Are You a Survivor?

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When I was early in my career, a young lady gave me a notepad that she had made that said “Bill Burnett: not for the faint of heart.” I loved that pad. To me, it said that I am a person who takes people to that place where most are uncomfortable going to. Going where you experience discomfort is an opportunity to change or grow. I believe that people who are looking for greatness live there.  There seems to be a common thread for greatness--it’s a willingness to keep getting up no matter how many times you get knocked down. This mindset makes you a survivor. At some point, I noticed that as my training business grew, people who wanted to be survivors sought me out.

There’s lots of scientific benefits to working out, but I believe that as emotional beings, what we get emotionally from working out exceeds the science. There is something about surviving a workout that gives you a sense of accomplishment unlike anything else. That’s what we get to carry with us. The sense of “I can.” Our society is built around instant gratification. We need everything right now, with no sense of “I worked really hard to get this.” There are those days when I look around the studio after a large group training session, and there are bodies all over the floor with that look of “I did it,” and I know that for the rest of the day, they are elevated knowing that they are survivors. The great thing is, you can do that for yourself every day.

It seems to me that the biggest challenge for most of us is overcoming the voice in our own head. The voice that says you’re too old ,or you're too fat, you’re too tired, or you’re too out of shape--so why bother? This is the same voice that says you’re not good enough, smart enough, cool enough, or that you’re just not enough, in other realms of your life. So often, this battle that we have with ourselves is the worst obstacle that we’ll ever face. I believe that those who use their workout time to the fullest will defeat that negative voice and have the power to overcome the obstacles in life.

The gym is a microcosm of life. You learn a lot about people in the gym and I think you learn even more about people that don’t come in at all. As the owner of a small business, I have grown to realize how working out for all those years helped me to get ready for this. I still feel like someone dropped a building on me most days, but the gym was one of the things in my life that taught me not to quit, but to get up over and over again, no matter how heavy the load.

Just like every other place in life that’s important to you, you can’t just show up. You have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and get a little dirty if you want to make real changes. But all too often, we don’t put enough value on ourselves to push ourselves to the place where real change happens. When you get there, you’ll know it. There is some pain, followed by that sense of euphoria that comes with accomplishment. It’s the sense of accomplishment that we get to build on and take with us.

So I encourage you to become a survivor--take your workouts to new limits and watch it transform the rest of your life.