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.

The Limits We Set

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Have you ever looked at some task in front of you and thought, there’s no way I can make this work? Yes, you have and so have I. Have you ever set a goal and then erased it because you felt like there was no way you’d ever be able to achieve it? Yes, you have and so have I. This is us setting limits on what we believe is possible and impossible. Some people look at the schedule of my gym and say there is no way they can do five o’clock in the morning. I agree. If they say that it means they think it and if they think it and say it, they’ll most likely believe it and when that happens, they’re right.

Setting limits is nothing new. We used to set limits when we were kids. One of my biggest limitations as a kid was my belief that I couldn’t ride my bike with no hands. I would try and fail. Try and fail. One day I tried and I failed. I landed chin first onto a curb and split my chin open. I walked home crying and bleeding. The cut required a few stitches. From that moment forward I never tried to ride my bike with no hands again. I set a limiting belief that riding with no hands on my bike would result in smashing the ground. The same thing happens to us in every area of life.

One example I see clearly is the limiting belief that “I can’t lose weight.” I see people begin a fitness routine and everything goes well until they step on a scale. Their weight doesn’t drop by five or ten pounds and they get discouraged. Immediately they believe that they can’t lose weight. I even hear them utter those words. Well, when you say it and believe it, it’s probably going to happen. Instead of believing you can’t lose weight and saying so, you need to ask better questions and seek better answers. A question like “What didn’t I do that I can do better?” is a perfect example of a growth oriented question. Asking that question will show you where you need to improve and in doing so, you’ll eliminate the limiting belief.

We often set limits on what we can do based on fear or laziness. When someone tells me they can’t lose weight and they end up quitting because of discouragement it’s because they’re afraid of failing. There may have been numerous times in their life where they tried very hard to get results but something was off and therefore they failed. That failure hurts and to experience it again can be devastating. This is why many people quit. They don’t want to feel the sadness of failing. Setting a limit on what’s possible in your mind can keep you trapped for a very long time. I know people who have spent many years stuck in the same routine of life because of the limits they set, never getting anywhere beyond “the same old same old.”

If you want to live your best life, a life fully activated and in control, you must work on crushing the limits you consciously and subconsciously set in your mind. Limiting beliefs will keep your ship anchored in the same bay it’s been in and the only way to sail the seas is to release that anchor of limit and become the captain of your life.

The Examined Life

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It started back in 2011 when I truly began to examine my life. I opened a brand new book called The Secret and dove in. Immediately I was enthralled by the book and devoured every word in less than a few days. This moment would open a new world to me and little did I know that learning, reading, and self-examination would become a huge part of my life. Each day there are a few things I must do and learning is one of them. Whether I watch a video, read some of a book, or get my hands dirty, learning is at the forefront of who I am.

The examined life is a life where we do not settle for what is told to us, instead we seek the truth for ourselves. For a few years I spent a lot of time seeking for the truth from things such as mastermind groups, books, videos, movies, and more. What I failed to see is that the examined life starts and ends within. Mostly everything we need to know can be discovered from ourselves, in our mind. While books and groups are an invaluable way to learn and discover, the truth will come from within. I wonder if this is why meditation is a huge part of life for many people? In meditation you focus on nothing, try to at least, but what often happens (to me) is the examination of thought, emotion, and feeling.

For me, self-examination is a way to consciously realize who I am and why I am the way I am. I wonder what makes my mind tick. I’m fulfilled when I can sit quietly and seek answers through what my mind is telling me. I also enjoy looking into the actions I take and figuring out how I can get better. How can I become a better husband? A better father? How can I increase my endurance for Jiu-Jitsu and my energy levels for everyday life activities? What makes my mind focus on the past problems instead of enjoying the present moment?

Seek and ye shall find. Ask and it will be shown or given to you. The only way to truly discover who we are is to examine the little things that make up our large days. What kind of worker are you? What kind of lover? What kind of father or mother, sister or brother are you? What makes you angry and how can you overcome that? What do I want for my life, my family’s life, in the next five years?

The best thing we can do to understand this is… write. If you go through many of my blog posts you’ll discover a sort of journal. Every post I write is a reminder to myself. Eat better, sleep more, train harder, be a better father, find out why I get angry and why I cycle through emotions, and more. Writing down our thoughts, feelings, and emotions for different situations in our life is the best way to improve our actions and understand what makes us act the way we do.

“The life unexamined life is not worth living” according to Socrates and in my opinion, I agree.

 

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.

In the Gym With The Little Ones

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I love watching my kids at the gym. Today as I was working on my Sumo Deadlifts I glanced at my daughter as she set up a few two and a half pound plates, perfectly in line on the mat she chose to lay on. She began lifting them up and down, much like I would do a floor press with dumbbells. Most likely she picked this up by watching either me or the members at the gym. My son was running around touching everything. Climbing up the elliptical and hanging off of the TRX straps. He walked over to the kettlebell section and tried, unsuccessfully, to lift the fifteen pound kettlebell. He does however usually walk around with the ten.

At the gym, when it’s just me doing my thing, my kids run free and explore this awesome place in their eyes. In one corner there are tires, a one of them is the car tire from my wife’s old car. She got a flat and instead of letting the repair shop keep it and throw it away, I kept it and my daughter flips it. The other corner has medicine balls that my kids pretend at times are Atlas stones. If you ever watched the World’s Strongest Man contest on ESPN, the atlas stones are those big concrete balls that the lifters pick up and place on a platform. Some days the medicine balls are used as soccer balls.

My kids are always watching me when I am working out. They see me do pull-ups and they laugh hysterically. I wonder what they think is funny. Exercising in front of the kids will hopefully develop in their minds the desire for them to exercise, to live a healthy lifestyle. They see Daddy do. There’s no talking about some day, one day, maybe, or I wish.. it’s action and they see it.

There is a lot of things a young child can do to start to develop fitness. One thing parents can do too, which is very hard to accept, is to allow their children to crawl as long as possible and NOT push for them to become walkers fast. It’s not a sign of baby genius or being advanced. Crawling is important for core strength and the strength children develop crawling will carry over into the rest of their adult life.

My daughter is four. She lifts medicine balls, pulls sleds, lifts kettlebells, does bear crawling and crab walks, and carries two to five pound weights around the gym. She does everything we should be doing. The basics. And she loves it.

Most important is the fact that my children see me working on improving my strength and my body and my mind. They see me not settling for easy or excuses. They see things getting done, as they should, and the lessons will continue as they grow and my only hope is they learn to love the fitness lifestyle and adapt training into their lives.

 

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.

10 Ways to Lead A Positive Life

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When I looked around and saw all that I had and created, I wasn’t as happy as I should have been. In a moment of awakening I realized my mindset had drifted too far into the negative side of things. As a coach, I speak with enthusiasm for fitness, for nutrition, and living your life activated. But behind closed doors and the walls I built around myself, the truth was very different. While I did the movements and the training and I ate kind of well, I was far from being a positive person. My negative attitude was slowly crushing everything I worked hard for and everything I loved. I caught myself thinking outside of the person within and I drifted too far away from my center. With this negative attitude the help people needed in which they came to me for, couldn’t be done. I was faking it.

Luckily I realized there was a simple solution to “snap out of it” and recently I’ve been turning it around. What happened was that I stopped doing all of the things I knew needed to be done, the things I would do as I taught and helped and motivated others. I stopped doing exactly what I was telling others to do. This happens to many people, especially coaches and trainers. We often spend so much time helping other people that we forget to take care of ourselves. Our lives are non-stop action towards helping other people became fit, healthy, and happy. It’s easy for us to drift off into la-la land and forget about putting our own masks on first. When we do this, everything crashes.

Here are 10 Ways you can lead a positive life and keep from drifting too far and into the negative realm of thoughts and feelings.

1. Be Grateful

For the little things, for things we tend to overlook and often don’t truly appreciate. Be grateful that you are capable of reading this. Be grateful that you are alive and well. Even when things seem tough, there is something to be grateful for. Show it. Write it down. Tell someone you’re grateful for them. Gratitude is a powerful thing that can change your life. Appreciate it’s power and keep a gratitude journal to document the things in life you’re grateful for. Do it daily.

2. Release Your Expectations

There was a time in the recent past that I allowed my expectations to overcome my reality. I expected things from myself and from other people that were not possible or aligned with an activated life. I let my growing expectations create a false sense of failure and it bred my negative attitude to newer heights. Once I released those expectations, things settled down and got easier. Things became fun again and it opened my heart and mind to positive energy that created a greater sense of happiness and joy. Let go of what you expect from others first and then work on your own.

3. Have a Dump Day

Pick a day of the week where you simply don’t do anything but what you want and recharge your batteries. There are days where I let go of everything I’m “supposed” to do and do nothing, like watch Netflix shows for hours on end. Some days it’s simply relaxing and reading or hanging out with the kids and family. We have action packed lives where we go from one thing to the next without breathing. Stop and dump everything off your shoulders and relax. Make this time. It won’t just appear.

4. Exercise

This is without question one of the most important ways you can lead a positive life. In fact, without exercise, I think it would be pretty hard to live a fully activated and positive life. Exercise has the ability to make you feel better, more than any anti-depressant drug out on the market today. A quick ten minute workout is enough to create change in your mind and in your body. If you currently do not workout, start now by doing some simple exercise like walking. The release of positive feel good hormones in your body can lift your spirits when you’re down and crush the negative thinking that might be going on inside.

5. Remove Negative People From Your Life

I recently went through my Facebook news feed and unfollowed many people. The only reason I did so was that the majority of their posts were negative and a waste of mental energy. Before removing people from social media, I did so in “real life”. I do not have any room for people who are negative and those who bring nothing good to my life. It created a lot of space and thinned my social network but it’s for the best. I often see people at functions or getaways who are nothing but negative. They drown their lives in drinks and parties or by staying angry at whatever it is that affected their lives. Removing the negative people has helped me feel stronger and happier and leaves no room for people to bring you down. Some situations you encounter a negative person and they start bringing you down and what I do is change the subject or remove myself from the conversation. It’s unnecessary and not productive to my happiness. Do not be ashamed or upset or worried about their feelings when removing negative people, just do it.

6. Fill Your Mind With Positive Material

Lately to keep my positive attitude boosted I’ve been listening to audiotapes from Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, and reading Awaken the Giant Within by Tony Robbins. These books and tapes are keeping my mind set on success, opportunity, positive thinking, and the abundance that surrounds me. While many people are focused on the presidential elections and suffocated from the media filled nonsense that is trying to create tension and a doom and gloom feeling, I remain optimistic and positive about my life and the lives of people just like you. The more you fill your mind with negative bullshit, the darker your life is going to seem.

7. Accept Fear and Have Courage

Fear can be overwhelming to the point where you don’t take any action and have the courage to lead a positive life, which will make things harder then they should be. Or, fear can be used as a tool to overcome obstacles and create the motivation and courage to take action. When we accept fear as something that will always be within us, we can make the changes needed and by accepting fear we can realize that they negativity surrounding our fears does not have to consume our life.

8. Understand That Happiness is a Choice

You either make yourself happy or you don’t. Objects do not. Circumstances do not. While things can help, real happiness will always be a choice. Recently I was stuck in a stage of unhappiness. I had a lot of great things going for me. Family was good, business was good, and my personal lifestyle was good.. but I wasn’t happy. Why? I kept telling myself I was unhappy and the truth is, I was bullshitting myself. Happiness is always a choice. We can be happy with our life situations, or we can decide to not be happy. If you want to lead a positive life, choose happiness.

9. Keep on The Path of Growth

I read somewhere once “We’re either growing, or dying.” and that has stuck with me since. When we purposefully work on improving our lives, we grow and with growth comes opportunities and success. When we don’t work on growing ourselves personally and professionally, we wither away with the lack of direction and purpose. People often do not read books or listen to audiobooks and podcasts. I’m consistently working on learning something new every day. By working on our growth, we feel more awake and alive. Pick up a book or listen to a podcast. Make time each day to grow. Flowers always need sun.

10. Dream Bigger

Feel like life is stale or boring? Ever feel like things aren’t the way you hoped or imagined? Chances are you’re playing small and not dreaming big enough about what you want from life. One of the greatest things we can do for a positive and happy, and fulfilled, life is to work hard towards accomplishing big things. When I started out training people I dreamed of the day I’d have my own gym. Now that I have a gym, I’m dreaming big about the next step in our growth. Dream big, and then dream bigger.

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

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.

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.