I had the opportunity to complete a Tough Mudder with a great group of people. Our motto was to “Start Together, Finish Stronger!”. The Tough Mudder is a long obstacle course, describe on its website as “10-12 miles of mud and 20+ obstacles designed to drag you out of your comfort zone.” There is truth to this as it offers something for everyone which may not be high on the list of things to do. The long distance, getting muddy, physically challenging tasks, uncomfortable tasks, and working with others. It is these things that made for a good event. Our group wasn’t the fastest, but we worked together and with others.
I knew it was about teamwork, but it was fun to see how complete strangers are willing to helping you. I found myself wanting to help others whenever possible. It didn’t feel like a burden, rather more of an honor to help pull someone over a wall, or out of the mud. It felt nice to receive the gratitude, help others and to be helped as well.
There were two obstacles that aren’t the most physically demanding yet give people a hard time, diving into ice water and moving through some electrical wires at the end. These are more mentally challenging tasks. I felt fortunate for my training in sport psychology in these moments. I heard other people have counterproductive thoughts before and during each event. Meanwhile, I told myself to embrace it, and keep moving forward. On both, I made sure to regulate my breathing. For the dive, I planned and executed an elongated exhale which helped relax my body, keeping me focused. During the wires, I kept a purposeful steady breathing rhythm to keep my nerves and energy levels moderated to smoothly navigate the obstacle. Each obstacle took some mental energy but was navigated with relative ease.
On our team, there were some people who had done it before, and others like myself going for the first time. The experienced people, in general, handled the obstacles better as they had the experience to rely on. A great thing about using mental skills is that it lowers the learning curve, serving as a catalyst for performance. I’ve told this to many people in the past and the Tough Mudder serves as another example in this.
I encourage you to push yourself out of your comfort zone soon, whether with a Tough Mudder event or something else. It is through these experiences we grow. I also would like to encourage you to check out the various resources we put out and reach out to us if there is something we can do to help you on the journey of growth!Jeremy