After a shocking discovery revealed that long distraction from fitness & nutrition could cost me greatly, I found a way to turn my life around–– escaping from the prison of declining health and deepening obesity. I found my way toward flexing leadership & flexing the muscles of character to grow strength internally as well as externally. I'd like to tell you about how the Beachbody challenges affected me so very deeply–– and I'd like to invite you to explore whether the opportunity to join in this experience might be the kickstart to a new you.
It's Memorial Day weekend.
For our kids, it's a great day of no school. For many of us, it's a great day of barbeque, hot dogs, hamburgers, pools, tans, brews, and relaxation.
But for the few, the brave–– it's ever so much more than that.
I was speaking with a friend I deeply admire, deeply respect, who served in Airborne.
"No one wants to die but the unit I was with–– we all had the willingness to die for the man next to us."
So few ever actually serve–– myself among those who did not–– it would be tough to truly comprehend the depth of that devotion. These men and women who wore the uniform–– they chose to interrupt their lives when they heard the call to serve, to protect our ability to go about; getting haircuts and going to work, caring for our kids and seeing them off to school each day, preparing dinner and relaxing with some late night tv.
They chose a path of sacrifice such that others could exercise that freedom. And as Christian said: they 'had the willingness to die for the man next to us'. And many did. Leaving behind more than a grateful nation: they left the men and women who fought beside them and made that pledge, who were pained beyond reckoning with that loss.
So as we prepare for our picnics and pool-side fun time–– as we prepare to celebrate our way of life, the good times and togetherness––
Pledge to take a moment, a special moment, on that day, to recognize, honor and remember.
Here, below, comment with how you will dedicate that remembrance: what special way you will observe and give reverence to the lives lost, the courage spent, the currency of freedom extended.
To all I know and do not know who have worn the uniform, to all those who I know and do not know who have made that sacrifice: accept my eternal gratitude.
This past weekend, I attended an assembly of warriors.
A convened group of men who have dedicated their entire lives towards service; men who are leaders and BUILD leaders, men whose intent is pure, who guide proudly, skillfully, confidently.
Among us on this mission was Chris Reed, 17 year police officer and SWAT veteran, who heard the call, felt the fire, and found he needed to commit to his Beachbody coaching business, this quest in the next stage of his life.
We heard from Scott Mann, FBI trainer and Green Beret, who was among those instrumental in the improbable task of altering the course of the war by embedding with the Iraqi tribes, living among them, inspiring, fighting against invading forces. Staying. And as they stayed and fought, night after night, they gained the trust of the tribesmen, til the night when the tribesmen too rose to their rooftops and joined the fight, becoming such a unified force that they repelled the extremist terrorist invaders.
One man in the group had paid for his attendance while having eleven dollars in the bank. Eleven. Because our passion for what we offer peoples' lives gives us purpose, gives us mission. It is an irrepressible call to service.
For two days, dawn to dusk, we heard from leaders upon leaders upon leaders. Professionals. Beachbody coaches.
At one point, those among the 500 men there attending were asked to stand: if they were military, police officers, firemen, first responders.
Half the room stood. Were recognized, were honored.
These men there assembled are LEADERS and developers OF leaders, trained, charged men on a mission to seize their own personal & professional legacy, change lives, achieve financial freedom for themselves and their families, and leave a legacy of impact in those whose lives they touch.
These are men of honor, integrity, respect. They have experienced firsthand the passion, the power, the significance of this transformational journey, and it SO moved them, SO charged them and changed their lives, they could not NOT become coaches & advance this change in others' lives–– dedicating their time and energy as professionals providing healthcare, job opportunities, LIFE opportunities.
And to all the women & men who coach to move mountains and change lives: It is an honor to work alongside you.
These men are not suckers. They are not predators looking to take advantage of gullible prey. They are not salesmen. They are WARRIORS fighting for the honor bestowed of being permitted to alter the trajectory of peoples' lives, open avenues of possibility, physically, mentally, spiritually. And I mean that absolutely and completely.
It was an HONOR to be among them, learning techniques of advancing the value I can tie to the passion I have for devoting myself to those I seek to serve. It is an honor to stand alongside them in this mission.
When you see me post about capitalizing on your potential, on SEIZING LIFE–– (there's a reason why I head the team Carpe Vitam), I want you to realize something:
I DO NOT WANT TO MOTIVATE YOU. IT IS NOT MY INTENT TO INSPIRE YOU.
Motivation, Inspiration––– those are but mere flashy fireworks in the sky. Beautiful to behold as they sparkle and glisten, only to fade into smoke then nothingness after the flash has passed. THAT is not what I want, for me or for you.
I WANT TO MOVE you. To ENGAGE you. To spur such a deep wellsprung NEED in you for change that you cannot stifle the visceral NEED to pursue your very best self––– to kick complacency in the face, welcome uncomfortability, and frickin STRIVE, man! DEMAND more from life! DEMAND that becoming your best self is a NON-NEGOTIABLE. DO NOT suffer a sub-optimal life, for you OR your family. Rise to be the very best of which you are capable. Accept no ceiling to your possibilities––– because when you DO see them? They're self-imposed.
You are responsible for every single thing in your life. The good, the bad: there is no blame on anyone else: you are responsible. You are responsible for how you respond to stimuli: your mindset controls how you experience EVERYTHING––– how you CHOOSE to see what has happened, what opportunities exist, and best paths forward.
I WANT YOU TO ACT. I want you to EXPERIENCE the life-changing path that has so significantly altered my life, adjusted my character and set me looking skyward in devotion to helping develop others' capacity and leadership–– to OWN their lives. I want you to permit yourself to tap into parts of you that you maybe never kew existed. Killer abs and a slimmer waistline perhaps–– because self-image IS important-- that's psychological and very real–– but I want you to experience the CONFIDENCE in your SELF that goes far beyond your shape, your statistics, paltry comparisons to plastic ideals. I want you to allow yourself permission to become the person you were meant to be.
I needed to become a coach–– not to take anything from you, but to give you my all.
Wait. Strike that. That's not true. I do want something from you. Your misery. Your pain. Your long-term suffering. The excuses that have held you back and made you think you're not worth more in your life. I want your complacency, your comfort with less than what you CAN and KNOW you are capable of achieving in your life–– that damning prison of comfortability that has stifled you and held you back, eroding your aspirations to burnt embers.
I am THIRSTY for you to give that up–– to surrender it–– to hand it over to me. I want to take that ALL away from you and instead gift you with the chance to birthe someone new: the YOU that you were meant to be. A force electrified with prospects for looking out at the world with new eyes. An amplified character devoted towards wellness of body, clearness of purpose, passionate intensity of drive, of vigor, of mission, of LIFE.
My passion is to guide you through that metamorphosis. I am PROUD to stand along with our nation's bravest–– those soldiers, those firemen, those police officers, those first responders––– whose mission in service aligns them with me in coaching: developing leaders. Helping develop LIVES to fuller potential.
Do you want to see what is within you? Do you want to reveal it, to capitalize on it, to SEIZE the possible future that is within your grasp if only you permit yourself to take it?
Message me. I'm looking for five people this month. Five people who are frickin serious about this. Who are ready to transform their lives. I want to focus on five people this month who are ready for this change. Give me the honor of helping you unveil that life you have waiting for you and you will receive the impact of that which charged me with this purpose. The strength of purpose YOU bring will be met & returned 10-fold. You will get my everything.
"Patience & Hustle: two traits which, woven together, elicit a friction, definitely– but that's how pearls are formed."
– Gary Vaynerchuk
Y'ever get that? Y'ever really have a problem with one of those two? Have you ever started on a goal SUPER MOTIVATED--- and then the hard work begins... and continues... and sand gets in the gears and you've gotta learn a lot to move forward, and success is nowhere in sight... Do you dig deeper? Do you give up? Or do you GET to your finished product, smile & say Yay! I'm done! It's Finished!
As if anything ever is EVER "finished". Try. Test. Fail. Revise. Try. Test. Test Alt version. Fail. Adapt. Revise. Drawingboard. Try. Succeed. Try harder. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
-- That's the patience part. If it pisses you off that you don't hit a homerun every time you step up to the plate, then you don't got the chops for success. You've got to LOVE failure–– you have to have it within you to try 30 different ways before learning and advancing further. Your thirst has to be patient, play the long game.
Or––– You can hustle like a madman, go days without sleep–– but if you're not focusing on the right things, and though you're grinding away, it's at such minutia that the larger monster you should be tackling has already crushed Tokyo while you're whittling at its toenails?
Patience & Hustle. Together. In unison.
You can gain the thrust of momentum and translate motivation into activation & bust your ASS to focus on your health & get in shape––– you can show up EVERY SINGLE DAY and leave it ALL out on the mat––– but you're not gonna be crushing out 100 pullups at the end of the first month. Hustle. Patience.
You can decide you're gonna do the NY Marathon, and spend 2 months training up from couch potato-hood, and you're gonna have to work hard and work CONSISTENTLY, but you're gonna have to start out running 5Ks & 10Ks first, on your slow ascent. If you didn't leave yourself enough time for that climb? Good luck! Hustle. Patience.
You can put in put in 2 long hard weeks with Rosetta Stone in anticipation of a spring break get-away, but if late one night you find yourself#brainblitheringlydrunk in a back-alley den of debauchery in darkest Tijuana, the linguistic talents gained in that half month cram session very likely are not going to get you back to your hotel. Face it: if you didn't have the patience to spend a year learning the language, you're sleeping in the gutter and waking up with a face tattoo. Hustle. Patience.
If you want the success that you thirst for in your heart, you're gonna have to bring it. And you're gonna have to bring it. And you're gonna have to bring it. Day in, Day out. Over and over. Without the satisfaction of seeing success. Without the buzzword immediate gratification. Know in your heart that it's worth it––– or if it's not, then get OUT of it and find what is.
You're not gonna have 6 pack abs in 3 weeks. You're just not. You've gotta bring the noise. Persistently. You've gotta make massive hustle your vibe. Yeah, that means you'll miss basketball with the guys. Yeah, that means you'll miss Game of Thrones.
But I mean really: you've got one life. You'll only be as young, as voraciously thirsty for your goals––– as you are right now. Who knows what tomorrow will bring.
So you better bring it. Over. And over. And over again.
We were in the middle of an amazing time, but then I realized: I was THAT Dad.
This stuff's tough to talk about, but I gotta be real:
A short while ago, the fam & I went on a quick vacation getaway, out to Great Wolf Lodge. HUGE waterpark with amazing waterslides––– we had a blast.
But I'd spent over a month on the road for work living out of a hotel, editing a trailer for Captain America: Civil War, & nutrition REALLY suffered. Working 12, 14, 18 hour days... there were no workouts going on, and the weight really piled on.
So we hit the waterpark, my family & I, and we were walking around the enormous pools, and I realized I was That Guy. Shirt Dad. SOME dads were there with their kids, in the shape that not long ago I had. Pretty danged ripped. And then there were the dads walking around in the water with their kids with their soaked t-shirts on, disguising (not disguising) the big ole belly underneath.
Body image is an important thing, and it ain't just for the ladies. And if you can rock solid confidence totin' a huge barrel on your chest & and back hair and a monk's bald crown––– dude–– then you rock it. Good on ya, hero–– and I mean that. Good on ya. But being self-conscious & knowing you're not at your best affects your confidence, it affects how you interact, it affects your experience.
Dude, it affects a lot.
Like the out of shape dad doing that little sad shuffle run with his kid at soccer practice vs. the athletic confidence of a David Beckham who could make the trot to a public restroom into a predatory masculine tour de force–– let's face it: who do you wanna be? How do you want your kids to remember their dad growing up? Is getting healthy, and instilling in your kids the habits of eating right, fitting in fitness AND YEAH--- LOOKING like you do--- does that reap benefits both for your family AND your self-image? Bet your ass it does.
I'm in the middle of Tony Horton's 22 Minute Hard Corps; half an hour I fit into every morning, EVEN THOUGH I work super-long hours sometimes into the late evening. I fit it in. You've got excuses or results, not both–– so I'm at it.
Self-esteem's real stuff–– affects your day to day. And like Ned Stark says, "Summer is coming".
My June group, where folk come into a private Facebook group & show support, motivation, encouragement & tips–– is right at the brink of starting–– if there's some #SHIRTDADs out there that want the confidence of being NON-shirt dads on the beach–– man, now's the time. Even if it's just losing a bit & toning up–– now's the time to join in. We give you the tools to lose that gut. If you've got the willpower, we've got the way. But you've gotta act right now.
Comment below & I'll reach out to you, or message me TODAY. The window for joining is closing Sunday & you'll have to wait til next month's group to get in: and next month we'll already be in the middle of beach weather. And we know how much the kids wanna go to the beach.
It was yet another 16 hour day, feverishly editing to do the impossible & deliver on a break-neck deadline. The client was more than happy to keep ordering in, from this greasy place, that greasy place, Want a bagel? Sure! There's butter and cream cheese in the fridge. Want some Coke? There's every soda known to man in the fridge. Coffee? Got a never-ending stream of it–– we'll mainline it for ya. All just to keep me at the desk, propelled forward, ever forward, toward delivery, toward conclusion.
Toward yet another day of my health and wellness declining.
I began to notice, around those days, 5 years ago, that my shirts weren't fitting. That I was downing antacids like popcorn. That heartburn was a way of life. That I couldn't pick up my toddler daughter and carry her for long distances. I got exhausted heading up the subway steps. It seems the only thing I could handle was sitting there, imprisoned in the edit chair.
One day I was working with a producer/actress/model with whom I had great rapport. And I mentioned that I just wasn't feeling like me anymore. Greasy, depressed–– my shirts weren't fitting anymore, each the widening of my belt, notch after notch, was something I just tried to ignore.
But then I got on the scale and saw to my horror: 200 LBS.
I had never in my life been that heavy; I was shocked. I realized in a glistening moment how little I had cared about what I put on my plate. How little I had cared about getting more exercise than getting up to go to the bathroom or walk to and from work each day.
But now I had a wife. Now I had a daughter. And unless I took rash action, I would be abandoning both for the icy clawed embrace of an early grave, out of neglectful ignorance towards my health.
I decided I needed to act. I got P90X, off of ebay, from some dude moving to Malaysia. I saw on one of the discs that the company, Beachbody, provides a coach for free to keep you on track–– and I knew I would need that. In a critical fateful moment, I emailed, asking for one. And somehow by the grace of all that is holy, they put me in the trust of David Ingram, the co-founder of Team Symbiotic. David is a leader of rare capacity; of empathy, of kindness, of knowledge, of kick-ass. He brought me into a "challenge group"–– a private Facebook group of about 2 dozen people just like myself. All with a program, with issues, with goals, with hopes and dreams and histories and struggles-- just like myself. And he was there day in, day out, leading, guiding, urging, motivating. We each in the group reported our workouts each day, reported our Shakeology each day–– which helped immensely in staving off cravings, helping me so much to stay on the path with the nutrition plan that came with the program. Each weekend I would cook for the week and divvy up the portions. And I would do the workouts every day.
It was hard. It was harder than anything I'd ever done. The Ab Ripper X was my Everest. 16 minutes of torture, after 3 workouts a week. I'd struggle and strain, each time suffering it, sometimes doing more, sometimes doing less. Til the day I vanquished its terror––– I got through every one of the reps of every one of the moves. And suddenly, the crucible of terror became my very favorite workout. It was a symbol of triumph, of growth.
When I finished the 3rd month of P90X, I was an entirely different person than when I started. Spiritually, mentally, personally, physically. David invited me into the next challenge and I lunged at the chance, and the next and the next. In quick succession, I torched through T-25, P90X2, Insanity, P90X3, Insanity: the Asylum, Les Mills Combat, 21 Day Fix, The Master's Hammer & Chisel.
Work in the editing studio was as busy as ever, but as I brought my prepared meals each day, the bagels and fridge full of poison was no temptation. The client would order in grease and toxins, but I'd already be set with what I knew were the right amounts of the right nutrients to optimize my health.
Never in my life had I been in such shape. Never in my life had I had such optimism, such an electric charge of confidence and motivation. Never in my life had I had such zeal.
And I became a coach to share that experience with others.
Since the dawn of time, the telling of grand stories has been a principal element of mankind. Many great themes have emerged, to inspire, to give warning, to promote values, to light and guide.
One of the strongest of those is that of Overcoming Obstacles, of rising triumphant over adversity–– conquering demons and rising from the ashes.
But–– but sometimes, "Overcoming Obstacles" just isn't possible. No matter the effort, no matter the struggle, no matter the strife, the Romantic notion is just unattainable, the enemy cannot be vanquished.
The courage, the glory, the honor is not in the Overcoming––– but in the courage to enter the fray and face the fight with all you are worth anyways.
At the Mens' Leadership Camp in Dallas over the weekend, I was introduced to Josh Spencer, a Beeachbody coach–– a PHENOMENAL Beachbody coach–– who rose in leadership & impact to be awarded Coach of the Year in years past–– a prestigious title not for the title itself but for the implication relayed at how many lives he, and the team which he heads, have impacted, have changed.
Josh had not planned to be a speaker at the training–– or at the very least, he had not planned to give the talk that he found he must. Instead of masculine rah-rah, It was very personal, a testimony of strength, of humility, of strife, of mission.
Josh is ripped. Head to toe, the dude's physique just friggin rocks. He's worked hard to achieve it, and to help others on that path, and he's just incredibly smart. But five months ago, he began to experience something strange. His brain hurt. Disconcertingly, he began to notice his speech was beginning slur. And despite bravado, the symptoms became so pronounced, he owned up to that he was not OK. Visiting the doctor and describing his symptoms, the doctor said it was nothing, just subjective, it'll go away. Doctor after doctor, he sought answers, because the symptoms were not going away, instead deepening. Til he saw one doctor who immediately upon hearing the symptoms said, "Oh, right; you have Lyme disease. We can and will run the tests, but I'm telling you that's what it is." It turned out to be correct.
There is no cure, at present. There is only living with the disease. Josh could have succumbed to self-pity, to railing against "WHY ME?!" but he didn't. He studied. He dug deeper into the disease than even many doctors. He faced the fight, knowing it was one that could not be vanquished.
He could only hold the line.
His talk was not one wanting pity, wanting glory for suffering: it was a talk compelling that when we face the impossible, you strap on your helmet, grab your spear, and charge into battle, anyways.
Nelson Mandela famously said, "I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear."
Sometimes, you cannot Overcome Obstacles. Sometimes, the epic, critical character-defining battle is entering the fight anyways. Facing the foe, anyways. Holding the line, hold the door shut against the unbeatable foe, for all you're worth, anyways.
That may indeed be the principle of valor made flesh.