Captain of My Soul

So after reading last weeks blog, I thought, if I was coaching myself, Im sensing  a little bit of a pity party is still happening. A little bit of feeling sorry for myself.   A little bit of a pity party.   Lets be clear, Pity parties are good…if you are in school. They are good in kids sports where we learn that everyone is a winner. After all, everybody gets a trophy. The ever coveted “Participation award.” You know the sense that life has dealt me a minor blow and Im feeling sorry for myself.   That is what I call a pity party.  But in life, a judge, jury and your boss doesn’t always have time for your pity party. And sometimes, if you are in the military your pity party can get you or your buddies killed. Im not much for pity parties as I get older and most especially with myself. After all, they are a waste of time and nothing is accomplished and they are more of a distraction . So it is time to clean that mental mess up over the next six to twelve months.   Moving on…

Lets look at having the right mindset (and not feeling sorry for ourselves) to get back in the game:  First is take Ownership, followed by Consistency, and then Just Beginning and finally, being assured that you are in control of your own lives.  Lets jump right into Ownership.


“I believe it is crucial for us to embrace the perspective that anything another person has overcome or accomplished is simply evidence that anything—and I mean anything—we need to overcome or want to accomplish is possible for us, no matter what our past or current circumstance. It begins with accepting total responsibility for every aspect of your life and refusing to blame anyone else. The degree to which you accept responsibility for everything in your life is precisely the degree of personal power you have to change or create anything in your life.” ~ Hal Elrod in the Miracle Morning

Well, that is great news! So many people have lost weight therefore I can lose weight. So many people have hit their weight training goals therefore I can hit my weight training goals. Hell, I have done this before. I have lost 55 lbs before. But some folks, get caught up in their own mental chatter. That is why I’m writing these blogs because I have gained this weight and I will share my experience of how to gain control of your life and tackle life head on and accomplish your goals. Hal Elrod is right. When you see other people do it, you have to believe you can do it yourself. Why not me should be your mantra!! And we will work on that mantra in later blogs. But for now, keep that question deep inside your heart. Why not me? Why? Because others have. Life can dish us out a huge plate of crap and we can’t control that. We CAN control how we respond to it. We CAN take ownership and responsibility for EVERYTHING in our lives. If we want to rock life and everything it has to offer let’s start with taking ownership of our lives. Why not me? (store that question away).  lets move onto Consistency!


“Sometimes the biggest obstacle to consistency has nothing to do with external factors. Some days, you just don’t feel like you have what it takes to do what you need to do. Do it anyway. I don’t care how you do it. I don’t care if it’s ugly. I don’t care if you do it hard or slow. I don’t care if you do it with a fox, or if you do it in a box, in a house, or with a mouse. Just get it done.” ~ Tony Horton from the Big Picture

So if there is one thing I know and have observed in motivation over the last six years of coaching and working out is motivation hardly ever come before action. To be consistent, you have to show up when you don’t feel like it. And motivation usually never shows up before action or that dreaded workout. Tony shares a great and super amusing story about his own personal chatter that goes in his head.

“Here’s a dirty little secret: I don’t get all that fired up about exercise most the time.

Some people have the exercise bug; their motivation never wavers and nothing slows them down. I am not one of those people. After 30 years, you would think that the desire for exercise would be automatic for me, but it’s not. Mostly because of the three little voices in my head.

Voice number one is the halo wearing, and angelic Tony on my shoulder. He’s my enthusiasm, my excitement, my desire to sweat and compete and feel good. He’s my “can’t wait! Looking forward to it! Feeling strong! Let’s get out there and kick some ass!” voice. I hear him about 21.35% of the time.

Voice number two is the red-horned, pitchfork wielding Tony. “Oh my God, I can’t believe I have to do this right now”, he complains “this is the very last thing of ever wanted to do. Actually maybe there something on HBO right now and It’ll never be on again and the DVR accidentally forgot to record it! Let’s just have a chocolate chip cookie.” He pipes up 35.4% of the time.

Voice three is the middle guy. He is the voice of consistency. He’s effective, but he’s about as exciting as a wet dishrag. “All right here we go, yeah, yeah, going to train now. It’s going to be OK! “He says in a matter of fact voice. He’s just there to figure out most the pleasant way to get through something that I’m not all into at the moment.” He’s talking about 43.25% of the time.”

So Tony’s says you put Mr. Angel and Mr. Consistent together you have 64.7% of the time and they usually win. How about that? You would have thought, that Tony Horton, creator of P90X and the whole social phenomenon of the P90X series would be all about  “kicking butt and taking names” attitude and motivation but nope. He has the same three voices in his head that we do.   He sometimes struggles to just show up.

The big takeaway is to show up for every workout. Just show up. Whether you feel like it or not. Just show up. Sometimes we get caught up with being perfect. We tell ourselves we need a perfect workout. We need to hit all of our weight training goals. We need to “feel” like we can get thru this workout. That is all rubbish. Just show up. And keep showing up. Hard work is what is needed and Consistency is the key whether we feel like it or not. Introduce yourself to your Angel and Mr. Consistency!  Then get to work just showing up.

Dont Prepare. Begin!

“Don’t prepare. Begin. Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is Resistance. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, alibis, transparent self-justifications, and a million reasons why we can’t/ shouldn’t/won’t do what we know we need to do. Start before you’re ready.” Steven Pressfield in his genius work, Do The Work

The enemy is our chattering brain and just beginning. Whether it is a workout, your business, your customers, your family, what we tell ourselves and the millions of other things that can fall under the umbrella of “our mind chatter”, what we REALLY need to do is just begin. Just start!   We can make tweaks along the way. Taking ownership and just beginning will set you up for a great start. Dont care about perfect. Dont care about how we are feeling. Just begin.  Just get started!

Finally, one of the most inspirational poems that I have found is William Earnest Henly’s INVICTUS (see below) and how I found it was incredible.  I love history and to read about and learn history.  Something I love to do is to put myself in those moments.   Ask myself, what would I do?  What would I say?  How would I react.  In researching WWII and the Battle of Britain, I came across this poem referenced.  Let me set the stage for you.  In a speech to the House of Commons on 9 September 1941, after Britain has been bombed for over a year and many people had lost their lives, Winston Churchill roused his countrymen and paraphrased the last two lines of the poem, stating “We are still masters of our fate. We still are captain of our souls.”  I was captivated.   I researched and researched those words until I found this poem that he sought the inspiration from.   What a great poem and May we always know that we are “our own Masters” and “our Captains of our soul”

Master and Fate and the Captain




Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate,
I am the captain of my soul.



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