Strength Has A Greater Purpose
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine the other day about “self-care.” In particular we were talking about students getting ready to enter a career as a therapist, councilor, doctor, nurse, etc., and that these students will be responsible for caring for another person. The question was posed; shouldn’t you first learn to care for yourself before caring for others?
It wasn’t really a question, we both knew the answer, but it was more of an eye-opening statement. Are these students even aware of the energy they’re going to have to give in order to be successful– more than just physical energy, but emotional energy as well.
Then it occurred to me; many other people are in that same situation whether you’re a personal trainer, coach, or teacher – for all intensive purposes you’re giving your energy to other people during every session, every hour you teach. It begged the question again; what are you doing for yourself?
I offered up a suggestion as to how you might begin to care for yourself and began with what I know best; how to build strength.
StrongFirst is “the school of strength.” I’ve shared in the past just how much it feels like going back to school when you attend a StrongFirst event. I’ve also shared my feelings on strength having a greater purpose. Today I want to share a bit more of what that greater purpose might be – this is by no means the “definition” of that greater purpose, strength means different things to different people, but I do hope that it motivates you to consider embarking on your own strength journey, for reasons other than being a badass – but if that’s your only reason, that’s cool too!
Strength Is Empowering
“Doing new things invariably means obstacles.” – Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is The Way
After finishing 2 Ironman triathlons I can tell you this; you can build cardio vascular endurance in weeks. It takes years to build strength.
When you set a goal to gain strength, you’re really embarking on a journey. It might be a few years, it could be a lifetime, but chances are high it’s going to take some time.
Along the way you’re going to encounter obstacles. In the past I’ve talked about:
- Using obstacles to your advantage
- Embracing failure, and
- Learning to enjoy the process
It’s inevitable you’re going to be tested many times in your quest for strength. Are you the type of person to quit after the first hurdle, or the type of person who’s going to get back up time and time again trying to search for a better solution?
Strength requires persistence, patience, and tough skin. You have to almost be stubborn – rather, you have to have a burning desire to attain it.
In my opinion, it’s this bumpy, windy, dirt path that may circle around a few times before straightening out, that gives you a sense of empowerment once you’ve arrived at your destination.
Whether you’re looking for world-class strength or real-world strength, you’re going to develop though skin. This tough skin will invariably carry over into other areas of your life. When you need it, it will be there waiting for you.
Strength Can Be Your Mentor
“Only with persistence and time can we cut away debris and remove away impediments. Only in struggling with the impediments that made others quit, can we find ourselves in untrodden territory.” – Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is The Way
“Strength” is completely subjective. What might be “strong” for you is another person’s warm-up weight. However if in the first place you start by comparing the loads of those used by individuals, you’re missing the point completely.
Strength is far more about the journey than it is the weight you’re capable of using.
If I offered you a program that required just 3-days a week of training, 15-minutes a day, and told you this program would change your life, allow you to achieve your goals and then some, would you do it?
It sounds crazy, because it’s SO simple – why wouldn’t you do it, right?!
Yet as surprising as it sounds I’ve seen many people fail to stick to a simple program like the one I just mentioned.
If you consider the “impediments” from the quote above as the concerns you have with such a simple program:
- It’s not enough exercise
- It’s not the right program for me
- It won’t work
Then you’ll fail to reach the point where you’re able to actually achieve and learn something new. In other words, you’re quitting before you reach “untrodden territory.” Untrodden territory is where “secrets” are uncovered and minds are shifted. These impediments might come in the form of a sore muscle, a tired body, or a battered mind. One day you might feel like quitting altogether, the next you could hit a PR.
There will be ups and downs.
But if you quit, how do you think your mindset will hold up during a stressful life event? What will you have to fall back on when the going gets tough?
Strength Is Life Changing
“Only by persisting and resisting can we learn what others were too impatient to be taught.” – Ryan Holiday, The Obstacle Is The Way
At the end of the day it comes down to this: Strength means many things to many people, far more than what I’ve mentioned here today. If you’re unable to dig your heels in and stick to a plan, how are you going to handle adversity at work, with your spouse, with your kids, or most importantly, with yourself?
As I mentioned earlier, building cardiovascular endurance takes weeks, strength takes years; do you have the patience to get to where you want to go?
The old cliché, “patience is a virtue” really rings loud.
In my experience it’s your ability to persist in your efforts, resist giving into distractions, and execute patience that truly develops life-changing strength. In doing so you’ll go further than most people you know, only then will you learn lessons to be used later in life.
Strength really is more than just a hard muscle or the ability to lift a heavy weight. Strength is life changing, and it’s hard… but it’s supposed to be hard, it’s supposed to take a lot out of you.
So, when you’re sitting on your coach considering what your next workout will be, consider embarking on a journey of strength and see what it does for you. In my opinion, it’s quite possibly the best thing you can do to take care of yourself.