as running in circles just putting out fires. I went through a season of reading all sorts of soul food books before bed instead of movement theory books or articles, and they left me finally for the first time feeling that, quite frankly, I don’t want to do it all. I want to learn to make the most of what I have, right here, right now, and actually, I don’t know, have a life outside of training and work. I want to love the hell out of people that come to see me in the clinic or that I work with online. I want to grow to be a good mom for our kids when we have them. I want to take an afternoon to enjoy something other than work or training. That was really all I did. These sparked a lot of the conversations that caused Dave and I to move back to Colorado, and shortly after moving for those reasons, one of my closest friends got a diagnosis that changed everything for her. Hearing her diagnosis shook me because of her response.

“Dani, I have been given this incredible gift to see life with a new set of eyes. I get to enjoy people around me in a new light, and the amount of love and support I’ve received is incredible. I want to share my life with people around me.”

It wasn’t one of those responses you can tell she coerced herself into believing; she was genuinely grateful for the change in perspective this had. You could practically hear her glowing through the phone.

Dave and I have had a lot of similar conversations, revolving around our business and starting to grow our life together based on what we value. Which, aside from a whole bunch of words like integrity, hope, empower, and communication, doesn’t really mean much. What’s the fabric like? I want to touch it, to feel it, and to know there’s a texture to what I’m living. There was something missing that I’ve always felt like Shelly just got. I’d never get there, I’d tell myself. It’s just not for me. Sad justification. Somehow though, she had it and it was refreshing. I craved to give that to other women.

And quite frankly, trying to keep up with 16 different things at RPE 10 and be good enough at them for my own expectations is exhausting. Am I putting out good enough content? Am I learning enough? Did I challenge myself enough? Am I progressing enough? Is my technique improving enough? Is my time spent enough? Is my volume enough? Am I home with my family enough? Am I present enough at work? With my friends enough? Am I giving each and every one of my patients enough? Why does it look like I’m the only one struggling to keep all the plates spinning? Everyone else seems to be doing good enough.

It’s lunacy.

I know this resonates with most of us that do not have the luxury of making training our bread and butter. Most of us do this because there’s something about this sport and training that fills a void or challenge that nothing else will. But to those of you who have 16 patients a day that all want the best of you, that are a wife, husband, father, training partner, financial planner, student, stay at home mom or dad: This is training. It somehow makes you feel like, in the midst of all the other “stuff’,” there’s the void you enter where you just do. And there’s progress. Every session, no matter how “bad” it feels, you know you’ve taken one step closer to whatever that mirage is.

Until you start mitigating your progress with that ever-present contagion.

“Is it enough?”

That was it. That was the mirage I was chasing. That is the mirage that I think Shelly had let go of, long ago, and that’s the freedom she exudes. The problem with good enough is that, for a perfectionist cerebral person like myself, the mirage seems to get further away with each step we take. It encompasses our feeling of self-worth and identity and shifts our mindset.

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The perfectionist in me hates “good enough” and translates that to necessitate perfection, also known as the antithesis of growth. This insane, perpetually increasing pursuit of perfection is what ironically holds me back, but also boxes me in and constricts the life and freedom out of the soul. It kills the ability to be here, now, in the present. The texture that I wanted to feel? I can’t see past my own nose enough to know where my fingers are to even start grasping at it.

I thought about a lot of these things on the drive down to weigh-ins, about Shelly and how she tells you that you have nothing to prove. I was carb depleted, with homemade baked goods in-hand for the judges weighing us in, and was happy coming to weigh-ins because, for the first time ever stepping on a platform, no matter how the day went, it was incredible to feel like the only thing I had to prove was that I am okay with good enough every now and then. Not all the time, but I’m working on it.

The reality is that you cannot base your reality on a mirage, doing life at RPE 10 every day for the sake of chasing that mirage you can’t even define. I’m certainly not saying don’t dream, don’t hustle, and don’t grind. But in a generation where the reality we see is edited to paint a pretty picture on social media, we’re quick to become myopic and self-centered. Our “story” on social media leaves a footprint that creates an identity that may or may not actually align with who we are to the people we see every day. I hope that rattles your cage a bit — it rattles mine typing it.

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I have been chewing on these thoughts for a long, hot while. We live in a generation that has an awkward challenge of living in a duplicity. On one hand, half the people that understand what we do are in different parts of the country, and the online platforms serve as connection points. On the other hand, relying on that connection point disconnects us from those we rub elbows with every day and provides a slippery slope to comparison, which I think is the root of “enough.” We seek enough, for what? To prove we did something? That we’re good “enough” at something?

I guess here’s the thing: We have nothing to prove. Our attempts at proving anything continually detract from being fully present. From laughing, growing, enjoying, relishing.

At some point, when the vices through which you chase "enough" are emptied, you’ll be left with yourself, your legacy, and how you changed people. When the other fillers fade, the definition of “enough” revolves largely around how we interact with others. That is the here, the now, the tangible messy parts that we forget to savor. 

You may never be “enough,” but you are what you are right now. My new “not enough” is if I let the pursuit of a mirage cloud my vision of what is right in front of me. It holds more value than I give it credit for, but I will never see it when I’m running in circles dousing flames.

There’s no need to manhandle your Monday. Savor it, and the people who spend it with you.