What is Driving You?
Let us step away from training speak for a moment and get to something in which I feel is far more important than the very best program or guidance from the very best coach. For the sake of argument in this post, I will use myself as a case study. Biased? Potentially. If you do not know me, ask anyone who does and they will reassure you of the accuracy of this.
Any successful training plan starts with the drive to see it through. Plain and simple. Going into it, one needs to have the work ethic and drive to give it his or her all. Work ethic is something that I see going by the wayside more and more often these days. Not just in the gym setting, but also in other areas of people’s lives. If you don’t have it, I suggest working towards that first before you do anything else.
I was born and raised in Western PA, which I feel is the one of the greatest places on earth. Certainly not for its grand weather, but rather an area that was host to one of America’s biggest turning points in history, the Industrial Revolution and guys like Andrew Carnegie. Why is this important? I feel it is of the greatest importance and here is why… During the Industrial Revolution the majority of the workforce was made up of first generation immigrants that had no choice but to work, and work hard to create a better life for their families. There was little for safety regulations and work conditions were far from ideal as the industrial setting was an extremely austere environment. Yet, folks woke up, went to work, and worked 8, 10, even 16 hours straight before punching the clock to head home to their families. As we all know this model is what fostered and nurtured that very important moment in America’s history.
Although that work ethic is dissipating as generations pass, I feel Pittsburgh still has one of the strongest I’ve ever seen. You never hear of your ancestors blowing out of work mid-day to let their dog out or taking a few hours off here and there to run errands. Just didn’t happen. While those luxuries that we have today are generous and convenient, I challenge you to look at anyone who is successful and you will see that they still use the model outlined above as a template for success. Doctors, lawyers, engineers, finance individuals, business owners, big and small, all hit it hard from the moment they wake up until the moment they close their eyes. Point being is as I see it today most people want what the people who have worked extremely hard and sacrificed greatly for without ever really putting in the time. And who wouldn’t if that actually yielded something of substance? Problem is that we are inundated with seeing people get rich or become successful overnight which is by all accord a very very very small percentage. Media and news coverage rarely give an accurate description if that is the case in fact. An example: most everyone has heard of Dollar Shave Club right? An online based company which was started in 2011 and recently sold to the parent company of Axe and Dove body products for 1 billion dollars. By all account that is getting rich quick description, right? 5 year old company started by two guys sold for a billion dollars? Couldn’t be further from the truth. Those two men who started that worked and worked and worked, leveraged their lives away pulling capital from multiple different entities to develop, grow, and blossom. Not only did they work hard for it, but they also gambled a bit. Fortunately for them it paid off but it could have easily went a totally different direction. We don’t have time to get into those men’s backgrounds, but if you like I suggest you read what they endured and sacrificed.
So what the hell does any of this have to do with the gym or training? It has absolutely everything to do it! If you address the gym and your training like some of what we covered in the above passage, regardless of your past or your genetic makeup, you can achieve greatness in the gym. That level of greatness can and only be determined by you. It may be losing 20 pounds, doing a fitness competition, powerlifting a Mack truck, or running your first marathon. It doesn’t matter. If you go into the gym and work like Andrew Carnegie worked to grow his steel empire or give it absolutely everything like Mark Levine and Michael Dublin did in creating Dollar Shave club, you will succeed. On the inverse, you will stall and fail if you address the gym like the individual who blows out of work regularly to handle miniscule tasks or spend more time searching for excuses than it would take to just flat out do the work.
I know this because I have applied these principals throughout my life in everything I have done. Though I am not on step with Andrew Carnegie or the Dollar Shave Club guys, I’ve excelled at everything I’ve ever done and not because of God-given talent but rather due to of the sacrifice and work I was willing to subject myself to. I lost my father, who was an incredible self-employed man, at 12 years old. I went from being a pre-teen to a man overnight as I had to be there for my mom and sister. I started my first job at 13 and have worked every day since then in some form or another.
My first job was at a local machine shop owned by one of the greatest and hardest men I have ever known. I cleaned machines every night after school for 4 hours as that was all I was allowed to work until I turned 16. By the time I left there to go to school at 18, I could weld, fabricate metal, run machinery, read blue prints, and do just about anything in that shop. Those 5 years of my life defined me and I knew I could do anything I wanted. All I had to do is work for it. I was never scared of making mistakes. If I did make one, and I made a lot in those years, I stayed and fixed them.
My time in the Navy was much of the same, I was the first there for everything we ever had to do and often the last to leave. I was blessed with great assignments and got to do everything I ever wanted in the Teams. All because??? Yup, I worked for it and I put in my time, literally. When I got hurt, nearly every doctor that provided care to me advocated for me to have my arm removed. Well I thought otherwise and with a lot of work and some luck there, I still have my arm and some use of my hand which every doctor said would never work again. So fuck off. My work ethic trumped your science and I still have my arm to hold my kid with.
Now we have two businesses, HPI and Stock Design and Machine. We have bought, renovated, and sold homes along with a litany of other things. Nicole will tell you that I never stop and that I can be a lot to handle at times, but no one will out work me and I’d literally die trying.
The message in all of this: if you want a result in the gym, look inward first and ask yourself how far and how hard you’re willing to work? How much pain and sacrifice you’re willing to endure? Because in the end, the best strength coach in the world or the best so-called program to follow will only get you so far. You have to be willing to do the work plain and simple and if you don’t want to do it, well not even Tony Robbins can get your ass motivated to achieve your goal. After all it is your goal right?