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Building Up or Beating Up? How You Can Tell the Difference.

Oh my, my, the line is fine between building ourselves up and beating ourselves up.

I am going to share a little story so you can tell the difference between them and identify the areas in your life where these two spaces are true for you.

The past Sunday, I ran a 10k (6.2 mi) race, which, for a sprinter, feels like a marathon, so I had to train for this.  And train I did! My motto my entire life has been, “if you want to get better, then you have to do more,“ and it was omnipresent last week leading up to the race.

Over the years I have applied this motto to everything… exercise, the hours I put into work, what I gave in relationships, you name it.  And, while there is drive and determination there, needing to do more and get better all of the time creates a space of always falling short of the finish line and feeling that what you do is never enough.  

Sound familiar?

You basically feel like you are on the hamster wheel of life, where no matter how hard you push or how fast you go, the wheel just keeps spinning.  Over and over in the same direction, on the same path, and you don’t get anywhere; and yet think you can change it with MORE work!

Until. Something. Breaks.

Your spirit, your heart, your body, the wheel…and you are forced to stop.

This is exactly what happened to me last week leading up to my 10k race on Sunday.

My body broke, so to speak...

You see, in true Derith form, I was doing more to get better and was adding training runs on top of my regular 6-day workout routine.  I wasn’t replacing. I wasn’t balancing it out. I was just doing more, until I couldn’t.  

A week before the race I was limping and pushing through a hip injury instead of doing what I would tell any one of my clients to do:  REST! So, I had to take a long, hard look at my motivation behind pushing myself to this point. Was I was building myself up to reach a goal or was I beating myself up for something I wanted to prove?  

That was the question.  

So, I hung up my running shoes, which are FIERCE pink by the way, rested my body for the week and chose to figure this out.  

I realized that it was probably a little bit of both, a little building and a little bating up, but underneath it all, there was something I was trying to prove.  

Maybe because I’m a personal trainer I felt that I should easily be able to do more? A lot more?

Maybe it was because I was struggling in a personal relationship and pushing through was proof I was stronger than I thought?

Maybe I was seeking validation from others?

Again, probably a little bit of all of the above.  Regardless of the reason, the most powerful aha during this REST week was that beating myself up and trying to prove something was not empowering.

It simply did not feel good.  I knew this space didn’t energize me or create a sense of accomplishment. It depleted me.

I also knew that if I wanted to complete this race from a place of growth and FUN, then it was time to flip the switch from beat up to build up so I could feel inspired, proud, and energized as I crossed the finish line. 

I took that long, hard look at the things that did lift me up and motivated me to improve from a place of self-compassion, from a place of complete trust, love, and FUN! 

And, I was able to flip it!  

Here’s what I learned that helped me flip the switch:  

Build Up

  • This comes from a positive place, an abundance mindset
  • The work here feels empowering and uplifting
  • You feel excited to challenge yourself to see what you are capable of
  • The desired outcome is personal growth & improvement
  • The motivation comes from within
  • You are able to celebrate your wins along the way
  • You recognize the importance of the journey
  • You practice patience for the process
  • You accept your humanness & embrace your imperfections


Beat Up

  • This comes from a negative place, a lack mindset
  • The feels exhausting, like an energy vampire
  • You force past your limits just to prove your worth
  • The desired outcome is external validation
  • You allow one event, one mistake, or one choice to define you
  • The motivation is powered by comparison
  • You power forward through red flags of illness, injury, & pain
  • You believe that doing more will change your perception of yourself
  • Anything other than perfect is unacceptable

That was it!  I knew where I was focusing my energy.  So, the shoes stayed off my feet, my body rested, my brain reflected and I crossed the finish line feeling proud, energized, and HAPPY!  

Now that we can see the differences, where do you want to spend more of your time?

In what areas of your life are you beating yourself up?

In what areas of your life are you building yourself up?

How can you flip the switch in your life?

It can be as simple as saying to yourself, “Let’s just see what I can do?”

Please share your thoughts with me here!

Believing in YOU,

~ Coach D.


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