Doubt, Confidence, and Succeeding

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Being Positive, Selfish, and Getting to Work

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September 22nd, 2016 is the last time I published a post on this site. I’ve been away too long. I fell flat on my face, bit the dust, and ran away like a scared puppy. In over five years of writing blog posts and books, I thought I wrote it all. I lost my mojo more than once and this last time it’s stayed hidden. I’m going to attempt to bring it back or just create some new mojo out of nothing. My mind has been preoccupied on other matters. I’ve been busy helping men and women lose weight and fell better at the gym. I’ve been practicing Jiu Jitsu, although I had a four week layoff due to a MRSA or Staph infection that practically crippled my left hand. And of course, I’ve been home with my two little kids who have drove me nuts and then turned me into butter.

During this past year I realized that my attitude and my mindset changed. There were plenty of hard times and my energy was exhausted early being home with my kids. I dealt with some issues that tore me apart, but I think I sowed myself back together. My positive spirit and mental attitude seemed to be lost in space. If you search back through many of my blogs or read my books you’ll see that being positive and upbeat and happy is a major part of my life. In 2016, it wasn’t that way at all. Most of the time, I simply faked it when I had to.

I’ve had trouble over the past five years with my energy and my attitude. During this time I’ve built Activate Fitness in Hackettstown into a great place to be for weight loss and to just feel awesome. I had two kids and was nearly divorced twice. Going through older posts you’ll see where my attitude went up and where it dipped. It’s just a part of our life cycle, but I’m not okay with it. Being positive is rare these days. People are afraid to be positive because so many people are tied down by negative forces that when we show positivity and happiness, they think there’s something wrong with us.

Before my children were born I was a big time fan of Floating and Meditation and when life got hard, I abandoned my practices. I see now how that was foolish and I realize even more now the awesome power of float tanks and meditation. Those two critical components of my positive mental attitude vanished overnight and left me high and dry.

I went to hear a speaker yesterday at our Jiu Jitsu school. His name is Cornell Thomas and he lit the fire under my ass again. One of the best things he said during the hour or so speech was this “Never let doubt stop your do.” and I realized that in 2016, my doubt crushed my do. His energy was great and obviously I borrowed some as I feel different today, but it will be a long road back to where I once was. In the past, I could write through a stream of consciousness up to five thousand words about being positive and happy without taking a piss break. Now, my attention is good for maybe thirty seconds. When I wrote five books, it came easy. It came naturally. The work was fun and it didn’t seem like it took a lot of effort. Today, writing is draining. But I know why.

I need to take a break from certain things in my day to day routine. I need to be selfish and spend more time improving myself so that I can recharge my important energy. I need to stop stressing over working and writing and get on the ground and roll with my kids. Instead of answering the twenty emails I get each day, go to the movies and relax. Instead of being at the gym at five o’clock in the morning, sleep in and get important rest. And that’s another thing, a totally different topic, but something that pisses me off. People wear getting up early as a badge of honor. For the past five years I’ve been getting up super early, most days at four, and while many people claim great benefits from rising early, I think it’s not the best option, for me and my happiness. Many awesome people come to train at my gym at Five O’clock every single day and they love it. For me, it’s crushing. I need sleep and I operate ten times better when I sleep, if not a hundred times better. If you have to wake up early to workout, make sure you get to sleep earlier than normal and do your best to make it the best quality sleep you can.

Remember, living life activated takes work. It takes a lot of work and for many people, like me in 2016, that work feels like it’s not worth it, but at the end of the year when you come up short in your goals and you feel like I felt (exhausted, angry, tired, lazy) you’ll see that the work needed to be fully activated, to be awake and alive, is most definitely worth it.

Stay positive they say… I say live activated.

Yes, You Can

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Do you want to lose weight?

You can lose weight.

Do you want to earn more money?

You can earn more money.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Discipline

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Failure

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As a coach I see people fail all the time. I see people fail to stay on track with their goals. I see people fail to seek the support of those around them who are willing to help. I see people fail to give it time. I see people join my gym with the goals and dreams of getting in shape. They sign up for a twenty one day program and they come once. They fail to return.

I see people join in transformation challenges who start with a bang, only to fizzle out within a week or two, or when something throws them off schedule. I see motivation in their eyes and willingness to try, but something stops them dead in their tracks and they never (or at least from what I see and know) get into the shape they wanted when they started.

But is this really failure? In my opinion, failure consists of quitting your efforts to try. If you get a result that isn’t what you expected it’s not failure but rather a lesson that we must use to help us change something that didn’t work. In business and personal endeavors unrelated to my gym I have gotten poor results many times and failed.

In the past few years I self-published five books. My first book Becoming Awake and Alive sold one copy on Amazon. My second book The Essential Essays of Activate Fitness sold zero. My third book On Living Your Best Life sold one copy on Lulu or Amazon, I can’t remember. My fourth book The 15 Principles of Fat Loss Success has sold zero on Amazon. The latest of my five, Your Life Activated has also sold zero on Amazon or any other on-line store it is in.

At my gym and with friends and family, I probably sold ten books total. I took this to mean I failed. What happened since is that I stopped marketing them. I stopped writing about them, talking about them, and mentioning them. I accepted defeat (AKA I quit).

A few years ago I started a new training program for small groups of three or four people. These groups were strictly off limits to others not a part of the group. It started off okay and I filled my slots of three people. As time went on, it didn’t work. People went into my normal groups or they quit and then I stopped trying. I accepted defeat. I quit.

Quitting is the only way we can fail. Had I not given up trying to sell my books, I might have sold the stock I have in my possession. Had I not given up trying to sell spots in my small group private training classes, they would probably be booked. But I let my emotions and feelings get the best of me and accepted failure.

When people fail in the gym, it’s not because they can’t do it. It’s because they accept not trying again. When you don’t lose weight there is probably only one or two things that went wrong that can easily be changed. The problem is, most people accept quitting as an option and therefore, they experience failure.

It doesn’t have to be this way. We have the power inside to keep trying. We have the resources available all around us to get the help we deserve and to make it work this time. You have the desire for success. You have the desire to live activated. You have the desire to feel the best you have ever felt. You have the strength to face poor results and learn from them and fight back. The question is, will you do it?

“The easiest thing to do for most people when facing an obstacle is to quit. With this mentality most people die without ever reaching their full potential in any aspect of life.

You must understand your worth, and your desire to succeed must remain strong even on your toughest of days.

Keep showing up, celebrate your small goals achieved along the way, and stay dedicated when motivation fails.

It’s worth it.”

- Tom Deblass

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.

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.

5 Things I Learned So Far From Being a Stay At Home Dad

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In the morning when I get home from the early classes at Activate Fitness I rush to make shakes for my wife and I. With the sound of foot steps and ice being crushed and blended for our morning smoothie, the little critters begin to stir. Our neurologically impaired cats tip and tumble their way to their food bowl and begin begging for breakfast. The other little critters yell for Mommy or a show. They want to sit and watch Bo on the Go or Care Bears or some other stupid children toon show. But we have to go. I run a mid morning class at the gym, and they come with. It’s a dash to get out of the house early enough to make it to the gym so I can get my personal workout done before the next wave of awesome Activators rolls through. Some days I get half a workout done, and I’m cool with that. Once the members come in and class begins it’s often a fight to get my kids to sit in their gated area away from swinging kettlebells and flying jump ropes. But they listen and usually it’s only because I promise them Turkey Bacon Jerky or a lollipop.

In between the mid morning class and the evening classes at Activate Fitness, it’s home for us and the insanity ensues. Being a stay at home dad has changed my life and while it’s for better there are times when it’s been for the worse as I’ve had to battle with emotions and feelings about getting the job done and handling the constant need for attention. Here are five things I have learned in my time staying home with my two silly fun kids.

1. I have more Patience than I thought.

Screaming kids, spilled milk, carpet stains, nap fighting, and kids not listening on a consistent basis is nerve racking and mind blowing. Some days I feel like mush and brain fucked but I realize that I have more patience than I ever thought I do. While it can get crazy and completely overwhelming, it’s just spilled milk. I’d rather see spilled milk than baby shit on the walls.

2. Tend Your Field

As a business owner and someone who enjoys books and writing, I find it extremely difficult to get the job done. There are too many days that go in a row where I don’t write or read with total concentration. This used to infuriate me until I heard a man named Earl Nightingale talk about “tending our field” and doing the best we can. What he means is that in this moment we have a field that needs to be taken care of. It could be driving to the store or giving your children a bath. That moment is the field of life that you’re in and your purpose at that moment is to take care of that field to the best of your ability. So when I am home and I’m stressed out about setting up consultations at the gym and my kids are telling me they’re hungry, my field isn’t booking a consultation. It’s sitting down and feeding my children a healthy meal and being present with them. This is by far the hardest struggle I face each day but recently after a talk I heard by my mentor, I’ve been working on stopping and smelling the roses.

3. Each Day Is A New Day

Kids have much to teach us, especially about letting things go. Each day is a new day for my kids and they act like it. They don’t concern themselves with yesterday’s matters or tomorrow’s worries. They just be. Part of me tries hard to let it be and I think that’s the problem. Trying to let it be and actually letting it be are different. I believe there is no trying, it’s just being. This lesson is one of the most important lessons I’ve learned from my kids. Circumstances arise each day and being like water and going with the flow is a lot easier on the mind and creates less stress than trying to plug the holes and mend the dam.

4. Their Eyes Are On You

And they want me to put my eyes on them, they want you to see them. Kids watch our every move and listen to everything we say. They create their personalities based off of what ours are like. Kids only want love and approval from their parents and each day they want to learn something new about life. They spill milk and they look at us to see how someone should react. They build a fort out of sheets and toys and look at us for approval of a job well done. They look at the problem they face and look at us to see if they have the ability to find the solution or for advice on how to solve the problem. Kids are watching every move we make and every move they make they are watching us to see if we notice. Stop and take it in.

5. Time Management

I believe there is a need for three to five things to be done daily to help my business grow. I believe they can be tackled in an hour or two. The rest of the time is spent wasted and by being constrained with time because of tending to the needs of children, I’ve learned that with focused effort the work needed to be done can be done quickly. There is a lot of time spent wasted when we don’t concentrate on the vital tasks that need action. Many people create useless meetings, useless reports, useless filing, and instead of doing the three to five things that create progress, they waste time that could be spent building relationships, loving family, or taking care of our self. It’s amazing what can be and how fast when you have kids running around.