You ever come up with a name or a phrase for something and all of a sudden it starts forming new meaning over time? For instance, when I came up with WINDERUP, at the most basic level it was simply what was said to me as I waited off to the side of the pole vault runway. “Winder Up”. This meant it was time to step between the white lines, be laser focused, and execute my jump. Over time though, the meaning of WINDERUP evolved as more people were exposed to it. All the local vaulters seem to have their own theories. “Oh, like a ‘Winder’ shooting ‘Up’ into the air because you’re a vaulter” or “You are ‘winding’ the pole ‘up’ when you vault”. There are several others I have heard, but regardless, they all seem to make sense and I think it’s cool a few people are talking about something I helped to create.
This whole MOVE THE MOUNTAIN thing, paired with the mountain logo, threw a few of my closest followers off. I figured I would explain, and also note that it too continues to develop meaning over time.
What did MOVE THE MOUNTAIN originally mean?
First off, the mountain logo itself is actually a “W” in an arrow pointing up(^), which creates a snowcapped mountain look. Most people don’t see that, but that was the idea. The mountain in general represents an obstacle or challenge. For some, this obstacle might be in the form of an injury. For others, this might be that bar you just can’t seem to get over. Why would I have an obstacle as my logo? I believe it is important to acknowledge that there will be challenges in life, but having the right plan, attitude and work-ethic will allow you to overcome them. It ultimately comes down to personal accountability and self-discipline.
Moving the mountain is a representation of you taking control of the challenge in front of you and forcing it out of the way. I don’t mean going out there and blazing down the runway gripping the end of your biggest pole, as you fall into the box for your last vault of the season. Whoops. Or even worse, rushing your way through physical therapy and back into your sport because your pride is too high to allow yourself to skip a workout or two. I am talking about forcing the mentally-draining idea of “needing” that PR or workout to be happy. Instead, focusing on a plan and implementing the workouts and mental discipline it takes to move the mountain the right way, once and for all.
How do I take control of my challenges?
Swallow Your Pride
Easier said than done, obviously. Every time you fall short of overcoming the obstacle you feel like you failed. Your pride takes a hit, and you think everyone around you is watching this failure continue to unfold. Good news is, you are wrong, and no one is taking tallies on the amount of times you’ve failed. If you continue to think this way though, you will find yourself at the foothills of the mountain, staring up at the peak, over and over again.
Have a Plan
Put together the steps you need to overcome your obstacle. First, forget about what others think about you and whether you accomplished or didn’t accomplish your goal. With the help of your coach or a mentor, create a schedule and put together process goals that allow for success along the journey. Last, literally stop thinking about obstacle and just grind. Your plan is not just physical, it’s very much mental.
Stick to the Plan
Stop falling back into your old ways. I remember when I was vaulting my Dad/Coach would tell me the importance of short approach drill work in the Summer and Fall. He would show up to practice and I would be back at 130′ ready to take up my full approach vault. Even though we had a plan in place for that day, for that month actually, I still felt it was necessary to always make sure my full approach was still dialed in. That’s called not sticking to a plan.
I honestly don’t do the whole “be positive” or “I think I can” stuff. I never really have. I believe it is more important to acknowledge who your are, what you’ve accomplished or want to accomplish, and love yourself through all of that. Perforative Positivity can be dangerous, especially for someone without a solid plan in place. Moving mountains and overcoming obstacles doesn’t matter if you aren’t okay with who you are as a person. In short, you were meant to be exactly who you are.
Other Meanings for MOVE THE MOUNTAIN
Well, the reason I ended up writing this post was because I randomly ran some analytics on my YouTube Channel. It showed some interesting data.
First, it showed that the majority of my viewers were college age. No surprise there. This did make me reflect on the time in my life when I was most susceptible to pride, other people’s opinions, not sticking to plans, etc. That time was most definitely between the ages of 18-24. To sum this point up, most of my followers might actually be able to relate to the significance of the whole MOVE THE MOUNTAIN thing discussed above.
My second finding showed that almost all the views on my YouTube Channel are between the months of January and June.
The base of those mountains (yeah, I went there) start in January, peak around April and May, and end in June. The views then level off for 6 or 7 months and pick back up in January the following year. I have been actively posting on this channel for three years and you can clearly see three track seasons.
So what am I getting at?
Just to further all the mountain talk, let’s pretend you are climbing Mt. Everest. You are halfway through your climb and you pull out your cellphone to watch a YouTube video on how to properly layer your clothing, navigate maps and your GPS, track weather patterns, maybe even check out some gear reviews, all while you are being pelted with frozen ice chunks on the edge of a mountain. That wouldn’t make much sense would it? If you were to climb Everest you would prepare for months and years in advance to ensure you had everything lined up just the way you wanted it to be. You wouldn’t put yourself at risk like that without knowing exactly how to handle it. Therefore, the physical and mental preparation would be done well prior to the actual summit. Once on the mountain, all you would be focusing on is executing the task at hand.
My point is, if we are going to prepare for our seasons appropriately, the majority of the training and development should be done during the off-season, not during the actual season. There is no quick fix for most sports, especially the pole vault, and it is important to understand that these “mountains” representing the YouTube data should essentially be shifted several months into the off-season. We need to “MOVE THE MOUNTAINS”. See, yet another meaning to the phrase.
I know very little about how to be an elite level athlete, but through adversity and challenges in my life, I believe I’ve developed what it takes to push the obstacle aside and keep moving forward. It doesn’t matter how big the challenge, how many people you want to make proud, or how long you have been grinding. Get the idea of “needing” to do something out of your head and before long, you look up, and that mountain is behind you.