2: Strong Willed – A Parents Story about Strength, Willpower, & Resilience

Episode 2: Strong Willed, is a story of strength, fortitude, and a celebration of resilience told through letters that were written to my sons from several months in 2015. In Episode 1: For Dad I looked back to the generation before me. In this episode, I take a look at the generation after me by sharing a story of life and death with my son, Connor. This story may bring you thoughts of sadness or grief, but I want to change your perspective on that.  This is a story of choosing to overcome adversity, and how an unborn child recalibrated his father’s mindset with one powerful kick. Things happen to us, but like Connor proved, those things don’t define us.  Good and bad things come and go like life speed bumps, but you can choose to have an unconquerable soul and turn anything into an action for good.

This is only part of Connor’s story, as I will discuss him more throughout this podcast.  In this episode I tie together the words my parents wrote, especially my dad, in the late 70’s and early 80’s. I share how I forgave my father about writing to his grandson too late in life, from a letter he wrote me on March 16, 1981.

Time is not a right, it is a privilege. Life is precious, unexpected, and unpredictable.  But like my mom wrote to me in 1979, “This world is only as you make it.” Health is wealth. Vulnerability is strength. Strength is a choice.  You are the master of your fate. You are the captain of your soul.  Choose strength and be unconquerable.

Books mentioned on the show:

The Art of Living by Epictetus

Mask of Masculinity by Lewis Howes

Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman

Pain Now, Pride Forever.

Written in September 2016

Hard times build hard people.

The pain.  The pain you feel is a white ball of healing light. -Tyler Durden

The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. -Marcus Aurelius

Does what happens to you keep you from acting with justice, generosity, self control, sanity, prudence, honesty, humility, straightforwardness?

NOPE – Then get back to work.

The following is free form writing.  I found out today that after dedicating hundreds and hundreds of hours of work and sacrifice towards a goal, I did not make it. I failed.  When I found out, the first image that came to my head was a visual memory of the look on my son’s face when I had to leave him.  He was two years old and wanted to play with his dad.  I remember having to clear him from the threshold of the door so I could close it.  He had a lack of understanding in his eyes, but his understanding of the world made more sense then mine. We locked eyes as I closed the door.  Those hours, those moments I will never get back. He will never be that age again.  I let him down. 

The moment I oriented myself on the information I had received, I felt like someone had died. I felt like I was under water, my hearing changed, time slowed, I felt like someone had their hands on my heart. The feeling felt similar to when my dad died and when we found out about Connor. As I sit here, I temporarily feel like any laugh or smile is only surface related.  There is a deep level of grief. 

This grief, this pain, I want to meet face to face.  I want to allow it in.  I want it to hurt me.  I’m lucky because it hurts. I want to cry.  I will grieve.  I will respect these feelings.  I will get up and stand with them.  I am brave enough to face them. I will stand up in the storm.  I will face these arrows.  I will be proud and unbending in defeat.  I cherish these moments.  This pain is a blessing.  

Continue reading

Val Voboril – Our Wonder Woman

Val Voboril is the everyday woman with super-powered fitness.  She is a MOTHER, 4th Grade TEACHER, and a CROSSFIT athlete on the way to her 6th CrossFit Games.

But these titles do not define her. The quality of her character is also shown through her lesson in resilience, her sisu story, and how she came out of her dip which began in 2015.

At the 2015 CrossFit California Regional, Val struggled mentally and failed to qualify for the Games.  Her passion for competition that previously drove her to multiple successful competitions wasn’t there. Val, despite her almost super-human powers, had doubt in herself and felt the fear of disappointing others.  This is a place we have all been, but it’s not where we stay.  She thought about the kind of message she wanted to send to her daughter, her students, fans, and the community.

Her dad asked her: Continue reading