Be the Bacon

Every little pig has potential for deliciousness.  It can grow up to be ham, or to be pork tenderloin, or it can be somebody’s pet.  But the greatest thing a pig can aspire to be?  BACON. 

“When I grow up, I’m gonna be BACON!”

Being bacon is hard.  It requires rolling in mud, eating scraps, and a lot of oinking — all of the things every good pig is adept at doing.  But being bacon takes it one step farther.  To be bacon, that pig must really give it his all.  He can’t just lounge around the pigpen in the mud forever.  He must COMMIT.  To be the bacon, the pig has to be “all in” — the “take me to the slaughterhouse and cure me in salt” kind of “all in.”


In Olympic lifting class, we train two lifts:  the snatch, and the clean and jerk.  They’re different lifts, but they’re similar in that both lifts involve picking large amounts of weight off the floor and putting them over your head.  These are complex movements with many different elements built into each of them, but one thing remains constant:  you have to get under the bar. 

You can master the first pull from the floor to mid-thigh.  You can master the shrug and high elbows and pull that snatch all the way up to your eyeballs.  But unless you get under the bar, you will fail in the lift. 

Committing to get under the bar can be scary at times.  All kinds of thoughts race through your mind as the barbell flies overhead:  Oh man, that was heavy.  I’m not sure I can catch this.  I really hope my shoulders are strong enough to handle it.  I don’t want it to come crashing down on me.  I don’t know if I have good enough balance in my overhead squat.  And in the split second it takes for you to doubt yourself, you fail to get under the bar, and you end up missing the lift.  It happens that fast, which is why you must commit ahead of time that you are going to get under that bar no matter what!

If you don't get under it, you WILL dump it.
If you don’t get under it, you WILL dump it.


I’m currently reading Lean In – Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg.  She is the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook, and one of few women in senior executive positions at large companies.  This post is not about women in the work place.  But it IS about what Ms. Sandberg promotes in her book:  leaning in and being ambitious in any pursuit, without fear. 

Ms. Sandberg discusses the culture at Facebook, in which people are encouraged to take risks.  She notes the artwork on the walls at FB headquarters helps promote this attitude:  “Fortune favors the bold” and “Proceed and be bold” and Ms. Sandberg’s favorite: “What would you do if you weren’t afraid?” 

To be committed requires risk.  To take risk requires boldness; it requires facing your fears and choosing to lean in and confront them head on. 


Perhaps your fear is a heavy barbell overhead.  Maybe it’s confrontation with a difficult coworker.  Perhaps it’s sharing your faith with your friends and family.  Maybe it’s being “all in” in a relationship.  Whatever your fear — make a commitment ahead of time, LEAN IN, and take it head on.  Don’t give yourself opportunity for self-doubt later; choose to commit now. 

Are you the pig, or are you the bacon?  Lean in, get under the bar, and BE THE BACON.



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