Putting My Own Mask On First

 

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Driving down to the Jersey Shore is always a great time. The fact that you’re headed down to the water in itself is enough to relax the tense muscles of the neck, the shoulders, and the face. This past weekend I spent a few days around the Red Bank area with a bunch of men who help me grow, who help each other grow, both professionally and personally. Before I made the trip I was severely stressed out and filled with anxiety. The past few months have been taxing, even though I spent more time on vacation than I ever have. My mindset was drifting more and more into the negative state and my actions showed. My personal energy was faltering and I was losing control of so much.

On the way down I was listening to a podcast and Ryan Holiday, the guest of Lewis Howes, said something that struck a nerve in me and made me question why I was so closed down in my feelings and thoughts. He talked about a eulogy James Baldwin gave in which he said “Thou knowest the man, thou knowest not his wrestling.” That quote really moved me and broke down a barrier of defense I was using as a shield from the truth. The seminar I attended was just what I needed at this point in my life. Paul Reddick who runs the Sack Summit said the day I first met him, “all progress starts with the truth.” and I understood that but never applied it. I was scared. I am afraid of letting people know the wrestling I do.

As the meeting unfolded, my emotions began to shake and life was brought into a perspective. I felt my barriers and the walls I have built begin to crumble. The guys I was with I have known for many years and I never once shared what was really going on in my mind and my life. As we sat in small groups in which our task was to help each other grow as men, my shoulders tensed, my heart sunk, my nerves began to shatter. It was time I put my own mask on first, and I did.

Leading up to the split into groups I was thinking about the question I needed help with most in my business. I wanted to learn steps to help Activate Fitness grow and was ready to fire off an easy question. I was afraid of opening myself, my real self to those men who I sincerely trust and love. The time came for me to ask my question and as I looked around the table I knew these guys were here for me and would not judge me. I knew they were filled with love and ready to help me in any way I needed.

“Fuck it” I said, and broke the walls. I released a massive amount of tension that was building in my neck, my shoulders, my waist, my hips, and I let those men in on the truest feeling going on inside. Instantly I felt a wave of release and relief. They accepted my question and offered advice they would only hope to receive if faced with a similar situation.

Nothing changes if nothing changes and had I not put my own mask on first and asked for the help I deeply needed, nothing would have changed and I’d still be stuck right where I was, hiding behind the truth with no progress.

When I heard the quote of not knowing the man’s wrestling I began to think about all of the people in my life. My family, my friends, the people who trust me to help them and I understood clearly that I know nothing of what each battles and the only thing I can do is give. I can give of myself with love, caring, and understanding. I am very grateful that this trip was taken at the perfect moment and grateful that now I have cleared away the jungle hiding my trueness, for now I can fully give of myself in the way I was intended for.

We all face obstacles in life and another quote I heard is “obstacles are not in the way, but they are the way”, and when we are faced with obstacles in which we feel we can’t overcome, there is a way to climb over them or break through them and to grow from the journey and the fight of making it through.

The wrestling going on within is not a fight you need to take alone and there are people who you love and trust that are willing to listen and be there for you. Put your own mask on first and seek their guidance. The weight it will take off your shoulders will clear the path and show you the way through. Thank you Isaac, Jedd, Adam, Christian, and Pete.

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