I think the biggest lesson I learned this past year was the importance of mentorship and who you surround yourself with. I remember hearing that you are the sum of the five people you interact with most. To go further with this advice, the relationships should be broken down into at least two of those people that are helping to make you better. For about a year I had the opportunity to be mentored under Strongfit's Julien Pineau and Richard Aceves.
I learned about Julien from a podcast on The Barbell Shrugged years ago. He was talking about corrective movement in a way that sounded so above anything I'd ever heard of and he described it in a way that was so matter of fact, like everyone else knew it. It wasn't until a year or so later that Strongfit, Julien's outfit, appeared on my youtube feed. I couldn't stop listening. His take on nutrition, the constructive criticism of CrossFit coaching, and how he was able to relate other fields to fitness were beyond anything I could have considered.
The mentorship started out with trying to understand muscle imbalances to identify injuries or potential injuries. It turned into something so much more. In working to try to understand others' development I was co-opted into my own personal development. You can't, and shouldn't, take on helping others unless you are in a process of doing the same thing. We all need to work on ourselves and need an outside perspective.
I remember the first time I was on a zoom call with Julien and it was like being confronted with an oracle. The only thing was I had listened and relistened to so many podcasts that I was overwhelmed where to start, but, truth be told, I was waiting to be dished some sort of wisdom. That was not the case. The challenge of this mentorship is to bring the questions, not get cookie cutter answers. Our schooling system is a factory that churns out banal, regurgitated factoids to a population that is two hundred years too old to help push any societal evolution.
The biggest thing I took away from working with Julien and Rich was compassion. I learned that we are all where we are at. We all have a story to tell and we are the authors. The greater a problem the better the story can be, but it is up to us, individually, to see to it though. It is also up to us to seek help and support in our story. Every story needs characters.
Who will be in, or not, your story for 2022? What was your takeaway from 2021? How will you build on it this year?