Over the last year I have met some incredibly strong people; people who can pull and push a lot of weight. The majority of them are oddly reluctant to talk about how much weight they can move. They definitely strive for PRs and are excited when they reach them, but they seem to take more pride in how much progress others have made than in what they can do. They are humble in their success, encouraging to those who are just starting, and seem to have a clear realization that real strength is more than just moving iron.
A perfect example of this is Emily, who looks around her gym and explains, “This? This is nothing. This is just weightlifting. Real strength is the way my sister lived every day as normally as possible for her children while she was fighting cancer.”
And that’s the truth. Real strength doesn’t look anything like what we might first imagine. It is not the superhero battling villains with superpowers. It is quiet and often goes unnoticed. It’s the new mother trying to keep her calm on three hours of sleep. It’s the soldier who has been on multiple deployments readjusting to civilian life. It’s the kid struggling to believe in herself in the face of bullying. It’s the family desperately hanging on after the death of a child. It’s the parent who works everyday at an unsatisfying job to make a better future for the family. Real strength is more like Clark Kent living an ordinary life, not mentioning a thing about being Superman, but continuing to watch out for the little guy. Real strength is being secure enough in ourselves to treat everyone with respect and encouragement, instead of reacting to others out of insecurity and fear. It is being able to put our own ego and concerns on hold to help others along.
Let’s celebrate the everyday examples of strength. Please send them to me so we can share them under the “Stories of Strength in the Real World” heading.