A year ago today was the day before my most recent competition and my nerves were off the charts. I was unpleasant to be around. I ended up having an EPIC anxiety attack that evening, sat in the bathroom of the hotel, texting my coach who calmed me down a little. The next day, I had the most humiliating public experience I’ve had in my life. You know that nightmare where you go to school in your underwear? Yeah. That. To say my ego was dented and damaged – well that’s accurate. I’ve spend the last year trying to sort things out. If I were a normal person, I’d probably walk away from this sport. But I’m not normal. I’m stubborn. And I love this sport. What happened was a little bit shitty, yes, but it shouldn’t have rocked me like that. Something about it kicked every single insecurity I’ve got like a gut shot. No – more like drilling a tooth before you’re numb. I did not see it coming.
After a few years of investing in my physical health and discovering that competitive bodybuilding added value to my life, I came home from that show wondering if I had it in me to ever step on stage again. A long time ago, I promised myself to never let fear define me, or rather, never let fear stop me from doing something I wanted to do. Unless I break that promise, I have to do this work now, too. I might blog about the things I’m learning and how I will apply them, but I’m not sure yet if that’s something I want to share publicly. A big part of my work is to disengage my ego and just do the work. Haven’t really reconciled how to share that process in public yet.
However, the list of books I’ve devoured might have some value for others. All audio. I don’t have time to read, but while I’m grading, walking, or driving, I listen and learn.
Here is a list of the audio books in my Audible library that I have found the most enlightening. “Enlightening” in the sense that I enjoy uncomfortable self-reflection and forced psychological growth. Putting introspection on Beast Mode, I guess. Hahahahaha! They are in order of how I listened to them. In some way, each book led me to the next. Some I’ve listened to a few a couple of times. I revisit parts when it seems I need a refresher on that particular lesson. Each time I listen, I pick up something new.
Almost all have had an impact on my teaching, too. I think that’s what has hooked me the most. While following my own instincts about what I want to learn personally, I’ve enriched my practice as a teacher of teenagers. I had a conversation with someone once who said he thought we were all stuck at 17 on the inside forever. That might be true.
The last book, “The Ego is The Enemy” by Ryan Holiday, has been the most beneficial in addressing my competition experience, but I don’t know if I was ready to hear it until after I had listened to the others. It also wasn’t published until last month, so it wasn’t available. It’s probably that “when the student is ready, the teacher appears” thing, huh?
I’m grateful for the lessons in all of these books. I got something from each. (It’s a bit overwhelming to see the list together – this isn’t even all of them. Just the best ones. And there were a few fiction books in the mix over the last year, too. Brain needed a break every so often.)
Pictures are linked back to Audible descriptions for each book. Just click…