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The Path

Next week I have the opportunity to travel to the National Strength & Conditioning Association (NSCA) National Conference in Las Vegas. This will mark my 30th anniversary with the organization. In 1993, I traveled to Las Vegas for the same conference, in order to take a certification exam as a Strength & Conditioning Specialist. What a wonderful path I have been on since that first conference in 1993. 

Of course it does not seem like thirty years. I jokingly tell my trainers (many of who were born after I received my certification) that the study material for the examination was a collection of xeroxed pages in a three ring binder along with audio cassettes and VHS tapes. The test itself was on paper with number 2 pencils and you had to wait six to eight weeks for the results to be mailed to you. Today trainers do almost everything online and can get results in a lot less time.

I have the great honor of returning to this conference as not only an attendee but as a presenter. I will be leading a two hour hands-on workshop on one day and presenting on another topic a couple of days later. What an amazing turning of the tide and a wonderful way to give back to the community that gave me so much. 

I will also be receiving a very prestigious award, one that has only been given to a small amount of professionals. I have been named the 2023 NSCA Personal Trainer of the Year and will receive an award during the conference. I am honored to join a select group of amazing individuals who have been recipients of the award in past years. There are few words to express the gratitude I feel to my colleagues, friends, clients, and family who continue to support the path I have chosen to continue on. 

I remember reading The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge, back at the university. There was one passage that has stuck with me through the years. One that has been a guide in some ways when it comes to my career. The passage is below.

“Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn’t, it is of no use. Both paths lead nowhere; but one has a heart, the other doesn’t. One makes for a joyful journey; as long as you follow it, you are one with it. The other will make you curse your life. One makes you strong; the other weakens you.

Before you embark on any path ask the question: Does this path have a heart? If the answer is no, you will know it, and then you must choose another path. The trouble is nobody asks the question; and when a man finally realizes that he has taken a path without a heart, the path is ready to kill him. At that point very few men can stop to deliberate, and leave the path. A path without a heart is never enjoyable. You have to work hard even to take it. On the other hand, a path with heart is easy; it does not make you work at liking it.”

― Carlos Castaneda, The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge