One year ago today, I was sitting in my office at my previous place of employment, excited to start a new year with a new football coach. As a strength coach, I knew that often when a new football coach comes in, the strength coach gets fired. Yet, the head football coach had said to me, "You will be the strength coach here for the future," so I was ready to roll.

I was also recently nominated as NSCA Strength and Conditioning Coach of the year. I had the honor of speaking at the NSCA Coaches' Conference, and my wife and son were kicking ass and having fun doing it. Wow, have things changed.

RECENT: How Strong is Strong Enough? 

Now, I'm working at a school without football, living in a new city, and commuting back and forth on the weekends to get in family time. Hopefully, my year in review will help you see that life is good and that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side, but sometimes it is, so watch your lawn and don’t forget that some grass is better than yours.


My 2018 Lessons

1. Nothing lasts forever. In the past, I wrote a lot about being prepared for the future. The ironic part is I often look at coaches around me and think, “What do they have planned for the future?” I should be worried more about what I have planned than what others have planned. I think looking at others' lives is good practice because we can learn from each other's mistakes, but I need to worry more about me and my life than others.

2. It isn’t who you know; it is who knows you. My new athletic director spoke at our strength and conditioning clinic this year. She talked about how she Googles people during the hiring process. Then she mentioned, “Todd Hamer was hard to figure out because there is a lot about him online.”

I think this was a compliment, and I should probably thank Dave Tate because, without Dave and elitefts, there probably would be a lot less about me online. I would be remiss if I didn't mention that more people probably do know me because of my time writing this column. At least twice a week, someone tells me that they met someone who knows me, and I usually don’t know the person off the top of my head. This helped me get my current job. My advice is to do things that get you known, but be careful. Being “instafamous” is great, but it won’t make you great at your job.

3. You won’t get a job because of your friends; you will get a job because of your friends' friends. I applied for my current position on one of the last days that it was open. I wasn't sure if I was going to apply at all because the area the job is in is expensive and very busy, so I wasn’t sure if I would do well there.

Well, I did apply, and the day after I applied, a big-time strength coach whom I knew in passing called me and asked if I had applied. The funny part is I know this coach, but we aren't very close. She told me that she had just received a call about me and wanted to know about my interest in the job. I very much respect this coach, so I told her that I had some interest but that I wasn't sure how much interest because I had some reservations. She said, "I understand. I’ll call you later."

She returned the call the next day (by the way, with both calls, she interrupted me at a taco truck). We spoke, and she spoke highly of many people at my former place of employment. Due to this conversation, my view started to change, and when I arrived on campus for my interview, a coach came up to me to tell me that he had heard about me from a parent at his daycare. I was confused until I found out that my former president (who is a great person) knew that his granddaughter went to daycare with a child whose parent coached here. Again, a person who knew someone who knew someone went to bat for me. Treat people well, and they will do the same for you. Remember that your friends know people, but get to level two of your friends' friends, and you’ll increase your connections immensely.


4. I'm weak and need to train harder. Two people and two lessons smacked me hard this year. The first smack was when I read Pat Davidson’s Mass II. This program reminded me that I don't train very hard. Even Jim Wendler said that sometimes high-frequency squatting is good. So if you want to have some fun, check out Pat’s stuff.

The second time I was reminded of my own shortcomings was when I went to work with Casey Williams. Casey taught me and his gym showed me that I'm still weak and that I have a long way to go before I can call myself strong. Did I mention that I still don’t like Casey Williams?

5. My programming is very basic, and that's OK. I'm very lucky in my current position because I have a very young and very good staff. I inherited most of the staff and hired one current member. Most of them are much more complex with their programs than I am. The debates I hear about training are too deep for me at this point in my career.

Maybe I'm just good at not majoring in the minor, or maybe I'm better with the 80/20 rule. If you aren't aware of the 80/20 rule, it's simple. Spend 80 percent of your time with 20 percent of your clients. This is also referred to as the Pareto Principle. Just remember that majoring in the minor won't get you results.

These are just a few of the lessons that I've learned in 2018. I didn't really touch on my family life. I was reminded this year that my life is much more important than my career. I still love coming to work, and right now I'm giving up a lot of family time for my job, but I believe this will work out for the best. Remember — there isn't any such thing as work-life balance or free time. There is only time, so invest yours wisely and commit to your future.

WATCH: 2018 in Review