What Dragon Are You Slaying?

By Coach Shawn

People often ask me, “how is the shoulder doing?” 

And I never really know how to answer this question in a brief moment of conversation. 

I’m not a surface level sort of person, 

I like going beyond the surface

Depth matters to me.

I enjoy what’s real. 


And peeling back.

And that question can always feel tricky in these moments. 

Because the real answer is, it’s complex

It’s active work each day to not lose my mind or let the consistent disempowering thoughts that no matter what I do and that always surface to take over my mind and ruin my thinking, my energy and my overall vibe. 

It’s taken way longer than I initially thought to see the smallest improvement and at the speed I anticipated.

I can’t help but feel the thoughts creep in multiple times a day wondering if I will ever return to full form and function?

I of course have made progress and are happy about that. 

And equally, I struggle. 

I am nowhere near where I want to be.

What was once easy (holding a 35lb dumbbell overhead for example) has my body working in over drive and feels like max effort work.

Progress is slow. Inches are miles. 

The rehab work is mundane, tedious and often times difficult to even get excited about doing. 

I often feel like I am standing behind a car that’s in neutral,

pushing it…


the duration of a marathon. 

And the real job is not losing faith, hope or morale when I realized I’ve moved this thing a few feet, stopn look up and can see and know the destination is endless miles away.

There hasn’t felt like a sense of true clarity given.

Or black and white answers from the medical professionals. 

There’s a lot of gray.

I’m often told “avoid doing nothing and don’t do too much…”

It’s not a simple problem with a simple solution.

And I am the leader of my health and fitness community. 

And I can struggle mentally and emotionally with feeling…defected. 

Feeling ‘broken.’ 

Feeling like I’m not leading by example. 

Taking myself out of working out with the group a few days a week (for now) to do what my coach prescribes took me a long time to come around to.

And it pains me to do that. 

When I love taking my coaches classes and working out next to my people. 

That FOMO feeling creeps in. I’ll miss that familiar feeling you get after a great workout. 

While I lay on the floor and hold a Kettlebell up to improve my scapula positioning. 

I’ve enlisted the support of many outside resources to include a lot of body work specialists who are all helping my journey. 



Deep tissue massage.

Active release therapy.

Graston technique.

I recently shared with my coach who’s been helping me rehab the shoulder, the insecurities and fear that I was experiencing from removing a certain way of training and the fears around my body changing.

As to why i wasn’t fully committing to her work. 

I would be lying to you if it didn’t tell you it challenged my identity. 

Not feeling like myself in my own body. 

Not feeling like I’m leading by example for my team, for my community.

Feeling like a broken version of myself. 

Who can’t do a lot of movements right now.

Who can’t do aspects of his own job.

All of this runs through my head in seconds when someone asks me 

“how is the shoulder doing?”

This is the truth. 

But you also know what’s true?

And I credit Nolan for reminding me of this a few weeks back. 

“You are leading by example.”

I thought to myself, how?

“You’re being smart, being honest, removing class to do what you need to in the short term for the long term.”

And my thinking began to change.

Each day you go to battle to find the good, the lessons and continue to show up for yourself and others.

With joy. With energy. With care.

Despite not feeling like yourself at times.

You make the hard call to do what’s right and best for your shoulder for now,

even if that means not taking some classes…for right now, 

for the long term payoff.

You’re adjusting where you need to and how you need to, to train smart and continue to make progress.

You remain resourceful as a coach, continuing to demand the highest levels of yourself and staying creative where you need to in demonstrations.

It’s deepened your research and understanding of the human body, specifically the shoulder and all surrounding muscles.

Which helps deepen your knowledge and ability to help others.

It’s opened doors of folks who can help, and you can offer those connections to other people as well. 

It’s teaching you patience, gratitude and magnifying the importance of your own mental health, via the conversations, thoughts and beliefs you have within your mind on a daily basis.

Something worth talking about with others.

Because for someone else maybe it’s not their shoulder, maybe it’s a different body part, maybe it’s their self esteem, maybe it’s their loneliness or something else that’s weighing on them.
Everyone is fighting some battle we know nothing about.

And they too can relate in their own way.

Choosing to show up, as their best self, on the good days and the not so good days.

Choosing to actively remove the pollution and fog of the mind and to find that good.

No matter how difficult or uncertain the future appears.

It’s work.

And it’s exhausting at times.

But the alternative is giving up….

Succumbing to the problem?

And settling for a life we are not happy with, as we slowly die inside each day.

And that, is simply not the way through. 

It is not how we become better men or better women.

It’s not how we look in the mirror and remain proud of who we see on the other side. 

It’s how we live life our best lives, regardless of our circumstances.

The work is daily, the only way is through and the journey is of our own perseverance.

I thank my team for the continued love and support.

For picking me up when I’ve been down. 

For reminding me who I am and for stepping up yourselves.

There’s no better people I’d choose to stand besides each day and call my brothers and sister.

I love you three.

My coach who i know I’ve been a major pain in the ass. 

And I must remind myself daily what she’s said, “what you’ve done from time of injury and can do is simply remarkable and we have not  seen.” 

The team of folks who support my healing journey through their own unique crafts.

And lastly you, my community.

I don’t broadcast my problems or struggles. 

And I know my struggles are not unique and you too have your own struggles.

And while I’ve been going through this process, the light of my days has always been you. 

Your faces, energy, smiles.

Serving you. 

Coaching you. 

Conversations with you. 

Giving and receiving love from you. 

You have no idea the strength you all have given me and how I rally 

for you. 

I simply do not know where I would be without you all. 

Thank you. 

In love and service,

Coach Shawn 

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