#160 Difficult Ease

 I‘m writing this sitting by a canal in Venice.

I have just come out of an orchestral concert in an old chapel.

I’m drinking coffee and eating gelato.

My pace has slowed, relaxation has taken over.

Going very easy.

I suppose the thing I noticed was how hard it was to slow down.

It’s amazing how I can arrive in such a unique place like this, then almost let it become merely a backdrop.

Yep, lovely canals. Got it. Check. What’s next? Oh yeah, quick email check.

Christ. What am i doing?

The music in the concert was beautiful, but sitting still and easing into it was excruciating.

I was like a dog who hadn’t been walked in a week.

Eventually it was the music that did it. There was nowhere to hide and it slowly drew me in, weighed me down.

Finally grounded.

Makes me wonder about the state of RPM i’m living with on a day-to-day basis.

Clocking up all of that mileage.


This service was well-over-due.

#160 Difficult Ease

#159 Chasing the Joneses

Get yourself an inferiority complex.

A very useful device. I lived with one for years.

I have no masters in sports science. I have no olympic weightlifting coaching levels, no physical therapy degree.

I lived under the assumption, everyone is an expert, except me.

So, I got to work.

I found mentors, coaches, teachers. I read, I watched, i practiced. Obsessively.

Obsessively keeping up with the academic Joneses.

It’s a stressful thing to carry around, but man, what a motivator.

Don’t get beat. Don’t look stupid. Don’t fall behind.

Eventually, I got around to exploring the academic world. I started doing the courses.

Jesus, what a circus that is. Slogging through days of padding for one or two little gems.

Sometimes none.

Drives me fuckin nuts.

Turns out 18 years of trial and error is a powerful thing.

I no longer need my inferiority complex, but still keep it close-by, just in case.

After all, it has served me well.

#159 Chasing the Joneses

#158 Lost in Transition

With all the Brexit drama, it has me thinking.

So much is won and lost in transitions.

When well managed, they can catapult us. When poorly managed, we lose time, ground and momentum.

Some of the most difficult for me were the ones I craved after most.

Like the move from a smaller box to a larger one.

I couldn’t wait. Then, when it happened, something changed.

The culture, the mindset, the behaviour. It all shifted.

Shit. Didn’t see it coming. Six months in the wilderness trying to find my feet.

Lost ground.

The transition from CrossFit Swords being a one-man-show to a team operation was also a tough one.

God knows i needed the help.

The reality was, I wasn’t ready to manage it. Just inexperience.

Again, lessons learned the hard way.

Having settled nicely into our larger space, and our team now being stronger than ever, I try to spot transitions coming and put time into preparing.

Moving from one training phase to another, from program to program, even from one training session to another.

See it coming, use it as a catapult.

As a result, momentum is building.

#158 Lost in Transition

#157 Objectivity Advantage

Are you being objective?

Honestly now.

Are you looking at yourself without bias?

Without getting caught up in where you should be, or where you’re going to be.

Without those emotional attachments clouding your view.

Can you say, “Right now, i’m definitely this, and definitely not that.”?

From watching the very best athletes at the gym, it seems to be a common trait.

They don’t get upset about where they need to be. They don’t have a meltdown when things aren’t going exactly to plan.

They get to work.

No delusions of grandeur, no chicken-lickens. Just cold hard facts, problems to solve and plans of action.

When I run a self-assesment, I feel like I need a coach to talk me through it. Someone to unpack everything with me, then prescribe me a program for being a better coach and business operator.

I also have to be careful not to turn it into a self-crucifixion, or a personal victory parade.

Neither help, believe me.

Be honest, then go easy.

If you’re a CrossFitter, here’s something to remember.

You have a coach. They have designed the program. They are there to help you execute it.

Talk to them, they want to hear from you.

#157 Objectivity Advantage

#156 The C Word

There are those who believe competition is the big multiplier.

Forces everyone to get better, brings about new growth and innovation.

Without it, we rest on our laurels.

Then there are those who believe it’s actually the thing that holds us back most.

Competition forces us to do whatever is necessary, even if it’s to our detriment.

Price wars, arms races, cutting reps.

In the end, the competition eats itself.

I see the same sort of dichotomy inside the gym.

The whiteboard obsessives. Machiavellian killers, second place is first loser.

Then there’s the “couldn’t give less of a shit” crew. I usually need CIA-level coercion tactics just to get their scores.

For me, I see it as a training tool, just like a practice emom or a 5 x 5.

Another useful exercise to keep me moving forward.

When I compete, I go all-in for the win. That’s the point.

Then, my strength work is for me, my practice work is mine, what everyone else does is irrelevant.

In it’s proper place, it’s a magic ingredient.

If you hate it, force yourself to compete occasionally. It will be invaluable.

If you love it. Actually scratch that. If you lust after it, chill the fuck out every now and then and allow yourself to get better.

#156 The C Word

#155 Ice-Cream & Broccoli

Is the customer always right?

Definitely not.

However, there is no business without demand, so what the customer wants is always a major consideration.

But we are not simply and solely a business.

We are also coaches.

And a coach’s role is not to give you whatever you want.

What you need is much higher on the agenda.

Obviously what we need and and what we want are often exactly opposite.

So, a certain amount of “eat your vegetables and you can have some ice-cream” is required.

I know coaches who are all about “fuck the ice-cream, eat the bloody vegetables” and produce some excellent athletes.

I also know coaches who are all ice-cream, and have very busy gyms.

If I’m honest, I think I am a bit of both, with a heavy emphasis on the kale and broccoli.

The ice-cream route is always there though, and always tempting.

Sometimes, I even feel naive for ignoring it.

Especially when growth is slow.

But at the end of the day, I’m a coach before I’m a business owner, and always will be.

#155 Ice-Cream & Broccoli

#154 Healthy Scepticism

Two things I found interesting yesterday


I was approached by a marketing guy who promised me ridiculously good return from a marketing campaign he was selling.

It was pretty convincing too, really big numbers.

It all sounded so simple.

Still, my gut was annoying me. Something didn’t quite add up.


A friend of mine who is a personal trainer ran a new ad.

It offered a six-week program for people who want to make a change in their life.

It wasn’t all that eye-catching at first glance, but something about it really impressed me.

He didn’t offer was a six-week transformation, or to become a swimwear model in a matter of days.

He offered something very reasonable and incredibly valuable.
The message was…

If you want to instigate real change, come with me through a six-week process and we will get the process started.


The marketing guy’s offer looked amazing on the face of it, but my gut said “not so fast”.

My friends offer looked a little run-of-the-mill on the face of it, but then my gut said “read that again. Thats awesome”

Reminded me to trust my future customers to see our value without over-selling it, and to see through the bullshit

#154 Healthy Scepticism