I am going to introduce you to a great bloke: He’s name is Joel.
A current client and friend. I am going to share a story about when Joel made a ‘mission impossible’, possible. Tom Cruise has made a killing with his versions of the “Mission Impossible” movies, one of which is screening right now.
Yes, these grand missions in these movies are truly impossible and great entertainment, if that is what you’re in to. These are the kinds of stories that sells. Big, grand stories. But, I am going to talk about one of the many miracles that happen to normal, everyday people just like you. Just like all of us.
I am going to share with you a story about how a man, actually two men made one of their impossible missions at that time, possible. One of the thing that is special about Joel is that he is the strongest natural bloke I have ever trained or come across in my life and believe me, I have come across many.
NOTE: Naturally strong means: never experimented with illegal performance enhancing drugs – EVER! Steroid free.
Let me share you a bit of his story…
You see, I first met Joel about five years ago. He came in to my gym (I owned and managed a great Family Gym for about 7 years) and enquired about my services. He knew what he wanted and he seemed very determined. My kind of person.
He hadn’t been in a gym for a long time and was not in the best of shape but had the desire to look and feel better. That was a helpful starting point: the right desire, coming from nowhere else but his heart. My job was to do what I do best and help him get to his ‘imagined version of himself’ using one of my products that adopted by unique body re-engineering framework.
And get him there in the most efficient and effective manner with due care and safety in mind, which is the foundation of my framework.
Easy. That is what I have always done, with a great success rate over the last 10 years (over 84% of past clients have achieved or gotten better results than they desired).
It didn’t’ take me long to deduce that Joel was indeed an abnormally strong man. He knew this but was quite modest about it. The interesting thing was that he had not done deadlifts in his life before he met me.
Around that same time, I was also helping an Englishman called James get past a ‘sticking point’ with regards to his deadlifting. James couldn’t seem to lift anything past ‘3 plates’ (on each side) for 10 reps. It was frustrating him to say the least for the last 2 months. For those of you who aren’t too familiar with gym lingo, a plate is a (45lb or 20kg) weight that you slide on to either side of an Olympic bar when doing lifts such as a dead-lift or squat or a bench press.
So, James was struggling to lift past the 140kg (the bar is 20kg too) for reps. He was upset that he had ‘plateau’ (or so he believed) and needed help getting past this point.
I said that I would help him and I did. I told him that the first thing we need to do was to ‘take a step back to take two steps forward’. He was a little taken aback by my recommendation because that plan seemed to contradict what his goal was: to lift more! There I was trying to ask him to lift less.
I explained my philosophy and he understood what I was trying to achieve to help him achieve what he wanted to achieve. He trusted and allowed me to diagnose the issue. It was a combination of technique and mind-set. Once I identified the problem areas, I designed the plan to get him to lift ‘5 plates’ in the dead-lift for 6 to 8 reps.
For those of you who are mathematically inclined, that is 220kg. Not for 1 rep, for 6 to 8 reps!
When I told him what I was going to get him to do (get him to lift at least ‘5 plates’), his first reaction was that of dis-belief, that it was impossible. He was right though, with the mind-set he had at that point, it would be close to impossible for me to help him, help himself achieve it. I explained to him that before he was going to lift what I said he would lift, we needed to re-adjust his mind-set, in particular, his beliefs and belief system.
I put a plan to do just that: to allow James to progressively let go of self-limiting beliefs. Beliefs that only he harboured and grow within him like an unwanted fungus.
The plan worked. In a short 3 weeks, James was already doing a little more than 3 plates (got passed his ‘sticking point’ quite easily). He was on fire, increasingly filled with belief! Before long – I think it was just under 5 weeks of training with me, he was doing his first set of 5 plate dead-lifts, where a set was 6 to 8 reps, not one rep!
James and Joel got to know one another during that period but they probably only met each other once in that whole time. That was intentionally choreographed by me. The reason I scheduled their training sessions that way was that I saw them as potential competitors that could both help each other ‘raise their standards’ and both achieve far beyond what they had ever imagined. I did just that: I slowly pitted each other’s efforts against the other.
You see, one week Joel would do 4 plates for the required number of repetitions and I would mention it to James and that would lift James’s game. He would do 4 and ½ plates and so on. This little battle went on for a while. Eventually it was game on!
It became a full-on competition. England v Australia right there in my gym where my two students were going head-to-head on who was the strongest man in the gym.
You have got to understand that these two individuals were genetically very strong specimens. They also manufactured extraordinary belief in themselves in the short time they were with me. This is a story of the many missions impossible, made possible through the POWER OF THE MIND guided with a GREAT PLAN.
Yet again (like I have seen over the decades of helping people in the gym), I witnessed first-hand how amazing the human mind is when it is channelled towards a goal that is worth achieving by that human being. Some people would call these ‘miracles’ in some circles. These were just “two ordinary men doing an extraordinary thing”.
I witnessed it with these two gentle, very strong men. A natural talent of theirs.
They went toe-to-toe, besting each other’s personal lift record (which just happened to be the gym record at that time) every week until we hit the “6 plate” zone.
“How much is that?” I hear you say.
Not lifting it for 1 rep, no! The lift is only recognised if it is done for 6 to 8 reps. they both did it. It was a draw …. For a short while – less than 7 days actually.
Joel came in one day with the energy and look in his eye that he wanted to take that title. He had the hunger of a starving tiger. We added just 2.5kg on either side of the bar (in addition to the 6 plates that were already on each side). He was going to take the record by a mere 5kg.
He did. He lifted that 265 kg for 6 reps!
His legs were bleeding after that lift. The blood came from both his shins. The bar shaved off his skin from his shins and a bit off his upper thighs while executing the amazing record. This was an extraordinary thing with extraordinary risks.
These two students of mine realized their potential with regards to knowing how strong they were. They both achieved something that they both thought were impossible when I first mentioned it to them.
But they did. They achieved the seemingly impossible. They made their mission impossible – possible.
Fast forward to today and it was only last week that Joel ( who sees me two times a week in the program he is doing) mentioned that he just cannot believe he lifted that record almost 4 years ago. He was not talking about anyone else, he was referring to him. He couldn’t believe that he had done what he had done. Admittedly, he mentioned this dis-belief after just completing his set of 8 reps for 3 plates (140kg). He found it challenging.
Looking back, it would seem that it was impossible but I told Joel that he made the impossible, possible. He still cannot believe he did it today. How often can each and every one of you reading this honestly say that you gave something a try, and gave it your best shot and achieved something that you never thought was possible? How many of you can say that?
Joel did. And so did James. They achieved their BEST when it came to these lifts.
Joel still has the scars on his shins and thighs to tell this story to his kids and grand-kids.
You all have your own unique stories. You all have those special moments in your life so far where you may have given it your best and achieved something you only dreamed of. Maybe, you didn’t win number one or made the podium and that is ok, too. But that isn’t my point. My point is that you GAVE IT A TRY and you DID YOUR BEST.
You tried to fulfil a dream of yours. In my books, you are a champion.
Never stop dreaming of a better you, a better tomorrow, a better life and a better future. Everything you ever had and will ever hope to have, begins in your mind.
I know from experience in helping hundreds of people achieve their goals over the years that – If you can dream it (conceive the idea), and truly believe (feel it in your heart) and have a great plan, you CAN ACHIEVE your dream, whichever area in life it is in, provided you WORK TO YOUR STRENGTHS.
Start small. Start local. Work to your strengths. Build on your strengths. Don’t waste any more time on your weaknesses. From the cradle to the cubicle, most people devote more time to their short-comings than to their strengths. This approach makes for good story-telling but unfortunately, it is taking the path of MOST RESISTANCE.
Work to your strengths, not your weaknesses. Devote more energy to the development of your strengths to be more of what you are. The reality is that a person who has always struggled with numbers is unlikely to be a great accountant or statistician. Look at the great Michael Jordan, probably the greatest basketball player of all time. He could not be the “Michael Jordan” of golf or baseball, no matter how hard he tried.
Each person has greater potential for success in specific areas, and one of the keys to human development is building on who you already are.
Don’t be afraid, sometimes it is best to ‘take aim, fire and then look’. Sometimes it is just better to ‘take a leap of faith’. Don’t let fear hold you back.
It is ok to fail … matter of fact, fail if you have to. Sometimes, failure gives you a better perspective on what it takes to succeed.
You don’t need to look far for the opportunity. Sometimes, the opportunity lies just ‘under your nose’, in your small, little world. Reflect and increase your own self-awareness. Sometimes, opportunities come clothed in overcoats. Sometimes, it is the day-to-day mundane living that produces the miracle you always had within you.
Work towards being a better version of YOU, putting most of your energy and time into developing your natural talents. Every day. Work on creating miracles within yourself. Seek to find the extraordinary in ordinary experiences by using your natural talents.
Extraordinary room for growth exists, just like it did for these two men in this story.
Seek those missions that you may consider impossible to change (weight loss, less-than ideal personal habits etc.) and try to make that positive change and make that mission – possible. The miracle lies within YOU.
Maybe, try adopting this dream (I use sometimes): think of YOU as being part of the Special Forces of self-development. You aspire to and set higher standards – your standards. Let everyone else that buy in to ‘mission impossible’ mind-set (believing their self-limiting beliefs) settle for the general army. That’s ok too.
Seek help if you need to. It’s never too late to seek help. See what doors that would open up for you.
Start working on making all your little (and big) ‘mission impossible’ in your life, possible. Take them on, ONE-BY-ONE!
Remember: you may not be able to be anything you want to be – but you can be a lot more of who you already are (aligning yourself with your strengths), just as this story of Joel and James shows.
All the best.
Until next time,
2 thoughts on “Making a mission impossible, possible.”
Hi Paul, really great to seeing what you love doing! You made a tremendous difference to both Christine’s and my life! Love to catch up again.
Kindest regards David While
PS hope Cathy and family are well!
I wish you and Christine all the best of God’s blessings this New Year and this New Decade.
Cheers my old friend,
The old Cap’n Viking Pirate Evangelist Muscled Monk … & great old gym apprentices