If we go back just ten years ago my life was very different from what it is now. Ten years ago I was hiding from the world around me. I literally was hiding from the law over a traffic violation that I failed to pay, which led to a warrant. I was young and afraid. The real world in front of me was a scary place and I had no clue how to deal with it and make it in a world of sharks and lions. I was terrified of trying and therefore, I hid. Unfortunately this did nothing good for my life and I ended up being homeless. At one point I delightfully gave up all of my possessions and moved forward with the clothes on my back and maybe ten other items.
Drifting through life with no plan was the order of the day and most of the time I was under the influence. Much of my time was spent like a hermit. I hardly went out, I had few friends, I didn’t care for my appearance or health, and I was broke. For awhile I was coasting through a shitty job as a lighting salesman slash stock boy slash driver slash cleaner. The job actually wasn’t shitty, but I would have rather been partying with my friends hiding from people. But I did what I had to do. Once I lost that job because of my lack of caring about anything, I was broke. I couldn’t afford food, I couldn’t afford car or health insurance, and I couldn’t afford a place to live. A few months was spent squatting in my Grandmother’s house that was for sale. I stayed until the last possible day. The heat was turned off and I slept on the hard floor with a sleeping bag I had from my days camping.
Once I was forced to leave because the sale of the home was finalized, I had nowhere to go. Twelve or so days was spent hanging out at my friend’s house on his recliner. His parents had no idea I was sleeping there. Once they found out, I was toast. A few nights were spent sleeping under a bridge and I came to a point of life or death. Do I march forward or quit like a whiny ass punk? Luckily I decided to move forward and caught a break when my Aunt allowed me to stay in her home.
Within a few days I got a job as a landscaper, doing mostly hardscaping work. Which for those who don’t know is the construction of paver patios, walkways, retaining walls, and such. It was hard work but looking back now, I miss it. Being outside in the hot sun working your ass off, sweating like a pig, lifting heavy objects for ten or twelve hours a day was brutal, but it built character and I never felt better. I was doing exactly what our biological DNA is built for. Working with your hands and heavy objects and the weather around you is good for the soul. Sure it sucked when it was a hundred degrees, but the ice cold beer and steak dinner afterwards always sat nice.
About a year of doing this while pretending I was a licensed driver, it was suspended because I failed to appear in court, it was time to face reality. I couldn’t keeping hiding and had to address the law. Thankfully, it was silly and the prosecutor actually laughed about it. My warrant was dismissed and I received a fifty or sixty dollar fine. That was a brutal lesson on why it’s important to get the job done right away and to face my unrealistic and blown out of proportion fears.
Once I got my license back and a car I started working for my mother. For quite awhile I enjoyed the air conditioning, the heat, the convenience of a kitchen and bathroom, and sitting by a computer. That quickly changed when I realized my primal nature was to be active and not sitting all day. I started to get a little stir crazy, even though I wouldn’t accept to believe it.
During my time as a medical biller I met my now wife and we quickly hit it off, got married, and bought a house. All while I wasn’t ready for any of it. Coming from what I went through in the previous years before meeting her, I wasn’t ready to be the man of the house, let alone have a house. But like the day I left my Grandmother’s house to become homeless, I rolled with it and went to work. As life as a new homeowner and married man unfolded I began to realize I wasn’t happy about my work. I didn’t want to be there but knew I had to be. I also knew there was more in store for me and more I can share with others, I had to figure it out.
So I spent most of the first year as a newly wed new homeowner working on becoming a personal trainer. I wanted to help people get in shape. For the past two years I was working out and lost about sixty pounds of fat. I thought I knew what I was doing and wanted a way out of the office and into a world of my “own thing” being my own boss.
Here’s the thing about training and having my own business… I knew nothing. I thought I knew everything but I quickly became aware of the fact that I was in for a big surprise. Through my focused efforts and intense studying I received my personal trainers certification and then promptly hid the fact, out of foolish fear, that I was a trainer. For several months I did nothing about. Finally after some pep talking from my wife, I decided to give it a go and offered my services as a personal trainer for free.
Now this was about five years ago from today. When I first started Activate Fitness, I was scared shitless. I was afraid of the other trainers in town, I was afraid of internet trainers, I was afraid I didn’t have the skills and knowledge to get the job done right. I was afraid of gym owners in a twenty mile radius. I absolutely did not want to take action on my dream. I was frozen in place and had zero dollars to make something from nothing.
But I said FUCK THAT and ultimately took control of my life and destiny and decided to do it anyway. Starting out training others for free or for five dollars is how I had to get things going. It took years for me to finally be able to open my own gym and when I did, I was just as broke as I was when I started. My wife was pregnant and we had no money to lose but we took the risk and I threw myself in the middle of the street, ready to help people change their lives.
I stood there in the arena and took my bumps and my bruises and kept coming back fighting. I failed hundreds of times during my years of owning Activate Fitness. I worked through competition opening all over the place and kept my vision pointed straight ahead, success or die. There is no room for failure. It’s do it or lose it. Mornings came when I said Fuck it and wanted to quit. I waited patiently and silently begging for my wife to throw in the towel on my dream and bring me back to safety. I cried because of the stress of dealing with others. I cried because the numbers weren’t good. I cried because I missed precious time with my family and neglected them, especially my wife, for years.
They can stab me with their sword and dare to declare victory but with courage and hope I won’t stop. I choose to live my life activated. I choose to live awake and alive. I choose to be the one in control and refuse to let others control my life, my way of being, my destiny. I stand here today a man who has seen rock bottom but a man who also braved battle and decided winning was the only option. I refuse to lose. I will not lose.
You can choose to live life activated.
You can choose to take control of your life.
You can choose to chase your dreams and gear up for the war you’ll definitely face.
You can choose to wake up and live awake and alive.
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