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June 24, 2018

The Power of Determination

by Michael Hughes

Why do we workout? Seriously. Why go to the hassle to pack the clothing, drive across town, stress about arriving on time, put your body into a place of physical struggle for an hour, rush through a shower and then hustle back into the remainder of your day. Is life not hard enough? Why do it?

I’m asking these questions, not because I’m planning a career change, but because it’s important to come back to the WHY behind a routine. We are all uniquely motivated. So the deeper question is, why do people do hard things? What do they get from the experience that makes them want to come back? 

Last week, I heard two similar stories that were both compelling to me, because both stories spoke to the internal drive to excel and silence the inner and outer critics.

I was training a local dental surgeon, and I asked how he found his career. He shared that after college, he started working in construction, but he had always had an interest in medicine. He shared this with a friend who responded by scoffing at him and judging him to be too “unambitious and mellow” to succeed as a dental surgeon. The comment stuck with him, and it pushed him to prove that nay-sayer wrong. He used that comment to build determination and the grit he would need to build a successful career. 

Then I heard a story from one of the owners of my favorite local coffee shop, “Scout”. He recalled putting all the money he and his wife had into transforming the Garden Street location into a trendy, beautiful coffee sanctuary…. only to discover a leak in the water pipes, under the store. One night, he was up late, trying to fix the water leak and he was filled with doubt. “Was he in over his head?” “Would this be a failure and embarrassment?” At the same moment, he overheard someone outside, walking past Scout’s “Coming Soon!” signage, and the person exclaimed, “Are you kidding me? Like SLO needs another coffee shop!” He recalled that moment as the embodiment of doubt and fear. But as we all know, Scout went on to be one of the most successful small businesses in our corner of the world. One has to assume that Scout’s owner used this moment of exhaustion, frustration and doubt to drive him to push through and reach that point of determination that begets success.    

I love these two stories because I also was told that I could not do it. I was told that I would never be an alternative to traditional physical therapy and help people become pain free. I connect with stories of struggle and perseverance in the face of doubters and those who unwittingly pour water on dreams. 

This brings me back to working out. Why do we do it? Is it to have a better body image, higher confidence, or because we love to sweat with friends? All totally valid reasons, but I think it’s so much deeper than that. 

I think we look up to and respect people who push through and do hard things. I think that people who show up in their workouts with focus, purpose and drive are the same people who succeed in other areas of their lives. How we show up for workouts is how we show up for life. Are we open and focused, ready to lean into the struggle? Do we believe that it will carve our characters into being the kind of humans we are proud of? I think we seek inner transformation. We want to build grit. We cheer for those who defy the odds and walk away an incredible example of the indomitable human spirit. 

Each of us is on a journey in life. We are each called to a purpose. We have the ability to change lives, change the world, and leave the world a better place. Fulfilling that goal is hard. To choose to live in that passion and purpose each day is perhaps the biggest discipline we can build. 

We choose fitness as our training ground of choice. We choose to face our doubts of our capabilities. We choose to fail better each time and come back stronger. We build pride and we shape our bodies into outward examples of what we are truly shaping inside. 

We want to live our best lives.  Whatever that means to you. Whatever you are called to do. Whatever your life purpose is. You were designed to do hard things and build the character that will triumph over the hurdles that are uniquely yours. 

I’m so proud of each of you who make the choice to do hard things every time you walk into the facility. I’m honored you have selected us to join you in practicing how to conquer the physical, in preparation for the emotional, mental and soulful challenges in your future. Together, we strive to live lives we are proud of, to become the best versions of ourselves, to push past the voices of doubt, and to lean into success. 

Thank you for being the kind of people who inspire me to continue to press into my purpose and believe in my calling. I appreciate you all more than you know!

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