- The death of Scott Nelson, August 17th: Scott was a very close friend that tragically was killed in a cycling accident up at Rocky Hill. Scott's death really took a toll on many people that were close to him, including myself. When someone so young and full of life dies, you start asking questions like why him? and how come? This death hit the community hard. People who didn't even know Scott were affected. As time passed and we were able to somewhat get back to normal, I started growing as a person after his death. Scott lived his life for others. His humble personality and charismatic touch were very infectious to be around. We need to live more like Scott. We need to treat others like Scott did. We need to challenge ourselves everyday like Scott did. It's so critical to live life to the fullest, each and everyday, because you just do not know. You do not know when your last day will be. Also, you must treat others good. Treat them like you want to be treated because again, you just do not know when it could be their last day. Why live life knowing you could have treated others better or lived at higher levels? We can not live like this. In 2012, decide to live everyday, to treat everyday magnificent, to enjoy the people around you, because you just never know. And if you end up living till your 90 or so, just imagine the lives you will touch with this approach.
- The birth of my daughter, February 15th. It's pretty ironic that my first 2 lessons on this list are about death and life. These life changing events truly do change your life. Watching the birth of my daughter humbled me as a man. Watching my daughter, my own flesh, be born is a magical experience. Watching my wife the past 9 months sacrifice her body and emotions taught me about respect. And holding my daughter after the birth was emotional and taught me that love is pretty deep! As death is a hardship, Life is spectacular. We must cherish our life because we only get ONE! That's right, one life. We must put our focus on the positives and learn from the negatives. Don't dwell on what could of been, instead focus on the next positive decision. As I am watching my daughter grow up, she is so concentrated on the little intricacies that life brings. The colors, the sights, the sounds, everything around her. As adults, let's learn to do the same. Let's slow down a bit and really concentrate on the important things. Our relationships, our family, our friends.....each day!
- Ironman Arizona, November 20th. Training for this massive event was the tough part. It took sacrifice, time and much energy to prepare myself for this event. During the training , the death of Scott happened, I expanded to a new facility, my daughter was a new born, I was still running my business and tri club, we took in a foreign exchange student and I still needed to find time for family...I would say it was a busy year. I needed organization, time management and very productive days. Because of the tools I learned from personal growth coaches Brian Tracy and Jim Rohn, I was able to schedule all of my priorities into my day. Ironman not only taught me about challenge and humility but in order for me to complete this event, I needed to become obsessed with organization and time management. Every Monday morning I write out my "to do list" for the week. This includes work stuff, family time, personal things, workouts, reading/writing, anything that needs to be accomplished. I also have a time management sheet that I follow. It is a 30 minute breakdown from 4:00 am till 9:00 pm. I write in everything that needs to be accomplished for the upcoming week and try my best to follow the plan (some days just do not work out because of things that just come up). I even go as far to write in my naps, my reading time, my family time. I am very serious when I say this, I could not have been prepared for Ironman if I was not organized! It's not just about putting in the training. As that is a big part of it, if you do not have the organizational tools, you will not get the training in. It goes hand in hand. And this goes for any big task or goal. Ironman was a personal achievement that I wanted to accomplish. I did it! But what I got out of the experience is life changing because it taught me to be more organized, a more humble person, more patient, to truly enjoy my family and friends and to always challenge myself to become better. And not just in my athletic life but my family, my work, my personal life. Personal development is the motivation to live life at high levels. We must continue to grow, educate and become better people as long as we are living!
- California Fitness Academy's expansion, September 3rd. First off, I would not be in the position I am in today if it weren't from some valuable people in my life. I had a few "secret angels" that helped me get started with my business. I am so humbled and appreciative of these people in my life. To me, life is about taking risks. Business, especially in these tough economical times, is risky. My first few years were more about just putting in the work. When I first got into business, I didn't really have a true understanding of goals and setting up my future. I was a hard worker and knew how to get people in shape, that's what I did. But I quickly realized that I can not just spin my tires and work hard. I needed challenges, I needed goals, I needed structure, I needed to realize what I wanted in the future. I needed to become a businessman. I needed to work ON my business in order for it to be successful. A good friend of mine, his name is Brian Hyde, one day gave me "Eat that Frog" by Brian Tracy. It was an audio CD. I listened intently to the lessons and tools Tracy was explaining. This was my first experience to Goal setting and I became hooked. I have read the likes of Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Zig Ziglar, Tony Robbins, Dale Carnegie, John Maxwell and many other personal development coaches. The lessons I have learned have become a big part of my daily living. And I am still going. I am on a mission to learn, educate and observe from the best. The resources are out there. If you are on a mission yourself to start a business, to complete a specific event, to get a promotion, whatever it is, the key is personal development. Jim Rohn says, "You can't change anything around you until you change what's in you." The cool thing is, is that we can dramatically change how we work, how we live and how we grow. It's just about putting in the work. Back to the expansion of my facility. After 5 years at my first location, a 2600 sq. foot medical building, we were able to grow and fill our facility with loyal and committed clients. Again, very humbling knowing that these people intrusted in my program. First off, I love my job! I love coming to work everyday. I love my clients. I love my staff. This is a big help. But in terms of putting in the time, I put in the time and am still putting in the time. Eight hour days are for business owners who want to fail. Business growth does not just happen. Every successful business owner works! It's not a "luck" thing. Most successful people create their own luck by putting in the work. I am still climbing the mountain to where I want to get with my business but being able to expand to a 6700 sq. foot facility was remarkable. I am in a time of "growing pains" where we are getting used to a few new expenses and paying off of new construction bills. So we still have lots of work to do, but 2012 will be a big year for CFA. It's important to push yourself. Sometimes to the point to where you are stretched beyond your means a bit. It will force a sense of urgency, to get the work done, to become better in every aspect of your life. In 2012, set your goals just past what you think can get done. Challenge your body, your mind, and see what you can do!
- Taking in a foreign exchange student, August 16th. Ten days before we actually met Linda, we add no idea we were going to do this. I get an email from her exchange organization in the beginning of August. Since Linda put that she is an avid triathlete on her bio, they contacted me knowing I was the President of the Visalia Triathlon Club. They wanted me to email my club to see if anyone was interested in taking in a student. Well, I went home that night, mentioned it to my wife and we decided to be the host family. Hey, moving facilities, the birth of my daughter, Ironman, and everything else, why not!? When I grew up, my parents took in over 40 individuals to live with our family. From foster children to relatives, to friends of the family to people living on the street, our house was open to assist someone with a friendly and loving home. I guess that I found that trait my mother had. My wife probably was a bit skeptical at first but is now really good friends with Linda. We met with the exchange organization pretty much the day after the email, signed all the paperwork and by the weekend we were assigned Linda. That next week, Linda and I chatted a bit through Skype and email, finalizing all the details and getting to know each other a bit. She arrived on August 16th. And right into the craziness of our life. As you can see from my first point above, Scott died the 2nd day Linda was here. Yeah, nothing like a teenage girl coming to California and finding out about our very good friend dying in a bike accident. She was able to take it all in and handled the tragic news and her first few weeks with us pretty well. Sometimes, I fill my "life" plate up too much. I spread myself thin and work myself to the grind. But it's who I am. Like I have mentioned, Life is about living it to the fullest, no regrets, nothing to do over. Because we just get ONE! Linda is now part of our family and she will always have a place in our hearts. And just by taking the risk to open our house, spread ourselves a little thin, we now have a very good friend and another part of our family!
- Reading the 4 Agreements, February. Be Impeccable with your word. Don't take things personal. Always do your best. Don't make assumptions. These four "Agreements" transformed my life. Reading this book by Don Miguel Ruiz taught me to really think about the way I live my life. To not just go through my day to day actions without applying these 4 principles. Now, of course I am not perfect and follow these to the "T" but I am constantly thinking about them. Be impeccable with your word applies that what comes out of your mouth can truly affect people. Your words can affect people in a very positive way and in a very negative way. I choose to use my words to create optimism and healthier living for people. I choose to surround myself with people who live by these same values. Life is better this way. Don't take things personally means that if someone is bashing you, verbally beating you up, or talking behind your back, it's them, not you. This is definitely easier said than to do. People can be outright vulgar and vicious. And like the "Be impeccable with your word", words can drastically affect people. Here's an example. I was very excited to get an article posted on the Active.com website this past year. Active is one of the leading multisport educational resources there is in the world. My article was posted and I was stoked. I received some positive feedback, people really enjoyed my article. But I get this one email from, we will call him "Joe", and Joe writes how horrible my article was. He bashed me! After I read the email, I admit, I was a bit down. This guy, named "Joe", never met me, didn't know what I do everyday, just read an article and decided to personally attack my personal philosophies and methods. But, as I thought about it for awhile, I soon began to realize that it's ok. His words do not have to hurt me. For some reason, he decided to take the time to bash something positive, he must have something going on in his life that caused this pessimistic/egotistical attitude. This is where the 4 Agreements altered my thoughts. I didn't take the email personally. In fact, my thought process quickly turned around and I was motivated because of it. I wanted to be better, write better and continue doing what I was doing. People can be mean. They can gossip and talk behind peoples' back but we can choose to use our words in a good way. We can hype people up and give them confidence and improve their self esteem. That is how powerful our words can be. We must learn to get rid of the "vampires" in our life that will suck the positive energy out of our lives. It is up to us to eliminate negative people from our life. It is up to us to mold our lives and our thoughts and our actions. It just takes daily practice and mental conditioning to develop our daily lives the way we want. Always do your best is a core value of California Fitness Academy. We follow this principle on a daily basis. If you are putting in effort, you might as well strive to your best efforts. Read the books, study the material, train the correct way, eat the right foods. If you have a goal, put in the work and go for it. Do your best! It's a daily tactic that everyone needs to focus on. Last but not least, Don't make assumptions. This is a difficult "agreement" to live by. We get caught up trying to assume what people are thinking. We might here what "someone else said" and then we quickly assume. Those assumptions could be entirely incorrect. Get the facts first before you start assuming because it turns into "negative poison" and will affect your life. So remember these 4 Agreements. Be Impeccable with your word. Don't take things personally. Always do your Best. Don't make assumptions. They will change your life!
- Death of "Junior", a CFA client, October 8th. Unfortunately I have two deaths on this reflection list. Death is a touchy subject and a tough pill to swallow but it can be a time of growth as well. Junior was a motivational human being. He began working out at California Fitness Academy in 2010. He was committed, showing up to his workouts ready to work hard and give his best. He was a young business owner who had tremendous work ethic and character. We became very close and connected to Junior. When I got the call on Sunday the 9th that Junior was killed in an automobile accident, I was sad. Just when I was starting to recover from Scott's death, I hear this news. How tragic this was. A 26 year old, positive person, business owner, son, brother, hard worker....the question is again asked, why? Well, here is my reasoning...as we grow through life we start realizing the true meaning of LIFE. Unfortunately some people wake up each day and accept being average and methodically get through their days. For them, days run into each other and excuses are made of why they aren't where they should be. We may not be in control of some things, like tragic bike or auto accidents or our genetics or how our family and friends act or the economy or the views of the President, but we are in control of ourselves. We have capability to wake up and think a certain way. We have capability to live a certain way. We have the capability to set goals and work to achieve them. We have the power to change who we are today to make for a better "me" tomorrow. We have the capability to not make excuses and just get it done. It just takes work. I decide to have a positive mindset. I decide what food goes in my mouth. I decide how I react when a road block is set in front of me. I decide how to treat others. Junior lived everyday. Some people spend their lives dying and it's sad. But Junior was unique and wanted change and growth and leadership and personal development and health. He lived! Let's learn from Junior and wake up tomorrow morning and decide to live life to the fullest! Junior: "You were the epitome of what we will try to emulate."
- Bike ride to San Luis Obispo and Run from Avery to Angels Camp, July/December. Why you ask? Because I can! These two special training days are definite learning experiences. The bike ride was an adventure that started in Coalinga, Ca and took me through the coast to San Luis Obispo, 106 miles. The run was an epic conclusion to my Christmas vacation. I would start heading "home" as my wife, daughter and Linda (foreign exchange student) would leave a few hours later and pick me up on the way. 20 miles and 3 hours later, I made it to my destination. With both situations I had studied in detail my routes beforehand, I knew exactly the direction I needed to go to get to my destinations, hence the first lesson is about goal setting. It works the same way for any objective/goal. You have a starting point, which is "A" and the goal is to get to "B". There are long and extra "mileage" routes that could have you lost and frustrated, there are short and quick fix routes that might not give you the end result. But then there is the efficient route. The one that can get you to point "B" safely in the allotted time. Quick fixes are not good, they are not maintainable and not having a plan of action will get you lost and frustrated so planning and preparing the most efficient way to get to "B" is the best remedy. As you embark on this journey, this goal, road blocks are destined to be in your way. Whether it's a steep hill to run or bike, a dirt decent that's rough on your bike, an angry boss, a tough financial situation, sore knees or ankles, or a change of plan (death in the family, newborn child, etc)....how will you handle the road block? What direction will you take? My idea, take it head on. Take the challenge, the goal, the journey head on. But be prepared. Do the research. Know the path to your destination. Know your destination. If you do not know where you are going, good luck finding your way. Start constructing your 1, 3, 5, 10, 20 year goals. Just write a list, call it your "BIG LIST" and write down everything you have ever wanted. And start working to get it. Create your "bike route". Expect road blocks and frustrating times but keep going. These adventures gave me much time to allow my mind to be turned off but I also did lots of thinking. I thought about everything, family, work, fitness, life, and whatever else my mind was on. As I was cycling down the coast or running through the Avery hills, I came to the conclusion that life is what you want it to be. You can either sit on the couch each day with no goals or aspirations and die while you are living or you can get up and be active and be unique and strive for your best. You can not set limits on yourself. You will never reach maximum capacity with these self set limits. Fly I tell you. Fly high and keep going. Why you ask? Because you can!
Time to make 2012 the biggest year yet. When others are resting and not moving forward, be the person to take big action steps in the right direction. Decide right NOW that you want a big year. Decide right now how you want to live. Decide right now that you can and you will be a better person.
Happy New Year and Let's Make It Happen!