I cannot pin down exactly where Barbell Shrugged began.
The obvious answer would be Episode 1, but that’s not the actual start. The show had no real inception point. It was more like an evolutionary thing that had worked its way through our lives. We didn’t build it, we just realized one day that it was time to turn on some microphones.
I don’t want to make the process sound too romantic. There’s no way around it, if you want to be heard you cannot be afraid of failure. No one will notice at first. You will coach your heart out, you will speak and write, write, write. You will get frustrated as hell, and maybe you will quit. Most people do when their strict expectations are not quickly met.
Consider the quote by William Blake, “The fool who persists in his folly will become wise.” Hear me out, friend. Success and distinction cannot be discovered. They are more like qualities that emerge with time and persistent effort.
We had all tried the blogging thing and failed, failed, failed. I alone have kept at least five or six separate blogs in the past. Each one was better than the last, but none of it was very good. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have been hurt by the silence. That was my immaturity talking. Instead, I should have realized that what I was doing was earning my voice.
Every bad post, awkward video and boring recording in those early years was a little step in the right direction. They only key is persistence. Those that keep going get wise soon enough.
I had always been a decent writer I guess. Words were my strength in school. It was just that, when it came to sharing my voice, it took time for writing to feel honest, unfiltered and rewarding (just about a decade, to be specific). The microphone was different. Podcasting was fun right from the start, and it’s obvious why – It’s a whole lot easier than writing.
One of the very first recordings happened at Republic Coffee in Memphis, TN. Mike and I sat down in the far corner booth on a very rainy, very grey November morning in 2011. We ordered a couple of tall latte’s with extra espresso shots and booted up the just purchased Blue USB mic. I’ve got that audio on my laptop now, and it’s just as raw and boring as you might guess. But there is one clip that gives me chills. Mike wrapped that “show” on a very optimistic note. “We’re doing this podcast experiment, and seeing how much further it takes us. So, I guess we’ll see you next week.”
Plenty of people called us foolish early on, including those we loved the most. But we kept doing what we needed to do. We’ve recorded a brand new show every week since, which is something I’m incredibly proud of. I’m lucky to have played my part in it all.
So that’s just it. You need to know that you can be heard. Maybe you’re frustrated and let down by early silence. That’s fine. Think of it like banging a big drum. Anyone can make a big sound, or a loud crash. People might hear, but they probably won’t. The odds are low. But if you repeat the banging for long enough people will appreciate what you’re doing. You will get lost in it. You will forget about trying to copy what anyone else is doing. Nothing will feel forced, and no unrealistic expectation will hang over your head. It comes naturally.
Experiment and try over and again. People will notice your unique rhythm.
I’ve been asked what Barbell Daily is all about. The obvious answer is that it’s just my latest blog. The next step. A cool place for our amazing audience to pick up and exchange ideas. But the Daily is more of a declaration, a battle cry, steady affirmation, an exhibition of the rise and grind attitude that has made Barbell Shrugged a possibility.
The effort won’t always be perfect or right on time, but that hardly matters. We will not stop. We will persist and grow wise together. If we can keep our beat, there’s no end to what we might do here.
Pick up your stick and make a big noise, friend. Do not stop, I don’t care how hard it gets. You’ll be glad you kept going.