On Work Ethic and Training

Hello and welcome to the Living Revolution 🙂

This morning, I woke up with the sun on my face and the love of my life beside me, and I thought, “damn, life is good!” I also woke up this morning thinking about Murph and feeling sore. Each year I do that workout, and each year, penance is a word that comes to mind more than once. I wondered to myself why I choose to do stuff like that, and why I feel the need to pursue that kind of experience. I’m still unpacking ideas about what that kind of work means to me. I’m still unpacking what kind of memories I connect to my work ethic. I’ve always enjoyed hard work and when I  think about  how I developed that idea, I come up with two contributing factors.

In part, my affinity for hard work came from my parents, who tirelessly pursued their careers during my formative years. My father was a carpenter and I watched him build the most beautiful, intricate structures, from the ground up. My mother was a nurse-midwife and  I watched her deliver new life into the world;  through her midwifery practice, she personally touched an entire generation of kids. Whether I knew it then or not, their example instilled in me a positive respect for working hard and mastering a craft.

Part of my work ethic also comes from my time in the military, and the memories of long hours and a few less-than-pleasant work environments. Back then, I used work as a way to take my mind off my irritation at all the things I couldn’t control. I learned that I could apply my mind to figuring out how to be really good at whatever I was doing, and this gave me something to focus on when less-than-pleasant thoughts crashed around in my head.

I learned that physical work made me too tired to be angry, and I slept better when I was worn out. In the desert, I began lifting and training, and it became a source of therapy that kept me sane through my second deployment. Thrashing around the gym provided release and an environment in which to test myself. The gym provided me the opportunity to develop a sense of psychological fortification, and physical preparedness, and that kept my mind right through 13 months in Afghanistan.

Currently, I try to impart these same characteristic in my work as a coach and trainer. Working as a Crossfit coach provides me the opportunity to teach other people how to develop the tenacity and fortitude to overcome challenges. This exchange is one of my favorite parts of coaching. I strongly believe in the idea of General Physical Preparedness, and the indomitable will and unbeatable mind that come with being well-prepared. This kind of training requires a strong work ethic and a sound mind. Part of my job is to teach people how to develop a broad, general, and inclusive fitness, which I believe, includes physical AND psychological well-being. I teach people how to move with impeccable mechanics. I encourage and praise consistency and commitment. I advocate and facilitate properly modifying intensity. All these are parts of the charter for what I do as a coach. It is always my goal to find new and intriguing ways to convince people to work hard, and to provide them as many opportunities as possible to achieve their goals successfully.

When we talk about goal-setting in the fitness industry (or in life), we try to establish goals with as much “specificity” as possible. That is to say, it is widely believe that the more specific your goal, the easier it is to establish a plan to achieve that goal. In my mind, this is an antiquated idea, and I believe we need a new way to think about how we work, how we train, and how we live our lives.

Let’s talk about training first. Here is my suggestion: perhaps it makes more sense to generalize. Perhaps it makes more sense to  find a template that biases variety and skill development, intelligently exposing an athlete to as many training scenarios as possible, so as to develop a level of fitness that can broadly and generally perform well at any assigned task. Perhaps it makes sense to test and expose weaknesses, so you can better learn how to develop your strengths. Perhaps developing mental toughness, intenstinal fortitude, and an iron will can be practiced by even the common man!  Wait, are we still talking about training? Or are we talking about “real life”?

I find it very interesting that the same idea can be directly applied to how to develop yourself as a person.

Think about for a minute. Find a template for how to live your life by researching some ancient wisdom and find out if that makes sense to you. Always be curious and incorporate variety into your life as frequently as possible. Develop a skill set that gets you paid. Develop a skill beyond what gets you paid, just because you want to be awesome at something! Intelligently expose yourself to risk, and test your limits on a regular basis. Start with something easy, like skydiving and then work your way up to activities like sticking to a budget, acting like a grownup in public, and eating enough protein ;).

Living this kind of life requires an indomitable work ethic, and a dedication to living your life effort-fully and intentionally. Living this kind of life can work for anyone, but not everyone is cut out for living this kind of life. How about you? How are you applying yourself today? What are you chasing after, and where are you putting your energy? Drop a comment at the end of this post and answer these questions. Or, shoot me an email at tobias.shea.livingrevolution@gmail.com .

As always, thank you for reading my words and for participating in the Living Revolution! Until next time….

Peace.Tobias.

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One thought on “On Work Ethic and Training

  1. Tobias, I appreciate so much that you are my coach! In the last year and a half working with you at crossfit so much has changed. Weight has come off, muscle has been built but also forming a healthy habit, a place to work on me has become part of my routine. I no longer adjust my workout schedule to accommodate others, but carve that time out for me. Also through the consistency of crossfit my mindset had changed. Ive been able to retrain my brain in a way.. Negative limiting thoughts happen less. The message up the mountain last weekend to Pearl was, “you wanna know a secret? You are stronger than you think” and she received this message and today told us she’d like to climb that mountain again. So, i resonate with this blog post. People ask me, why do i do these crazy workouts or carry my children up mountains.. And its hard to answer that question. Its the life ive always wanted but never believed i could have, until now.

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