I’ve Been Lying To Myself For Too Long

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You could see it in my posture. If you talked to me in person, you could tell. My shoulders were slumped, my face tense, and my eyes avoiding any sort of eye contact with anyone. It was reflected in my writing, or lack of writing, and it seeped into my business. My workouts were suffering, my diet was full of junk food and candy, and I made no positive moves for life and business. I was stuck and scared and I lied to everyone, including myself.

I’m a member of a mastermind for my personal and professional growth. I’ve been a part of the same group of men for nearly three years, maybe more I just can’t remember. I know these men. I believe in them, they believe in me and I trust them. But for too long now I’ve been lying through my teeth. Every few months we get together and talk business and life and what’s going on in the fitness industry, and how our families are doing. We usually each get up in front of the group and discuss a problem or opportunity or decision we need help with. Up until the most recent weekend with the guys, I ducked out of the last two meetings when it was getting close to my turn to be in front of the guys. I sincerely apologize for my lack of effort to help each other, but I couldn’t stand there and lie anymore. Instead, I ran.

See, the thing is, I was afraid of talking about the problems and opportunities that would actually matter. Things that would make more change than anything else. I didn’t need advice on coaching or gym scheduling or running new programs. I needed advice on how to get unstuck and out of my own head. For almost the entire year of 2015 I was drifting through my day with no passion and far from my purpose. This lack of initiative seeped into this year and has stuck with me like an infant Elephant. The force of being stuck and caught in my head was enough to set me back far in business, family, and more. I didn’t want to lie and I couldn’t gather up the guts to speak the truth.

Then I did. This past weekend I cut out the bullshit and bled on the table for the guys to see. I talked about my struggles with being a stay at home dad. I talked about the struggles of waking up so early every single day. I talked about my bullshit made up story of “writer’s block” and I let them know I needed help to overcome myself and get out of the quicksand that was slowly sinking me into a dark depression.

What I realized is that my tendency to hide my true thoughts and feelings is not healthy and in order to ever change, I needed to share that. We all need to share it. Keeping feelings and thoughts inside creates stress and tension and it will build up and either kill your health or make major problems in life. I was going through the motions wearing a smile on my face like shit was good. It wasn’t and I’m happy to honestly say that and to even be sharing it here. Today, I feel different. I feel awake and alive for the first time in several years. I’m finally writing again. I feel like I’m living my life activated, as I teach and write about it and my energy is through the roof.

I don’t know where to put my finger on the change but there are two things you need to know:

1. You need to be with people just like you. If you’re a man, you need time with men. If you’re a woman, you need time with other women. You need to use that time to talk about what ever the fuck you want. You just need to be recharged within the presence of people who are like you. Get together a group of men and bring up a problem and together, they will find an answer. I’m not sure if that works for women, but I assume so.

2. You need to open yourself up and let other people help you. We’re all stuck in our heads. We live in a society where it’s hard to say you’re not happy or that you need help. It’s hard to talk about sex or money or our dreams and goals, but we need to sack up and be the person we were meant to be. Without opening ourselves to others and ASKING for HELP, we will never live our life truly activated. Never.

#AllProgressStartsWithTheTruth

Reminders For Living An Activated Life

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As the day unfolds you’ll be pulled in many directions. Maintaining a vision for the outcomes you desire will help you steer your ship in the direction towards the end result. There will be people who need you. Be there for them. But make time for yourself and be sure to always put your own mask on first. There are many responsibilities to face each day and you must do them with purpose, honesty, and integrity. Do not kid yourself and lie to yourself. You must remain honest, even when that honesty hurts and creates emotional situations. You’ll never get anywhere in life if you’re not being honest about your thoughts, actions, beliefs, and feelings. Each day you are the captain of your ship and you can either do what’s needed for an activated life or you don’t. Each choice is entirely your own and each decision has a result. Choose wisely. Accept failure as part of the journey as well. Do not be discouraged by failure. Use it as a tool to learn and to improve.

Here are your reminders for living an activated life.

- Be Disciplined in everything you do.

Whether it’s your workouts, your work, or your family. Be disciplined to get the job done.

- Meditate

Do not go too long without being alone in solitude to meditate on your day and life. Always make room and be disciplined with it.

- Work Hard each day

In your workouts, in your jiu jitsu, for your wife and your kids. Work hard in all aspects of life.

- Exercise

Do not go many days in a row without sweating and exercising. For your mind and body exercise is a drug. Use it to fuel your passion and align your thinking. Your health depends on how you treat your body. Discipline yourself to stay committed.

- Eat Healthy Foods

Sure you like chips and salsa and good craft beer. It’s okay to enjoy the fruits of your labor and unwind with snacks and beer, but discipline yourself to maintain a healthy nutritional plan for ninety percent of your days. Eat greens every day. Eat fruits every day. Enjoy fat and meat. Reduce as much added sugar as possible.

- Love your family

Above all else in your daily routine, love your family and show it. Be there for your kids. Listen well to your wife. Make time to spend with them quietly and enjoy time away from routine. Family is always first. Work, friends, hobbies come after. Family is everything.

- Be Prepared

Like your hike in the mountains, you brought a snake bite kit and saw a deadly venomous snake. You were prepared. Be prepared for anything to happen and make sure your family is as well. Prepare yourself for the day. Prepare yourself for your nutrition. Maintain discipline to always have what’s needed.

- Be Simple with your things

You don’t need fancy toys. You never enjoy them and there are more important things in your life. Be simple with your purchases and take care of them. Know how to fix things like you did your furnace. Do not spend more than you make. Discipline yourself and practice the minimalist way.

- Practice Jiu Jitsu

Always make time to practice your art of choice. You feel better after a good session. You learn and quiet your mind. You meditate and release monkey energy. Jiu Jitsu changed your life. Honor that.

- Write Daily

Writing is a meditative tool for you. You release many thoughts in your introverted mind and get them on paper. This is good. Continue to do so and be disciplined with it. Even on vacations. Practice each day and reach your goal of five hundred words a day.

- Keep Working To Improve Your Sleep

You’ll only be as healthy and activated as possible if you sleep well. For years you have sacrificed sleep to help others. It’s time to put your mask on first and do what’s best for your mind, heart, and body. You’re a better person when you sleep enough. You never operate at your best when you lack sleep. Keep practicing and working hard to make more time.

- Read daily

Reading is a meditative tool but it’s also important for your growth as a person. Living an activated life requires a commitment to learning. The best place for you to learn right now is through the books on your shelf. Make time every day to relentlessly read.

- Share Your Wisdom

What good is learning and understanding something if you don’t share it? You are here to help others. Share the things you learn through your reading, writing, experience, and meditations.

- Guide Your Kids

You know what’s it like to hit rock bottom and you know what it’s like to pick yourself up. You learned from mistakes you’ve made and right decisions you’ve made. Guide your kids with your wisdom of experience but do not push.

- Enjoy Your Life

Have fun with friends and family. Throw parties. Go to parties. Make time for the outdoors or sporting events. Have a picnic with your family. Throw a surprise party for a friend or loved one. Have fun every day and laugh. Go to a comedy show or rock concert. Enjoy life.

- Live the lifestyle of a Warrior

And continue to study the art of warriors.

- Show Your Gratitude

Journal your appreciation for the good and simple things in life, as well as the trials and tribulations. Make time to write each day what you are grateful for.

- Set Goals and Dream

Be disciplined in each day to reach the goals you envision. Dream on and dream always as dreams are what creates reality when you apply action. Never say it’s impossible, you never know what can happen with effort.

 

My Thoughts on What It Takes to Lose 50 Pounds in 6 Months.

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There are very few people who can pull off dramatic results. Like Tom who once lost 28 pounds in less than 30 days at Activate Fitness, or Deanna who lost over 50 pounds over her span of time at the gym. Debbie lost over 40 pounds in seven months and is headed to break the all time weight loss record for women at Activate Fitness. The truth is, to get results like this you need to be dedicated to not giving up. If you stick to the program, follow the guidelines, and try, you will get these results. Anybody can do. We can all talk about doing it, but it only happens when we get to work.

Here are a few steps to take to lose 50 Pounds in 6 Months.

*Note: Not everyone can get these results. Going at it fifty percent will not get you to 50 pounds lost in 6 months. Going at it seventy five percent won’t either. You need to be committed and follow a good nutrition program, consistently exercise, stay hydrated, and sleep. If you’re a hundred and thirty pounds, shooting for fifty isn’t possible, but following this advice will help you reach your body’s ideal weight.

Let’s start with the obvious. Nutrition. In order for someone to get great weight loss results they need to have a solid nutrition program and follow it. Eating lean cuisines and weight watcher gimmick foods won’t help you. You need to eat real quality foods. Stuff like broccoli, chicken, asparagus, salads, nuts, and lean meats. The best thing to do is start by eliminating added sugars. Do not be fooled by processed foods that use taglines and gimmicks that say “organic and all-nautral”. Sure it’s organic, but it’s still processed with added sugar. Many companies hide the sugar under different names like Agave Nectar or Honey or Organic Cane Sugar. These foods need to be tossed.

A good nutrition plan has very few basic foods. You can say it’s boring, but the goal is to lose fifty pounds right? Good quality foods and a good nutrition program will have foods you eat nearly every day. This is good. By using recipes and spices you can mix it up and you can also cook them differently. Grilled chicken is a lot different than baked chicken. Steamed broccoli is very different from roasted broccoli.

The few basic foods you should eat are simple: Greens, Fruits, Other vegetables, Lean meats, nuts, seeds, butters, and fish. There are many different combinations you can create and quality healthy food is freaking delicious. Maintain a ninety percent compliance to healthy foods and enjoy some time and meals with friends and family. In my opinion, I wouldn’t have cheat meals unless I earned them. Working out once or twice a week and picking at snack foods or larger portions is not earning a cheat meal. Be disciplined.

Once you clear your nutrition out and replace it with foods that grow out of the ground, foods that walk, swim, and fly, then you need to focus on sleep. If you’re sleeping four to six hours a night, things are going to be difficult. Your body works very hard during sleep to make you healthier and combined with good nutrition and exercise, sleep will help you burn a lot of fat. You should be focusing on seven to nine hours and improving the quality of the sleep you get. Using a sleep mask is great. Turning off electronics an hour before bed is also a great way to improve the quality of whatever sleep you get. Keep the room temperature cooler than the whole house. Use a fan. Eliminate blue light. This is very hard for new parents who have monitors and people (like me) who use their phone as an alarm clock. Clean up your sleep, get more of it, and you’ll burn more fat.

Now that nutrition and sleep is said, water is the next thing I must mention. You know one thing about the people who get great results that is common? They drink water. They stay hydrated with water throughout the day. Some people claim the bodyweight in half is the amount of ounces one should drink. Others say a gallon. Some even say to drink only when thirsty. In my opinion, I drink as much as I can. Water makes me feel better, especially since I slack in getting enough sleep. I normally drink about thirty two ounces upon waking up. Throughout the day I use the same cup or bottle and have anywhere from four to seven servings. If you drink twelve ounces of water a day, you need more. If you hate water, be disciplined like an adult and drink more. Start with an extra twelve ounces and work up from there. Make a conscious effort to always have water within an arms reach.

Finally, we get to the best part and also what many consider the hardest part. Exercise. Without exercise you can lose weight but you’ll never feel as good or lose more weight than you will with a good exercise program. What do the people who have lost over fifty pounds in six months have in common? They train hard. They train consistently. They ditch the excuses about working out and show up. It was never easy for them and it still gets tough, but being disciplined to show up and do the work is how you get results. The people who win our weight loss challenges work out the most in the gym. They’re always there. I see them every day. When we special workouts, they show up. When we have challenges, they do them. When we have events inside, outside, or other events not part of the gym.. they show up. The only way exercise will help is if you show up and do your best job. What you can do is the only thing that matters. What someone else is doing is none of your business or concern. The only person you are responsible for and the only person who can get you results is YOU. Take control and act.

Losing fifty pounds in six months is a hard task for anyone to accomplish. It takes great commitment and purpose to get through the work but anybody can do it. You can do it. Follow these guidelines along with a positive attitude and you can’t fail. Being positive that you are strong enough and capable of getting results is a cornerstone for success. If you believe you can’t do it, you won’t do it. If you believe you’re going to fail, you’re going to fail. Another thing about winners in the weight loss challenges we have is that they EXPECT to win. They can’t lose. They don’t accept the belief of possibly losing. Whether they win or lose doesn’t matter, it’s the fact that they run through their days with the positive mindset that they are winners and will be successful. Moping around, wallowing in negative attitudes, and making excuses is not how you get results. You have to ditch that mindset. Turn the switch on in your mind that we all have and ignite the fire in your belly and you can’t fail. I know you are able to be successful. I know you want to be successful. Now, all YOU need to do, is the work.

Will you do it? I’m in it with you. I’ll do it with you. Let’s GO!!!!!!!

Thoughts on Filling The Void in Your Life

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The wiser I get through knowledge, action, failure, and success, and experience, the more I begin to see how foolish some people are in their way of life, their vision of reality. I’m included in those people. Life is strange and the way we live is even stranger. Working, waking up at four in the morning, consuming more food than we need, more gas than we need, shelter too big for what’s needed, resources, and materialistic garbage is not for me. I realized very early in my business that I don’t want to be a fancy materialism based facility. I don’t, and you don’t, need towels, water fountains, showers, fancy art work, hardwood floors, and shiny objects when what you are coming for is a workout. The point of coming to the gym is to train and anything beyond the essential tools is pointless. The same goes with my life. I have way too much shit right now and getting rid of it is a big priority. I don’t need it, I don’t want it. It’s useless. What I need in my home is love, companionship, happiness, and fun. Beyond the basic needs of food and water, there is nothing more that I need. Filling it with useless material junk is a waste of energy, money, and space.

A Zen Buddhist quote says “To seek is to suffer. To seek nothing is Bliss.”  The seeking of things beyond essential needs is an ego related matter and often times we fill it because of a lack of knowing who we are within or to fill a void we feel is left by something beyond our own self. Men around the world seek to fill pieces of their self through cars, cigars, homes, boats, electronics, and drugs. Women around the world seek to fill pieces of their self through shoes, make-up, boob jobs, and more. Often times when we seek something, say through a possession, we find that the void in our lives we wish to fill is still empty. That is because things that money buy can’t fill your heart and soul with what you really desire. What you really desire is purpose, truth, and love. Some times people who were never loved as a child, told they are beautiful or enough, have lives in which they obsess about a particular thing, like sex, money, a perfect body, drugs, cars, music shows, and more. They want to fill the whole in their heart. Sadly they don’t realize or understand that the whole in their heart needs to be filled from within first and by giving fully of who they truly are.

Buddha once said “Better than a thousand hollow words is one word that brings peace.” Look at that through action instead of word. Better than a thousand hollow actions is one action that brings peace. That brings YOU peace. Often our actions are not aligned with our true self. Our actions can sometimes be cries for help. Drug addicts are crying for help. They have shame and embarrassment and often don’t know how to ask for help. There are times when the help they get isn’t what they need. A drug addict who is in deep emotional and mental pain will not be cured of their addiction through rehab and most talk therapy. They need to confront the pain within and find a way to accept it, own it, and become bigger than it. A hollow action (rehab) won’t end the suffering, but one look within to see the pain may. It is your actions that form your life.

If you don’t feel loved you can act by becoming promiscuous to fill the void of love, but often you’ll find that being promiscuous doesn’t do the trick. Instead of acting through sex, act through giving love to something else. Confront the demon of why you don’t feel loved and work at that point to make change. We can’t put gum in the cracks of our lives. You have to mend the cracks with both pieces and apply acceptance.

Accepting the pain of emptiness one might feel is a stepping stone to improvement and fulfillment. Rather than using things like a big home or alcohol to feel fulfilled, attack the feeling of not being fulfilled and accept it and then thank it and then work on filling it with self love. If we look close enough and wad through the deep mud of pain we will find enough self love to drastically change our lives. Objects can’t make you happy unless you accept that happiness is already a part of who you are. If you feel you need more money, fancy jobs, bigger houses, or longer vacations, the first place to look for those needs is going to be your mind and your heart. It’s hard to battle the feelings and thoughts that cause pain, loneliness, and emptiness but you’ll never live activated and in charge if you don’t sweat a little. You have the courage and the strength to hold your sword out front and defend and attack. Now act.

BETTER TO SIT ALL NIGHT THAN GO TO BED WITH A DRAGON. Zen Proverb.

Thoughts on Starting a Business, Life, and Character

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I built my business through sacrifice. Through pure determination to not fail. I neglected more important parts of my life and live with that, and the endless days of digging my feet into the mud put scars on my life that I can’t change.

There were days that I wanted to quit and admit failure. Days in which I cried. I didn’t cry because I was a failure, but because my passion to make a good life was hard on my soul. Many men and women around the world push aside things that matter more to make something for the future and while it’s not a shame, it’s virtuous.

The long days of putting myself on the line and accepting the responsibility to help others has paid off more to who I’ve become and who I’ve helped than to what I’ve done. Before my efforts in the battle for success, I was a wimp, a whiner, and a fool. Today I am changed by the defeats and the pain, but I’m stronger and fulfilled.

People will question the effort and ask if it’s worth it. You don’t know if it’ll be worth it, but in doing you find who you really are. What I am can only be defined by those who care. The critic can put you down but the fan, the follower, the listener and doer can only tell the truth of what you’ve become. Do I wish for more? Certainly. But I also appreciate all I’ve been through and the experiences I’ve created. One can sit on the sideline and think about the actions and easily criticize, but it’s the people who sweat and make the sacrifices that can only know for sure if its noble.

I live with humility that I am not my best self. I live with humility that there are people better than me, smarter than me, and who live more activated than I. Building a business isn’t a worthy cause unless you impact the lives of others and share the truest purpose of your heart. I don’t look for recognition, instead I try to help others realize their trueness. Their strength and their purpose.

What I’ve done is nothing compared to those who have listened to what I say. And what I say is only a reminder to myself that I need to act and make and do. My work is a reminder to myself of the direction one should take to live fully. What I need to do now is to learn how to love fully. For my love is shadowed by fear and the courage to show that is small compared to loved ones around me.

The simple actions of standing up and doing the work aren’t simple unless you accept that which you cannot change. Some days you win and some days you lose. What matters is what you do the next moment. For you can sit and blame and wallow or you can try and do. That choice is a choice we all have. That choice is a choice we all have the strength and courage to make. My purpose is to help you see that and live it. Not just to read it and say Uh huh, but to actually put yourself on the line and take an arrow or two. You’ll only realize the greatness inside if you allow failure and heartache into your life and then try again to improve. Grow each day or decay. Accept that and you’ll find the path to living the activated life.

My advice is only wise if it aligns with your values and only you can decide if they fit. But what my advice does do is speaks the truth of what it takes to put yourself in front of fear and stand strong.

How to Be Strong, Happy, and In Control

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In my early twenties my life was filled with parties, late nights, junk food, and a million excuses as to why acting like a kid was more important than living in your real world. I ate fast food on a daily basis, sometimes twice. I drank and hung out until the sun came up and then did it all over again. My goals looked nothing like they do now. Back then, goals looked something like this “Have enough money left over at the end of the week to eat.”

I thought I was happy. I was hanging out with my best friends all the time. I worked, bills were paid, and even though I didn’t know where I would sleep, I still thought life was awesome. Then it got old and I realized I was stuck in a life threatening loop of danger. I wasn’t a teenager anymore and I needed to change before something bad happened, and the way things were going.. it was going to happen.

After struggling to make it through the days and realizing I wasn’t happy, it was time for a change. It was time for me to get control of my life. At this time I wasn’t strong or in control. I was fat, sick, and on my way to an early death if I didn’t shape up.

When we’re faced with a situation like this there are two things we do. First we either correct it and take control and make positive changes or secondly, we accept it as fate and wither away to nothingness. Luckily, I wanted more for my life and decided to grab the reigns and take charge.

After I met my now wife I knew I had to do something about my body and mind and make corrective measures to heal and flourish. I started a workout program and began to exercise four or five days a week. I started lifting weights and doing cardio on machines at the gym. The exercise worked well for my body and combined with the nutritional changes I made, my mind also improved. At the time I also began reading more than I ever have. Self-help books, relationship books, and exercise books took up my time. Through this process of daily action and a commitment to success, I got control of life and found the happiness that was already there.

How to be strong-

Becoming strong in the physical sense is a process that takes time. I am still nowhere near where I should be in terms of strength, but daily actions are improving it everyday. Being strong in an emotional and mental sense is something we all are and the only way to see it is by needing it. When I was homeless and had no hopes for the future, it was my inner strength that helped me tackle the obstacle and continue on the way.

Getting strong physically is done by doing exercise. Lift weights, climb, roll, jump, and run. Focus on bodyweight exercises first if you’ve never trained before. Do push-ups, pull-ups, dips, squats, lunges, and crawl. Graduate to dumbbells and kettlebells and then grab a barbell. The basic exercises are and will always be the best thing for us. They’re not sexy and doing it over and over can get boring, but so fucking what. Do it anyway. Squats, presses, deadlifts, and carries. Train three or four days a week. Do some other types of exercise other days if desired. Walk, run, swim, do jiu jitsu or karate, or box.

Finding inner mental and emotional strength will be easier when your body is strong. You can dig up some of the strength within by talking to yourself in a positive way. Motivate yourself through movies, books, people in your life, and talk yourself up. Ditch the negative style of thinking we often fall into and see the true nature of your powerful self. Do this daily.

How to be Happy-

You can either be happy or unhappy and it’s entirely your choice. Nobody or no thing can dictate your happiness. You can choose to be happy and grateful to be alive and where you are right now or you can choose to be miserable, angry, and depressed, unhappy with where you are.

Often people tend to turn towards things outside of themselves to find happiness. Some people turn to other people and think relationships will make them happy. Some turn to drugs. People turn to sex to find happiness and some chase the dollar and end up workaholics trying to find happiness. Many times we put different objects in our mind and say “That’s the thing that’ll make me happy.” Maybe it’s a house, a car, a vacation, a concert to see your favorite band, or a movie you want to see.

By looking externally for happiness you push away the true happiness within you right now. It’s all perspective. You can dread your life situation or you can be grateful you have it better than someone else. Be happy by appreciating your life, your thoughts, your ability to choose your destiny, and then make shit happen.

Nothing will ever make you as happy as accepting your life and accepting that you are strong, powerful, and capable of doing anything you wish.

How to be in control-

Stop letting the negative thoughts crush your hopes. Be strong in every way and practice your gratitude and appreciation. Set goals for your life and stick to them. Make them happen. Get your hands dirty and don’t wait for anyone to tell you it’s okay. Just fucking do it, now. Be in control by becoming the captain of your ship. Do not put your destiny in the hands of politicians or employers. Choose to be the leader of your life.

Start right now and write down what you want in life. Write down what a perfect day would look like. Be specific. Write down what time you’d want to wake up, where you’d want to wake up and next to who. Write down what you would love to happen when you woke up and then keep going through the entire day.

If you write it, you can do it and it WILL happen.. If you do the work. And you are strong enough and capable enough to do the work. So go fucking do it. Stop letting others control your life. Grab the wheel and do not let go. You are in charge now. You are in control. Make it happen!

Live Your Life ACTIVATED!

Taking Extreme Ownership

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I sat by the fire a few hours after the kids went into the cabin and my wife joined them. Alone outside in the woods by the crackling fire I began to look deep within my heart and soul, in my mind and agendas. As I sat there I began to question my actions and non-actions. Realizing that I was making excuses in different areas of life, I asked myself what needed to happen to make progress and get past the excuses.

For a few weeks I’ve been listening to the Jocko podcast, every Tuesday I believe he puts out a new episode. It struck me right in the gut and has been helping me get over the obstacles I create in my life. Normally he reads through a military based book and discusses it and then answers questions from people across the world. He wrote a best-selling book called Extreme Ownership and I don’t need to read it because I get it. The whole point of the book is simple, own everything with one hundred percent responsibility and take charge of your own life.

Simple I thought, and as I got back into the swing of things at the gym and home life I realized much of the problems going on in my mind are created because I’m not owning my responsibility. Before the trip I felt stuck in my writing and actually thought I’d never find something to write about. I didn’t meditate for about a year because I made the excuse of not having time and kids keeping me from doing it.

What all that is was bullshit and fake assumptions and negative thinking. Own it I told myself. Get after it I said. Words enveloped in my language from listening studiously to Jocko and Echo talk about being disciplined and in charge.  I call it living your life activated and being awake and alive. Mantras I preached and lived by but words that fell off my shoulders. Being stuck was nothing more than laziness and ill thinking.

The power of negative thinking and burn out can be soul crushing and when we let it linger, it causes excuses. One of the best things that ever happened to me was learning how to say no. I am a generous person and I often give my help to those who need it without question. I drop everything, change plans, do things I don’t want to do to give my help, but learning how to say NO and being okay with it was a game changer. You can call it being selfish but I call it putting my own mask on first. What I found is that being spread thin and sympathetic left me burned out and there came the excuses I created for “writer’s block” and not meditating.

As I learn from the Jocko podcast and through the art of living I learn that we must act, even if we don’t want to. We must find the courage to fight our fear. We must push through the obstacles in the way of our dreams. We must take full responsibility for everything and not be a circumstance of the situation. We create our lives through our thoughts, our beliefs, our goals, and none of it becomes possible without action. Consistent action.

My excuses and failure to see the negative self talk and lack of acceptance of responsibility left me confused, frustrated, and stuck. Now that I stand awake again and alive, my mind is activated and my energy is charged towards action. If you ever want to achieve your goals, live your best life, be activated, and fully charged you must own your journey and accept full responsibility for all that stands in your days.

Getting Motivated to Show Up

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As I drove to the gym with my kids to get there an hour before my next scheduled class, I thought about the workout ahead. My mind was racing with numbers. How many sets of squats, what weight, how many reps was I going to do. Let’s do eight, no I’m exhausted let’s do three, no three isn’t enough, I’m going for five. Then I thought about the sled drags, the pull-ups, the dips, and how many reps I would do. When I arrived, I was mentally exhausted from thinking so much, all while trying to listen to a Joe Rogan Podcast episode.

The mind went on and on trying to get my body to accept something less than it’s capable of. We all have these thoughts. Many of the members of my gym never realize how strong and able they are until I make them show me. For me, it’s different though. I don’t have a coach with me. My two kids are running around and I need to be quick. The motivation to move doesn’t come easy.

There are definitely days I let the inner bitch win. It sucks, but it happens. Do I regret it or dwell on it? No, I just pick up the pieces the next time and get rolling. On the days where I need to motivate myself to lift heavy, when I’m sore or exhausted, I just think about the men and women in the gym and how hard they work. I stand there in front of them telling them what to do and they do it. If they can, I sure as hell can. Of course I need to be motivated. Some days I’ll see my daughter sitting down on the big blue mat with her gorgeous eyes and beautiful smile fixated on Daddy. She’s watching me. She wants to see what I do. If I quit, she’ll remember that Daddy didn’t do it. If I give it my best, she’ll see me try hard and remember that Daddy worked hard. That’s all the motivation I need to push beyond my mind’s limits.

When you feel stuck and you don’t have motivation to exercise or eat well, it’s often not a simple fix but it requires some work. We don’t like hearing that word. Work is seen in today’s world as something that is hard, boring, a nuisance, a hassle, and more. We’ve become comfortable in our day to day lives and while we work our nine to fives, anything before or after that is a big no-no. Many people race home from work to eat dinner and then unplug. This is excellent for the mind but when it’s everyday, it’s a death trap.

Our minds and bodies are physically, mentally, and emotionally drained throughout the day. This is why exercise first thing in the morning is a great idea. Once we are zapped for our mental and physical energy through the demands of work, family, and social media, we don’t have much left. Getting to move in the gym seems like “hard work” and we refuse to sweat, to get sore, and to feel “pain”.

I used to be the same way. The couch is my best friend and every chance I get to veg out, I will, but most of the times, I earned it. The lack of movement and physical effort in our country is ridiculous and something that requires attention. It’s a shame to go through life without testing the limits of physical strength and mental toughness.

The problem is, people are not motivated to give it one hundred percent. This goes right back to the demands of our jobs, families, and more but when you see other people busier than you who working out hard, in shape, eating well, you have to question what’s going on. It’s not the demands of our lives, it’s our mindsets and the only way to ever break out of a slump and get motivated to live activated is by changing our mindset.

The mind will naturally try to talk you out of exercise. The negative thoughts and feelings will pile up and crush any sign of hope when we continue to allow it. How many times have you said you were going to workout tonight and then when it got closer to the time, the mind started saying things like “I’m tired.” “Tomorrow instead.” “I just don’t want to feel the burn..” and more?

Ninety nine percent of the time, starting a workout sucks. The heart is comfortable, the muscles at ease, the lungs relaxed. Getting the machine running is much like warming up a car in the winter. You start it, turn the heat on, and let it warm up. The body works almost the same way. When you begin, you warm-up. You get the joints moving, the heart rate slowly increases, blood starts pumping faster, the breathing changes, and then before you know it, you’re warm and ready for exercise. You started. The hardest part is over.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, it’s never easy to get moving and jumping into a hard workout. But the more we do it, the better we’ll feel and when we start off the workout right, it feels better. The hardest part of working out is showing up. When you show up, you already won. The mind is ready, the body is as well. When you fight yourself in your mind with the thoughts of skipping or the thoughts of difficulty, you’re exhausting yourself and only making it harder for you to show up. Next time, shower the mind with positive thoughts such as “I did it before I can do it again.” “I know I’m capable.” “I’m going to feel a hundred times better once I’m done.” “It’s only thirty minutes!”

Let’s GO!!!!!

10 New Things I Will Teach My Daughter

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Two years ago I wrote a post titled 10 Things I will Teach my Daughter and in the time that has passed I’ve learned and experienced a few things I want her to know when she becomes a young lady. Over the past year I have the fortunate opportunity to spend most of my time with her and my son. As they grow I can see some of the things I teach them finally cementing into who they are. The journey has been crazy but worth it.

Cutting right to the chase, here are ten new things I will teach my daughter.

1. Be Direct and Honest

There is a lot of sugarcoating in the world. A lot of political correctness that hides the truth. Many people are afraid to speak their minds and say what they really want to say. I want my daughter to not hide her truth and the realness of her feelings and opinions. If there is something bothering her, I want her to say so and not hide around metaphors or hidden messages. Just be direct and be honest and confront the fears of doing so. Too many people lie to others about what they are thinking or feeling and try to hide it behind a mask, a cloak, or propaganda. Be direct. Be honest.

2. Keep your friends close

There is nothing more important to the success and happiness to both men and women than good friendships. As she grows she will undoubtedly move from friendship to friendship but it’s important to keep your friends close. As she gets older and moves onto a career and family, I want her to know the importance of having good friends and being with them regularly.

3. Treat Food As An Energy Source

Developing a good relationship with sound nutrition is something to embrace. During the childhood years it’s easy to wants cookies, ice cream, chips, and all kinds of junk foods and candies. While your body may be able to handle it when you are young, you will come to a point where it doesn’t. Developing a good relationship with food will help you stay healthy, active, and happy. Poor nutrition will lead to problems that can be prevented with a good diet. Treat food as an energy source for your livelihood.

4. It’s Okay to Not Fit In

As a coach I’ve seen my share of women who have problems with their body image. In fact, we all do and if you say you don’t, you’re a liar. But, part of the problem of poor esteem and self-beliefs about our body image is created by society, media, and expectations of those around us. You want to be healthy and that is all that matters. A tummy tuck, a crash diet, purple lipstick, the latest fashion trends do not. These messages that we are bombarded with daily are not positive messages and you’d be best to ignore them. It’s okay to not fit in to society’s expectations. Be the real woman you are, no matter what “they” may say.

5. Learn the Real Story

As you grow through the years and you continue to learn in schools or wherever you choose, learn to be objective and to question what you’re learning. There is always the story and then the real story. It’s okay to stand up and question the truth of the story you are learning. The facts matter more than the opinions. If the real facts don’t match what you’re learning, find out why. Even if you get sent to the office.

6. Practice Self-Defense and Martial Arts

And not just to be able to fight if needed. Practice martial arts because of the lessons it will teach you about life. Practice martial arts for the education you will receive in your strengths and weaknesses. Practice martial arts to help you find a clearer path to the real you.

7. There is a Difference Between Men and Boys

If I could go back to the day I asked my wife to marry me I’d tell her to say no. I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t a man. I was a little boy, scared of the real world, of real responsibility, and I hadn’t taken my bumps and bruises fully yet. I was learning but nowhere near ready to take her hand in marriage. If my daughter decides to marry a man one day I want her to be sure that he has passed the stage of boyhood and developed into a man. A real man and not a broken child. This is going to be hard. There are many problems with the raising of boys today and if it continues the way it has for years, boys may never become real men.

8. Don’t Be Afraid of Failure.. or trying.

You know what stops most people from living their life activated? Fear.

Fear of failure and fear of the unknown stop us from ever getting to where we want to go. I want my daughter to know that we all fail and there is nothing wrong with failing. Don’t ever be so afraid to try that you don’t DO. Act and if you fail, dust yourself off and TRY again.

9. Be “Outdoorsy”

There is nothing finer than fresh air and being outside in nature. As the technological advances in society continue to change the way we live, remember that you are an animal and your real habitat is outside, under the sun, in the grass, in the river, up the tree, wherever the dirt and trees grow. Fishing is fun and relaxing. Camping is quiet, peaceful, and rejuvenating. Floating down the river in a tub is refreshing. Do it often.

10. Learn to Listen

Yeah I know you’re young now and don’t listen to anything I tell you, but what I’m talking about is learning to listen to other people when they talk to you. Listen to your friends, their problems, their dreams and share your own. Listen to the weatherman. Listen to your father when he tells you to pack extra clothes. Listen to your teacher when she tells you to try harder. Listen to your mother when she tells you women things. Listen to your doctor when they advise you. Listen to your coaches, they’ll help make you better. Advice, education, and information will come from every direction. Some of it is wise and some of it isn’t. Listen to it but the most important thing to listen to is your heart. It won’t lie to you.

Be The Captain of Your Crusade

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Life is a journey from one point (birth) to another (death) and the journey is a crusade through valleys, up hills, and down rivers. You must be the captain of this crusade. Life will not bring you all that you seek and desire just because you wish. Life will throw you down, choke you out, and kick dirt over you. YOU must be the captain and you must lead the way.

Every now and then I see a post on Facebook, Twitter, or YouTube that talks about being owed something, being tied down by the “forces”, being controlled by “my job”, and being “taken advantage of”. I see people complain that their hours at work are long, they’re underpaid, bored, and ready for the weekend. This is a cry for help.

The Captain is Lost!

As the Captain of your Crusade, you led yourself into the trap, the war, the battle, and the depressive situations. Nobody else. People who read your post may have empathy because they shared, or shared, similar experiences in their Crusade, but they’re not going to Captain the crusade through your journey. Only you can do that.

Often, because of lack of true life experiences and proper education on reality, we find ourselves stuck in these shitty situations. It’s nobody’s fault but your own. Rule number one: Accept 100% Responsibility for YOUR life. By pointing fingers and blaming others or circumstances, you’re trying to put that responsibility on somebody else, and it’s not theirs.

Be the Captain! Stand up, assume control, and do the work needed to bring you into the clear. It’s not going to be easy. It’s actually a lot of hard work, but you can do it. You know you can do it.

As the Captain, you make the decisions. If you’re married or involved or there are kids in the picture, you must consider that, but as you decide, it’s your job as Captain to do what is best.

If your job sucks, get a new one. Don’t make excuses or blame anybody else, just do the fucking work needed. Stop being a bitch and act. If your health is crap, you’re fat, out of shape, and winded from stairs, don’t blame your wife, your mother, your stressful job. It’s not their fault. It’s your choices. Own up to it like a champ and demand excellence out of yourself.

When you find yourself denying any problems, when clearly they are there, and you don’t own up the responsibility to fix the problem, you are not being the Captain of your Crusade. Well, technically you are and you’re leading your ship into dangerous territory where you’re going to get slaughtered, captured, and destroyed.

A Captain accepts responsibility.

A Captain welcomes adversity.

A Captain stands tall in battle and pushes forward.

A Captain acts with the best of interests and doesn’t lie about what those interests are. A deceitful captain is a coward and a liar.

A Captain fights off intruders who try to take control of their Crusade.

A shipwrecked or defeated Captain owns that result and seeks the help of others with honor and dignity and the willingness to listen and learn.

Be responsible for the journey of your life and command control. You know where you want to go. So go there. Now.