Confession: there aren’t many bloggers I follow anymore. Not many people can captivate me with their prose, keep me glued to my seat for an entire 1,000 word article, or drop my jaw with their alluring sentence constructions.
But today’s guest writer can. I’m glad Jonathan Pietrunti agreed to write for me because 1) I enjoy the readability of his articles 2) he’s not boring 3) I don’t have to edit his grammar and 4) he’s eloquent in his storytelling.
Look: It’s easy for fitness professionals to write just to write and get stuff out there. And it’s easy for professionals to get into arguments on Twitter and succumb to the social media abyss of fake-ness and pretense. In fact, I’d argue many people forget who they are because of this.
With that said, it’s easy to write meaningless noise and pretend to be someone you’re not, rather than write creative gold and share your authentic story. It’s easy to tap away on your keyboard and prove a point, rather than face someone eye-to-eye, and have a big boy debate.
In this piece “Who Even Are You?” it challenges you to dig to the core of your essence. There are so many people out there who try to be someone they’re not, who are hiding behind a computer, who are pretending.
Whether you’re an athlete or coach or human on this Earth, I urge you to ask yourself, ‘who am I?’ without all of the noise, titles, accolades, recognition, career, social media chaos, drama, gossip, and Twitter battles.
Get ready for a thought provoking and self discovering paradigm shift, ya’ll:
Who Even Are You?
Listen, if you get nothing else out of this article, get this: Your story, as lame as you think it is, is more interesting and relevant than pretending to be someone else…or telling a story that you think people want to hear. Your story is your mythology. Own that.
So, who are you? What is YOUR mythology?
Okay, okay. Let me back up a bit to give you some personal context.
I lost sight of myself, recently. That’s okay, I think. We all lose sight of things sometimes, and it’s not like I was losing sight of myself because I was smack dab in the middle of a month long recluse bender. I mean, at least, not this particular time.
Simply put, I got caught up in a virtual world of avatars. Social media. Non-real people. “Friends” lists (*chortle*).
While I don’t really identify as a “FitPro”, apparently I found myself lumped into that group. In actuality, I primarily identify as a leader and a coach. Not because I jumped on Facebook one day and said: “Hi, I am a coach and a leader and an expert because I say so!”, but rather because I have the credentials and education and practical experience to classify myself as such.
Incidentally I was actually a very reluctant leader AND coach. As I outline in the introduction to a book I’ll probably never finish, I made rank VERY quickly in the military and while I was excited about the associated pay increases, I initially neglected to realize the increases in rank mean that you get put in charge of more and more things…like, you know, PEOPLE. Who knew?!
But, yeah, whatever…I guess I was in the “FitPro” realm.
The problem with fitpros is that everyone is yelling into a void. An abyss of absolute and complete BORING. For better or worse, online interactions like social media provide a degree of anonymity which facilitates poor – borderline sociopathic – behavior. From the perspective of a Navy Chief with a Sport Psych pedigree, it was quite fascinating for me to kick back and just observe the fluff once I broke free of the mob. Oddly, everyone seems to be shouting for the attention of “influencers” and not even taking the time to examine who their audience is before they word vomit some boring content.
AND IT IS BORING.
Frankly, even some of the influencers are boring and/or completely full of it – yeah, I’ve met some of you in person…you KNOW who you are – they just have really big lists, which, apparently, are important if I ever want them to affiliate market my stuff and collect 90% of the profit for my hard work.
Like, vanilla ice cream boring.
Like, flaccid meringues boring.
Like, the first 300 pages of Infinite Jest boring.
Like, some irrelevant status on “corrective exercise” – just shoot me in the head and end my misery kind of boring.
What’s much alarming is that much of this mess is on account of people trying to sound like one influencer or another. Unfortunately – and this is terribly funny – the influencer they are trying to sound like is often aping another influencer. And whatnot.
For a concrete analogy of this process, please walk into your nearest FedEx Kinko’s copy center with an original drawing and proceed to copy it.
…and make a copy of the copy…
…and make a copy of the copy…
…and make a copy of the copy…
…and so on.
This will give you a pretty good practical illustration of the inherent quality control issues that arise when you lose sight of who you are in the quest to sound like someone who is sounding like someone who is sounding like someone WHO IS ONLY SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE THEY WERE ONLY TRYING TO BE THEIR TRUE SELF!
Dude, I was getting sucked into this! Can you imagine?
So I dumped Social Media.*
O, Discordia! “Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold.”
Did life go nuts, did the world shatter as chaos enveloped all that I thought I knew? Nah. I found my center. Look, man, I speak a lot about self awareness and mindfulness. It’s kinda my schtick, so let’s go there.
The first thing I did, post social media, was to get mindful. If you want to have a voice, build a brand, get that dream job, or simply set relevant goals, you had better practice mindfulness and know who you are. Mindfulness is the foundation of self-awareness…so simple yet so easily forgotten by me…and I have a friggin degree in this stuff. If you don’t even know who you are, how can you create a vision and a roadmap to the future?
IF you are trying to be someone else, how will you live YOUR best life?
Be still, be self-aware.
Now, tell me who you are.
What is your story, your MYTHOLOGY?
And stop trying to be all fancy and embellishing and so forth. Trust me, like I said in the opening, your real story is so much more interesting and authentic than the bs everyone else is trying to pass for reality in their Facebook feeds.
Listen, man…at the core, MY mythology really isn’t all that earth-shattering. Really, I’m an itinerant Massage Therapist with anxiety issues and rear-delt fly fetish. The fact that I went from a lost teen to a military leader is as hilarious to me as it is to the people who know me.
It isn’t elegant. Won’t ever be a lifetime movie.
But it’s who I am.