It was the middle of December 2016 in NH, which means it’s cold as a Witch’s teet and dark as Satan’s anus at 2pm. Tough time of year to say the least.. but on the other side of things: the strength and conditioning program that I started in a commercial gym had just finished our best (out of 2) business years, I hired a coach to help train about 15 hours per week. On top of my work life being crazy, we were about a week away from our wedding, we were booking a honeymoon, my life was the most stressful it had ever been.* I had programs to write, wedding seating charts to make, we had to pick out reception tablecloths, I had to answer emails, create flyers, the list was endless. (Shoutout to Kathleen for actually doing most of the wedding planning).
*Aside: that moment lacks in comparison to the stress you feel the moment your wife tells you she’s in labor.
Things slacked. And at least initially, it was my training that took the hardest hit. Training for me just wasn’t a priority. I didn’t have a lifting buddy; I wasn’t adhering to a specific training program; my continuing education slowed down, I was basically on an island, shut off to the rest of the world. I was about 10 days away from getting married and on the brink of a complete breakdown because I felt I had little control of my what was happening in my business and my life.
I saw a post on Facebook by Marco Sanchez describing how the Strength Faction helped his own programming and how he loved their program (remember when I was too busy to train but had time for Facebook) I immediately Google searched the Strength Faction and started reading about the programs that would be given to us, but as I kept reading, it was clear that I had stumbled upon something much, much more. After weighing the pros and cons, I pulled the trigger and did something for myself. Turns out it was the 3rd best adult decision of my life (1. Marrying my wife, 2. Having a baby).
I realized 3 things have happened:
The first thing was noticeable immediately. The latter two are things that took longer to realize and things that have had a larger impact on my life.
#1. I started training myself again– It helped me get my (larger) ass into lifting more frequently and it made me feel good to get strong again. Life still happens, I still miss workouts and sometimes I have to motivate myself to actually train… even more so now with a brand new baby. The program made it so I didn’t have to think anymore about my own training program. I just printed it out and viola!
#2. Systems- I had some for my business both a financial side as well as the procedure and training side, but the problem was that they only existed inside my own head. And if I wanted to scale my business so that I wasn’t an employee for myself, that needed to change… quickly. This included making sure I did my weekly brain dump on Sunday mornings and had my entire week planned out before it happened. It included things like writing down and mapping out our training procedures, progression/regressions, coach’s expectations, incident reports, etc. I continually audit and try and create newer and better systems to streamline as much as I can.
#3 Relationships- There were 3 relationships types I needed to work on.
- My personal relationships
- My work relationships
- My relationship with myself.
By having systems to put into place at work, I’ve been able to devote more time to my wife and son, William. Putting it into my schedule each day to make a focused effort to date my wife and being present to help raise my son. It also allows me to make more time to see my mother and extended family.
These systems will also help me with the work relationships, not only with my boss, who now has become my business partner, but also with helping to build friendships and working relationships with my coaching staff. Dealing with individuals is harder than I realized and by having clearly stated expectations, it is taking a lot of the ambiguity out of dealing with unmet expectations or shortcomings. The systems also hold me accountable. This is important. I have to have the same expectations as my Coaches do for myself.
Lastly, is my relationship with myself..I think this concept actually stems from the taking time to train myself again… but it is changing into a devotion of time for me to choose how/where/what I’m spending my time doing.. Whether that golfing, fishing better than Todd, or getting back into something like mountain biking, I am forever realizing how important designated time to myself is. More people are counting on me to support themselves and their families, but I am now responsible for keeping a human being alive, fed and clothed; I also need to spoil and love my wife who deserves more than I could ever give her. They all deserve my time, but none of that is possible if I don’t take time for myself. I am more anxious, I am more irritable, snappy, I am a grumpy elf when I don’t spend time for just me. Call that selfish, call it childish, but I call it keeping me sane and self love…(not that kind Wes..)
Would my business have grown without the Strength Faction? Would my wife and I still have had our first baby? Would I still catch better fish than Todd? Would my golf swing still be better than Kirk’s? Probably. But my ability to deal with all of the situations and my ability to work smarter and harder towards a bigger goal more effectively is in no small part because of the Strength Faction and the relationships that have been cultivated because of it. Trust the process. Do the work. Rinse and repeat, forever.