Happy Birthday to ME!!! Lol!
Thirty-Five and Feelin Alive!…
It’s a bit of a mile stone. Not like the decade mile stones (30… 40… 50…. 60… 70…) . But a half-way marker nonetheless.
A time for reflection? Sure.
But, if you track your progress and reflect regularly on a weekly, monthly, yearly basis… then events like your birthday and New Year’s Day set off fewer internal alarms than they might otherwise.
Take my March for example:
As you can see from this (partial) list, I didn’t hit all my goals for March. Far from it.
But I have gotten into a habit of tracking.
Did you hit your goals for March?… February?… January?… 2017?…
Did you even have any?
Were they written down?
How often do you look at them?
We’re 1/4 of the way through 2018… are you on track for what you want to accomplish this year? Do you even know what that is?
I think this is usually why people freak out around birthdays.
Where did the time go?… How come I’m exactly where I was last year?… I’m so far behind where I should be… Life’s too short… I need to make some changes…
A little pity party… several glasses (or bottles) of wine… a couple fist shakes at your Creator… you thank everybody for the kind wishes on Facebook…
And then… it’s back to business as usual.
Life happens to you. Another year passes. Drink. Hangover. Repeat. Regret.
All too often we let life happen to us, rather than stating our demands of life and intentionally tracking our progress towards our desired goals.
Which actually makes sense. Because tracking can be quite painful.
It’s painful when you can see that you didn’t hit your goal. (Perhaps even more painful when you share those failures with hundreds of your closest friends.)
But it beats the hell out of the alternative… which is DRIFTING.
And, as I’ve come to realize in my 35 years on this tiny marble…
Failure is not to be avoided.
Think of failure as the bumpers on a bowling alley. Or training wheels on a bike. They’re always there to guide you back on track.
The only true failure is to avoid taking any chances at all.
I love the analogy of thinking about your life as a STORY BOOK.
An author will labor for months and even years to put together a book they can be proud of. And then, they take that labor of love to an editor who proceeds to ‘cut out the fat’. Entire paragraphs, pages, and chapters fall to the cutting room floor. Because editors know, if you can’t keep the readers interest… if the plot isn’t developing… if the characters aren’t evolving… then it doesn’t matter how good your “twist” ending is… Because you put everybody to sleep in chapter two.
As you look back at your last five years, how are you furthering your story? How are you developing into the character you envision?
I take a lot of shots at Facebook (largely because of it’s addictive nature and how they openly brag that they know their users better than their own spouses… The really scary part is that they might be right).
But there are certainly some positives attributes in Zuckerberg’s monster.
Take the “Memories” feature for example. On any given day, Facebook will pick you up in the Delorian and flash you back to a moment exactly 1 year… 3 years… or 10 years prior.
I recently received this picture from 1 year ago:
The above pic was taken as part of my intial attempts to build up my social presence on Facebook. I started out by snapping pics of the white boards and the equipment, because I was a little bit shy about putting my own mug out there every day.
Eventually, I included some photos with me in the shot.
And then the photos became daily videos where I’d show a featured move from the workout. At first, it would take me multiple takes to put together a 1-minute preview… but now I rip them off in 1 take as part of normal routine.
Some people love them… some friends tell me they’re sick of them and wish I would “stop showing off already”… but it’s all good because I’m riding the progress train.
“The moment you realize that your opinion of yourself is the only one that matters… when you’re fueled by both your fans AND your haters… that’s when you become unstoppable.” -Gary Vaynerchuck (paraphrased)
While the 1-year progress was fun to reveiw… I later came across this picture from almost 5 years ago.
While I’ve mentioned this before, I had a severe case of imposter syndrome when I first took over as head trainer.
Which was ironic, because prior to starting Bootcamp, I was actually pretty confident in my level of fitness.
But all of a sudden, when asked to lead the pack, I began to wonder if I was good enough to fill that role. In fact, you probably can’t find ANY pictures of me wearing a sleeveless shirt in my first couple of years at Bootcamp.
And that was no accident.
I had an image in my head of the type of body I SHOULD have to exemplify the title of “Trainer”. And in my own mind, I was way short of that image.
Not fit enough… Not muscular enough… Not ripped enough… I had insecurities out the wazoo!
If you think body image insecurities are limited to the Average Joe… think again.
In fact, some of the most depressed and insecure people on the planet are competitive body builders.
Behind the rippling muscles, the fake bronzer, and the cabinets overflowing with drugs and supplements, is an emotionally damaged human being that’s desperately seeking self-love and self-acceptance. (Although, ironically, constantly chasing outward validation.)
I had this idea that I was supposed to be this EXAMPLE… this TRAINER… I’d embellished this make-believe standard that I thought I was supposed to live up to… and I was embarrassed that I fell short.
So I often hid behind baggy clothes and sweatshirts to disguise the skinny, insecure, uncertified trainer underneath.
To this day I still struggle with body image from time to time.
And in truth, I’m a long ways from what I want to accomplish physically (as well as financially, professionally, personally, spiritually and romantically).
But none of my goals will be reached by me hoping things will automatically be better 365 days from today. The tracking is critical. The intention keeps me focused. The reflection helps me priortize. And forgiveness allows me to be okay with my failures and imperfections.
Because failure leads to growth. And I friggin’ dig growth!
In those early years, progress was slower, my mind was weaker, my emotions owned me.
But as I’ve continued to seek, to practice, to work, to fail, to read, to listen, to reflect, to learn… I’ve shed older versions of myself and become a much more empowered 35-year-old-CJ than the 30-year-old-CJ who was riddled with insecurity and uncertainty.
I’ve discovered that it’s ok to love the present me… while simultaneously pursing future avatars of myself.
That allowance for self-love has made me better at my job, more efficient in my work, and much more pleasant for others to be around.
I’ve grown into my new calling. I’ve trained and developed my body. I’ve broght joy and improved the physiques of others. I’ve opened eyes regarding nutrition. I’ve taken on new and challenging endeavors. And I’m pushing myself to squeeze more out of each day and each week.
My CHARACTER has developed. And my STORY has become more compelling.
If you can look back at five years… perhaps even one year… and not see some character development in your own life, perhaps you’re justified to have a little case of ‘birthday crisis’.
But I can assure you that buying a brand new sports car or fancy pair of shoes isn’t going to fill that void.
I listen to a lot of podcasts on health and business and the future of mankind.
Many (futurists) believe that the human lifespan can be expanded to 150… 200 years… and beyond…
Others literally believe it will become possible to live forever. We’ll be able to 3-D print organs and replace our parts like you replace a bad gasket on a Camaro. Still others believe you’ll be able to download your consciousness into a computer and not be dependent on a biological body at all.
While all of this is fascinating and prompts some great discussion points… It’s important to remember quality over quantity.
Who cares if you can live to 200 if you spend the majority of those years drifting?
And if you truly could live forever, where’s the incentive to get busy living today?
Why bother adding years, if your life editor would cut most of those story book chapters to the editing floor?
Wanna go back even further in the Delorian?
Here’s a clip of one of my first YouTube videos back from my real estate saga:
As you can see, I was TERRIFIED of the camera! (It almost looks like a hostage video where I’m literally reading the ransom note being held by my captor. Albeit, some great info on what a “short sale” is in case you’re interested in that topic. Lol.)
Compare this to any one of my recent Bootcamp vids and you can witness evolution before your eyes.
That increase in confidence comes at a price.
The price of pain… uncertainty… embarrassment…
The price of practice to develop your craft….
The price of failing and willing yourself up again…
The price of choosing fight or flight… so long as you refuse to FREEZE!
It’s true what they say… Age IS just a number.
It merely tells your readers which page to open up to in your story.
Make sure your BOOK is filled with compelling content.
Make sure it’s a work that you can be proud of.
Mark your calendars for 5/19/2018!!
That’s right!… We’re going back to the Battlegrounds!
Our crew had such a blast in the last one, that there was no hesitation in signing up for the next one.
You gotta get in on this!
AND… If you register early, you get a discount! (Discount code: LETSBATTLE)
Don’t miss out!
Here’s what to do (step-by-step instructions):
Go here: http://thebattlegrounds.com/events/
Click Sign Up Now!
Click Sign Up Online Now
Click Register Now
Choose Afternoon Waves 12-3pm
Fill out the form… (CHOOSE Distance: 5k) (CHOOSE Team: Battle-Tested Bootcampers)
Before you finish checking out, use DISCOUNT CODE: LETSBATTLE to get $10 OFF!
Hoping to get a big team together for this one, dominate the course, create some new stories, and party like a rockstar at the finish line!
Discount code may only be good through the end of October… so don’t wait… sign up now and schedule your life around this event. 😉
CJ’s Book of the Week:
“Principles” by Ray Dalio
“Skedge” for 4/9/18-4/14/18
Manchester (Class Times: Mon-Fri @ 5:30/7:00/8:30am & Satuday @ 7am)
Monday: Upper (CJ)
Tuesday: Core (CJ)
Wednesday: Lower (CJ)
Thursday: Upper (CJ)
Friday: Core (CJ)
Saturday: Lower (CJ)
Owner, Operator, & “CeejEO”
St. Louis Fitness Bootcamp