Life, Training and Values

To say that I have made mistakes in my life would be an understatement. I have done more than my fairshare of stupid stuff. I have had my priorities all wrong. I have said things I wish I could take back. I have lost friendships and burned bridges. Through everything, my past doesn’t define who I am today. For every regret has led me to self-discovery and molded me into who I am today.

I was asked by Dorothy Huynh to write about my values around training and life. Here’s my short answer: my values around life dictate what my values are surrounding training. Over the years I have noticed a direct correlation between how I am in the gym and my behavior outside of it. When I am training hard, I have found that I am striving to make progress outside of the gym as well.

But, back to the question at hand; what are my values? Honestly, this is not something I have ever really sat down and wrote down. In my mind I knew, but I had never really expanded those notions. So, here we go. My values have shifted over the years in terms of specificity, but one thing that I have always valued was happiness. I know, super cliche. We all value happiness. But, here’s the thing, it is more than being generally happy. I strive to find the good in everything. Focus on the positives, because believe me, there are more positives out there than people acknowledge. Placing happiness as my top value also send ripples into every facet of my life. It helps foster more self-confidence, better relationships, higher productivity and the list goes on. As I mentioned earlier, my values in life influence my values surrounding training. Emphasizing happiness in training is paramount. Whether it is in my own training or with a client, if happiness is non-existent, why are we doing it? All of the above mentioned side effects still hold true even when talking about valuing happiness in training.

As I dive deeper into what I strive to have in my own life and training, simplicity is a close second. In a world today filled with an excess of noise, distractions and options, it is beyond easy to lose sight of why you were doing something in the first place. I have seen some of the smartest people lose their way in life simply because their life became something of not only trying to do everything, but doing everything as complicated as possible. Sometimes they don’t even realize that’s what is happening, but it happens all the same. I am  by no means the most intelligent person in the world, but one thing I try to avoid doing is adding unnecessary complexity to problems. If I can get from point A to B in a straight line, why would I circumnavigate the globe? But, the biggest attribute of simplicity, is the quality obtained. Making something simple or keeping something simple allows me to narrow my focus. A narrowed focus will result in higher quality results, regardless of what I am working on. In terms of life, a narrowed focus in priorities allows me to devote more time to a few things rather than a little bit to everything. Have you ever had a to-do list with so many things that you basically said “fuck it”? Yea, I’ve been there. As I relate it to training, simplicity is everything. Go to YouTube or Instagram and you are bound to find a seemingly infinite number of trainers (notice I didn’t say coaches). A lot of what I see is people trying to one up each other and put their own fancy spin on an already effective movement. I would go on and on about this as it really grinds my gears. The point I was attempting to make though, was deviating off course. Trying to reinvent the wheel for no real reason. If you can’t do the little things right, how can you expect to do the big things right?

My latest value, which is a work in progress, is empathy. There was a point in my life where I tried to embody the tough guy mentality, the stoic who is phased by nothing, the “stop being a pussy” guy. To be honest, I was this guy for much longer than I would like to admit and I am still working on getting rid of him altogether. But, as they say, you grow wiser with age, so did I. As I began coaching, I began to realize how many different personalities there are and how everyone needs to be coached differently. Like I said, this is something I am still working on. In training and life, empathy is something needed. I need to be able to relate and understand what my athletes are going through in order to help get the most out of them. The same way I need to be able to empathize with my staff, my friends, my girlfriend and my family. An inability to not only understand another person’s emotions, but also the inability to relate to them will yield surface level relationships. Furthermore, being able to empathize with people will help build better lines of communication; How I speak to someone, what sort of tones I use, the language I employ, knowing when to push, knowing when to pull back. These are all things that there is no blueprint for. It comes as a result of connecting with people and relating to them on an emotional level.

At the start of this blog (rambling heap of words), I started by acknowledging mistakes, failed relationships, bad decisions and my past not defining who I am today. Reflection is the last value that I will discuss in this piece. Reflection is where everything comes together. It is not to judge whether we passed or failed or to what degree. It is to evaluate where we are and what we need moving forward. Reflection in training? Hell yes. If you are not constantly looking back on sessions from day to day, week to week or month to month, how can you ascertain what progress you’ve made? Or what you are going to need to still work on in order to be where you want to be or be who you want to be? The same is true in life. You need to reflect back on decisions you’ve made, conversations you’ve had or what your priorities are. These reflections will help shape who are to become; physically, mentally and emotionally. I don’t think people utilize reflection enough, both in life and in training. This leads people to becoming creatures of habit who make the same decisions leading to the same outcomes.

In no way do I think my values are absolute. Keeping happiness, simplicity and empathy as my values will help me adapt as I need to. Isn’t that what life is all about? Constantly striving to become the best version of yourself? Isn’t that what training is all about? Constantly striving to become the best version of yourself?



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