Change the World – Dreaming Big

Inspired by:

lifeofaking01

This post is not about CrossFit or lifting weights.  It is not about Thrusters, Wall Balls or lifting heavy.  It is about changing the world.  It is about being something bigger and starting to do more for our youth.  And I do mean actually doing something.

Think long and hard about your life and where we are at today.  When was the last time that you remember a school celebrating an academic achievement?  When was there a pep rally for all those that had straight A’s?

I am cyber-friends with several people that want to see our kids be more, do more and see that change that is necessary in this world.  How do we do it?

I read there posts and comments and read that articles that they post that deal with our youth dreaming about being athletes and singers.  They believe that their best chance at life is to be in the 1% that makes it big.  Somehow everyone wants to be a millionaire but they think that the only way to succeed in life is to somehow break out by being really good with a ball in their hand.

They want to be Jay-Z, Beyonce, Russell Wilson, or whoever is out there in front of the public.  They will even accept being another sex symbol that uses their body to “make it”.  It saddens me, but I don’t blame them.  It is all that they see all that they know.  It is what success looks like and the only thing that is celebrated.

High school football is on ESPN, athletes are made gods at an early age and those kids with brains are made outcasts.  It is not cool to follow the path of knowledge.  Get really good with a ball or get street cred…then you might make it.

I am not knocking Jay-Z or any of those people.  Many of them are brilliant, but it is not what is celebrated about them.  Their business acumen is pushed to the background of their sick flow and rhyme skills.  Only those people looking find the articles about them turning themselves into a brand and not just someone who likes the spotlight.

I want to change my community and the youth that are growing up here.  I have two daughters that I want to go after their dreams, but I also want them to see how hard it is to make it big.  I want the schools here to remind kids that while having the money of a Jay-Z and Beyonce is good, but having the skills of Markus “Notch” Persson might be better.

I want to see a program start that doesn’t just bring in a guest speaker to talk to kids about the business world, but helps put them right in the middle of the action.  They mentor these kids of all “at risk” levels and help them to learn the skills to start a business, to run a business, to create a product and see it grow.  I want successful business owners to give back to the community and give something better than computers and stuff.  Give these kids access to them.

Let these kids know that there are heroes in society that have more than a sick crossover or amazing lyrical abilities.  Show these kids that you can control your own destiny with hard work and a little luck.  If we want kids to change the future, then we have to give them a better path and better examples.

We all love a good movie about someone who made it out or changed their life around.  We marvel at the kid who was at-risk and is now living large, but I want to see more kids get that drive.  We have to do better as a society if we really want the change to happen.

I am not looking for everything to be given to them, I am asking for us to set a better example.  I am calling on all of us to stop talking and throwing money at this problem (even though we don’t really do a lot of that) and start caring about what is happening all around us.

I am willing to throw my hat in the ring.  I will work with a local school or local youth group to help kids see how to build something real from the ground up.  I will work with a kid to help teach them that failing is not an ending, but a beginning.  I will take a group of youth and try to help make their ideas a reality and then when they succeed or when they fail.  I will celebrate the work that they put in and the lessons they learned.

Then maybe, some day after I am dead and gone…they will make a movie about those kids who made it out.  Maybe I can be a footnote in that story…

It’s not about whether you can or you can’t…it’s about whether you will or you won’t!

Karen is Life…Life is Karen

Saturday morning, I had all my coaches in the gym early.  We were there to do a workout as a group.  During that time, the conversation turned to some of “The Girls” of CrossFit.  We talked about Fran, Grace, Diane and then we ended up on Karen.  Oh, how we love Karen…let me count the ways.

After we did our lifts and rowing (Ironic that we did not even touch one of the girls…), we hosted our bring-a-friend workout, and then I gave a mini-nutrition seminar for some of our curious members.  I headed home.  It was on the drive home, I had this internal conversation, we will call it…Karen is life!

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Karen for those that may not know is 150 wall balls.  That is 150 times you take a weighted medicine ball into the bottom of a squat, accelerate it up and let it go to hit a target 9 or 10 feet tall.  That’s it.  It is brutal in its simplicity and the mind games that it can play.

So as I made the drive home to my family, I began to think in metaphor and reflect.  I do that on drives from time to time.

Our life is built on doing the same things day in and day out.  Every year we have 365 reps that we complete and for the most part there is not a whole lot of variation between each and every day.  Some days we are ready for the workout that we call life and other days we just have to survive.  That at times is the essence of what I think about when I see Karen on the whiteboard.

That is the beginning, but then we have our day to day lives and we all know the obvious truth that life is full of ups and downs.  But there is a deeper truth to our battle with Karen.  That is that some days we have the ability to throw our burdens into the air and watch them fly.  We throw our voice out into the world with a blog post, or we send out our resumé  looking for that new challenge.  We click send on the email asking to be published.  We do it with confidence and we watch as the ball hits that lofty target.

And we brace ourselves for the new challenge that we have accepted.  We receive the ball that somehow seems to weigh a lot more than 6, 12, 14, or 20 pounds.  We catch the weight of our burdens and life and we get to the bottom.  We hit the bottom and we have to choose…drop the ball or start going up in order to release the burden and hit another target.  It is a constant battle of accepting challenges, absorbing the blow, and fighting to reach our targets.  It wears on us.  Our shoulders burn from carrying the weight…our legs hurt from absorbing the blow…and then we succeed.

We finish all 150 reps (or 365) and we evaluate.  We find that some times we did not hit the target and had to redo that rep.  There will be times that we have to put the ball down and there will be times when we get through all the challenges and find ourselves standing victorious.

And in the end, we acknowledge that in the heat of the battle, the pain hurts, but we learn our lessons.

That is life…and we accept the challenge each and every day.

 

Don’t Lose the Song in the Production

Last night, my wife and I were watching a movie.  There was a scene in the movie where two musicians were comparing their new albums and receiving feedback.  During the exchange, one of them wanted honest, real, possibly harsh feedback based on the reaction of the other artist (the fact that the two had previously been in a relationship probably did not help the situation) but she delivered this line:

I think your song got lost in the production

That thought resonated with me.  I grabbed my phone and made a little note with just those words.  It was a thought for this very post and a look at life and business all rolled into one.

In the movie they went on to briefly discuss that notion that sometimes you do not need all the bells and whistles to make something great.  There are times when what you need the most is just the simplicity of the lyrics and it really is in the delivery.

I think that the same holds true for each one of us, on a personal level.  We must constantly remain true to who we are.  We cannot try to be “larger than life” just because we think that is what someone else thinks we need to be.  We are not a production.  We are who we are.  We do not need to change that for people to like us, follow us, or be around us.  We can never let who we are get lost in trying to please someone else or be someone that is untrue to our core.

Don’t let your song get lost in the production we call life.  It is not a fake it until you make it lifestyle.  It is a lifestyle of I am me…I might be flawed, imperfect, but I am me.  The more and more that we let our true song come out, the more and more we will find that right people coming into our lives and wanting to be a part of that.  The more we will be able to have people we trust talk to us about areas we need to grow and improve, but we will be open to it and accept it because we know that they genuinely care and are not trying to manipulate us into some image they want us to be.

The same holds true for any business.  It must always remain true to itself.  It is not about keeping up with every other business in the same market.  If the business tries to be bigger and have more than the next guy, but all that (as Winnie the Pooh would say) stuff and fluff is not true to the core values of the business, those things will fail.  If you keep adding features and new programs but they drown out what is truly important to you, you will lose.

There is beauty in simplicity.  There is beauty in your story that people need to hear and know that it is 100% you.

So I leave you with the following question:

What can you do, to make sure you do not lose your song in the production?

Respect and Shout-Outs!

One of the things that I think tends to get lost in the shuffle in this modern day and age is taking the time to acknowledge the people that helped us or inspired us.  They pushed us to be better or forced us to step out of our comfort zones so that we could find out more about ourselves.  They are the people that we admired and looked up to as we go on our journey through life.  Some of them are close friends and family.  Others are the people within our field of business or study that we read and said…I want to do that!  They inspire us.  This is the beginning on my list…hopefully I will keep it up as I find more and more people that not only help me dive deeper and deeper into my passions, but they challenge me to think big.

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Wife and Kids – This is a gimme.  They push me through the hard times and celebrate the good times with me.  No matter if I succeed or fail, they come running to meet me when I get home at the end of the day!

The members and other coaches at my home gym – After my own family, they are the one’s the help me keep pushing through.  There are days, you want to throw in the towel and wonder if what you are doing is worth it.  These people (all of them, even the “troublemakers”) get me out of bed in the morning…sometimes a lot earlier than I want to get going.

Barbell Shrugged and Barbell Business – These guys have set the bar high.  I have to give a unique pat on the back to Chris Moore (aka the Barbell Buddha) as being someone that motivated me to put more time and energy into blogging and podcasting.  These guys as a collective though are a great resource for anyone to listen to.  They are moving in the right direction and setting the bar higher and higher each day.  They teach you the importance of giving information away and growing your value in the market.  Thanks for the inspiration!

Lisbeth Darsh – If you don’t know this lady, you need to.  She captures so many emotions that we all through in her writing.  She doesn’t pull any punches and that is good.  She is also the first person, outside my family that I have been able to communicate with to get inspiration.  She started the week-long blogging challenge that I recently completed and it just makes each writer more away of how much they love their craft.

Seth Godin – Just go to his blog and sign up to get his daily posts.  They are short and they are changing the way that we market.  Once you have read his blogs for a while, go get a book or five from him.  You will not be disappointed.  Start with Tribes if you want to look at leadership from a different perspective.

Gary Vaynerchuk – Super energetic guy that likes to talk about wine and social media.  Has some powerful stuff on the “Thank You Economy” that I wish more people understood.  This book actually reinforced a lot of what I believed about business and marketing, so it was a nice to hear that I am not all alone.

Zach Even-Esh – This man is all about the hard work and putting in the work.  I love reading his emails and they get me fired up.  If you are not ready to hustle and work, don’t waste your time.  But if you are ready to work and put in the time, then this guy can help keep you on the right path.

That is a pretty good start.  Get caught up on these guys and then go out there and crush it!  Follow them on twitter, like them on Facebook…whatever it takes so that you start learning from them.

Follow me on twitter (@barbellpoet) and like me on Facebook too…

 

The Changing Face of Social Media

I follow several people that work in social media.  I listen to people as they explain how to use social media to grow your business and at the end of the day, as you take it all in, you head will be spinning.  Boosted posts, organic reach vs. paid reach.  Post links, don’t post links, post pictures.

It is a miracle that I still have any hair.

I pose the following question for everyone here:

How do you use social media?  What are your goals with Facebook or Twitter or Instagram?  Are you using Snapchat for your business?

As you ponder that and even write your answer down, I want to post a second question:

Do your social media accounts reflect the values of your company?  reflect your values?

I am a fan of Gary Vaynerchuk and his “Thank You Economy”  (book review coming soon!).  The biggest thing that runs through my mind as I read the books or listen to various podcasts, is that at some point you are going to have to change your mindset on social media to actually be a place you are SOCIAL with your customers and consumers.   Your social media channels must become a place your customers are willing to travel to and check out (Facebook, I am talking to you here).

If you build your social environment to be one that actually promotes engagement and conversation, you will have people traveling to engage in the conversations.  It has started a little with advertised hosted Q and A sessions on some Facebook pages or Twitter chats at specific times.  But that is not enough.

Our social media channels must be a place that people want to travel to daily to engage with us and hopefully share what we have to say.  And more importantly, they need to feel like we are listening to them and not just selling to them.  We must be diligent with responding to comments and messages.  We must remember to respond to our visitors and embrace the opportunity communicate with them.

Too many times we treat our pages and various social media channels as mere showrooms for our products, trying to make a sell without even talking to the audience.  This mindset and attitude must change to one where we all reveal who we are and reveals the identity of our company.  It needs to be more of a lounge where questions are answered, philosophy discussed and ideas are shared.  It is a chance for us to show our willingness to change and accept customer feedback.

What are your thoughts on how to best utilize social media?

Episode 1 – In The Garage with the Barbell Poet

Here it is, the first official episode of In The Garage with the Barbell Poet!

 

Who Am I?

I am not better than anyone.

I am not worse than anyone.

I am me.  I am a husband that loves his wife.  She deserves the sun, stars and moon.

I am a father who demands the best for his little girls.  That means I expect a lot of them and those that will enter into their lives.  Just know that up front.

I will go through hell for the one’s that I love…and hell will kick me out.

Yes, I can help you with your business.  Yes, I am a loyal employee and loyal person.  Hurt me, and I take it.  No one will break me!  I can take the fact that you need to feel superior.  That’s ok, I will help you anyway.

Yes, I can teach you about the clean and jerk, snatch, deadlift and how to get stronger.  I can get you stronger and teach you how to walk on your hands, double under and have the prettiest toes-to-bar.

I also can help you with whatever you are dealing with.  I care enough to make sure you are ok, and tell you to put just a little bit of that burden on my shoulders.  I will carry it for a while, until you are ready to take it back.  Or when you figure out you don’t need it anymore…I will bury it.

Or maybe I will make you face it.  I will make you stare down your weaknesses and tackle them.  That is who I am.  It is not my job, it is my nature.  It is me.

There is not another me and there never will be.  I embrace my strengths and acknowledge my weaknesses.

I am not better than anyone.

I am not worse than anyone.

I am just me!

Exhale – What Just Happened?

It’s Over.  The bar is back on the ground resting.  You gave it your all and what?  Do you have a new personal best?  Did you ring the bell?  What happens next?

Just breathe.  Exhale. Process.

What just happened?  You fought the battle with the bar, your inner demons and now you are here.  Maybe you stood up victorious with a new personal best, or maybe you came up a little short.  You ended up sitting on your butt with the barbell bouncing away from you as you were forced to bail.

Just breathe. Exhale.  Process.

What can you learn from this moment?  Even if you missed the lift, did not get the contract for your business, lost your cool in the grocery store with everyone watching, what is the lesson in the moment.  You took your shot and now, you learn.  You learn the lessons about yourself and you grow.  You take a smaller step, but you still grow.

You must always remember that you picked the bar up, you took your shot and whether you succeeded or failed, you are changed by doing so.  Whether you succeeded or failed, you know that there will be a next time and another attempt.  You feel in your soul what you would change to be successful and you have changed your defeated mindset.

You are now seeking out the next opportunity to pick up the bar and set a new record.  You are making the changes necessary to accept and welcome success.  You not afraid of the weight on the bar anymore.  You are not afraid of new challenges and you approach them with a renewed spirit and vigor.

You have changed, even if only by the smallest of margins.  You have grown.  You have changed and you have earned the right to be proud of that change.  Success or failure you fought the fight.  You took the ride and you are here.

Stand tall, stand proud, and embrace the growth!

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Pick that [email protected]# Up!

Sorry about the wingdings in the title, but there are moments in life when we need to get out of our own way.  There are times when saying, pick it up, just doesn’t work to convey the struggle that you are about to embark on.  The fight is real.  We are getting better.  We are past the fear, and have dug our heels into the ground.  We are set and ready for the fight that is about to come.  Enough playing around, it is time to do the work!

It is time to do just that.  It is time for us to pick up the bar and get it moving.  The struggle is in the start, then the struggle becomes momentum.  We accelerate until we are passed the point of stopping and onto the task of committing.  We are chasing our best.  We are in the moment and fighting to feel each and every piece of the lift.  We are in the fight of our lives to be the best business owner, the best parent, spouse, son or daughter.  We are struggling to just set the bar higher for ourselves and stand out in the crowd of those that would settle for mediocrity.

It is one lift; it is one shot in life, and we are going to take it.

This is the fight to see if all the preparation and work up to this point is worth it.  The hours of training and supplemental work.  The mobility drills and the hours of embracing the suck.  It is the moment where all the market research and all the planning is done.  It is every planned out meal that you ate so that you could put getting to the next level in your crosshairs.  It is YOUR MOMENT and it is YOUR stage!

So pick that bar up and own it.  Fight with everything you got.

You will feel the muscles fire as you get it off the ground.  You will feel the transition as you explode to send the bar into the air and you will feel that fraction of a second when you know, you have got to move or you will miss the lift.  You have got a small window that will determine victory or defeat.  You have a fraction of a second to react and choose your own fate.

Will you take your chances and move or will you fight to stay in your comfort zone?  Will you remain content with where you are at, or will you let the path of your future change by committing to your own success?  Will you risk failure to catch that bar in the bottom of the squat or will you let the little voice in your head, remind you how heavy the load will be and quit.  Which road will you take?

Accept the load as it comes down.  Brace yourself and stand up…successful!  A stronger, more accomplished you.  It’s your bar…it’s your battle…it’s your victory!

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Step Up To The Bar

Yesterday, I talked about our need to get over our fear of failure (or rather our fear of succeeding).  As I continue this week of posts, I want to turn that one post into a stepping stone for this one and the next three.  Everyday, I will throw out one more mindset trick or challenge for you.  I hope that they encourage you to take the chances that are necessary to succeed in life, business, and lifting heavy things!

Once you are done wrestling with the challenge in front of you it is time to step up to the bar.  It is time to clear your mind from all the distractions that keep you from focusing on the task at hand and grab success.  Clear our how heavy that last lift was and clear out the idea that by succeeding now, you will have a new best.  Get your mind wrapped around the task at hand.

Step up, get your feet set right, grip that bar and get ready to work.  Prepare yourself to not give up, to keep going even when it gets hard.  Know that starting to lift is the hardest part.  Take the slack out of the bar, and strap in for the ride.

Let life pull against you just a little bit and feel the battle start to rage.  Then stand firm and get locked into place.  The struggle is real, the battle is about to take place and you are going to have to fight.  Physically, emotionally and mentally.  Are you ready?

Have you cleared your mind of all distractions except the task at hand?  If you know what music is playing, you are not focused.  If you hear the other bars hitting that ground and see others celebrating victory or defeat, then you are not focused.  Get focused…the heavy lifting is about to begin!