What is preventing you from living the life that you dream of? What isstopping you from taking a risk, moving to a new city, starting your ownbusiness, taking on a fitness challenge? Why do you just settle? Our mindsseem pre-programmed to tell us to play it safe, to not take chances, to notput ourselves out there. It is a sort of survival instinct, like we areconditioned to survive, but not thrive. When you step back and analyze whoyou are and what defines you, are you genuinely happy with what you see?
This concept is really important to me because I have let myself down overand over again. What do we get in return from playing is safe? Do we evertruly experience happiness? I played it safe all through my twenties. Igraduated with a degree in graphic design, and did that for a while. I thengot laid off, and worked in legal copy. Then I got a nice safe desk jobworking for the state of New York. I did that for about a year, living inthe same city that I grew up in, because I wanted to stay near my family.Back when I was about 8 years old, my dad moved the family to CarolinaBeach, N.C. But after I graduated, I went right back to where I was from. Istarted to realize that just because I am from somewhere, does not mean itis where I wanted to be. Because of moving when I was younger, I knew placescould be quite different from my hometown of Albany, New York.
In 2004, I had enough of it, and decided to move to Asheville, NorthCarolina. This city was known for being vegan-friendly and more progressivethan the rest of that state. I was there for about a year and realized thatwasn’t quite right for me either. I was working odd jobs, just trying to payrent. I worked at a wholesale florist for a while, but this was not what Iwas destined to do with my time. Asheville was more geared toward thetourist industry, and I didn’t feel a solid connection with it. Since Ialready broke the fear of moving away from home, why not move again? Thistime, I moved to the Midwest for two years, with my eyes on one day makingit to Portland, Oregon, one of the vegan meccas! The person I was dating atthe time was finishing her degree in Iowa, so I moved there until shegraduated. We then moved to Portland together. That relationship didn’tlast, but I was really happy with the city. Before leaving North Carolina, Istarted working at gyms. As a vegan for a long time, I knew I wanted topromote veganism in some way, I just didn’t know how back then. Once I foundpersonal training and coaching, I knew that was the path for me.
So, it all starts from a desire to be something more. When I moved toPortland, as luck would have it, I ended up working at the same gym thatRobert Cheeke worked out at. We quickly became friends, and he inspired meto compete in bodybuilding. What prevented me from ever putting myself on abodybuilding stage was definitely a lack of confidence. This lack ofconfidence has always been with me to some degree. You see, I always feltaverage. I never felt like I was the worst at anything, but never feltreally great at anything either. This was not a mindset to live with. Itprevented me from taking more chances sooner. Looking back on my twenties, Ifeel like I let them just pass me by – all because I didn’t believe inmyself.
Once I competed in bodybuilding, I developed a new sense of confidence. Thisis not to be mistaken for arrogance, as I realize that I am simply oneperson trying to be an effective advocate for compassionate living, but Iwas no longer going to let my doubts decide what I can and cannot do. Thisconfidence has snowballed in that it has allowed me to take more chances. Inow had the confidence to quit my big box gym training position and open myown gym. I opened PlantFit Training Studio in Portland and had a blastrunning that for two years. I signed up and have been a competing member ofthe PlantBuilt Vegan Muscle Team, competing in both Men’s Physique and nowCrossFit. I used that same confidence to sell my gym and move to SanFrancisco, California, where nearly everything was unknown. I sold my oldcar and finally got the car I’ve wanted for years. I pursued the women of mydreams, and we are now celebrating our 2 Year Anniversary! The me from 10years ago was lost and stagnant. The me from 5 years ago was just scratchingthe surface. The me of today is living his dreams.
Our lives are in our control. We should of course accept what we cannotchange, but we must become clear on what we can. Once we acknowledge that wecan change something, we should put everything we have into creating thosechanges. If you want to go vegan, do it! If you want to get in the bestshape of your life, do it! If you want to inspire others to go vegan, thendo it! No more excuses. Now is the only moment we truly ever have. Take thismoment and that confidence and live the life you have always wanted. This isyour only chance.