Life’s greatest truths aren’t found self-help books, but in fiction. Game of Thrones is filled with tiny nuggets of wisdom throughout its pages. And the cultural phenomenon that has become the television series brings some of those moments to life.
One of the most powerful symbols in the books and the show is the Iron Throne itself.
Has there ever been a seat of power that looks more badass? No, there’s not. Those swords fused together create an ominous but powerful and strong seat of power.
The power of this seat and what it symbolized came roaring into my mind during a phone call with one of my online coaching clients, Rob. In the middle of our conversation, he said something that pierced my mind like the serrated edge of a blade on the Iron Throne.
“You know, Robbie, I really hate going to the gym. It’s intimidating to me. I don’t like…..I mean, you probably love it. I’m sure you love it. You love going. That’s why you do it.”
Rob and I continued our conversation and set his goals for the coming week. But I couldn’t stop thinking about the Iron Throne — what it symbolizes, and what it means, and why that image sums up how I feel about the gym.
The Iron Throne isn’t meant to be a seat of comfort. It’s a seat created by Aegon the Conqueror to remind him of those he vanquished in the battle to get to where he wanted to be.
It was melded together by the fiery breath of dragons. This is not a throne draped in purple satins or sensual silks, decorated with ornate wood carvings; there is no cushy seat for the delicate King’s soft bottom. No one walks into that throne room and thinks, “God. What craftsmanship. What immaculate handiwork.“
Stannis Baratheon even said, “It is not a seat where a man can rest at ease. Ofttimes I wonder why my brothers wanted it so desperately.”
The Iron Throne isn’t about luxury; it’s a reminder of responsibility.
When you sit upon that throne, you are not there to be comfortable. Those swords are there to prick you in the ass and remind you that there’s a great responsibility to the power that you have, to the seat that you sit upon.
So Rob, the answer to whether I like the gym, to whether I love working out, I fucking hate it. There are moments every day where I want to give up, where I want to quit and not do another rep.
And it’s those moments where I feel the sting of the swords of The Iron Throne. Every single day that I think, “I don’t want to do this,” I remind myself of that throne and the responsibility that I have to the people that I coach.
When you achieve something, whenever you, like a Robert Baratheon, claim that Iron Throne you’re after, you have to remember this one thing.
Once you get there, there is another responsibility that comes after it. No, I don’t like working out. No, I don’t like tracking my nutrition every single day.
But people see what I do, other people look to me to lead as an example, and in those moments where I’m uncomfortable, where a blade pokes into my skin, I’m reminded that there are people out there battling every single day for their own thrones.
Whatever it is you’re after, whatever comfort you think that kingdom you’re trying to build will bring, remember this: nothing good ever comes when you’re comfortable.
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