Monday mornings often mean one thing: Hit the ground running, right?
Another weekend is in the rear view, and it’s back to the “grind” of e-mails, to-do lists, meetings, errands and the like: so called “life.”
What is your take on Mondays?
It seems as though the ‘average Joe’ isn’t too keen on the first day of the week. Think about it. How often have you asked someone, “How are you today?” Only to get the response back, “Not too bad for a Monday,” or “Well, it is Monday,” or, “The weekend wasn’t long enough.”
In fact, did you know that research suggests that 1/3 of all people take their “sick days” on Mondays of all days?
If you’ve been around me for any amount of time, you will know that oddly enough, I LOVE Mondays—always have. From the time I was 5 or 6 in elementary school, I always loved going to school on Monday mornings after the weekend—seeing friends and socializing, hearing the teacher read off the announcements for the week, the different daily activities and tasks to accomplish. Call me an odd duck, but I see Mondays as a “fresh start” to a brand new week. The world is your oyster, and with a whole week ahead on the horizon, you can begin to craft and shape what you would like your days and week to look like.
There was only a brief time in my life I honestly remember dreading Mondays: graduate school. Mondays were my “long days”, typically 8 to 5 or 6, spent inside within the confines of two classrooms, fluorescent lights and powerpoint presentations. A 30-50-minute lunch break typically separated the morning from the afternoon, but that was about it. Other than that, Mondays have been opportunities for something new and exciting.
That being said, as Mondays do typically present themselves with a list of routines and to-dos in order to be part of our functioning, rat-race society, I have also most recently found myself sometimes “swimming” in my Mondays, trying to get my ducks in a row in order to be the most productive and efficient entrepreneur as possible. My to-do list on my MacBook’s sticky notepad continually grows at least a mile long, and I often times have to remind myself to prioritize: first things first.
A take-home lesson I have recently implemented in order to “conquer the world (in a day)” has been a lesson I learned from Timothy Ferriss’ book “The 4-Hour Workweek.” It is extremely simple and straightforward (as is most effective how-to advice). Simply put:
Take a sticky note or small piece of paper
Number it 1 to 3
Write down the top 3 things you plan and need to do or accomplish that day
Put your pen down, put that sticky note somewhere where you will see it, and begin taking action
Simplify!! Often times, I fall into the trap of thinking more is better. My to-do list may get checked off here and there, but there is always something subbing right back in for something that has already been accomplished.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not a bad thing to “get ‘er done” when it comes to things that keep your business, your routine and your overall life going—but by all means, you (and I) are one person.
Take a step back. Take a deep breath. Crumple up that mounting, monstrous to-do list…and simplify. Make your new TOP-3 to-do list. Just do it. And know that the other things will be there to add again tomorrow. Little by little, with more focus and drive generated towards a few things, great things will begin to happen. Keep the big picture in mind.
On that note, I couldn’t think of a better person to speak to about the power of keeping your mind focused than the one, the only, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet.
If you do not know Camille, get to know her.
Currently best recognized as the 2014 CrossFit Games’ “Fittest Woman in the World,” (in layman’s terms: Super Woman of the sport) the 26-year old chemical engineering student from Canada achieved what she has today with one thing: Focus.
Camille Leblanc-Bazinet could “only” Clean and Jerk 155-lbs. during her inaugural debut at the CrossFit Games in 2010; she finished 9th overall that weekend. Nearly five years later, the 5’3’’, 125-lbs. former gymnast could Clean and Jerk 240-lbs. with nearly flawless technique (ie. That’s A LOT of weight)!
While the, practically, 100 lbs. PR (personal record) may seem ‘far-fetched’ for the majority of us ‘average Jo’s’, Leblanc-Bazinet would tell you otherwise:
“Sometimes the person standing most in the way is yourself—so many people are slowly killing themselves by just not believing in themselves. You have to be the first person to believe,” Camille said.
This from a five-time Games’ competitor and former gymnast who finally took the number one podium spot in 2014 after a 16th place finish the year before.
“I give it my all—each and every year at the Games, and I can recognize that I’ve only continued to improve and grow as an athlete every year, so when last year’s results didn’t line up to all the hard work I put into my training, I decided, no matter what, I was going to work that much harder and give it my all in order to come back in 2014.”
Camille defines what it means to do anything you put your mind to. Here, she shares her insights with THRIVE on honing in on a champion-mindset—inside and outside the gym.
Your challenge?: Think about one thing—one thing you want in your life. A goal.
Got it? Ok, good! Time to develop your champion mindset.
Q. You placed 16th in the 2013 CrossFit Games—lower than you had the previous three years, despite placing 2nd in the Open and 1st in your Region that year. Not to mention the hours upon hours you devoted to your training in order to be out there for your fourth year in a row. What was going through your mind at the time?
Camille: It was just a rough year out there. I started Games with wrong mindset, and slowly killed my own self with it. On the last day, I remember deciding, ‘Forget it! Just have fun!’—and I did. I ended up finishing within the top 5 last events on Sunday—and able to acknowledge, ‘I am really fit. I am still a good athlete.’ I was so disappointed with my ranking, performance and reaction to everything in 2013, that I made promise with myself that I was never going to do that again. Someone else could have placed 16th overall and it could have been best day of their life if they knew they had poured all their heart out…I didn’t do that. I knew I could have given it more, and I knew I would have been most proud if I was first, believing in myself, understanding what I needed to do
Q. From 2013 to 2014, there was a distinct shift in the Camille at the CrossFit Games (you became ‘the champ’ after all), what did you do differently over the course of the year in training?
Camille: Every year that I have done CrossFit, I have gotten better—just like with anything, the more you do it, the more you are going to improve. I really didn’t change much in my training at all—still worked on everything (gymnastics, weightlifting and WODs) and making my weaknesses less weak. What I did change the most was my mindset—I learned more about this from the Games in 2013 than really anything to do with my training. I honestly just let my emotions get the best of me, and I decided I wasn’t going to let hat happen the next year.
Q. You are not alone with being one of your own worst critics. Why do you think women struggle with believing in themselves to do many things—From hitting a new P-R, to getting a job promotion or pay raise, to taking a leap and starting something new, reaching their health goals, and more?
Camille: It can be scary to be successful, scary to really dive in and just do it.
Q.What advice would you give to women who may have a goal in mind, but feel overwhelmed, or even doubt, ‘getting there’?
Camille: Keep your eyes on the bigger picture. For example, for me, yes winning the Games was a part of my overall goals, but my goal, bigger than that was seeing how strong, fast, agile, athletic I can be, at all times. With these goals in mind, winning the Games was just a by-product of wanting to be best at what I did. To me, that is being successful.
Q.What about advice for women who have really no idea what that ‘bigger picture’ goal may look like?
Camille: Set a goal that is not about the reward, but about the journey. For instance, if you make it all about the reward, like winning a promotion at work, you may do the ‘wrong things’ in order to get there. You may end up sucking up to someone else or sacrificing part of who you are or what you believe in the process. Instead, say you really have a passion for what you are doing, or working harder at that job for a bigger picture, perhaps you would have just gotten the promotion—without having to sacrifice so much for just the reward along the way. Enjoy the journey and do it for yourself.
Q. On the training and CrossFit front, we’ve all been there—a tough workout or maybe not always ‘feeling like’ pushing it , or giving it our all. How do you get through it?
Camille: Again, finding joy in the journey (not just the reward or goal I was working towards). A workout that comes to mind as a big obstacle was the Triple 3 (300 double-unders, 3K row, and 3 mile run) at the 2014 Games. I knew that wasn’t going to be my strongest workout, but I refused to have a regret in that workout. I got 17th overall, but it didn’t matter. I cried overall at end—really proud of myself. In that workout, it didn’t matter where I finished, because I pushed myself. That made me successful, it was a victory. Remember that feeling at the end that keeps you going—and give it your all.
Q.What about life-wise, how do you give it your all when life gets tough?
Camille: This past year, leading up to the Games, I was concurrently enrolled in 5 classes for my chemical engineering degree, living in Canada at same time away from my husband, lonely, doing everything by myself (training by myself), and it was really hard and challenging to get through it. But I had to suck it up—and do it. That’s really what I do when things get hard—just push through. Monday after Games, for instance, I was on the plane ride home and having to think about studying for finals the next days for my Chemical Engineering classes (After winning the Games, it was the last thing I wanted to do), but; just suck it up and do it. CrossFit itself has really helped me with that mind set.
Q.What tools do you need for cultivating—and maintaining—a champion mindset?
Camille: Surround yourself with the right people. I am probably the first one to get really frustrated with myself or put so much pressure on myself to be the best everyday. My husband (Dave Lipson) is my person in my life who helps me not be so hard on myself, and at the same time, speaks truth into my life when he knows I am capable of more. He is that someone to put his hand on my shoulder, and say, ‘You’ll be fine,’ and also, the opposite, when I’m lazy or not living up to my fullest potential, he will say, ‘Hey Cammy you are lazy.’ Surround self with people who don’t just tell you want to hear, and someone, at the same time, who supports you every step of the way.
Q.On a side note, it’s that time of year—fresh starts, new steps. Do you have any goals for 2015?
Camille: Right now, my goals are just to focus on doing well and getting through school, to be back at the Games in 2015, and to qualify for the Olympics in weightlifting in 2016.
Q.Thousands of Americans resolve to eat ‘better’, ‘lose weight’, quit sugar, get fit in January. It seems like you are as fit as ever and have tons of confidence now, but maybe you’ve been there? It Tell me what life was like before you discovered the healthy benefits of real food and functional fitness?
Camille: I was always active growing up. In fact, I was a competitive gymnast until I was age 16. And of course, I’ve been there before, like many girls—not loving my body. But CrossFit and eating right has taught me how to respect it, as well as not base who I am on what I look like—I so much would rather focus on what my body can do, than what it looks like. And, now, I embrace my curves.
Q.What advice would you give to other women when it comes to their body, food and/or fitness?
Camille: Your body and you are meant to do great things—stop beating it up. And start doing things you love. I know, for myself, I am happiest when I am training in the gym. If I am grumpy or down on myself, put me in the gym and have fun a little. I love the challenge and reward of working towards something and getting better at it. When I am focusing on doing things that bring me joy, it takes the focus off my body.
Alright, now, it’s your turn…remember your goal from earlier?
- Refuse to give up.
- Visualize the feeling you will have at the end.
- Just suck it up.
- Enjoy the journey—not just the reward.
- Establish your support network.
- And, above all, BELIEVE in yourself.