25 Lessons of Strength I learned at 25
1. It all starts with God! And through HIM all things are done. A great message shared with me by some Elmbrook Church friends shed light on “perpetual action” as a Christian. How would you act if you new God wasn’t just watching you--he was standing right next to you? Act in a way that recognizes HIM and Glorifies HIM in all you do---IN ALL YOU DO!
2. I am Second. I always was raised to be cognizant of other people and I believe I’ve spent the better part of the last year 25 years doing that.. However, I always had a fear that if I invested or boasted to much into myself I would be developing selfish qualities. True to a point, however, I’ve learned the last year to become increasingly more self centered. I am learning to become more centered in HIM (who is at my Core), in my sense of “me:, and in my principles and goals. All the great ones; whether it be athletes, teachers, philosophers, businessman or even preachers were sellers of self, self starters, and self promoters. To figure yourself out--first ask what’s most important to you?
3. Power of Belief-- The greatest gift a coach can give to an athlete is their belief in them. You have to facilitate an environment in every relationship to allow people to see the potential they have inside of them. From here you have to hold them accountable and keep them disciplined in their pursuit of progress.
4. Foresight. The greatest asset you have is your vision. Figure out your goal and plan backwards from their.
5. High Five Fingers- This became one of my favorite coaching cues for sprinting. It allows athletes to really create tension in the wrist, forearms and shoulders for perfect swing. Lets not stop their. Your toes and fingers are your second brain. They are communicators of mechanical input and they also are emotional communicators as well. Never underestimate the importance of a high five, hand shake, or a pat on the back.
6. I am one of six. My mom and dad, Kathy and Tim, my brothers Sean and Tim and my seeeester Catie are me. I am them. I’ve been given great advice from so many wonderful and inspiring people or texts on family. As a coach, you need to let your athletes feel your unconditional love--much like a mother. You have to set an example of integrity and discipline through tough love sometimes like a father. You have to be their like a brother--not just to give advice, but to understand, empathize and laugh. You have to be the person you want your sister to marry. You have to also be able to goof around with her like she’s a brother too.
7. Consistency. I tell my athletes that consistency isn’t a 2,3,4 or 5 day a week thing. Its an everyday of the week, every minute, every hour type thing. Consistency is king when it comes to paths of success. Repetition, repetition, repetition. “Povyerenya mat uchenya” - Russian for repetition is the mother of all learning. Be who you are every day, all day!
8. If you look at the number eight it is unique to all letters in its symmetry. Alignment is the foundation to all things physical. It is the number one limiting factor to movement and performance limitations. The last year brought me a guy named Luke and a woman named Andrea--whom interestingly enough professionally deal with alignment issues of the body and have helped me with my own alignment in spirit. Find modalities that promote soft tissue quality, joint integrity, and get that to hold through strength and stability work and you will notice the difference. Metaphoric take away--surround yourself with friends who can heal, fix, listen, and laugh.
9. Cats have nine lives. We have two. Enjoy this one, let yourself fail and fall and roll like that good old farmhouse tabby cat--but know this life is just preparation for the next one with HIM.
10. The rules of ten. Act and dream with the enthusiasm and zest as you had as a ten year old, know that it takes a minimum of ten years to become an expert, use the 10,000 rep rule to create good habits (takes 10,000 reps for a motor skill to become instinctive) and be generous and worry free as if you had $10,000,000.
11. May 11 is my birthday. My last years birthday wish was a year full of days that felt like birthdays. Its been a damn great year. You know why? I chose for it to be a year like that. Yes I got frickin tired at times. Yes their were some heartaches, disappointments, and dramas here and their but as the Hindu saying goes, “The World is as you are.” My next year will probably be spent with a mantra just like that. Maybe I wont get the present I wanted, maybe that one friend will not get to come to my party, maybe I will have to share my toys even though I didn’t get to play with them first…maybe, well wait…. This is my frickin birthday party, its going to be fun, my friends are here, theirs ice cream cake--you catch my drift.
12. The twelfth man. Sometimes the ball just bounces your way. Or that twelfth man pitches in to cheer you on or imaginably trip up the competition by the shoelaces. I have a lot of “twelfth” men or women in my life. Sometimes its God, sometimes its an old friend, some times it’s a friend of a friend. I have come to think of Luck as something else--Luck is “Letting Universal Communicators Knock.” The world is one big circle and people are knocking if you are willing to open that door. Don’t ever forget that you deserve everything coming your way and can learn from every instance in which the ball doesn’t roll your way.
13. Here’s a scenario for you--you arrive at a party in which you were told to bring pizza and beer for eleven other people. Well a twelfth shows and you are the thirteenth. What do you do?
14. There is no right or wrong answer. Point is there are so many ways around a problem. Some might not like pizza or beer-- some might want to share. You can always go out and get more or order from the delivery guy. Don’t pigeon hole yourself to one correct answer or ideal. A great saying I pulled from this past year was “Don’t get caught up in the black and whites, because there is so much hiding in the grays.” Keep an open mind and remember, your still at the party and at the very least you fed one hungry belly.
15. Genshai. A concept I read about from author Kevin Hall of the book “Aspire” was “Genshai.” It means you should never treat anyone as if they were unimportant or small. Treat all the people you come across as if they were the most important person in the world. Coach athletes to think of every rep and every facet of the workout from foam rolling to mobility to stability to strength as if it was the most important thing and you will have a happier and more successful program.
16. Back to strength. My guy Brad used to always say mobility sets up strength. And he’s right, the work of Mobility Wod guru Kelly Starret, has been an unbelievable tool for us at the gym. We gave more focus to cueing our athletes to rotate the knee out while squatting and it paid huge dividends. Why? Well not only does it free up space for your knees and hips to hinge, but it also allows you to keep a more stable pelvis and last buttttt not least it allows the glutes to function in their primary role--as external rotators (not hip extensors )
17. More butt--tight hips tight hips tight hips
Heres a quick stretch to incorporate into your routine :
18. Influence. Everyday is a new chance to impact someone’s life. Never underestimate the effect one person can have on another person’s life.
19. I had a buddy that inadvertently screwed up. It was kind of one of those “cardinal sins” as they say. He got called out on his blunder and retorted, “look I’m only nineteen.” Always remember in times of good and bad that youth is not an excuse and on the flipside your age shouldn’t be a limitation. Act to reflect your essence and not your age. Take it from this guy--though he may not know where he is- He's still grindin'
20. Back to those buddies. I just overheard my friend Rachel saying something along the lines of “God keeps the right people in your life.” He also finds a way to bring them back.
21. If you want “primetime-neon-Deion speed” you have to actually slow down to move fast. Work on mobility and stability than get especially strong in positions that reinforce acceleration like this:
22. When you compare yourself to others your life is just a “catch 22.” Detach yourself, reapply yourself, than think of the law of balance. Travel the middle road but don’t forget to vacation and detour on the trails of adventure.
23. MJ 23. I was lucky enough to get my picture taken in front of Michael Jordan at the United Center for an MMA event in January. The G.O.A.T--what was so great about him far exceeded his physical talent. It was his competitiveness and his desire to be the best he could be. We are all in search of greatness and some of us want to be the greatest. I learned at 25 that I will never be the greatest in the world. But I can be the greatest version of me. Joeseph Campbell said it best, “The privilege of a lifetime is being who you are.”
24. I am forgiven and so I can forgive. I couldn’t grasp this at 24 and maybe even the earlier parts of 25. What a difference a year makes. Because HE always forgives me (and boy am I guiltier than you’d think) I have the power to forgive others. And what power to you that brings.
25. On thanksgiving of last year I found myself stumped when trying to just come up with one word to describe me--my mom found it for me, “Grateful.” I am so thankful to know you, to work with you or be helped by you, to coach you, to learn from you, to laugh with you , to love or be loved by you. To all those of my past, present, and future--Thank You. You are all the best of characters in my book.
My birthday wish is for you to believe in the awesomeness that is in you and believe in the ability you have to help others become awesomerrrrrrrr to !