StrongFirst, Barbells, and Gratitude

Those of you who happen to follow my personal Facebook page are well aware that, for the last five years or so, I end each day by posting a #dailygratitude. In these daily gratitudes, I acknowledge some aspect of that day that deserves conscious recognition with an open and thankful heart.

Sometimes, they are very short. Oftentimes, they involve cats, food, friends, family, and/or lifting. Almost always, they focus on life’s simple joys rather than on grandiose accomplishments or material things.

I wanted to share the daily gratitude that I made yesterday here on my blog in addition to on my personal Facebook page because it is directly relevant to the sorts of topics I write about here. You see, yesterday was the third and final day of the 2016 Boston StrongFirst SFL Barbell Instructor Certification at Skill of Strength. I was given the honor of being asked to once again serve as one of the assistants (for those of you who would like to read about one of my previous experiences serving as an assistant at an SFL certification, please check out this post that I wrote last November).

Because I already wrote so extensively about this amazing certification that transformed my life and my livelihood, I am leaving the details be. However, it seemed remiss to not post something about my most recent experience: it was every bit as inspiring as all the previous ones.

As such, I decided the best way to go about honoring my experiences without simply repeating the information in my previous post is to—as I mentioned—share yesterday’s gratitude post here. I hope you all enjoy it!


squat“I remember one time, well over a decade ago, when one of my mentors taught me that compassion doesn’t always look sweet and gentle—that sometimes it is the unwavering eye that pays attention to every detail, that often it can be the sharp voice that says boldly and in no uncertain terms, ‘You can do better. Now go do it. Don’t you dare sell yourself short.’

“I thought of that lesson today as I drove home from the last day of the Boston StrongFirst SFL certification. I feel honored and humbled to have been able to assist the unparalleled Dr. Michael Hartle once again as he led the three-day immersion course in safe and effective barbell training… not to mention to have gotten to spend three straight days working with some of the best athletes and coaches I could ever hope to meet.

bench“Here’s why the cert made me think of the idea of compassion that I mentioned above. Every single person there—including, of course, the aforementioned Dr. Mike; Mike Perry; and the cert’s other assistant, Steve Sheppard, but also including ALL of the incredible attendees—was fully engaged throughout the entire three days. They were present and focused—not only on their own knowledge and strength gains, but also on helping each other succeed. Tiny details were noticed and pointed out. Cues were given. Drills and tips were discussed. Ideas were shared regarding how to best teach the information they were learning to different people with different goals and limitations. Bars were raised—literally and figuratively.

“It was a gym full of people who were refusing to let each other sell their potential short. Everyone was fully, 100% invested in the success of each other as both lifters and coaches.

“And that level of attention and vigilance, I think, is the heart of compassionate action.

storytime“I cannot say enough praise about StrongFirst. It is a company that has changed my life for the better—as, I am sure, it has changed the lives of all of its coaches for the better. I have no doubt that every single attendee of this weekend’s certification will, in turn, use all that they learned to even more fully help their clients, who will then in turn have the improved health, strength, and confidence that will enable them to be more fully present for their loved ones. This chain is never ending.

“Strength has a greater purpose. I feel honored to have been able to see that greater purpose at work these last few days. ‪#‎dailygratitude‬


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