"I am a Spartan!" If you have ever done a Spartan Race, then you shouted this at the start line along with all the other athletes that were toeing the line with you. It's what we repeat the last few moments before being released onto the course to fight through the obstacles and elements. If you are like me, you have a million different thoughts running through your head. Some thoughts are fearful: Did I prepare well enough? How tough will the terrain be? Are my shoes tied right? Did I drink enough water? How cold will the water obstacles be? I better not fail the spear....
What does it mean when we say "I am a Spartan!" To me, it means so much more than just a way to get our adrenaline all fired up before we run. It's a mantra for life. Being a Spartan is a lifestyle we need to practice on the race course and also out in the world. While we are on the course, it means conquering fears. I used to struggle with the dunk wall. For some reason it just made me stop in my tracks. To get through it, I just didn't give myself any time to think. I would force myself to go before my brain tried to talk me out of it. A Spartan will also find strength within. When you are out on the course and feel tired and weak, you find the strength to keep pushing forward and come out on the other side stronger because you did not quit. Spartans fight through obstacles instead of letting themselves get defeated. That doesn't mean you won't fail, but it does mean you will grow and learn from your failure.
Being a Spartan doesn't just mean conquering fears and obstacles and pushing your limits, it also means building others up and helping them to do the same. If you see someone struggling on the course, then encourage them. If they need help, then help them. Be someone who doesn't just stand by and watch. Be the person that takes action to help build others up and create a better community. A Spartan doesn't just talk and stare, they take action to create positive change. To me, that's part of what it means to be a Spartan out on the race course.
"I am a Spartan!" Those few words are a powerful phrase that we need to carry into our personal lives as well. A Spartan will not let life's obstacles conquer them. 2020 has definitely created more obstacles than any of us could have predicted. But, take a step back and look at life as a Spartan Course. The course is never flat with fun and games along the way. It takes you through climbs, descents, creeks, mud, roots, rocks, and of course, obstacles. Sometimes you'll feel more prepared than ever and end up having the worst race ever. Sometimes there are things you can't control like freezing temperatures that numb your hands before the obstacles. Or there are obstacle like the spear that are hard to train for and can be unpredictable. This is life. You can do your best to prepare but there will always be situations and circumstances that push us outside of our comfort zones and force us to face tough decisions and also cause us to fail. We can't let the obstacles conquer us, we must find a way to break through our comfort zone and overcome the obstacle even though it will take more time, energy, effort, and sacrifice than just simply saying "I can't do it". A Spartan will find a way to conquer and grow no matter how tough the obstacle. No, it won't be easy and I can't even begin to imagine what some people are going through right now. That's where the community aspect of being a Spartan comes in. When you are out in the world and see an opportunity to help others and build them up, do it. Create a stronger community. Teach others how to grow, develop, and conquer obstacles. Be the boost they need to help them through a death in the family, or losing their job/home, or struggling with depression.
There is so much negativity in our world right now. The negativity, in part, is caused by people complaining about their current situation without taking action to fix or improve it. I know that makes it sound much easier than it is, but complaining will change nothing. You have to take action to create change. To me, being a Spartan means living your life to grow and develop yourself daily so that you can better overcome life's obstacles while helping others to grow and develop to do the same.
What does it mean to you when we say "I am a Spartan!"?
***This article is my personal opinion of what it means when we say "I am a Spartan". I do not work for or represent Spartan Race in any way. Though, I do believe they would agree.
Author: Luke Hayes
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