Strength training can be such a personal focus inside the context of a larger team. I want to spend my time during this, my last post for this week, thinking about and talking about gratitude. We are part of a very special environment at Gym Laird, and we are all grateful for Jim, Lucy, Emily and everyone else that transforms that gym into a community on a daily basis. That is not something that is part of a business plan, but it certainly is a part of the fabric of Gym Laird. For that I, and I know the rest of my teammates, are grateful.
Being part of a team that readies itself to stand alone on a platform and lift heavy is an interesting paradigm. It is a “both/and” experience and without the attitude of gratitude, the platform moment could be too overwhelming. Being a MissFit and having the “platform”, so to speak, to share a journey with some really strong and beautiful women lends itself easily to an attitude of gratitude. Still considering myself a new MissFit, I want to pause and take some time to express my gratitude to my fellow MissFits and to my coach:
Jim Laird: This guy. Growing up involved in team sports, I have always responded best to a coach/player dynamic, and Jim brings something to his coaching that in my 40 years I have never experienced. He coaches the team, but he also coaches the individual. He ensures that each of us feel good about where we are and feel good about each other. He does NOT create unhealthy competition but rather encourages us to be our best. He can sneak up with a big hug, he can tell you that he’s happy you’re there. He listens and loves with everything from his Cookie Monster or Yoda impersonations to his booming/motivating voice from the “sidelines”. For Jim, I am grateful.
Suzanne Waldrop: Suzanne and I have kids that play soccer together and she first encouraged me to both join the gym and take their classes and then to join the team and compete. She is the team “mom” keeping us all organized, focused, and where we need to be. She gives you her eyes when she listens and is generous with her time. Her heart is open and her convictions are strong. On the platform, she is fierce. She steps up to the bar and then sets the bar for so many of us. For Suzanne I am grateful.
Jen Rankin: Jen has a strength that is both admirable and impressive. She has been an example to me from day one (likely not knowing it). Her determination and grit is undeniable and her dedication to her performance and her team is commendable. She can tilt her head and give an encouraging nod which makes anyone feel stronger. She is forever willing to stay later so you aren’t finishing alone and has the ability to connect to an experience without saying a word. For Jen I am grateful.
Emily Clark: Emily has also been a great example to me (also likely not knowing it). She has a strength of expression that is formidable and then can quickly step off the platform and with the same expression “will” YOU to succeed. When I first started training for competitions, I watched her form and technique in each lift and now almost three competitions later I grow increasingly more impressed and continue to learn from her. She organizes and makes sure we all have our supplements and amazing recipe ideas. While I pride myself on being a big giver in the area of sense of humor, Emily has a wit that can break tension, calm nerves, and just simply make us stronger. For Emily I am grateful.
Missy Hicks: Missy has a “deadlift look” that would back off the biggest bear. I noticed it one day after she set the bar down and looked over at Jim, and I quickly realized that packed into this tiny little gem is a strength that could move mountains. Missy has a smile that lifts spirits and pushes us to expand our own happiness. She never hesitates to take a moment and tell any one of us that we did a great job on that lift, or how proud she is of a newly passed milestone. For Missy I am grateful.
Lizz Kunz: Lizz has a way of quietly standing beside you and offering a funny comment or word of encouragement. Lizz has a faith, a strength, and a hope that is contagious and she brings those three rooted traits to the bar every time. She aims high and appreciates every step of the journey which is a skill she passes forward to each of us. Looking ahead to her upcoming wedding brings me a great deal of pride and faith and I am thankful to get to share it with her and the rest of the MissFits. For Lizz I am grateful.
Renae Corman: Renae and I joined the MissFits at the same time and getting to be a part of this step by step with her has been special. She has been on a journey unparalleled by many and has experienced a transformation to be admired. Her will to improve, to succeed, to believe, and to achieve is inspirational. She can focus her eyes and her mind on the next goal and do it with style. For Renae I am grateful.
My family: Stephanie and Josh are without question the thing I am most grateful for and most inspired by. They give me the confidence to embrace all the benefits of strength training, the anxieties of competition and the celebrations of success. My greatest strength is in both of them. Stephanie telling me “you got this honey” means more in those four short words than anything I could write or say, and Josh’s interest in training together when we can is immeasurable. For my family I am eternally grateful.
I hope you have been able to see what I see because I know these are things none of them will ever write in their own blogs. My hope is also that each of you reading this have such a tribe, such a community and that you take the time to express your attitude of gratitude.
I don’t know if turning 40 this past October has triggered some sort of mid-life crisis, but I know that what we do in the gym and together as MissFits is special. Strength training and competing (especially in a onesie/singlet) is not something that has been in my wheelhouse or would have been something I would have sought out, so without an attitude of gratitude it just would not make sense. I look forward to training, but more importantly I look forward to these people. Earlier this week I talked about adversity leading to prosperity and I know in my heart that without gratitude, adversity would just be a road block. Thank you Jim, Suzanne, Jen, Emily, Missy, Lizz and Renae for putting yourselves out there as examples to so many and for epitomizing strength. Strength is a gift certainly to be thankful for.