Jo Staffelbach Heinz: How Strong Are You?

Charles Atlas, born Angelo Siciliano, was at one time, supposedly, a 97-pound weakling. He set out to fortify his strength and founded the program “Dynamic Tension.” It consisted of 12 lessons that plotted muscle against muscle. In the early 1900s, Atlas made a fortune off this concept. His advertisements featured a skinny individual who others made fun of by kicking sand in his face, who transformed himself through Atlas’ program into the hero of the beach.

Atlas strength-building strategies were based on the fact that we need resistance to grow stronger. And thousands invested in his program to make themselves stronger and to build both their confidence and their physique. Atlas himself posed for many statues and served as an inspiration for later body builders and fitness fanatics.

So, how strong are we? Really?

The events of the last few weeks have brought out fear, anxiety, concern, and frustration. There is fear of a first-quarter recession, brought on by the indecision in Washington. Will the stock market take another dive? Will our economy go south again?

Combine that with the events of Newtown, Conn., and overwhelming tragedy, grief, and devastation. Events like this increase anxiety and the fear of the unknown. How could such a thing occur, and how can we as a country ever hope to prevent such attacks. Gun control, security precautions, mental health issues, are hot topics, and one can be totally overwhelmed by the negative speculation and the bad news.

Charles Atlas’ posters and comical advertisements promote a “secret to strength.” His theory of dynamic tension can be linked to our internal drive to rise above fear and indecision. The reality is, we make our own futures. We create our own pace; we carve out our own destiny. Our ability to overcome fear and anxiety is “our secret to strength.”

As we embark on a new year and set out to make 2013 bright and prosperous, we can show how strong we are by our reaction to the events that are so dominating and intimidating. Dallas has historically been an optimistic, entrepreneurial, strong city filled with individuals who want to make a difference, believe they can and just make it happen.

How will you channel your energy in 2013? How will you train yourself to excel and rise above the fear to show your strength?

Let’s go be the heroes of the beach and show our true strength. How strong are you? Really?

Jo Staffelbach Heinz is President and CEO of Dallas-based STAFFELBACH. Contact her at jheinz@staffelbach.com.

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