Reshare: EARN IT

Got this great message from and wanted to share.  The company is run by Ben Bergeron who is an amazing coach and very cerebral.  Read on!

You might have noticed that we’ve been all about #Earned lately.
We sent all of our individual and team Regional qualifiers white CompTrain t-shirts emblazoned with “Earned” on the back. We sent the same swag out to all of the CompTrain Masters and Teens athletes that advanced to the Age Group Online Qualifier.
We had some fun on Instagram with an “Earn It” campaign around our Games athletes. Over the last month or so, we have relentlessly deployed it as a hashtag on all of our social media. 

Yes, the shirts looked cool on the Regionals floor (thanks guys!). The graphics got a lot of love on Instagram. But #Earned is deeper than a social media campaign.
It’s at the heart of who we are.   

In the face extreme difficulty, #Earned is a reminder that results are reflection of our effort and our behavior. 

Let’s unpack that:
1. Adversity
2. Effort
3. Behavior 

Embrace Adversity 

Earning something implies difficulty. You can’t earn something without putting in work. There’s a word for that—given. Earned without struggle is like thunder without lightning. You might not have seen it, but trust me, it was there. 

Most people naturally avoid struggle, consciously or unconsciously. CompTrain athletes are not like most people. When adversity finds us, we make a point of running into it headfirst. We do this because we understand an essential truth: that adversity is the only thing that makes us better. 

Most of the time, #Earned is synonymous with results. That’s fine. We’re proud of those. But we’re more proud of what our results imply about what we became in the process—better. 

Talent is Overrated 

When we watch those at the top of their game perform on game day, it’s easier to say they are “talented” than it is to acknowledge that they have spent thousands of hours beating on their craft, lungs burning, exhausted, all when no one is watching.
When people think they see talent, what they really see is effort. 

Effort is at the heart of #Earned. 

There is very little genetic talent in the world. No one is born good at muscle-ups, running, walking on their hands, or Fran. Ninety-nine percent of the time, when people are good at things, it’s the result of dedication to a craft; to learning and improving over time. #Earned reminds us that the bright lights don’t make us shine—they only reveal the work we did in the dark. 

The last element of #Earned reflects our behavior. #Earned is a choice. No one becomes world-class on accident. Katrin, Brooke and Cole are world-class because they decided to be. 

#Earned implies something important—though easily forgotten—about the glitz and glamour around the CrossFit Games. That getting there is painful. That it is ugly. That it’s the result of years of hard work and learning from mistakes. 

#Earned is a nod to the daily discipline. To all of the seemingly insignificant habits and choices that added up—over a very long period of time—to something extraordinary: The decision to go to that dark place in a workout (or not). The decision to return to that place, day after day, despite the pain that waits for you there (or not). The decision to go all-in on nutrition (or not). The decision to commit to warm-up and recovery protocols (or not). The decision to make sleep a priority (or not). The decision to improve your mental game (or not). 

We are the sum of what we repeatedly do. #Earned is reserved for those among us who choose excellence every single time. 

Earn It
Embrace adversity—it’s the only thing that makes you better.
Focus on your effort—talent is a sugar-coated lie.
Choose excellence—every decision you make moves you closer or further away from your goals.
This is our ethos.
Go #EarnIt.

Fear Factors

“You can live your dreams or live your fears” – Les Brown

I use to struggle with anxiety that would manifest into panic attacks to the point I had a seizure type episode and black out. Every episode’s epicenter manifested from fear that would run wild through my mind. Understand, fear at times does demand respect particularly for our human survival. But there is a profound difference between having fear and the fear having you. My panic was nothing short of fear running me into the ground. I had been had!

Fear is not real. The only place it can exist is in our thoughts. Sure, danger is real enough but fear is a choice. I believe it was Zig Ziglar that said, “F.E.A.R is known as false evidence appearing real.” Fear is similar to anger in that it is a symptom of a deeper issue. Insecurities, past traumas and experiences, negative self talk, fight or flight responses are all the causes of fear. Even success can lead to fear. I remember the movie “Chariots of Fire” where one of the characters Harold Abrahams won the 100 meter dash in the 1924 Olympics. Just before the race he said to his friend, “ Aubrey, I’ve known the fear of losing but now I am almost too frightened to win.” It makes sense in many ways because we do truly fear the unknown. That bump in the night. The stoic stare of a peer. The police car driving behind you. And in this case for Harold what would he do after years of chasing the gold medal?

What are you afraid of?

My clients are fantastic and so unique. I enjoy the relationships that I have established with each and every one of them. This past week, failure was a central theme with several. Failure manifests itself into fear which freezes our foundational freedoms to fly free! Failure has a deep relationship with self worth; often having been created from past experiences. “Shawn if I try to lift that weight I could fail.” And? “Shawn, I never keep with my eating plans and always rebound.” Ok? On my chalkboard in my studio it says: “Every time you fail is a step toward success.” I want you to understand that the partnership between failing and fear can be broken for your benefit. You must know and accept that it is fine to fail because it has the potential to take you to the next step toward success. Often times I like to refer to failing as learning. There is an opportunity to grow in the moment you fail. When you accept this truth, the bond between fear and failing is weakened if not broken totally.

What are you afraid of?

What is the benefit of allowing fear to have its way in your life? Fear will kill your dreams. Fear will murder your hopes. Fear will age you. Fear can paralyze you. Fear is fed a regular dose of negativity to flourish. Negativity many times is about your environment. Who do you connect with? What do you listen to? Where do you spend time? Negativity and cynicism will fight you so decide to invest in what fuels your spirit with hope, joy and passion. What do you need to change in your personal inventory? A simple approach: if you want to keep on getting what you are getting, you can just keep doing what you are doing. So do things differently! Starve fear with hope, joy and passion to move ahead in life. Spend time with positive people. Listen to positive messages. Speak positive words. 87% of self talk is negative! Can you imagine that? We walk around saying no to ourselves, our dreams and our hopes. Do something different! Be honest with yourself regarding the past regarding what you have done and what has been done to you. It’s over! It’s in the past! The only thing that matters is what are you going to do about it now?

Start making goals. Getting rid of negative people. Take chances. The movie “Yes, Man” really has a profound message of what can happen when we say yes to life. Everything that the main character did also took action so be ready. None of this will be easy to work through those fears but as you face those fears over and over, life will get better. Remember, do something different. You didn’t face those fears and where did it get you? It will be hard. Acknowledge and accept that fact but buttress that truth with faith to endure. You can do this!

Opportunity is here!

Monday is upon us.  Despite Garfield cartoons feeding into the negative notion of Monday being sent from the bowels of hell really we’ve arrived at a moment of opportunity!  Monday for many of us is the starting line for the race we run.  If you aren’t happy with your race fix it.  It is that simple and that hard.

Monday,starting line or not, is just a time of POTENTIAL ENERGY so to speak.  There must be a catalyst that sparks the race.  YOU ARE THAT CATALYST.  It doesn’t matter if no one else believes in you either!  What matters is DO YOU?  Come Wednesday or Thursday when you feel like giving in to apathy; scrolling Facebook or Instagram instead of taking another step toward your goals in your race, YOU ARE THE ONLY ONE THAT MATTERS TO SEE IT THROUGH.  It is your race, your dream, your vision to see it and take it!

Start Sunday night reconditioning your mind to be ready and excited for the opportunity to run your race with excellence!

My love to you all!  Make it happen!

Facing the giants

Early January and maybe your resolutions are already failing.  Monday morning is lurking and the thought of another day at your job is already making you sick literally.  That relationship that has such awkward conflict keeps rearing its head even on social media to the point your heart races when you see a post that he or she has commented to or liked.  All of these issues seem like GIANTS to us at times.  Watch the video link for a moment.

We get in the way of our own happiness, success and productivity so many times because of fear.  Our insecurities and doubts are nothing but fear based.  I think we need to just get out of our own way, close our eyes and do all we can to just move forward even if crawling.

The Death Crawl is a powerful scene where wanting to bargain, stop, give up for many reasons and justify our efforts in quitting all manifest in one 100 yard grind.  Rewatch this clip whenever you need to get your mind right to give life your very best.  #bloodsweatchalk

Your New Year’s Revolution:"Becoming A Firestarter" How to stoke the flames of intensity to burn bright while not burning out!

New Year’s Revolution is approaching.

Here is a little article I wrote this past fall:

I have a confession: I hate going to meets and training. None of it is fun for me anymore. I bet you are thinking that this is the worst motivational article ever written. You may be right but hear me out as I share how I am getting the embers going and stoking a flame to be MY best.

Before we talk about the INSPIRING FEEL GOOD quotes of the “Dead Poet’s Society” (yes…they are coming!) let’s examine how I became a curmudgeon. Distractions are always what get us off our paths, right? My distractions came in the form of pressure and injuries. Believe it or not I was going to be a 2100 total true raw powerlifter weighing under 275 pounds just a few short years ago. Sponsorships with real money were coming my way, along with pressure. Remember Drago in Rocky 4 yelling at the Russian Premier stating, “Ya b’yus’ radi pobedy! Dlya sebya! Dlya sebya!” Translation: I FIGHT FOR ME TO WIN! FOR ME! I didn’t enjoy training as much with the forced expectations to lift for someone else. It was a distraction to what I really love: THE GYM.

So yes, the gym. It’s my sanctuary, my church and my home. I love the smell of chalk in the morning! Ok not that you can hear me using a Robert Duvall voice ala Apocalypse Now, but I am really feeling it. Unfortunately as my body started to give in my distractedness via depression grew exponentially. A shoulder hear, elbow there and then after getting ready to demolish an 800+ raw squat I damaged my knee and back. I became a has-been in my mind.

Depressed doesn’t begin to describe how I felt with my perceived world falling apart. I shut down totally while making little effort to train. I removed myself from the gym. I stopped engaging in lifting conversations and groups. WHAT WAS I GONNA DO? BICEPS? SCREW THAT! And yet as I type now I gotta say, that wouldn’t have been such a bad thing. I really suffered perception issues. Maybe I broke my “perception” as well? I failed to see all that I had as an athlete versus what I didn’t have. And in my wallow of shame I missed the boat totally. Distraction. It’s a beast.

So here they are, my three points to go napalm in a hurry! (Que Prodigy for dramatic effect please.)

Have a plan: Your plan is the guts of your success.

The plan is your epicenter of it all! Sure a plan sounds simple enough but it is often take lightly and for granted. Take a look around a lot of gyms. Ask someone that is heading to go train what he or she is going to do. You will likely get a vague answer or it is a program that they just started from the other program they just stopped THAT they just started. THAT ISNT A PLAN unless you call planning to fail an actual plan. So you need to map out a strategy. If you want to be the best you have to plan for it. It doesn’t just happen. Preparedness trumps talent any day of the week. Look at NFL players that are studs in college and flop in the league. Then look at the 7th round draft pick that meticulously follows a plan and is suddenly a pro bowler!

For competitive lifters you might be looking at a meet, event etc to participate in. Consider a mock meet and videoing it as well. There are a lot of options but reach for something. Do not be ambiguous with no time line. You need that healthy pressure to reach the finish with your best effort. So write down the plan and goals with a dry erase marker and make your bathroom mirror a motivator with reminders. Use a notepad to log your training, eating and thoughts while keeping it in your pocket at all times. Purchase a calendar and start to work backwards setting up your goals. Break it all up into smaller segments. Create an email reminder for that portion of the training cycle you are in. Add a Youtube video and/or quotes to remind you are why you are pushing yourself. My clients that are training for meets in powerlifting are given detailed spreadsheets for their entire training cycle and I send them quotes to “fan” their flame.

Are you a tech nerd that loves a nice smartphone? Use tools like Google Drive, a good timing app, and video recorder to chronicle your training. Part of having that plan is how well you can execute it so be prepared to pursue! Review and reassess constantly as you go. The fancy term now is auto regulation but for the longest time I have always just stated a lifter should self assess his or her training constantly.

My plan is to help at an upcoming meet. Sure a small plan but as I heal I am getting really excited to help push others to do their best. I have never enjoyed training for meets but I do love seeing others lifting and competing so I just treat an event like a long day at the gym. There is nothing wrong with using the energy of others to help be inspired. Inspiration is the ignition!

Create Accountability: Surround yourself with people to help you “grow.”

A training partner can be a great start to helping to push you especially while lifting weights. You not only are answering to that person via a schedule so you can’t sluff off but your work ethic is exposed! Maybe you don’t need a training partner but still surround yourself with people that are encouraging, honest and supportive of your set goals. There is no point sharing goals with people that don’t get it or are unwilling to support you. With this in mind consider limiting your exposure to social media during this journey. Avoid the distractions remember? Being held accountable doesn’t take a village but it does take the right support network. Remember the dude from “Indiana jones and the holy grail” that didn’t choose wisely? Don’t be that guy!

My accountability partners are individuals I trust implicitly. I ask them to ask me how I am doing and to get on my butt if I am not following through. They get the “keys to the city” to invade my space about achieving personal performance perfection. They ask the tough questions when I least expect it and need it most! Incidentally, this concept of accountability is a great premise to utilize period.

Stay Inspired: Use the right fuel for the flame.

The journey alone may be the inspiration thinking of that goal you keep grinding towards. If that is enough you are one of the lucky ones but use it! And use it to inspire others. Maybe you are keeping someone else accountable. Share with that person your journey too. There is a great quote that says, “As iron sharpens iron so one man sharpens another.

Remember when I mentioned distractions? Do not let that smartphone turn you into a selfie fool. Use the phone as a tool for your goals and stay on the plan. I have had clients that would get an upsetting text or message that would totally defeat their training session. So remove the potential for distractions. Turn off those features of the phone to stay focused!

Lastly, I would also like to suggest you practice kindness and humility during your journey. You will be amazed at how strong your are mentally while focusing on much more positive things during this time. I am not asking you to start a soup kitchen or hand out hugs but I do think keeping focused on your own actions will serve you well. We have all seen the troll behavior of some or just the ahole comments from people being petty about technique etc. Let’s go “Field of Dreams:” If you lift it negativity will come. So just dont be that person. Focus on the positives. Consider your tone. Text is so inefficient so be careful how you type so you can be representing yourself with class and integrity. Positive energy is inspiration personified.

Personally, being a coach and working in social services gives me ample opportunities to give and encourage others. Inspiration to me is a guy with MS that does his damnedest to walk a hallway with a Spinoflex machine (harness and walking rig). What excuse do I have?

Well, I am done. My hope is your wheels are turning for ideas and innovative concepts to reach your goals. And my 3 point sermon isn’t a life changer at all but it is a spark. You have the real work of applying these ideas to your own life. The question is will you?