The Art of Getting Your Shit Together
Getting your shit together is a skill that escapes even the best intentioned and seemingly organized people. This is especially true in the fitness industry, where the expectation is we work while others don’t. All…the…time.
In today’s guest post by Chicago-based strength coach, Mike Connelly, owner of Rebell Strength & Conditioning, he shares some of his insights on how to balance the teeter-tottering of work/life balance.
The Art of Getting Your Shit Together
If you read Tony’s last blog, The Grind: Hashtags, BS, Truth, and a Little Too Much at Times, and found yourself questioning your value in “the grind” then I have some good news for you. You’re not alone. I hate “the grind”. Can’t stand it.
You know what I like? I like spending time with my wife and daughter. I like going out for some drinks with my friends on the weekends. I like reading books that have nothing to do with what I do for a living. I like watching documentaries. I just really, really, really like not working.
There, I said it and I meant it.
Don’t get me wrong. I do like coaching people. I like managing a team, setting goals, and accomplishing goals too. But, and I’m going to steal a gem of a thought from our industry, I want to use the minimum effective dose to get that shit done.
If we want to cut the fat off of our work load then we are going to have to first determine what is fat and what is essential to our success. It takes some effort and help to get your shit together but I can tell you, without hesitation, that it is well worth the trouble.
Here’s a couple of things that helped me get my shit together. I hope they help you too!
1) Make Sure You’re On the Right Path.
We spend a lot of time outside of ourselves these days. We are heavily influenced by the outside world, leaving little to nothing coming from within ourselves. That can be a huge detriment to our productivity. A lack of confidence in creating our own paths leads us to chasing someone else’s and we end up completely void of any idea of what WE want out of this.
When I first started coaching I had this idea that I wanted to be that guy that can rattle off a bunch of science terminology and statistics from studies and that would legitimize me as a coach. I was overcompensating for never having finished school and thought it was going to keep me from ever being successful.
I wanted to follow the path of the coaches I admired, which is logical. Here’s the thing though, I was chasing a ghost. I am not the coaches I admire. I am just me and that’s just fine. I don’t have a laundry list of pro athletes that I train. I do work with some, but the overwhelming majority of my business is with general population clients.
Do they need me to recite Anatomy Trains to them for them to achieve their goals? Nope. Do I need to revolutionize training to grow my business and make people happy? Nope.
Here’s what I need:
- I need to create a community that provides comfort and motivation to those that choose to be a part of it.
- I need to be competent in the basic training facets. In my book, that’s one form of an assessment, one method of movement preparation, a solid template to build my programs from and an understanding of what differentiates programs, and a reliable network that I can refer my clients to should a problem arise that is outside of my lane.
Believe me, if you find one of each of these facets, that is all you need. If it works, it works. No need to pile on.
The point here is that while it took a while, I have finally found MY path. In discovering that, I have been able to cut the fat off of my to do list and save myself a ton of time. If you want to know what will make you happy in your work, the answer lies within you and not on social media.
2) Huge Dumps Are Healthy.
For a very long time I lived under the lie that I didn’t need to write things down to be organized and productive. My thought was that my accomplishments to this point were proof that my “system” worked.
That’s special, isn’t it?
What I was disregarding is the fact that regardless of what my perception of my level of success and happiness to this point was (which were somewhat miraculous considering the dumpster fire that I have going on in my head sometimes), tightening the screws on your processes is never a bad idea.
Enter the brain dump.
Every Sunday I perform a ritual. I lather myself in shea butter, light my favorite candles, put on some Yanni and spend an hour inside my head. Some of that is true. Well, ok, it’s an hour that I spend inside my head.
It is somewhat of a ritual though.
I do get away from “the noise” to center myself and dig through the rocks inside my head. Not literal rocks, although if you have met me before you may wonder. I use “rocks” in the sense that it is used in Gino Wickman’s book, Traction. “Rocks” are the big things that I want to get done in the long term. They are my big goals that are comprised of a ton of smaller points to work through.
While a legit list of “rocks” is going to be relatively small, the action steps that get you to your “rocks” can be lengthy and hard to keep track of. Unless of course you take some time every week to check yo’self.
A good brain dump will clear your head, relieve you of stress, and leave you with a list of steps that will help you dominate your work week in a clean and efficient manner. Knock that shit out every Sunday afternoon and I will bet you dollars to donuts that you will sleep like a baby come Sunday night. That’s right! No more Sunday Scaries (that’s what my wife calls stressed induced insomnia)!
Brain dumps are not only good for clearing your head, but they will keep you laser focused throughout the week. Keep that list with you and use it as a guideline for what you need to get done. This will keep people like me that get distracted by shiny objects on task. It might take some practice and getting used to, but once you get it down you will not know how you survived without it!
3) Find Your Bible
Now that you’ve dumped your brain out what are you going to do with what you came up with?
Figuring this out wasn’t easy for me because even though I had started doing my brain dumps, I was still left with the task of organizing all of it’s products. It’s a legit obstacle that presents itself in different ways to everyone. The key is to find some sort of tool that works best with how your brain works.
My good friend, Todd Bumgardner, uses a notebook. He’s a hipster. If something like that works for you, go for it.
I need a little more structure and flow. Something that looks and performs cleaner. For me, the Action Day Planner works like a charm. It has a simple and manageable layout that does not confuse my apish mind.
Does it matter what you use?
No. Just use something that you can log all of your brain dumps and weekly notes in for easy reference. Anything above legal paper folded into your pocket should suffice but it’s going to depend on your style and what you need to keep up with the task. I suggest that you not just buy any old planner. Shop around and flip through them until you find one that makes sense to you.
And That’s That
There it is. Three things that will help you organize your grind and leave you with as much time as possible to do the things that we actually want to do. And let’s face it, if you are telling us that working more is something you actually want to do, you are full of it.
If you would like to gain a deeper understanding of how I have successfully organized my time and so much more, join us in Chicago on May 6th and 7th for the Spring Strength Faction Seminar. HERE is a link with more information