For the past two years, I've had a weird little tagline on every single post, the closing of emails, and even in the names of the programs I write:
The Future Is Stronger
If you don't know my story at as a coach, I'll give you a little insight into how this came about. I used to work with youth athletes in a sport performance facility, and one of the weird hashtags I would throw out on the facility Instagram account was #StrongFuture, alluding to the fact that we were doing strength training for kids who were the future generation. But after a year and a half of working there, I burned out and left that position, because there was one thing that I forgot about: I was supposed to have a future myself.
In recoiling from workplace burnout, I realized that it wasn't just kids who represented a stronger future, but each individual that exists has the opportunity to watch the sunrise the next morning and make their own personal future better. That anyone who wants tomorrow to be better than today can take a hold of that and work towards bettering themselves.
But what makes a Future Stronger? What is the ground work for tomorrow being better than today?
After burning out and coming back to coaching, I spent a lot of time looking back at what happened and what lead to my burnout. And I found a few things that lead to my burnout could be categorized as an issue of either Mind, Body, or Spirit.
I once sat for a session during a staff training for a camp I used to work at that discussed how to take a day off, and how we need to audit our physical, emotional, and spiritual "gas tanks." In order to perform well in that job (at the time, camp counseling), it was said that keeping those "tanks" in check was crucial. Don't let one overflow the other, and you'll be fine. Sure enough, when I was looking back at my experience with burnout, all three of my tanks were drained, and the only way that I could make the next day better was pouring into my three tanks.
When we look at physical, emotional, and spiritual states like they're gas tanks, we can see that they may even be more universally applied by the terms Mind, Body, and Spirit. In order to build a stronger future, we have to build these three pillars of our being in a way that moves towards progress. To fill the gas tanks.
So how do we do that?
We start with the Mind, because the Body and the Spirit can only start to change once the mind is in an improved state. This means that we pour into that gas tank first. In order to develop the mind, we can then think about several domains to place an emphasis on that will help us make changes elsewhere: growth, thoughtfulness, education, and discipline. We have to start by changing any mindset into a growth mindset, and accept the reality that we can indeed improve upon things in our life instead of wallowing in our own self pity. We then have to have discipline, and make choices that are based on what we need to do and not what we want to do. Then we educate ourselves on as many topics as we can. We avoid echo chambers and seek to learn and dive into new information even if it contradicts our own biases. This then leads us to being thoughtful, or as some might say, self-aware.
Once we have the mind in place (though it is never truly done developing), we then can tackle the Body and Spirit.
The Body is crucial, because you won't have a Strong Future if your body fails. Obviously, there are true misfortunes that happen to people that result in their physical futures being cut short, but the vast majority of people have far more say in this outcome than they'd like to admit. A strong body is obviously physically strong, but it is also mobile, lean, and can express power. Sure, it's great to have any single one of these traits, but to truly optimize the body, we have to work on each of these qualities in some capacity.
The Spirit is then what ties it all together. When we look at the Spirit, some may describe it in religious terms (and as a man of faith, these values are indeed influenced by Biblical teachings), but the Spirit can often be broken down to be more of a reference for character. A Strong Spirit is a conglomeration of the character traits that allow for future success. At the top is humility, followed by gratitude for what one already has, bolstered by the desire to serve others around you and in your community, and then brought full circle by a sense of peace. All of these qualities some may point out to be closely related to stoic philosophies, and can usually be found in any religious institution out there.
These are the three tanks, or the three pillars, that Strong Futures are built on. They are the cornerstone for improvement, and are the basis for all that is done at Littauer Strength Training. That in order to help individuals build a Strong Future for themselves, we must work to develop the Mind, Body, and Spirit in a way that allows for growth and brightening of tomorrow.