The Spotter

Franco Columbu could lift over 700 pounds.

The 5’5, 182-pound man from Sardinia moved a car with a driver in it. In 1976, he won the Mr. Olympia title. In 1977, he placed fifth in the World’s Strongest Man competition. And in 1981, he won Mr. Olympia again, the year after his friend Arnold Schwarzenegger claimed the prize.

Mr. Columbu was a strong man. And Mr. Columbu, like many strong men and women, would use a spotter at the gym.

In weight lifting, the spotter is generally positioned close to the weight, hands ready to support the lifter if the load gets too heavy. Mr. Schwarzenegger, in Arnold’s Bodybuilding for Men, described the role as someone standing by “so that you can attempt heavy lifts with confidence.”

In life and weight lifting, spotters are indispensable.

There will be lifts that seem impractical or impossible, where the enormity of it all keeps us up at night or down in the dumps. But the weight of the world doesn’t rest on our mighty shoulders alone.

And these heavy lifts are the prime time to ask for a spotter – a partner, advisor, editor, mentor, or friend standing by us with hands ready so we can take on the weight with as much confidence as possible.

There’s no weakness in having a spotter. The World’s Fifth Strongest Man did. It’s a show of respect for the immensity of our undertaking. That this lift may be bigger than we are, but we will not be outdone by size alone.

Some of the heaviest lifts are rarely solo flights. So, let’s ask to be spotted. Because when it comes to moving the weight of our world forward, it never hurts to have an extra set of hands standing by.

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