I find myself once again feeling humbled, by you. This community, which you are an integral part of, regularly sheds light onto the roots and fruits of human dynamics. You are a constant reminder of lessons I need to hear.
Last month we energetically themed “Face your Fear” in honor of Halloween and the cultural focus on costumes and candy. We proceeded to dose you with opportunities to turn out the pockets of your insecurity for the room (and yourself) to see. We asked you what you were scared of. What followed was your basic pullup progression, in all of it’s simplistic, intriguing glory.
You see… pullups are fucking hard. If you don’t know that, you obviously haven’t made any recent attempts to get over a bar. Pullups also look really badass. This is entirely because of their relative difficulty. When you tie your shoes in front of a 6 year old, they’re impressed as hell. To them, it’s daunting. Pullups are the same way for adults. Stupid hard.
When someone crosses the cognitive gap from “Pullups are impossible” to “Pullups are something I might kinda want to be able to do someday” it’s a simple shift in phrasing but a profound shift in possibility. If you never try, you’ll never grow. We all know this… but we know it so far down that we all need to be reminded it, often. This is the first step towards getting a pullup… and it’s completely fucking useless.
Well, by itself.
Thinking about pullups is necessary, but it’s not thinking about pullups that makes your arms stronger. It’s putting your hands on the bar day after day. It’s pulling yourself to and through the current limits of your muscle fibers. You won’t get pullups without copious amounts of effort, failure, calluses, soreness, doubt, plateaus, and probably a little help from friends. The same is true of any physical progression. If you want to run 5k’s or marathons, you won’t develop the capacity for it by running laps in your head. You need to lace up your shoes and run. If you want to overcome the limiting power of fear, you won’t do it simply by naming it. You have to marry mindset to action. You have to flex a muscle to strengthen it… physical and emotional.
Fear is a muscle. It only develops with consistent stimulation. If you’re held back by fear it’s because you haven’t exposed yourself to enough of it. Last month you reminded me of this… not simply by sharing your fear, but by actively engaging with it. Appreciate the grind.
This month, we’ll focus on the emotional muscle of gratitude. Generically driven by a meal on the 23rd, gratitude is the lifeblood of fulfillment. Build it not by simply thinking grateful thoughts (I can do pullups, I can do pullups… I’m grateful for her, I’m grateful for her), it’s not enough to simply think. It’s a necessary first step, but it won’t get you anywhere by itself. You need to actively engage with it. You need to speak it. Show it. Share the feeling. Get your hands on the bar of gratitude until you have calluses…
So let’s start. October was a pretty cool month, not only did we have the Face your Fears challenge, we also had 5 teams of gym members embrace it by signing up for a Crossfit competition. One of the richest flavors of fear, comparing yourself to others in a public domain is something we can all appreciate. These WOD warriors are not the only ones who deserve celebration.
Tom Tim. I can’t share his age but I can tell you this, he gave me a different answer to the question each time I asked and I didn’t know the truth until his surprise birthday last year. In fact, this is one of the things I enjoy most about the man and I’m keeping his legend alive, let’s just say he’s no spring chicken. But man does he have a spring in his step. Last month he did a Double Under, planked for over 5 minutes, and developed the range of motion akin to someone the age he says he is through merciless mobility!
Our New Members. This tribe is… well, for once words elude me, but let’s just start with awesome, end with unique and agree there’s a whole lot more to it in the in between. We have a few new members this month and they are folding right into the flock. I’m impressed by the good nature at which they let me torture them, but I’m also thankful for my long time members. I’m impressed but not surprised each time one of you step up to lead a puzzled expression in the right direction or provide a coaching cue to a new athlete. Without you the culture of the gym wouldn’t exist.
Patty Moonen. She coaches. She works out. She smiles. She tears up. She picks on everyone. She inspires all of us. We wouldn’t be The Scary Gym without her (not because she’s scary, even when she’s making fun of someone she does it to their face and can’t help but being as sweet as her Patty bars in the process). Patty has been here since the good ol’ garage days, along with some other youthful Old Faithfuls. Through more ups and downs than I can recount, you define longevity.
The Cleaning Crew. Doug and Jen are behind the scenes busting their butts. You might not see them unless you work out late at night because they work full time, get fit and clean up our place of fitness. It isn’t just them though, they enlist their whole crew of children to move the kettlebells to dust, climb on the rig and wipe off our dead skin and red blood cells from the bars, vacuum, mop, and disinfect. Doug’s OCD keeps the place arranged and the GHD machines in ever-changing positions.
Coaches. The gym is life. Life happens at the gym, and coaching allows me to be a part of it. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to help my members grow athletically and individually. That and for the ability to wear sweatpants and leave the house without brushing my hair ;). Getting an eye into your core values while you grapple with difficult movements, running out of breath and sweating profusely inspires the shit out of me. You are full of grit, integrity and a boat load of persistence. It is what fires me up each and everyday. Yet at the end of the day I also love my family and spending time outside of the gym. My crew of coaches are the ones who make this possible and they’re the best around. I couldn’t do it without them.
The term Grateful begins with the root of praise and ends with the suffix ful – meaning “the amount or volume contained.” It can best be explained by the reason for the season, Thanksgiving. You know how at the end of the meal you’re stuffed up to the top of your gullet and can practically feel the last bite of turkey resting at the bottom of your throat? That’s my level of gratitude. I am full of thanks to the brim of my existence. I am grateful for each and every one of you and the energy you bring to DFC. You are what makes it my favorite place to be.
And since grateful is as grateful does, this month I encourage you to express your gratitude. It isn’t about just the feeling, but the action of honoring it. The best way to be grateful is to practice gratitude. Make a commitment to notice good things that happen. I will do the same. No this doesn’t mean I’m not going to tell you to get your weight in your heels or your knees out in the squat, you still need coaching that isn’t sugar coated compliments. It just means I’m going to continue to celebrate the good that you do each and every day.
You can start practicing gratitude by celebrating your own accomplishments too. Add yours to the new “Full of Great” whiteboard (yes there’s another one – I just can’t resist dry erase markers and schpeals, you know this and I’m thankful you put up with it).