A Story for You
So, there's a guy that came in the gym today and brought me a sweatshirt. He works for a conveyor belt company that works with coal mines, rock quarries, and other things of that nature. The sweatshirt really has a dope logo on the back that's similar to the tattoo on my forearm, the Coal Miners Crest.
A rush of emotions came back to me. I started to think about how scared I really was, honestly, the first day I went underground, and how scared I was the first time I started my gym.
I'm returning back to early in my career so you can understand how I got to this point in my life. I remember my stepdad saying, "You're stacking lumber right now, and I know you want to move to Columbus to pursue this fitness thing. How about I get you a job at the coal mine this summer? You can make double the wages you're making now, and you can work as many hours as you want. But I need you to go underground with me to see if you could do it."
When people talk about working underground, I know a lot of people who've never experienced this before, but you get on an elevator and go 600 feet underground and get out. It's one of those things where it's not guaranteed that you're going to be okay. You could have claustrophobia or just freak the fuck out. So, I was like, "All right, cool. The money is going to be good but let me see if I can hack it."
When I say I was confidently scared, I was confident that I could do the work, because I got that work in me, no question. I learned how to work there when I put in 80 and 90 hours per week. I worked so much that I didn't even have time to cash my checks. The banks weren’t open when I was awake or out, I was just working. But the first time I got on that elevator and I went down, I was thinking, "This is literally not the elevator down to work, this is the elevator to my next life. This is four generations of my family. This is what they did for basically their whole lifetime." This however was a means to an end. No matter how scared I was going to be or how hard it was going to be, I was going to make it work for that short period of time to get to the next level of what I wanted to pursue. So, I walk through and get off the elevator. I'm thinking, "Man, I've been on this bitch for a little while. We're deep."
I come out into this area, called an airlock, surrounded on all sides with cement. I'm thinking, "Oh shit, this ain't bad." And then I hear the suction of air. Then I realize I’m not even in the coal mine yet, I'm just in the airlock. Then they open up the door and it looks like the motherfucker's going to fall in. First off, I can't stand up because it’s only 50 inches or so high. Then I get to an area where we're going to work, and it's literally like working under your kitchen table. I'm thinking to myself, "Fuck, is this worth $14 an hour and $21 an hour over time?"
"In four generations, three generations, your family have done this. You need to experience this; you need to give it everything you have, and you need to work through that you could be in danger on a daily basis." Many coal miners are faced with this every day. That's why I have so much love for them.
I said, "Fuck it." I obviously felt uncomfortable at first, but I tapped into, "This is me. This is in my DNA. This is what we've done. This is what I want to do." And so, I went down there the first day and I'm on this fucking belt line and I'm shoveling this coal. They drop me off and say, "See you in 10 hours." My back's rubbing the ceiling as I'm shoveling it. I'm thinking to myself, "Motherfucker, this is what it's going to take. This is what it's going to take."
I'm not crying. There are people that do this their whole life. What I'm saying is for me. This is what it was going to take to get the opportunity to leave the area to see if fitness was a possibility.
For 80 to 90 hours a week, for a total of six months combined, I soldiered on. Every time I thought, "Fuck, I don't want to do this, this sucks, and is this worth it?" I just thought about the possibility, that I got through being scared, I got through the work. I couldn’t allow myself to think about the unknown or how scared I really was the first time I went underground. No one just goes 600 feet underground and was like, "Yeah, this is okay." It's fucking crazy. I talk about it all the time because it was so impactful to me.
I just want people to know that when you go into these uncharted territories, you're going to be fucking scared, but you must rely on you and the belief that you can do it.
Fast forward a little bit, I get to Columbus and I'm making some moves. Then there comes up another opportunity. Personal training, and they're pushing on me. They want a bigger percentage of my money. The guy comes in, he thinks he's going to push me around because I'm 20-years-old. He goes, "Starting next month, I'm taking 30%." I didn't say anything. I walked out the door.
You know what I did? I got right in my car and I started driving and looking for places. I'm 20-years-old. I have no money. I just knew that situation wasn't for me. I'm looking at leasing this place and that place. I'm thinking, "How am I going to get a co-signer? How am I going to get the money? How am I going to do any of this?" I was fucking scared. I had no clue what I was doing, but I was confident that people liked what I was doing.
A New Spot
I knew I was capable, and I needed to get my own joint. Now, when I say my first gym, it was 900 square feet. I signed a lease for three years at 600 a month. I don't know if you understand, 600 a month felt like so much fucking money back then. I was scared I wasn't going to be able to pay it. I was scared that all my clients were going to leave.
Even though I had all those feelings, I was still confident that if I put myself in this situation where I had to deliver, I'd fucking blaze it. And that's exactly what I did. Now, it wasn't easy every month, but just like I got through the coal mine shit, I doubled down on it. They said minimum 40, I worked at 80, sometimes 90. My biggest paycheck in the coal mine in one week was 93 hours. Motherfuckers even know how to work 93 hours? I do. I know what that paycheck looks like.
Use the Confidence
So, when I got here and I got through being scared and used my confidence to believe in my ability, I said, "I'm going to do the same shit I did underground in this gym. I'm going to believe in myself and I'm going to work 93 hours a week if that's what the fucking takes."
Well, that's what it took. I don't want people to get it twisted out here to say that I'm not scared when I go into stuff. I was, but I didn't care because ultimately, I didn't allow those feelings to hold me back from the confidence that I had built by getting through step one, to step two and ongoing.
And now, I'm through step 25. They all build on each other. They all have uncertainty, but you have to be confident in yourself. That's why I say confidence runs the world. You need to be building it up every day, and you need to have small wins. When you're scared, don't let it fucking hold you back, believe in yourself.