Phase 2 – I have to make a change
My 32nd birthday came and I had been out of hockey for 4 years. There I was celebrating with my family and feeling disgusted with myself. I was thinking, “why do these people even want to be around me?” I had a miserable attitude, never worked out, and hadn’t found any success in my new career. The list of bad shit I was telling myself went on and on. On my birthday, I decided I had to make a change.
One Change That Changed Everything
I went back to the one thing that I knew I could control, and I starting working out again. I decided to do the one thing that I hated the most: running. So obviously, I signed up for a marathon. The training gave me a plan and took all the thinking out of it. All I had to do was pull up my training calendar and run however many miles it said for that day. Simple. When I got to the first five mile run and completed it, I felt amazing. It was actually the longest run of my life. It gave me confidence and each run after that was longer, a new personal best.
The running culture is pretty intense and also got me thinking about how I was eating and sleeping. I was getting back in shape which was opening me up to other ways to improve myself. This is really where my journey towards purpose and self mastery started. However, three months into training, I badly injured my foot and had to significantly reduce the number of miles I was running. Quickly, my old mindset showed up. Then, the marathon I signed up for was cancelled. Instead of signing up for a new race, I quit! I was back in my old ways, not working out and feeling sorry for myself. I was more aware of this old, sorry for myself feeling and could feel myself rebounding faster.
Lessons from the Sidelines
In addition to running, I decided to tiptoe back into hockey by coaching a high school hockey team. My first season with the team happen to be with an exceptional group of young men. They won the state tournament and went undefeated that year. Through them, I got my first taste of success after hockey. They had a perfect season, and I was a long for the ride as an assistant coach. I was reminded how vision and dedication to being the best you can be could pay off. These were young men, but they were disciplined to believe in the process and do the work. I was hooked to find this same thing in my own life.
Pull to Purpose
I could feel a pull to do something purposeful with my life. A commitment to something bigger than myself. Purpose was suddenly before me: commit to being the best version of myself so I could be the best husband and father possible. I knew for the first time in my life that it was time to do the hard work and dig into all aspects of my life. The work was mine to do but not for me. I needed to do the work in order to serve the people that mean the most to me.
This shift was powerful because it wasn’t selfish, it was focused on others. It was a shift in mindset that was much different than that of my athletic career where my own needs were number one. I knew that I needed to be my best so I could be the best husband so together my wife and I could raise little warriors who will be of service to others.
Divine, as in Mark Divine, Intervention
The work started with me. I had to get myself right so that I could be right out in the world. I needed daily, focused time to train my mind and my body. Daily. I knew it was going to be uncomfortable and shitty at times but life-changing and real. My mind was tricking me and I needed to rewire it. I read “The Way of the Seal” by Mark Divine and signed up for his Unbeatable Mind program online. I got hooked on the content and was introduced to the importance of having a daily practice. For the first time ever, I started practicing meditation, breathing, visualization, and getting better sleep. Most importantly though, was that all of the self work was for the greater purpose of serving others. For me, that was my wife and my kids.
My daily practice started with 20 minutes of gratefulness, meditation, and breathwork followed by a 60 minute CrossFit workout. My practice has evolved from there but still has the same elements. That failed marathon attempt got me started and put me in a space to find Mark Divine and his teachings. That one decision to stop the excuses and take action lead me to the daily practice and my personal development journey began. I finally realized that instead of occasionally thinking about what I wanted my future to look like, I had to dedicate myself to a daily practice that built the future for me. A decision to take action – consistently, intentionally – was the start of everything else to come.