Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Don't Doubt Yourself When Others Don't [Guest Post by Steve Gardner]

[Post by Steve Gardner]

Many years ago (mid 80's), because I was highly placed in the Midlands area in Strongman at the time and was also a pretty good lorry puller, I was invited by Geoff Capes (World Strongest Man) to take part in an International Strongman challenge he was organising in Lincolnshire.
I was invited to represent the Midlands. This event was huge, and there were several of the Worlds top Strongmen at the time who would also be competing.
Steve with Jon Pall Sigmarson
Now I know I had done well, and that I had placed fourth in the Worlds Lorry Pull Champs in 85 beating Jon Pall Sigmarson in the process, but even so, these guys were competing at a standard which seemed head and shoulders above me and I am embarrassed to say that I bottled it. To me it seemed obvious I would be outclassed and not wanting to look daft, I made my excuses about not being able to attend (I told a white lie saying I couldnt get off work, but in truth I hadn't tried very hard to get off anyway) but thanked Geoff for the invite.
The next thing was Geoff Capes called my boss and tore him off a strip for not allowing me to compete in such a prestigeous event and causing me to miss out on a great opportunity ...Ouch!
Now for some reason my boss didn't let on that I hadn't asked to get off work, but one of his colleagues told me the boss would support me whatever happened, but seeing as I had been invited, surely they must have thought I was up to the job?

I sheepishly agreed to take part, and along I went. The event was being covered by TV and radio, and we were all interviwed at the Hotel the day before etc.. -  really got the film star type treatment and it was all very flattering, so I just decided I would do the best I could, though I would be lying if I said I wasnt nervous as I lined up alongside the other nine competitors.
 The competition was great, and I mean great. I did really well, much better than I expected and had a great time, with three event finishes in the top 4 and generally placing about mid table on the others. I wasnt last in anything, and I had a fantastic time. I loved the competition and learned a lot that day.
Sure I wasnt going to be the best strongman on the field but I more than held my own. I took so much from that, and ALWAYS used it as a motivational tool for me in all of my future competition experiences in Strongman, Highland Games, Weightlifting and Tug of War!

The lesson is: 
Don't doubt yourself.  
If others have the belief in you then something gave them that belief ..so don't be afraid to live up to it!
...and always do your best!


Steve Gardner is the current President of the International All-Round Weightlifting Association (IAWA). He has been inducted into the IAWA Hall of Fame, is a former World Champion All-Round Weightlifter, Tug of War athlete and World level powerlifter and strong man.