Once upon a time there was a young man whose world came to a crashing halt in a matter of seconds. A 16 year-old who went from running the high school basketball court, with college scouts filling the bleachers, to comatose.
That young man woke from his coma on July 9, 2005. The first words he heard were “you might have to teach him to tie his shoes.” Even from the stark whiteness of his hospital bed, he assumed it had to be a nightmare. And what was the pounding in his skull? He chose to go back to sleep and let this dream play out until it was time for his basketball game.
When he woke up again, reality smacked him in the face. Doctors and his parents hit him with a barrage of big, bold phrases: “serious car accident”, “severe head trauma”, and “coma”. The body beneath the sheets horrified him; 43 pounds gone in 5 medically induced days. His body quivered when he asked it to walk and his hands faltered when he begged them to lift coins off a table. His mind failed to remember a room only seconds after he left it.
He was a shell of the man he could have been.
But even in the darkest, scariest moments, he knew hope wasn’t lost.
I’m sure by now you’ve guessed that I’m telling my own story.
I’m not usually a “third person” sort of guy, but for the accident chapter of my life, it feels right to observe it all; to speak from above and beyond the fears, failures and losses. I’ve spent the last decade of my life working incredibly hard to never let that accident define or dictate who I am and what I am capable of. I’ve built a business completely focused on guiding others towards physical fitness, empowerment and inner strength.
That sounds overwhelming, right? Especially if you are feeling like you’ve hit rock bottom and you cannot imagine a way to claw your way out. But my daily practices for total transformation are shockingly simple.
I want you to read the 2 statements below and keep them in mind as you continue to read.
- We become what we think about all day long
- Affirmations help guide future actions
I came home from the hospital in pain, scared shitless and severely weakened. I spent four years thinking, “This is my life now. Everything is harder. I’m not as smart or strong as I was before.”
We become what we think about all day long.
I hit my breaking point in the middle of my sophomore year at Penn State. I couldn’t hate or judge myself or my body anymore. I started dreaming and setting goals, aligning my passion for fitness with a future career in health and wellness.
I read hundreds of thousands of pages from great leaders and thinkers redefining how we work, fuel, strengthen, stretch, engage and nurture the body. I sought out experts, business owners, entrepreneurs, speakers, nutritionists, athletes, movement specialists and medical professionals hoping to imbibe every bit of their wisdom. I went to conferences for pioneers in my chosen field. I went to the gym and began developing my own concepts for functional movement. Problematically, I found it nearly impossible to silence the nagging voice in my head that kept trying to tell me “You’ll never, ever be on their level. You can’t hack it.”
We become what we think about all day long.
A mindset of mediocrity will make you mediocre. I learned that after two years of heavy brick breaking, tearing down the walls I built up in my own mind. Walls that blocked me from seeing how truly great I already was. I had the tools, the support, the intention, and the deep desire to help others love their bodies, from the inside out. But it took a long time for me to get out of my own way.
I learned that no one else in the world could make it happen FOR me. My family and friends couldn’t convince me that the accident was a gift rather than a destructive disaster that made me ½ the man I could have been. Only I could change my story and reclaim my potential and presence.
I started the process by finding my daily affirmation: “don’t accept things for the way they are.” Those words, spoken by the great Winston Churchill, echo in my brain and vibrate in my heart everyday.
If I accepted the accident as my defining moment, my life would have ended in many ways at age 16.
But I didn’t. I chose to fight. I chose to build a new foundation on the unshakable truth that I am capable of more and I can change my world. Clearly it wasn’t easy. My journey to professional and personal happiness and success was absolutely littered with self doubt and pitfalls. But the important thing is that I never stopped. Paused, yes. But stop? Hell no.
Your mind matters. You can control your thoughts and reshape your world. When I shifted my thoughts, I became all the things I feared I never could be: confident, happy, passionate, powerful, proud, in love, committed, connected and successful.
When you wake up tomorrow, choose to wake up with gratitude for this life. Offer up an affirmation and an action step that will take you closer to what you really truly want. It can be anything-no judgment here. Just promise you’ll start to show up for yourself. I promise I’ll keep doing the same thing.
Till next time,
Our Team Fitness
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