I would like to preface this post briefly, I believe, we should never be satisfied. That's not to say that we should never be happy with our success. Instead we should not rest on our laurels and think that where we are is good enough. Keep marching onwards through the mire.
1. Stop talking
For all my lessons and progressions as a coach, one trait has always given me a lot of trouble. Silence.
Knowing when to leave the cues where they are and let the member move. Let the athlete in front of me figure it out with independent thought and practice. Still pay attention and keep them safe as always, but let them pick up the thing and move it a few times before stopping them to adjust, then asking better questions afterwards, like “so, how did that feel?”. Since late 2016 I have made it a point to pick out one thing only per movement and let that instruction marinate with the athlete. I use the phrase “smallest possible change that yields the biggest possible result” in this scenario. What can I adjust slightly that will give the member the biggest bang for their buck in learning/improving/getting stronger etc. This has helped tremendously. It is in my nature to always want to fill the silence. Second child and socially anxious, but the fact is, sometimes saying nothing has the most profound effect on both my members training success and my coaching development.
2. DO. MORE. PULL-UPS.
This one is self explanatory I guess. During my youth I worked the beach muscles. That meant everyday was chest and bi’s day. Every day after school I would go to Dave's gym (a real rusty musclehead gym near my school) and I would “pump iron” until the cows came home. I was massive……….ly imbalanced and never did a single pull-up. Fast forward 10 years and you realize that you have some serious catching up to do. The StrongFirst “beast-tamer” challenge of performing a weighted pull-up, press and pistol with a 48kg kettlebell has seen to it that my training now has plenty of pull-ups included, yet I can’t help feeling like I may have stood a better chance had I worked this movement in my youth. Here is to paying more attention to imbalances and succeeding in the beast tamer challenge in the future.
Listening to music is my thing. Some people binge watch Gilmore Girls (my wife) or Keeping up with the Kardashians (my gym wife).I personally prefer to listen to music. I have tons of books, but find it really hard to prioritize time in my days to sit and read frequently for either relaxation or education. Cue Audible - the game changer. In the past 6 months I have listened to, and absorbed more books than I have read in the past 10 years (see links below for my audible reading list). I walk 30 minutes too and from work everyday with Molly (woof!) so this is the perfect way to either line up an inspired and focused day, or unwind and decompress at night depending on what I am listening to. Give audible a try guys. You won’t regret it.
Ego is the enemy - Ryan Holiday
The subtle art of not giving a fuck - Mark Manson
Extreme ownership - Jocko Willink + Leif Babin
The power of habit - Charles Duhigg
Starts with why - Simon Sinek
Mindset - Carol Dweck
Legacy - Saul Reichlin
4. Reflection + Mindfulness
I wish I had had enough self awareness at the time to have paid attention to my actions when they were happening. How the way I acted in situations powerfully swayed and influenced their outcome.
I don’t often think about the good things that go on. I am guilty of taking those things for granted. Self reflection allows you not to bask in the ego of success, but instead help us replicate our actions, forming character for the next opportunity. This is the beauty of self reflection and mindfulness.
On the other hand, it is inability to reflect and be mindful in the moment that have lead me to my some of my biggest lessons. Regardless of what it was, whether fearing that I had done something wrong and that a silence meant a person no longer liked or loved me. Or whether it was not saying the thing I knew needed to be said, instead picking up the slack myself and creating unrealistic precedence for a relationship and burying myself with pressure.
These instances could have been improved if I had known how to critically self-reflect and use mindfulness in the moment. By paying attention to our actions in the moment we can make better decisions going forward, instead of relishing in hindsight after the fact, when the damage is done and the task has left you exhausted or defeated or both.
Going forward I aim to work on enjoying the successes and being mindful situations in the moment, not being uncomfortable with saying what is needed when it is needed.