Fitness, Mind & Body, Motivation

I’ve Grown by Failing

Stephanie Hohn May 23, 2017 About a read

I failed.

All of the hundreds of training and hours spent in the gym led up to failure during the 6 minutes I had to perform my lifts. It was my final lift at University Nationals, 2015, and I made it. I made it after 5 missed attempts, 3 snatch and 2 clean and jerk, and my anxiety was literally to the point that I felt like i was holding my breath at every moment. As soon as I put the last lift down, and I was given 3 white lights, I broke down into what was my very first super real anxiety attack. Full blown crying, hyperventilating, and my coach, Drew, looking at me probably wondering where this came from because I never did that in the gym nor had I ever told him that I deal with it. After about 6 minutes of just expelling all of my pent up emotion and breath, I started to calm down. That was how I kicked off my first national event.

Great. I thought to myself well why is this happening? I kill it in the gym. I love training. I love my friends and my gym family. Why did this happen to me? What is wrong with me? Nothing, is the answer. There is nothing wrong with me. There is only an opportunity to be right with me, in the gym and in life. My work ethic is my strength (Thanks mom & dad), and there is nothing, in my mind, that can stop me from achieving what it is that I set out to do. So, this is where I began to really develop my mind and grow myself as a person.

I succeeded.

Over the past two years, I set out to compete until I made it to my first landmark, senior nationals, and I wasn’t going to stop until I did it. This means that even if I felt like I needed more time, that I would push myself to reflect and revitalize myself faster so that I may move onto the next one. This comprised of maxing myself at meets 16 times within 2 years.

Here is the track record of my national events only:

University nationals 2015: 3 missed snatches, 2 missed CJ & 1 made 6th lift 78kg. Bomb.

University nationals 2016: 1st & 2nd lifts made in snatches / 3 missed CJ. Bomb.

American Open 2016: 1st made, 2nd missed, & 3rd made snatches / 1st made in CJ, 2nd & 3rd missed. Total!

Senior Nationals 2017: 1st made snatch, 2nd & 3rd missed snatches / 1st made CJ, 2nd & 3rd missed. Total!

From a starting total of 105kg as a 69kg lifter in February, 2015, I morphed into a 63kg lifter with a 170 total, to make it to the top national tier, finally, in May 2017. This feat seemed doable, especially since I believe that I am a superhuman and no one can tell me otherwise. On the same token, the emotional toll and perseverance it took was something that I did not really take the time and mindfulness to accept and digest until I have taken the past two weeks to reflect upon this first landmark.

I persevered.

With senior nationals being my 4th national event in my weightlifting career within 2 years, I realized that I really had done it. I pushed myself to open within 4kg of my PR in snatch and within 2kg of my personal record in clean and jerk. I was feeling very strong in the peak of my training, so I decided to set my new mental sights higher. I made them both at 72kg and 94kg, meaning that I had totalled and I pushed myself into a new zone where I knew I was strong enough to compete physically. The only way to mentally grow to be that strong enough to compete, was to go there. I went on to miss the next two snatches at 75kg, missing the 3rd one by a super hair and I missed both of my jerks at 97kg. Overall, very satisfied with my progress and my accomplishment.

I achieved.

As many of you who are probably reading this care about weightlifting in some fashion, this lesson really applies to any growth process that a person goes through in order to reach their mental, physical, spiritual, and overall genetic potential. I am a very strong minded person because of all of the difficulty and vulnerability that I have gone through and exposed myself to, purposefully or what seemed to be an accident. I am also very stubborn, to the point that I used to just internalize everything and think I needed to handle it on my own, like I was a burden to another person. As I have grown, the lesson was and is to always count on the people life connects you with to help you grow into new places. This is where the idea of being vulnerable comes into play.

I opened up.

A big weakness can seem like a vulnerable thing to show to another person. Once you do, it can also be one of the most reliving moments of your life, knowing that you are not alone. For example, I am a very energetic person who loves to live fully and all the way. This means that I will probably also experience more risks along the way, positive and negative, due to my desire to go for it. This energy that I carry is usually very positive. My vulnerability is that I had a hard time, for a long time, with how to help myself when I turned negative. Instead of dealing with it, I internalized it and became scared, which then turned into anxiety, and I carried it around with me because it was normal. If you are reading this and you understand, then you know what I am talking about. If this is something that you do not personally deal with, then my hope is that you may understand a person who has this type of personality trait.

I reached out.

After my second university nationals, I finally sought out someone who studies the mind to help me. I attending some counseling sessions and boy did it feel great. There is nothing wrong about seeking out an opinion and guidance from another person who is in fact smarter than you in that subject. I encourage anyone to do that, no matter what it is. Actually, that means you’re smarter for doing so. Nobody makes it alone.

I grew peaceful.

No matter where you are in life or what you’re striving to accomplish, your failure only means that you are doing something that is growing your capacity. That failure is an opportunity, to go on, and become more than you ever believed or dreamed of becoming. Give yourself time and grace to reflect and renew. Life is so fun and so is growth with people. So, if you fail, learn to become friends with it and look at it as the next place to achieve your potential, because you deserve to and are worthy of becoming the greatest version, of you.

Together, we win.

Be Strong and Be Superfly, always,

Stephanie Hohn




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