I Love My Fear

One of my favorite quotes is from Dave Tate.  He said, “Real fear makes men do amazing things they would never do without it.”  I’ve done a lot of reflecting over the past couple of weeks and what Dave said has really stuck with me.  As I lead my life in other directions I look forward to but also fear the future.  I fear falling into “that’s just the way it is” mindset, I fear defeat,   I fear feeling I put myself in a situation where I can’t make a difference, I fear that I’m leaving a one-of-a-kind place.  But just as Tate says, I love my fear.   Is that weird that I feel that way?  Is it weird to say that yes, I do love my fear.  If I was just a normal person who had never set foot in SAPT’s doors then maybe it would be.  However, as I leave SAPT I feel ready and able to embrace my fears. Reflecting back on the years at SAPT I remember vividly entering the facility for the first time and being in awe.  I was in awe of the work ethic, the drive, the training, the coaching, it was all amazingly overwhelming.  I felt like I couldn’t hang with any of them; the coaches, the athletes and clients, they were all above me.  What could I offer these people?  As I’ve gone on these past couple of years those fears have gone away; I’ve become a good coach and an even better man for being at SAPT.  The coaches who I now call family and the athletes and clients I’ve worked with have made me understand that if you embrace your fears you can make a difference.  I don’t know if the coaches and people of SAPT understand just how important they’ve been in making me the person I am but I hope they do.  I hope they realize how thankful I am to all of them for everything they’ve given me.  Leaving SAPT is extremely hard for me and I want everyone to know that I am eternally grateful and I truly wish you all nothing but the best life has to offer.

As I said before I fear the future,  I fear falling into “that’s just the way it is” mindset, I fear defeat,   I fear feeling I put myself in a situation where I can’t make a difference, I fear that I’m leaving a one-of-a-kind place.  However, in reflection I’ve come to understand that I am not truly leaving SAPT because SAPT is not something you leave.  Once you’ve been there it becomes a part of you and it is a place that will be with me always.  With all this said if there is one thing the people and coaches of SAPT have taught me it’s that, you have to love your fear.

How Will You Succeed?

I stumbled across this on Facebook the other day.  Normally I just scroll through things like this; it doesn't usually make a huge impact on my day.  For some reason though this one stuck when I saw it.  I'm not entirely sure why but it just struck a chord with me, and I really liked it.  I believe it was the first line that might have done it for me, "I succeed because I am willing to do the things that you are not."  I have a lot of changes going on in my life and this line made me think about all the athletes and clients I've worked with over the past couple of years at SAPT.  The large majority of which have succeeded or will succeed in the near future.  Is this because of me or the other coaches at SAPT?  I say no.  The coaching staff at SAPT is merely a vehicle our athletes and clients have used to travel on the road to success.  It's something they posses within themselves that has gotten them to where they are.  As I said SAPT was just the vehicle, it was up to them to turn on the car and drive down the path.  The people I look back on and also the ones I currently watch train now have something their peers do not. They succeed because they are willing to do the things their peers are not.  They are willing to wake up in the early morning during their summer break to come train hard.  They are willing to come in after a long, hard day at work and get after it.  They are willing to train through and around injuries.  They are willing to hold onto hope that they will get past those injuries, even when it seems like all hope is lost they still do not ever give up.  And they are willing and able to understand that success does not happen over night but only through hard, grueling work.

When I think about the kids, teenagers and adults I've worked with I am in awe of their drive, their tenacity and most importantly their heart.  I am forever grateful to them for the inspiration and motivation they have given me and the other SAPT coaches.  They will never stop getting better, they will never give up... Ever. That is why they succeed.

How will you succeed?

Try Adding Some Humor to Your Day

As of late I have been trying to purge negativity from my life.  I am a pretty fun loving guy and joke around a lot but I still feel that I often focus too much on the negative.  Most of the time its things I have no control over or things that are 10-15 years in the future that I worry about, stupid I know.  With all that said I had the pleasure of listening to Ron Culberson speak the other day; taken straight from his bio "Ron Culberson, is a speaker, author and humorist who helps staff and managers achieve success through the philosophy of Do it Well, Make it Fun."  His whole message is to not take life so seriously, especially at work.  You can still be extremely successful at your job and in life while not taking it so seriously or being negative.  Take a look at the video to get a feel for what Ron's message is all about.

It was funny that at the same time I heard this speech was at the same time I decided to make this change of eliminating as much negativity as I can from my life.  One thing that really rang true when listening to Ron speak was he told a story of when he was talking to a terminally ill patient.  The patient said "Where does the time go?" His point in telling this story was that time just doesn't fly when your having fun, time flies in general.  I don't know about you but that really hit home with me.  Our time on this earth is extremely limited and I plan on working hard but be assured I'm going to have fun and joke around while I'm doing it.  So enjoy yourself at work today, there is always a day to make the journey funnier.

These guys have the right idea...

I Want To Be Batman... (*spoiler alert*)

Almost all of us grew up dreaming of becoming a super hero; whether it was G.I. Joe, Superman, the Ninja Turtles, Spiderman, etc.   When I was growing up I wanted to be just like Batman.  I had all the Batman toys, I watched Batman the animated series, I constantly watched the movies Batman and Batman Returns, I even safety pinned a towel around my neck and pretended to be him.  At that point I probably couldn’t tell you why.  Maybe it was the cool gadgets, or that he was a normal man who could kick ass, perhaps the sweet batcave and huge mansion, who knows but I wanted to be him.  Luckily, at the ripe old age of 25 I finally figured out why I want to be him after all these years, because anyone can truly be Batman… I know that might seem like a weird statement but its true.  I don’t mean that as far as jumping from building to building, taking down mob bosses and psychopaths, or striking fear into the hearts of criminals.  Anyone can be Batman in the sense of what he stands for and the ideals he instills. After watching the last installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman Trilogy, The Dark Knight Rises, I found myself in an extreme amount of deep thought.  I was truly inspired by the trilogy and wanted to understand why I felt so strongly about all three movies, why they hit such a chord with me.  I decided to watch all three movies again and pull out quotes that I felt really exemplified the essence of what batman is and what he stands for and how it can apply to everyday life.

Batman Begins

If you make yourself more than just a man, if you devote yourself to an ideal, then you become something else entirely…. A legend, Mr. Wayne.”

Henri Ducard says this to Bruce when he has found Bruce lost in the shuffle, searching for a way to become something more.  We were all like this at one point in our life, being 25 I’m young and still feel like this.  When you’re young you search for a way to do something great, to be something more.  The problem is that somewhere down the line you start to believe that you’re not great or that you have nothing to offer.  If this becomes your mindset then not only do you become lost in the shuffle, you may stay lost your whole life.  I don’t know about you but when it’s all said and done I want the people most important to me to know I stood for something more, that I made a difference.  And that’s the point of the quote; devote yourself to something bigger than you and you can truly help people and become something else entirely.  Why do we know about people like Louie Simmons, Jim Wendler, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or Mel Siff? Because they devoted themselves to a purpose bigger than them; they stayed out of the shuffle and on their own path.  We can all do this it’s just a matter of choosing too.

“It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.”

Batman says this to Rachel towards the end of the movie as almost a thank you to her for never giving up on him.  Deep down I believe I am something more, that I’m a good person, that I have the potential to do great things.  These are all just feelings though, not actions.  I found myself asking do I put these feelings into action in my everyday life and the answer was no, or really, not as much as I could.  Too many times do we make excuses for why we don’t live the way we believe we actually are.  How often have you not held an elevator door because you were in “too much of a hurry?”  How often have you half-assed your job or your workout because “you just weren’t feeling it today?” I’m not trying to be high and mighty because I’m guilty of this as well and I’m tired of it.  As corny as it sounds Batman doesn’t do this so I’m not going to either.  Because like I said I can feel that I’m this or that but that’s not what counts that’s not what defines me; my actions define me.  I can realize my potential, I can do better… You can do better.

The Dark Knight

“Endure. You can be the outcast. You can make the choice that no one else will face - the right choice. Gotham needs you.”

Alfred says this to Bruce when he feels Joker’s rampage has become too much for Gotham to handle and believes turning himself in is the only way to end it.  In life when problems arise there will always be an easy way out, and a lot of people will take that route.  Can you be different? Can you make the decision that no one else can? This is something we should all strive for because when it comes down to it the easy way out usually only benefits one person, yourself.  This opportunity really hasn’t come full circle yet for me but when it does I hope and I feel that I can endure, I can be the outcast where other people cannot.  This problem may arise for you and the hard solution might be one that causes people to not think as highly of you, it may cause you to lose a friend but the strength to endure may help those people in the long run.  Maybe it arises in the form of a job opportunity that pays a boat load of money but you have the choice of another job that may not pay as much but where you know you can make a real difference in people’s lives.  It can come in any form really but we all have the ability to endure we just have to realize it.

“Because he's the hero Gotham deserves, but not the one it needs right now...and so we'll hunt him, because he can take it. Because he's not a hero. He's a silent guardian, a watchful protector...a dark knight.”

Commissioner Gordon tells his son this when he asks his father why the police are chasing Batman at the end of the movie.  This goes hand in hand with the other quote from above.  The right decisions may not always be the easiest but that’s not the point of a right decision.  The point is to make the decision that will benefit your life, your family, and your friends later down the road.  They may not like you for it but you didn’t make the hard decision to be liked you made it because you knew it’s what they deserved.  I imagine this is something parents are confronted with on a daily basis.  I can’t imagine what it’s like to watch your child as you tell them something that might crush them but you know it’s a decision that had to be made.  I hope I can be as strong as my parents were and some of the parents I know when it comes time to make a decision that has my kid questioning whether or not I’m truly their “hero.”  But sometimes parents and mentors aren’t heroes; they’re silent guardians, watchful protectors.

The Dark Knight Rises

There’s a point far out there, when the structures fail you. When the rules aren’t weapons anymore, they’re shackles, letting the bad guy get ahead… “

Commissioner Gordon says this to Detective John Blake when Gotham finds out that it was really Harvey Dent (Two-Face) who killed those people instead of Batman.  TDKR brings everything back home and relates a lot back to Batman Begins and this quote does just that.  Bruce Wayne couldn’t work within the constraints of the law in order to shake people out of apathy.  He saw Gotham’s judicial system as a constraint and their rules at that point in time were letting the bad guy get ahead.  This goes back to what I was talking about toward the beginning.  We know when we are young that we can do great things but soon the rules we feel we must follow become shackles and we no longer feel we are great, we become lost.  It’s up to us to overcome these rules, these shackles, we just have to figure out how and if you don’t it’s only a matter of time before you start losing belief in yourself.  I have faced this before in terms of a career.  When it came down to making the hard decision I realized that if I went the easy route then the rules that would have been put in place by the structures over me would have prevented me from becoming something more.  I would have become lost in the shuffle.  I chose to take the hard route and devote myself to an ideal.  As a side note, this is why I’m so happy with the people I work with because they’ve all been faced with these decisions before.  They made the decisions no one else could have. 

“A hero can be anyone- even a man doing something as simple and reassuring as putting their coat around a young boy's shoulder to let him know the world hasn't ended.”

Batman says this to Jim Gordon when he asks Batman who he really is because Gordon feels Gotham should know that it was Bruce Wayne who gave them everything that he was as a man.  I’m going to go a little more in depth in just a little bit about why this quote sums up the whole point of the trilogy.  You may not know it but you could be doing something heroic everyday of your life.  You could be helping someone and not even know it.  I recall a couple weeks ago I was having a conversation with one of our athletes and she was talking about some rough stuff she was going through and all of a sudden she started to cry.  I felt awful I really had no idea what to do.  I felt helpless and all I wanted to do was to help and I didn’t know how.  All I did was give her a hug and told her that everything will work out, it may not work out like you want it to but I promise it will work out.  I still felt I could have done more, I don’t and still don’t feel what I said was heroic by any means.  But maybe what I did was something simple and hopefully reassuring to her.  The point is that we can all have an impact on people every day if we just take the time.

This was a long article I know, but it was an article I really wanted to write.  You can view it as corny, I don’t care.  In the time we live in, there are so few opportunities to be inspired and these three movies were one of my opportunities.  As I read different articles about the trilogy when attempting to shape this blog post I stumbled across a blog by just a random guy who I believe really summed up the main theme of this trilogy and really my main reason for writing this post.  He said A major theme in the story is “Who was Batman? He was just Batman; the person under the mask doesn’t matter, because ANYBODY can be Batman.” We hear this several times, and it speaks back to the longstanding concept in the Nolan trilogy that a symbol is eternal and cannot be killed or destroyed, and that is what Batman became — an eternal symbol for Gotham, a symbol that would be anybody.” I couldn’t have said it any better.

We all have these ideals inside of us, these feelings, and this potential to do great things and to make an impact.  Right now though, those things are all just underneath and are irrelevant, because it’s not who we are underneath, but what we do that defines us.

Random Thoughts: Facing Challenges and Gallagher

I have two random thoughts for the day.  The first is just about the positive changes going on with SAPT and its crew and the lesson you can take away from it.  The second is a training update from… MY GIRLFRIEND!  

SAPT and its employees have been going through quite the change as of late, and it’s been all for the better.  Sarah had a handsome little boy Duke while simultaneously working as a full time strength coach at a D1 university AND running a full time business.  Kelsey has become fully adjusted to her job(s) at SAPT in terms of coaching and also dealing with current clients, potential clients, new contracts, old contracts, answering a million emails a day, defeating Voldemort, etc. all while swinging a kettle bell.  Most people wouldn’t be able to handle ONE of Sarah or Kelsey’s jobs; they manage to do it all.  Stevo’s still taking over the world one book, one cue, one article, one program at a time, in his quest to become the best strength coach in the industry and trust me, he’s closer than you think. And just when you think he can’t do his job any better he somehow proves you wrong.  In the immortal words of Sir Ludacris, he’s coming for that number one spot!

Then there’s me.  The past couple of months have been eye opening for me to say the least and it’s a great feeling to know that SAPT has become my home with a family I love dearly.  I’m in the midst of coming into my own with my own discernible differences from my peers in my personal life, coaching style, and even business. It’s truly calming when you realize what is truly important in your life. These are all huge, awesome changes and we’ve done all this while moving facilities.  These are the times when you find out what you and your team are made of.  Do you see a challenge, look at it in the eye and run away? Or do you stand toe-to-toe and GO GALLAGHER ON IT AND SMASH IT WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER!  That’s really my point of telling you all this.  You, your friends, your family, your business, your schooling, YOUR TRAINING; it will all be presented with change and challenges.  It is how you confront and tackle those changes and challenges that will define you as a person.  I always talk about being average and this goes hand in hand with that; the average person will become consumed and beaten down by changes and challenges.  The above average person will get up, dust themselves off and go Gallagher on it….

My last random thought is in the form of a training update, not from I, but from my girlfriend Shannon.  Since we started dating she has been incredibly supportive and has now shown interest in moving weight (either that or she just wants me to stop bugging her).  Nonetheless, I am extremely proud of her quick improvements in confidence and strength.  I recently had her start Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength as I believe novice, intermediate, and even advanced lifters can stand to benefit from its simplicity and concepts (I recently started this program as well).  Shannon has already seen great strength gains as well as a huge refinement of technique as Starting Strength exposes her to the same barbell movements multiple times per week. Plus, I told her if she lifted consistently for 3 weeks I would take her to see Magic Mike in 3-D.  As I said before I am extremely proud of all of her improvements and hard work as well as her commitment and consistency.  The video below is a clip from one of her recent squat sessions.  Look at that technique! She must have a good coach.