Sense of Urgency.

October 13, 2015

“Yeah, more graves to dig, goodbye there’s no need to cry
‘Cause we all die”

-The RZArector (The RZA)

The Gravediggaz. A fairly unknown project from 1994 featuring most notably Prince Paul and The RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan.  Their first release, “6 Feet Deep” is notable because it’s b-movie, spooky shtick coined the sub-genre “Horror-core.”

I have a message for you.

Death comes for all of us.  It’s only a question of when and unfortunately we don’t get to pick.  Sure, we can plan.  Workout.  Take our vitamins.  But it suffices to say that there is only so much under our control.

I had a moment this week where it was very possible that my time had come.  Relax, mom.  I know you read my blog and I’m fine.  It was a minor incident that was 100% not my fault.

You know what I felt when I looked death in the face? “If this is my time, at least I died at a time in my life where I was 100% dedicated to pursuing my passion and helping others chase dreams of their own.”  No, not all those words went though my head in that split second.  But if you crumpled all those words into a feeling, that’s what I felt.

When I looked death in the face, my only regret was that my work would be left unfinished.

And then just like that I was fine.  I drove to a familiar bar, drank a shot of expensive whiskey, smoked a cigarette (no, mom.  I don’t smoke.) and then I called it a night; after all, I had work the next day.

I suppose the point in letting you all know about this is that the incident left me with a sense of urgency.  Time on this world is short.  If you want to make your mark on it, do it now.

How it Ends.

August 16, 2015

You have a right to re-invent yourself.  Be the best version of yourself.  That person will and should change over the course of your journey, even during the relatively short life of your weightlifting journey.  When you finally get to the void; the unknown.  Don’t just stand there. Jump in.

I lift this evening At nationals in Dallas.  Regardless of the outcome, I’ve got a community at home.  I’m going to show them how I want it to be done; give them a snapshot at my journey through the process.  By my estimation, I’ve got about 2-3 years left of high level competition which makes these last few years my twilight years.  Very soon I dive into a different kind of void, gaining more knowledge of self, further growing the community.

Trust the process.

-Ben

Essay: Social Media.

July 25, 2015

The modern day weightlifter is accused of being increasingly narcissistic as the number of social media outlets increases.  This is a matter of opinion and it’s not my intent to argue against this other than by saying that weightlifters have been boasting about their accomplishments since people started picking heavy things up off the ground.  It’s just that their legacy needed to be passed on through a far less efficient oral tradition instead of “hash tagging” 15 second snippets of themselves and then electronically uploading these snippets to the internet.  Hey, I get it.  I’m with it.  I’m hip.  That’s why I put the young people on the team in charge of our Occam Athletics instagram account.  But as far as I’m concerned, I’m always going to default to ways of communicating that provide a little bit more insight and effort.  I’m of the opinion that a 3 minute long youtube video set to music or a blog post serve as a more complete snapshot in time.

A snapshot in time.

A snapshot in time.

I look back on these memories and they help me look towards the future; help me find what I’m looking for.  Hard work is not special.  Dedication isn’t special.  Anyone who’s been halfway decent at something that they care about is going to work just as hard or harder than you.  Figuring out one’s purpose, on the other hand, IS special.

On your way to becoming a decent weightlifter, you’re going to develop a strong sense of self.  It simply comes with the territory.  You’ll need it.  Along the way you’re going to meet people that will try and tear you down; bring you down to their level.  For every one person that’s tried to reach out and touch the sky there are several more unremarkable individuals who will desperately grab at his heels.  Your sense of purpose and self will be the only thing that will protect you.

The team is settling down nicely in our new turf.  It feels like a fresh start.  I anticipate that we’ll be in our own space (Occam’s Lair) within a couple weeks or so.  Once that happens, we’ll be unstoppable.

Trust the process.

-Ben

Get a Hammock.

June 28, 2015

Lake Margaret.

Lake Margaret.

Life takes you to some pretty interesting places sometimes; “interesting” being a loaded descriptor.  You might go for months or years on end living every day exactly the same.  Maybe it was one day, maybe it was one moment and everything got turned on it’s head.  You’ve got the choice to either deal with it or let it overcome you.  Maybe it’s a little of both.

Both.

Both.

Sometimes the easiest thing to do is to put your head down and press forward. It takes confidence to look inward and ask where do I want to go from here.  One thing that I know through experience is that it’s a difficult task to be strong if you have no purpose.

Let us find it and be thankful.

WLforums Interview.

April 6, 2015

Check out this video interview I did with Tony P of WLforums.com.  We met at Nationals last year coaching our 75kg girls.  I talk about my experience with the sport, how I became the coach of Midtown Barbell and a little bit of my coaching and programming philosophy.

The Only Guarantee.

April 5, 2015

The feeling of excitement after breaking through a long time barrier.  Never gets old.

The feeling of excitement after breaking through a long time barrier. Never gets old.

Sometimes breakthroughs come when you need them the most.  Maybe you need a personal “win” in your life and snatching 152 is exactly what you needed.

Maybe it doesn’t come at all.

The point is, nothing is guaranteed.  You need to make your own way in this life inside the gym and out. Hopefully, you’ve found people that share the same goals as you.  Hopefully, you’ve found a process that works for your group.  Trust in it.  Trust in your group.  And don’t forget to have FUN.

Follow Your Bliss.

March 10, 2015

Pre-contest.

Pre-contest.

It’s a story about ideology.  When the yamdancers had trust in their process, the whole community would benefit.

There’s a whole plethora of information available concerning the training of the weightlifter.  Learn.  But also have trust in your process.  Weightlifting is a journey and sometimes trusting the process means snatching 147 for the first time in 2011 and not being able to snatch 150 until 2013.  Find strength in the group.  And most importantly, have fun.

On the Process.

January 12, 2015

This past year, I began putting more and more emphasis on the development of our process rather than the development of individual weightlifters.  I realized I needed to change the way we were doing things in 2012-2013 and I think this year we finally started picking up steam on the development of a process that is uniquely ours.  Lifters will come and go, but as long as your process remains solid, your team will flourish.

I keep saying “process” and I realize thats a rather nebulous word to use when talking about the development of the weightlifter.  In truth, it’s more of a concept that I think is important rather than finite programming details.  It’s more or less about the values and ideology that you want your team to perpetuate.  I’ve been competing in weightlifting meets for a long time (around 70 meets total) and after all these years I can clearly see who was coached by whom by how they lift, what they value in training and what their strengths are.  When I started to look more closely at US, I began considering what WE value in training, what our process should look like and the overall ideology I want us to personify.  That’s where the whole concept of the “yamdancer” came into play (a story I’ll retell again at some point).  At the end of the day, all we’re doing here is throwing weights above our head for fun.  But whenever you have a group of people come together for a like purpose, certain considerations need to be taken to ensure that the entire group benefits.

Trust in the group.  Trust in yourself.  Trust the process.  #yamdancer