Lifting Motivation — Loving What You Do Versus Doing What You Love

I started thinking about this concept on my way home from the gym last night. While loving what you do and doing what you love seems like two different ways of saying the same thing, it’s not. I’ll explain later…

Anyhow, it was the first good training session I’ve had in weeks and I was trying to figure out why.

Over the past month, I’ve been run-down, and for about a week I was sick, had no appetite, and thus no energy or focus. Under those circumstances, that was the logical reason why my training had been suffering.

But after further thinking, I realized it went beyond that.

After my last Strongman competition back in September, it wasn’t even a week later that I had my eyes set on another one. I immediately transitioned from one intense training cycle to another.

The weights for this next competition were loftier than anything I had ever done, and my competition were to be among some of the best lifters in the country. The pressure was on and I was feeling it.

11220917_906724066067765_4804404169844118511_nRather than focusing on arbitrary benchmarks and trying to make every training session a measuring stick for my progress, last night I just went into the gym and lifted for enjoyment with absolutely no expectations beyond my 2 hours of lifting.

Here is where the subtle difference between “loving what you do” and “doing what you love kicks in”…read carefully.

No doubt, training and running Primal Strength Gym is “doing what I love”. I love being around the people, seeing people get better, and pushing boundaries in my own training to make myself stronger. But “doing what you love” is the big glamorous picture.

“Loving what you do” is the small dirty picture that you don’t see on the surface. Just because I am “doing what I love” on the large-scale, it does not mean that I am always “loving what I do”.

“Loving what I do” implies I am getting some sort of enjoyment out of my training, and that I go to the gym every day excited to train and get satisfaction from it.

That simply hasn’t been the case lately, mostly because my gains were lagging, mostly due to my perspective of trying to get ready for competition. I lost sight of the grander picture of trying to make small, incremental improvements every day and enjoying the process.

I’ve learned that “loving what you do” is the important part. That’s what will keep you going in life, no matter what your trade is. If you aren’t “loving what you do” on a daily basis, the grind will become a chore and will turn “doing what you love” into something negative.

My proponents will say “Tank, suck it up. To get places in life, you have to do things you don’t want to do.”

Well, that’s all fine and well, and certainly true to a degree. But that is also a gross generalization and better suited for those stupid “lifting motivation memes” that people post to social media all of the time…and social media is a fraud (but I’ll save that for another post.)

Any successful person will tell you that while all aspects of your life may not be enjoyable 100% of the time, “loving what you do” needs to be a huge part of it. You must not lose sight of the daily victories, the enjoyable moments, and the gratifying nuggets of “doing what you love”.

“Loving what you do” and “doing what you love” must align…otherwise you run the risk of losing both.

Don’t be afraid to take a step back before it gets to that point.

— Tank

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