World Record Holder Stephen Miller: Building Americans’ Strength, Faith, and Balance
Stephen Miller was just 8 years old when he experienced his first life changing moment. He vividly remembers when he and his dad volunteered for a work day with their church, and what his father- a Special Forces veteran – did that stunned everyone there.
He remembers watching one man using a flatbed truck to back into the first of over 20 telephone poles, connected by three strands of barbed wire, surrounding the property. Again and again he hit that pole until it was loose enough to be dragged out on a chain.
Working together, it took about 25 minutes for each pole to be pulled from the ground.
Stephen’s dad finally had enough. No way, said Stephen, was his dad going to spend an entire day on a job that could be done in 20 minutes.
From his position at the hot chocolate and donut table, Stephen had a clear view of what his dad did next. His voice still registers awe and disbelief as he shares the story.
A guttural scream stopped everyone in their tracks. It was the kind of scream, says Stephen, “..that raised the hair on your neck.”
As everyone stared in disbelief of their own, his dad wrapped his arms around a pole that had not yet been touched by the truck. He squeezed it into his chest with only a towel as a barrier between his flesh and the splintery wood, and ripped that pole right out of the ground using nothing but his own brute strength.
Pandemonium erupted. Cheers rang out, and his father was just getting started.
One by one his dad ripped each pole out of the ground in the same way. It was a legendary feat that even an 8 year old child recognized as such. Even as Stephen was still processing what he’d just witnessed, his dad walked over to him. He pulled Stephen in close as he plucked splinters from his arms and said to his son.Don’t you ever forget, dynamite comes in small packages. – Stephen MillerClick To Tweet
Those words impacted Stephen as much as the superhuman feat of strength he’d just seen.
“It only took him 8 seconds to day that,” says Stephen, “but literally, that is what set the trajectory for my life.
It wasn’t just about his dad- who was not a tall man – displaying such massive physical strength. It was also about his “modest confidence,” as Stephen refers to it. By that he means an “off-the-chart confidence” that is devoid of any boastfulness.
From that moment on, Stephen Miller knew he was born to be strong, too.
Like his dad, he is not the biggest man around. But he grew to excel in sports, anyway. His appetite for pushing himself grew and he moved into martial arts. Martial Arts then led him to Taekwondo. Still, Stephen’s aggression was too much for even that aggressive sport.
He was continually disqualified for violating the boundaries of the sport, which frustrated him more. He wasn’t angrily aggressive, he says. He was just extremely intense, and would get lost in the physicality of it all.
His path took another turn when his promoter turned him on to MMA fighting. Stephen immediately checked it out and found the sport he was most perfectly suited for.
He entered that arena with two world records in hand, so he was never matched with anyone his size.
Instead, he was up against the toughest of the tough. It was the first time he felt truly challenged, and he knew he needed help. That’s when he hired a mentor, who saw an even greater strength in Stephen than he saw in himself.
His mentor introduced Stephen to more than physical techniques to excel in MMA; he took Stephen into the world of strong man performance.
Prisons, church groups, and schools became a new outlet for Stephen. From those stages he was able to develop a platform that became a testament to more than brute strength and athletic ability. Even as Stephen grew to become known as “The Giant Killer” in the world of MMA, he stepped into his calling to lead others.
He’d always served in some sort of leadership role, beginning as a youth pastor while coming up in sports. But now Stephen was able to fully follow through on his own belief system and the guidance his father gave him years ago.
“All the world loves a strong man.” It’s an old saying, says Stephen, but it was new to him when his dad used it as a starting point for some of the wisdom he shared next. Spending your life on something that will live longer than you, said his dad, is important. Otherwise all will have been wasted.
“He was talking about mentorship,” says Strongman Stephen Miller.
He took that advice to heart and has been using his platform for years to mentor and lead other men along their own paths. He’s written books and toured the country speaking from stage. He’s become a men’s pastor and is planning the Adullum Experience, a 4 day event for men that is a cross between SEAL training and a spiritual metamorphosis, and which he is excited to see come to life.
Stephen Miller is a man at ease with himself and with an unassuming pride in his own path. But none of his own achievements matter as much to him, as the fact that his son now walks that path alongside him.
Stephen Miller II, now joins Stephen in his work. Stephen Senior laughs as he recalls how his son shunned the world of gyms and strength training in his youth. But then he turns somber when he shares his son’s freak, near-death experience from which he miraculously emerged in perfect health. That was his son’s own “dynamite moment” as Stephen refers to those events that alter the trajectory of a person’s life. His own happened that day he was 8 years old. His son’s took a different shape but had the same level of impact.
Together, the father-son team shocks and awes audiences everywhere first with superhuman feats of strength, and then with the powerful punch of insight and inspiration they follow up with.
“There will always be people following you, so make sure you lead them in the right direction.”
Those are some of the words his father spoke to him long ago, and which he lives by today.