Doubt, Confidence, and Succeeding

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“You have been criticizing yourself for years, and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.” – Louise L. Hay

Five years ago I started training people to help them lose weight. Prior to getting the game started I had been sitting on my certification for six months. For nearly half a year I was a personal trainer to nobody. I didn’t even try to find a client to train nor did I even bother telling people I was a trainer. My confidence was non existent and I had no self-esteem regarding training. I also had some negative body image doubts that held me back. We all do. This happens to many people.

The lack of self-confidence and self-esteem in the world is devastating to goals, dreams, and action taking. Our doubts about our appearance, our ability, and our self worth hold back our true greatness. It stops us from achieving the highest of our potential. If you ever want to improve your life dramatically and take your achievement to a higher level, you need to push doubt aside and take the action.

Our fears are usually stronger than our confidence and esteem. This is why it’s so hard to take action. We think we lack the courage needed to push the envelope further, but the truth is, we are strong enough and we are courageous enough. The step forward we take will prove this.

You have to understand that failure is okay and that it happens. 2016 was a pretty big failure for me in terms of my goals. I fell hard in many areas of life and I let other things control my actions instead of owning it and grabbing the wheel. My attitude sank and my confidence was flushed down the toilet. But the fact that I notice it now is all I need to make sure I don’t let it happen again. I’m okay with my failure. I accepted it. Not that I wanted it to happen, but I knew it was possible and if I did fail, no big deal. Dust off the shirt and move forward.

Five years ago I wouldn’t have had the confidence to say that. I would have felt horrible and defeated and most likely would have quit. My successes were up and down and even though I was higher in the past than I am now, I know I can get there. The journey has increased my confidence, my esteem, and my attitude. When I wrote five books in two years I was on fire. The last two years that fire was suffocated by doubt, fear, laziness, anger, and mental exhaustion. Not a big deal. Back to square one and onward from here.

One of the reasons my confidence sunk was because I put what people said and believed above my own beliefs and values. I let negative thinkers, cowards, and people who disrespected me get the best of my emotions and feelings. It was a hard hit to the face followed by another to the gut. What I should have done was thanked them for what they said and did and removed the thought from my mind for good. We often get tied down by negative people, thinking, and energy. My energy balance was broken and the results showed.

In 2017, it’s not what you think. It’s not what my family thinks or what clients say or coaches say. It’s about what I believe, what I see and feel, and where I want to go. I am in control of my life. I’m confident I can take this to the next level and I’m confident you can level your life up as well. Close your eyes and visualize what it is you want to achieve. Once you open them, get to fucking work.

From Nothing to Something: Going from Rock Bottom to Living Activated

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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.

Will you?

Join us here for support and accountability in your journey to living your best life: Your Life Activated

Facing Reality

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Do you want to be happy and live the best life you can possibly live? You’re going to have to live in the truth of who you are and face reality. This means you’re going to have to take off your mask and stop hiding behind gimmicks and lies. Facing reality is needed for our success and well being. Take a stand now and face reality, face the truth, and be honest.

If we ever want to achieve our goals we’re going to have to understand the fact and face the reality that it is going to be hard. Some people don’t want to hear this. When I talk about weight loss and training, some people want to assume it’s going to be easy. They want to lose all of their extra weight, yesterday. They expect dieting to be easy. They expect the workouts to get easier. The expect the inches to fall off overnight. Then, when it comes to the work involved, they see it’s not easy.  Cooking healthy food takes time, waking up early for your workout is hard, and drinking enough water makes you need to use the bathroom nine times more than you used to, it’s hard.

We must face this reality and know what lies ahead of us. A great motivational speaker Les Brown once said “You’ve got to develop an appreciation for something that’s crucial if you want it, that it’s not going to be easy.” If I asked the men and women in the gym who lost over fifteen pounds in thirty days if it was easy what do you think they’d say? Hell no it wasn’t easy. It took discipline and commitment. It took energy and sacrifice.

The problem is many of us don’t want to face this reality. We want the Hollywood way. The commercial media way. The glitz, the glamour, and the convenience. I see young guys opening gyms and wondering why they’re not “crushing it” overnight. That’s because, it’s hard.

Facing reality is a shortcut to success. We must be critical of our goals and beliefs and look at what it’s actually going to take. Can we accomplish our goal with what we have, or are we going to need more? Can you really reach a goal of a strict pull-up if you’re not doing the work needed to be done to get there? No way.

It’s hard to talk about the difficulty you’re going to face when you want to reach a goal. Many people don’t expect it to be that hard. Many people do not want to hear that’s it’s going to be hard. It’s easier to sell someone a pill and tell them it’s going to help them lose ten pounds than it is to tell them losing weight is going to require discipline, energy, effort, planning, sacrifice, and redundancy. We don’t want to bleed, sweat, or cry.

Face reality today and understand it’s going to be hard and that you can do it, because you can do it. Remove the limitations you’ve set in your mind and see the true strength within you. Don’t allow yourself to go by without having the hard conversations and the difficult thoughts. There are many parts of life we choose to ignore or not be honest about. This is disaster and failure waiting in the background. Be honest with where you are, be honest with what you need to get the job done, and then be honest about doing it.

Yes, You Can

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Do you want to lose weight?

You can lose weight.

Do you want to earn more money?

You can earn more money.

Whatever it is that you want to accomplish in life is within your ability of doing so. You can travel the world. You can get season tickets to your favorite team’s games. You can quit your job and start that business you have been dreaming of. You can sell your house and scale down if that is what you want.

Whatever you want.. you can do, get, see, and live.

There is only one thing stopping you from achieving your wildest dreams and that is your own fear while not having a positive belief in yourself. Many people struggle with overcoming their fear. Napoleon Hill, author of the world’s most successful and highest selling self help book ever Think and Grow Rich, never published Outwitting the Devil while he was alive. He was afraid of criticism and thought he would get a negative response and ruin himself. It’s one of my favorite books.

In High School, I never tried to join the wrestling team. I wanted to, my friends wanted me to, and I enjoyed watching it. My fear of failure, fear of effort, fear of hard work, and fear of people laughing at me prevented me from ever trying. Today I practice Jiu Jitsu and had I wrestled, I’d be much better.

Our minds are our best friends and our greatest enemies. Our mind is capable of conceiving dreams, ideas, goals, solutions, and more. It is also capable of breeding in fear in reasons of why those dreams are stupid, why those ideas will never work, why those goals are outlandish, and how those solutions will result in failure.

But, you can make the right choice, every time. As a coach I have met my share of angry and bitter people. You can smell the anger and bitterness when they walk in the door. Each time I try to engage in positive and encouraging conversation, but those people are hard to crack. They’re stuck in their ways, stuck in their beliefs, and have something deep inside that is bothering them. They’re choosing to keep it in. Instead of accepting whatever trouble it may be, they stoke it with wood and feed their fire. They’re choosing to let it burn. I see this in people throughout life. Instead of choosing to find a solution and doing the work to overcome whatever roadblocks they face, they sit and dwell in fear and negative attitudes.

Most of the time, they don’t believe they can change, they don’t believe they can be happy, they don’t believe their life can be better. And so, they stay stuck and hold it in. Eventually this will manifest as dis-ease, wrinkles, grey hair, weight gain, depression, divorce, loneliness, and more. All because they think they can’t. The truth is, you can.

Ask for help, seek advice from a friend, a family member, or a professional. Notice what troubles your mind and then run towards that trouble and fix it. Accept the past for what it is and concentrate on making today better. Do your workout, write your story, eat your healthy food, go see that friend, make the changes you need to and don’t worry about failure or criticism or change. You can live your best life and you can live the activated life. Do it now.

Discipline

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What wakes you up early in the morning to get your workout in? What helps you stop at the gym on your way home from work instead of going home? What gives you the strength to drive straight past your favorite fast food restaurant and go home where you have healthier food? This power we all have inside of our will is one of the greatest strengths we have as human beings. The power of discipline is one of the strongest tools you have in your toolbox for success.

However, we struggle with building, using, and maintaining discipline in our lives. There are many things in life we should do and many we do that we shouldn’t. The lack of discipline in our lives allows weakness to creep in. A man or woman who is undisciplined with his or her health for years on end will have issues requiring medical attention. If you neglect your body, it will break down and you will get sick. If you neglect using your mind, growing your mind, and exercising your mind, it too will get sick and need medical attention.

Discipline is the path we must follow to create change and success in our life. If you are a religious person, it suits you well to be disciplined in attending service every week. If you want to be successful in finances, it suits you well to be disciplined in personal growth. There are many areas of life in which you’ll need to grow and the only way for that to occur, is disciplined effort.

Nothing will come to us easy and many people can’t accept that. Instead of doing the hard work, they quit. Inside they don’t want to, but they’re afraid and it’s easier to quit. We must work on developing discipline. It is hard but it’s a must. When I began my workout program to lose weight, I was sixty pounds overweight. I worked all day at a job that didn’t keep me awake and at the end of the day I just wanted to go home, but I knew that losing sixty pounds meant more to me than sitting on the couch for an extra hour. I drove straight to the gym right after instead of heading home. The gym was in the complete opposite direction and over twenty minutes away.

What it takes is a very personal look within your heart to see what makes you tick. If you truly do not care about life and longevity, exercise will not be a value to you no matter what you do. All of the effort to making change will do no good. This goes for everything in life. If you don’t value your children, you won’t be disciplined in making the time for them. If you don’t value your relationships, you won’t be disciplined in making time for your loved one.

If you want to lose twenty pounds but can’t find the reason for your lack of discipline, it’s time to go back to the planning book and figure out why you want to achieve those results. That reason, when valued strong enough, is all the fuel your efforts will need to be juiced up with discipline.

 

Why You Fail

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When someone fails at my gym, it’s a dagger to the heart. They might not know that I care but I want everyone to be a success. When somebody has a hard time, I want to help. However, we don’t ask for help. There is a silent struggle among us all. People are struggling with many different things in life behind closed doors and nobody ever knows, because we don’t ask for help.

A big part of why you fail is not asking for help. Either we assume we know the answers or we try to find the answers ourselves. Part of my problem is I don’t like to bother people. Asking someone for help, to me, is like asking someone to drop everything and attend to my needs. I can’t do this easily. Why should they help me when they have their own life, their own journey, their own struggle?

But not asking for help will bring failure. We can’t do everything alone. When we’re sick and our efforts to rest and take medicine do not work, we ask our doctor for something stronger, or we ask “what’s wrong?” We get the help we need to feel better. When our cars break down and we can’t figure out why, we get it towed to the service center. We ask them “What’s wrong?” and they help us. When our plumbing breaks and we can’t fix it ourselves, we call a plumber and have them come out. We ask them “What’s wrong?”.

It’s different though when it’s us that needs fixing. We can’t just ask our friends or family “what’s wrong with me?”. But the truth is, we should. We need to. It’s important to ask. We won’t solve our problems or get answers to our important questions if we keep them to ourselves.

Failure is an effort that comes up short, and like I said the other day, it’s not failure if we don’t stop trying. Most of the time, trying again is going to require we ask somebody for help. Why can’t I get my website to work the way I want it to? We ask google. Why not ask your brother or sister who works in the IT department at a major corporation? Why can’t I lose weight? We ask google and get a billion responses. Why not ask your brother or sister or friend who is a personal trainer, a doctor, or a nutritionist?

If you want to succeed you’re going to need to ask people you know for help. You’ll have to spend money with a coach or a service of some sort. You’ll need to invest in yourself. You’ll need to spend time with other people who are there helping you, and then not feel bad about it. Like in the Godfather, Bonasera asks for a favor. He needs help. He goes to his friend and asks for it. He doesn’t care that it’s the Don’s daughters wedding day. He asks. And Bonasera gets his help and the Don knows that one day, the favor will be returned. That is how you succeed. You help someone, and they help you. When you ask.

You can’t do it alone. Stop trying and ask.

5 Ways To Boost Your Confidence

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I remember the three or four months at the end of last year where I was getting crushed in my Jiu Jitsu training. I went those four months without tapping anyone out. I was getting put into submission after submission and I was always on my back. Not a good place to be when rolling and it began to discourage me. I would see guys that started the same time as me getting taps and they looked confident.

Those same guys would run through me like a hot knife in butter and no matter what I did, I was still losing. Going for a few months without any “little wins” was very hard and in my time as a personal trainer, many people who go that long without a little win end up quitting. They lose confidence in their ability and they don’t want to fail anymore.

Instead of quitting I enjoyed the process. I knew that as a white belt and a “newbie” it was part of my journey to get crushed and destroyed. So what did I do? I listened to every piece of advice my coaches gave me and I put them into action. Ninety percent of the time my efforts in doing what they told were curtailed by my training partner, but nonetheless, I kept at it.

One day, I won. I got a beautifully executed rear naked choke against a training partner with high energy and a lot of skill. My confidence shot through the roof.

Sometimes though, our confidence doesn’t go up and despite our efforts it seems we stay stuck. The truth is, we can change our state and our confidence in a split second when we consciously choose to. Below I give you five tips to help you boost your confidence. I use these five tips still to this day. Boosting confidence is something we must do daily because staying “up” doesn’t happen effortlessly.

1. Use Affirmations for your Greatness

If you’ve ever read any books or listened to any tapes from Louise Hay you’ll know some powerful affirmations. I have on my iPhone six audios from Louise Hay and listen to them daily. Her affirmations are some of the best I ever read. You can quickly google them and see thousands of pictures of powerful affirmations she teaches and uses. But you can’t expect to say them once or twice and be good. They need to be repeated thousands of times and if you don’t believe you are or have what the affirmation says, keep saying it anyway.

2. Do an extra workout

Feeling down? Feel discouraged? Jump up and down and get your body moving. When we feel a lack of confidence, a quick ten or twenty minute workout can change a lot of things for your mindset. Exercise is powerful in helping your emotions and feelings. Often when someone is discouraged due to the lack of their results in weight loss, an extra workout can change the game for them. Even though you feel discouraged and feel like quitting, do one more before you make a rash decision.

3. Write a Journal about Your Greatness

Grab a notebook and write all of the awesome things about you. Write about your dreams, your goals, what you see for yourself in the future and what you wish you can do today. Write your fantasies and write your problems. Write about your lack of confidence. Write a story about how you’re a badass warrior forced to face your confidence villain in an ultimate battle of control. Write about the weapon your warrior is going to use to slay the confidence villain and then kick the shit out of your doubts.

4. Read A War Story

I started listening to the Jocko Podcast and during the episodes he often reads from a book written by a solider about war. The epic stories of loss, devastation, crippling effects, and effort are so powerful they make all of your problems and doubts look tiny. There is no better way to put your life in perspective then by hearing the stories of men and women losing friends and fellow soldiers in battle. The hardships they faced in the trenches and being able to survive can motivate you to look at weight loss or whatever it is you face as a tiny matter that you’ll easily win.

5. Treat Yourself to YOU Time

For me, Jiu Jitsu is me time. It’s my time to forget about being a father, a husband, and fitness coach. It’s my time to forget about bills, to forget about cutting the grass, to forget about my problems with writer’s block, to forget about my problems with my strength workouts, and to forget about being someone people look to for answers. It’s my time to overcome my demons and train my mind to be better. Find yourself time to do something for yourself. That could flotation, meditation, yoga, a shopping trip, a trip to your favorite bar, a bite to eat at your favorite diner. Whatever it is, treat yourself to it and tell yourself that not only do you deserve it but that you earned it and by doing it you’ll become better. When you understand that treating yourself to you time is deserved and earned, being present in those moments will help you become more confident to face your daily life.

One more for good luck and if all else fails in boosting your confidence..

Throw a party at your house and invite the people you love. You don’t need a reason, just say it’s to come hang out and relax. Once you throw your party, look at who is there. Those people care about you. They came to be with YOU. If that doesn’t boost your confidence then you’re not allowing yourself to see your true greatness and you’re not being open to the awesome things that make YOU who YOU are.

Jiu Jitsu

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Last summer, in late July or early August, I embarked on a new journey. I entered into a brand new world to me but a world with a storied and celebrated history. I enter a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school for the first time. Nervously I sat waiting in my car, afraid of what I was getting into. As a gym owner, I thought I knew how people felt when they first came to our gym. The nerves, the anxiety, the fear. Problem was, I had no clue how they felt, until I put myself in their shoes. As I sat in the parking lot I anxiously went over all possible scenarios of what I believed was going to occur.

Jiu-Jitsu is at the root of it, a self-defense martial art. For a long time it has also been used in combat sports and in tournaments of it’s own kind. Millions of people throughout the world are participating daily in Jiu-Jitsu practice. The sport, the art, was popularized by the historic Gracie family in Brazil. Hence the reason it is vastly known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, there are other types (Jujutsu) and it originated in Japan from the basics of Judo ground fighting. Jujutsu itself is said to have been created in Japan as an art in close combat against an armed person when one is unarmed.

Throughout the world you can find Jiu Jitsu schools where men and women and even children of all types are practicing daily. Some come to learn, some come to sweat, some to lose weight, while others come to fight. For me, the reason I chose to start Jiu Jitsu was to find an outlet for my primal energy and a way to silence, or in the least tame, my monkey mind. Being an owner of a gym, in which I train the majority of the members, is hard on my energy outlet. People come every day to learn and to exercise so they can feel better. However, this left me drained. Add into it the fact that I am a stay at home father to two very young children, my mind felt like mud and I needed some valuable me time. After talking to a few people I knew about the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, there was no question I had to try.

Since that first day I have fallen in love with the martial art. It is hard. It is physical and it takes a lot of patience. One reason I fell quickly in love with the art is the fact that it is a lifelong adventure. There is no black belt in a few years. For me, it will take closer to fifteen or twenty until I get there. The person I have become after only one year of training is a light year away from where I was when I started. My mindset has improved. I am stronger. I am in better shape and my skills have increased greatly. Jiu Jitsu has given me a way to see that I am not at my best and the journey to living my best life and being fully activated will continue until I pass from this lifetime. There will always be room for improvement, whether it’s on the mat, in my business, as a husband or as a father. As the great Tony Robbins would say, “we either grow, or die”. I chose this journey to grow.

How Giving Energy Affects My Mind and Body

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Some days you wake up and you’re ready to tackle the world. The feet hit the ground fast, the alarm is off after the first alert instead of six snoozes, and your eyes are opened wide. The energy is flowing through your shoulders, your chest, your core, and finally through your legs and feet. You feel invincible. These days are special because they’re days you feel happy and get the best work done. You cherish these moments because you’re not sure the next time you’ll wake up feeling so good.

Other days are a disaster as soon as the alarm beeps for the first time. The forty five minutes of extra alerts you have set go off and you don’t give a shit. You don’t want to open your eyes and the inner dialogue goes something like this “Fuck this. I don’t want to get up. Why do I have to get up? Fuck this.” It’s a struggle and you know it. People who don’t understand or experience this think “What’s the matter cupcake? Suck it up buttercup.” But to you, it’s a battle that’s going to take every ounce of energy within. These days you don’t want to look at people. You don’t smile. You don’t feel motivated. You just want to fall and not get up.

As a business owner, a generally positive person, and a self motivated man, I experience exactly what I wrote above. Some days are awesome and some days I wish I didn’t have to leave my bedroom. Some days being a stay at home father are the greatest days ever and an absolute joy and other days I feel like running away. I go through ups and downs and it affects everything in my life. Some months business is good and others, when I’m down, it sucks. There are days when I run classes and I am on fire and super positive. There are also days when I don’t want to be there or look at anyone in class. During the down days I’ll listen to positive affirmation tapes on the way to the gym but often, it doesn’t help. I use techniques I learned from Tony Robbins about changing my state, and it doesn’t help. I just do my best to make sure everyone enjoys their workout.

Some days you can’t peel me off the couch. I simply do not want to get up. Other days I get massive amounts of work done. Some days I’m super nice to my wife and others, she hates my guts because I’m an asshole. I’m not the only one who goes through this and there are many business owners I know who feel the same way. Is it the stress, the work that needs to be done, or the unknown about future business? In my opinion, it’s energy.

Inside of each of us there is energy that we have that fuels our life. Introverts often use their energy up faster than extroverts and they each recharge their energy in different ways. Introverts recharge by being alone and in solitude (I am an introvert). Extroverts recharge by being with other people and doing things. But when you are a person who has many people looking to you for knowledge, love, direction, motivation, purpose, passion, and energy, it’s a different story.

Imagine yourself, if you’re in the position of having many people’s eyes on you, as an outlet in the wall. You get your energy from the battery that nobody sees. It’s tucked behind the wall and it runs from solar power. Each day the cells from the solar panels recharge the energy (Being alone, meditating, exercising, therapy, etc). People, whether they’re clients, kids, a spouse, or friends and family all plug into your sockets. They need energy to refuel their motivation, or their love, or their passion, or their direction, and you are the one they have chosen as that source. It’s a huge responsibility. Picture a power plant and everything that goes on in the daily operations. Millions of people, their homes, refrigerators, and more are depending on the plants ability to provide their needs. When you are a chosen one, it’s extremely difficult to maintain a high energy level. You need to recharge and often, it doesn’t happen fast enough.

Part of my problem with being up and down is that I generally do not get a long enough break to recharge my power. I do very well when I am alone, with quiet, and can relax. I say no when I should say yes, but if I did say yes I’d create more leaks of valuable energy. One place I recharge my energy is at Sakura Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Dover. I find the physical nature of Jiu Jitsu and the challenging tasks we face in each class as a great way to recharge my energy. Why? I plug in to an outlet of energy. Nobody is plugged into my outlet and my battery is draining of the stored energy. I’m connected to a source of energy entirely separate from my power plant. This is why people come to exercise at Activate Fitness. They unplug and connect to me, giving their power plants a rest.

We all are givers and receivers of energy and it is in the recharging our own personal energy that will make our lives the best they can be. If you don’t recharge with clean burning fuel, the downs you experience will be the most significant part of your life. Clean fuel is exercise, healthy eating, meditation, floatation, ice baths, Epson salt baths, grounding in nature, camping, hiking, and anything with complete solitude. The way we operate is directly related to our energy levels and how those energy levels are is related directly to how much time you have to recharge yourself.

The more plugs in our sockets, the more energy we give away. Failing to recover and recharge will drain your soul energy and cause you to wear out faster than normal people do. Burn out in entrepreneurs and high level jobs (and parenthood) is very common because we forget to recharge. We must learn how to say NO and be okay with that. It’s not selfish, it’s vital for health. If someone were to say it’s selfish, they are the one being selfish. They want your energy and can’t appreciate the fact that you need to recover. Learn how to recharge your energy and make it a priority. This is a major problem in my life that I am working on. As a stay at home dad, a husband, and a business owner it’s hard for me to find time that I spend alone. Looking back through the past year or two with the fluctuations in my energy, I can see that I haven’t given myself enough time to recharge. I completely believe in the saying “Put your own mask on first” and in order to fully live activated and awake and alive, I must do such. We all must put our masks on first. Without doing so, we’ll never be able to give of ourselves completely.

Find time in your life to do what you need to do to be activated and your best. Remember, it’s okay to say NO. Actually it’s vital to your happiness and well being.

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.