Category Archives: Finding Your Want

Once More into the Fray

Have you ever watched a movie and be so moved that it help make a lasting imprint on your life?  I’ve been emotionally moved by a movie, but never until only recently has one moved me to the point where I felt compelled to actually move forward with change.  Excitement is one thing, but excitement followed by action is another.

A movie that I had mixed feelings on the first time I watched it has grown into a favorite of mine.  That movie is “The Grey” starring Liam Neeson.

I won’t pretend to be a film critic here or even go into dramatic detail regarding the plot of the story, but the point is Neeson has a choice to make in the film as most of us do at some point in our lives; dig deep inside of himself and reflect.  Is he going to fight or just lay down and die.  That is the age-old question isn’t it?  Will you stand up to fear, look it in the face and move forward?

As he is presented with several near death experiences he recollects on his childhood and a poem written by his stern and at times quite unloving father.

Once more into the fray

Into the last good fight I’ll ever know

Live and die on this day

Live and die on this day.

To me this poem means that every day we are faced with two decisions:  Are we going to live and make the most of each day or are we going to slowly die and not search for or carry out plans to live our dreams.

Blended with this poem is an image of his now passed-on wife.  They lie side by side in a bed, the camera pans out and there is an image of an IV drip for his wife.  She’s beautiful, stunning really and they lock eyes.  Fear washes over his face but there is an acceptance of fate in hers.

“Don’t be afraid” she whispers.

This is the part that really got to me. When I see this I pictured my own wife lying beside me, telling me not to waste anymore time and fulfill my own dreams; SEO marketer, writing and becoming a leader in the massage industry with my own ideas.  Then the questions started.

What kind of life could we have had if I had acted on this sooner?

How much happier would we have been?

Now even if I do accomplish these things I won’t be able to share it with her.

Why the fuck did I wait this long!

My effort definitely started changing the day I saw myself in this situation.  Things began to move more quickly, I started to move more purposefully.  I say find your dream, chase it. There is no certainty in any of this life, but that at some point we will have no more life to live.

Once more into the fray

Into the last good fight I’ll ever know

Live and die on this day

Live and die on this day.

 

RGD

 

Why I Won’t Train Friends For Free

This is an area of contention and debate for a lot of people, both clients and trainers alike.  My stance may change in the future, but currently I do not train friends for free.  Here is why.

The client has no vested interest in a free session or sessions, there’s nothing to lose. 

Sometimes it can help one’s motivation if there is something on the line.  Putting a financial wager on their fitness is often enough for people to work out. If they don’t do it they are out no money.  They can always do it later.

This also adds value to the session

I tried to look at it from a client’s perspective. After all even as a personal trainer I still see the benefit of having a trainer myself and I do on a very regular basis.  Do I train with people that only charge peanuts for their services? Absolutely not.  My trainer is $70 per hour.  Free sessions can then be viewed as being of lesser quality.  If I see $5 personal training sessions being advertised I immediately question that trainer’s qualifications.  I think to myself “something has to be up. Something is off with that offer.”

You Need to Optimize Your Time

Time is money.  Focusing on paying clients only makes business sense.  Pouring time into clients who are not ready and those who will not pay is unfortunately not a practical way to make a living.  Keep these people in the back of your mind, stay in touch but focus on those that are ready to invest completely including monetarily.

My advice if you are contemplating training friends for free –

  • Stay positive.  This is a hard industry.  Not seeing clients on a regular basis can wear on a person’s confidence. You got this. Keep your chin up.
  • Don’t give your services away.  Stay the course with your pricing.  You can give discounts now and then but do not give it away.  Remember, your time is valuable too.
  • Give your business enough time to grow.  A couple days, a couple weeks or even a couple of months is not enough.  I realized you need to plant a few seeds in the minds of people about who you are and what you do before your business will flourish.
  • Keep in touch with your contacts. Remember, these friends have friends of friends and they too might be looking for a healthy change.

Friends will understand that this is a business and will ultimately understand you need to help people but also make a living. Do not feel guilty about that.  Take pride in what you do, again do NOT give it away, focus on your passion and everything will work out.

RGD

 

 

Going Back to Technical Support Is NOT an Option

Recently I have decided on a date to fully make the transition from technical support to full-time massage therapist.  The timing, finances and opportunity finally lined up.  It is time.  Obviously this is something that I have been working for, this has been my end goal for going on four years now, but that does not mean there will not be new challenges.

One of those more immediate challenges has been dealing with the less than confident responses from others when they find out what I am doing.  I know a lot of them have my best interest in mind and simply don’t want to see me get hurt or put myself in an impossible situation, but some of the comments although not particularly offensive, they also don’t give me the impression these people necessary have my back.  A few examples:

Does that pay, OK?

I hope it works out.

You’re just going to throw away your IT career?

You can ALWAYS go back to your old job.

I mean they didn’t come right out and call me a moron for making the switch, but that last comment is the one that really got my attention.  It ignited and still ignites a spark inside me.

Going back to the IT world is NOT an option.  I absolutely refuse to work in an industry that I do not enjoy.  It had it’s place and was good to me but that does not mean I need to be married to it for the rest of my life.  I found something I enjoy, saw other people making a good living with it and decided to grab a hold of it with both hands and not look back.

Looking at the tech job from a business decision perspective it merely helped fuel my true passion and assisted me in financing my dream.  I learned to eventually accept that and not feel guilty about it.  Working massage and personal training part-time gave me a taste of what living my dream could be and at this point I refuse to give that up.

I do not believe that is being selfish I believe that is being true to myself.  Why would I want to go through life thinking what could have been?  My wife is behind me as well as countless others.  I will not let a few comments keep me from taking a calculated chance. I would not say I never have any doubting moments about this change, but that’s just part of the stretching and growing process.  Those moments would eventually pass and I refocused and a breakthrough would usually follow.

If you are going through a similar transition and run into people like this who are trying to keep you safe, take a couple things from my experience:

Most of them don’t mean any harm they just do not want to see you hurt.

Keep moving forward. Take their comments with a grain of salt and move forward.  Keep moving forward no matter what.

If you find yourself being thrown off-track by the negative commentary, focus on your purpose.  Why do you want this? Write it out, say it out loud.  It is remarkable how calming this little exercise can be.

My dream happened and is continuing to happen.  I hope you read this and make the option to pursue your own dreams.

RGD

 

 

The Meaning of ‘RGD’

I sign my name on these posts as “RGD” but that is not my name, those are not even my initials.

So why do I do it?

When I started this blog I wanted to stay anonymous.  I was working full-time and did not want anyone to know what I was doing on the side.  I didn’t want to get grief, I did not want to answer questions and I really did not want the attention.

When you’re anonymous criticism is a little easier to take.  If someone does not like my post I can delete their comment and move on.  However if I am not writing under an alias and a friend reads my post and does not like it I hated the idea that they might talk to someone else I know and spread the word that I really suck at this.  I have since developed a little thicker skin but at the time my mind would run wild with how this thing could snowball and I was certain that eventually everyone on earth would be laughing about my blog. Sounds ridiculous I know, but that’s the dangerous game you play when you let your mind wander in a destructive direction.

What does it stand for?

It is the initials of three men:

R stands for ‘Ray’, my father who has since passed on.  My relationship with him was the strongest near the end of his life.  I do wish I had done some things differently early on, but I am glad we were able to create a tremendous bond while he was still with us.  Other father/son relationships have had a longer stretch of good times but I am fortunate we had the good times that we did.  Some sons never get any of the good stuff with their dad, this short stretch of good times was how it was supposed to be for me. It was when he became very, very sick that I had decided that I was going to get clean and get start to get my life in order.  I decided on this change for myself, but it was also heavily influenced by my dad.  As I watched him battle his own health issues, a lot of which were probably attributed to decades of alcohol abuse, I could see in his eyes that he knew things were not going well for me and it tugged at his heart.  His generation is not big on showing emotion but you could clearly see the empathy he had for me.  He did not want me to make the same mistakes he did.  He wasn’t mad that I too developed an alcohol problem but he more than anything wanted to see me be happy with being me, being Dan.

G stands for ‘Galen’, my father-in law.  When my father passed on I was definitely a little lost.  I missed that father figure who I could talk sports with, get advice from and tell me what I needed to hear not just what I wanted to hear.  I found that in Galen.  He showed me you can show your heart and still be a manly guy.  Follow your heart, it doesn’t matter what others think.  When he came into my life I really started to be more comfortable in my own skin.

D stands for “Dan”, me.

This is really an evolution.  Ray helped shaped me in the beginning, Galen picked up from where Ray left off and the two of them shaped who I am today.

Well, that is why I use those initials and why I will continue to use those initials.  I am not hiding anything, it’s more of a comfort thing which has now turned into a tribute.

RGD

Be OK with BeingTalented | Accept your ability, accept your talents

Why would anyone have a hard time with being talented?

What does ‘talented’ even mean?  Who gets to decide this?

I have always had no problem with the talent of others, I could always see that.  The problem I had was   the definition of “Talented” for myself. There were conflicting ideologies here.  Everyone was talented, I of course was part of everyone, but I did not consider myself talented.  I could see the tiniest bit of potential in almost everyone and I had set an unrealistic expectations for myself as far as what I needed to do to be considered talented.

Previously when I thought of someone being talented I thought immediately of someone very well known, famous.  Not just anyone with a slightly better than average ability at something, but I thought of those that were stood out worldy in their profession.  Actors, musicians, billionaires, people with a star on the Hollowood Walk of Fame.  These people were talented, I was not.

Ridiculous, right?

If I consider my mom talented for her meatloaf (and she definitely is), how could I not consider my massage work and growing writing ability to have some sort of

I can say from personal experience that this is a hard thing to get over.  It’s hard to be OK and secure with the idea of something that you cannot see, you cannot feel.

For me it feels as though I am a part of a featured artist opening in an art gallery, walls lined with magnificent paintings and sculptures.  I can see the work of others.  I can marvel at the beauty they are trying to capture.  I can see their ability and message shine though.  It’s just so obvious.  Then I come to my wing of the gallery that is also on display.  It is just as full of on-lookers and fans as any other wing.  Others give tremendous compliments on what I have done.  I look and strain my eyes.  I look at it sideways and frontways, a little closer, a little further back maybe, but from all ways all I see is a solid white canvas.  How can I possibly accept a compliments when I’m staring at that?  I feel like I did nothing. Am I going crazy? Are they just being nice?  I just don’t see it.

How did I start seeing my talent?

-I realized that talent is very raw in nature.  It is not an end-all.  You may show a natural ability for something but that can only take you so far. If you do not work at it you will not become better, good or great.

-Realize you are telling yourself a lie.  Is it really possible that everyone else is talented at something and you’re just left out in the cold? Get over it, stop feeling sorry for yourself, accept the fact that there is good in you and move forward with it.

-Feel out your talent.  What I mean by this is that try to play with it, practice it.  Maybe it’s only 5 minutes a day but what we’re trying to do is see if there is a spark there, to see if this is something you would like to pursue and take further.  You should never feel forced into something and it is quite possible that it is not something you want to pursue.  That’s perfectly fine.

For me I found this entire process very frustrating at first, but it grew and developed into a very real passion of mine.  I hope you have similar results, I hope you can learn to see your gifts and nurture them.  No one wants to live a life of regret of what might have been.

It’s Your Dream..And It’s OK to Change It.

Think and dream big words written on chalkboard

 

Like a large portion of my friends in grade school and high school and even in college, I truly did not know exactly where I wanted my career path to go.

 

I remember wanting just a good paying job and nothing more out of an occupation.  Having a passion for my work was not for me. It sounds silly and reading this after I write it is even funnier, but my thought at the time was that I was not worthy of working at a place I actually liked.  That was saved for other, more talented people, people that could actually make a difference in the world.

To me that good paying job was something that paid $50,000 per year plus some sort of benefits.  I had decided on this arbitrary number when I was around 15 and at that time as it was exceptional money.  I think I had overheard a conversation or something with a relative of mine and that number came up.  People told me that it was a good salary, who was I to judge.  They told me this person was a success and that became my model, this person became my ideal.  Today this is still not a bad wage by any means for the area I live in, but it’s definitely not out of the ordinary.  The problem with penciling in myself to this amount of money was that as the years passed my number never changed; $50,000 per year and I would be considered a “success.”

 

My intense focus became my reality.  In Napoleon Hill’s book “Think and Grow Rich” he stated very prophetically for me that basically anything I focus my energy on can and will become my reality.  I was obsessed with that number. It’s all I thought about. I searched advertisements and job postings, looking for anything that would get me to that level.

 

“Once I get there people will notice me.  Once I get there people will believe in me.”

 

Be careful what you ask for.

 

When I got there I quickly realized that I was not cut out to just do a job for the sake of having a job.  When I got there I realized that the people I knew did not treat me any differently for better or worse with my newfound money. Most importantly I did not feel any different about myself.  More money does not mean more confidence.

 

There is a bit of a macho factor here.

 

“Oh, you don’t like your job?  Man-up and do your work to provide for your family.  NOBODY likes their job, they just do it!  Toughen-up Butter-cup!”

 

I did not see this right away, but that sort of thinking is short-sighted. That sort of thinking is actually taking the easy way out.  Finding your dream takes work, it takes courage.  Admitting that the support is there and has always been there also takes courage because the next stop is all on you; action towards your goal.

A job that just fulfills basic needs, but does not allow me to grow or show my talent, that is not something I am going to do anymore.  Would I not be a better employee, a better husband and a better friend if I was happy and doing what I wanted to do for a living?  Would I not be contributing more to this world if I was actually using some of the gifts I was given?

 

I will write

I will provide clients with massage therapy

I will provide clients with personal training

 

There are all sorts of ups and downs I have encountered with pursuing this and only until recently have I built up enough belief in myself that there is no doubt in my mind I will eventually get to my goal of quitting my full-time job and pursue this and only this as not only a full-time job but as a lifestyle.  I did not start there, believe me.  But I worked at it and eventually created that belief.

 

I am not yet full-time in training, coaching, massage, but I am on my way.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, all is not lost.  How will all of this work together?  How will I train people, do massage and still pay the bills?  I don’t have an iron clad plan, I have not figured out all of the details, but I believe I can get there.

 

Unfortunately, I do not have all of the answers for you if you are pursuing something similar, following your passion.  I can however share some things I learned along the way:

 

Don’t Listen to Other People’s Timelines for  Your Success

 

A lot of friends and family did not quite understand why this is taking so long for me to transition. A lot still don’t understand and that’s OK.

 

“My God! You’ve graduated massage school like three years ago! Just go full-time and be done with it!”

 

No one has actually said that to me directly.  Some of that was manufactured in my head, but I have been asked questions that when broken down and stated bluntly, basically say the same thing. That’s OK.  Realize that they are more than likely just trying to keep you safe and don’t want to see you hurt.  If this process of working your dreams it might take you a year it might take you ten. Just keep working it and it will happen. A lot of the time the people that are trying to pull you down because you are chasing your dreams are angry with themselves because it’s highlighting the fact that maybe they had a vision once, a dream and failed to act on it.

 

You will make mistakes

 

You will make A LOT of mistakes.  I am still making mistakes.

 

This is a huge one.  It took me a lot of practice.  Yes, how bad do I suck that I needed to even practice failing? No. Stop that. See, negative self-talk is hard to break, even as I write this.  and although I still have an occasional flip-out over not doing something right the first time,  I am getting much better at it.

 

Lately I have actually been looking forward to addressing my mistakes.  I like to think of it as making an adjustment to my plan and not actually fixing something.  There is a reason you tried what you tried and there’s a reason it did not work.  It is there to show you something, teach you.  Learn from it and keep it in the back of your mind when you consider making another change.

 

Look for Opportunity

 

Opportunity to grow and get better is everywhere.  No, you will not see all of them, but if you are aware and looking for it opportunity has a way of finding you.

 

Example – How/Why I went from tech support to massage.  I met my wife who was an athlete, she broke her foot and had developed plantar fasciatis.  This condition wasn’t found until much later and grew to be extremely painful for her.

“Hey, you’ve got big hands! You should work on my feet!”

I started working on her feet, a little here and a little there.  I can say from the start massage just kind of made sense to me. She was impressed with what I did and said it was one of the best she ever had.  Was she just being nice? Maybe she was being a little biased here, but anyone who knows my wife knows she does not sugar coat things. She is a straight shooter.  I had no prior training in massage but it seemed to come very naturally. It so happened that

 

The opportunity to work on my wife and her bum foot opened another opportunity to pursue a different career, massage therapy.

 

I started in relaxation massage and grew into something I thought I would never get into, deep tissue.  Working on my wife’s foot was very much a deep tissue type of work that I had forgotten about.  I used that experience to propel me to the next level, the next challenge; developing my massage skills and learning all I can about being the best deep tissue massage therapist I can be.

 

 

Persistence is key

 

Persistence will always get you further than talent alone.  Keep at it. Make mistakes and learn from them.

 

There is a reason this is not going to be easy.  If it was easy, getting to your goal wouldn’t mean as much. It wouldn’t carry near as much meaning because you didn’t have to give anything for it.  This takes blood, sweat and tears but you all have it inside of you to do it.

 

Not learning from the mistakes you made? Ask someone you trust to take a step back and look at your situation.  You will be amazed sometimes at what a second look at a problem can do for you.  The answer can be right under your nose.

 

Be Grateful and Have Fun

 

The most important one.  Be grateful you have found your passion!  Attack it with vigor. Enjoy the process of figuring all this out and don’t feel guilty pursuing it.  Time is short, you might as well enjoy it!

 

As I said before I am not completely at my goal but I am on my way.  Before I was a disgruntled tech worker looking for change and now I am at least doing what I love part-time (coaching and massage therapy). I found what niche I want to work with and I found my style of massage.  Those were pretty big for me and took me about 3 years to get where I am today.  Other therapists I know knew what they wanted before that, some I know are still trying to find their niche.  Everyone will have different timelines. Financially I am less than a year out from even being OK with taking a lesser paying massage job temporarily until I hit my grove.

 

 

My Dream Will Happen.

 

And so will yours, if you allow it.

 

RGD

You Don’t Need To Wait For Next New Years To Change

I think the absolute hardest thing to do when it comes to changing your body is simply starting. You know you are not happy with how you look and more importantly are not happy with the way you feel.  You’ve made the discovery that a change is needed and you may even know what type of change that is; lose fat, increase strength, gain confidence, etc.

Everyone including trainers are guilty of postponing that very first step, that very first attempt at going into a new direction.  With New Years just around the corner whordes of people will make getting fit their New Year’s resolution.  Deciding you are ready to make a huge change such as this is a huge accomplishment, but it does not have to wait until New Years.  If you are ready, by all means, get moving!  Here are some of the reasons I have run into in why people wait until that magical New Year to start.

  • I want to start the New Year with a clean slate. This is great!  Who doesn’t appreciate a chance to improve themselves and a fresh start.  The thing of it is though, you will start this with the bet of intentions but you will make mistakes. We all do it.  You will run into things that do not work. Several times during the upcoming year you will have to “wipe the slate clean” and try something different.  Do not give up, do not let this take your thunder.  Your body will adapt, you will make changes.

 

  • I want to enjoy the holiday food. I have used this one myself and for me it translated into “I want an excuse to eat everything that I see. Come January I’m going on a diet so it doesn’t matter.”  In the past I could gain 5-10 lbs easy from Thanksgiving through New Years do to my love of simple sugars which lead to some massive water weight. Why make it harder on yourself by adding weight to a weight loss goal you already feel is going to take an enormous effort?

 

  • I made a pact with my best friend that we would start working out next year.  The “I don’t want to let my friend down” routine.  A workout partner is great, but again, if you are ready do not guilt yourself into stopping just because it will make your friend feel bad if you start before they do.  You will not progress the same and will not hit your goals at the exact same time so the fact that you started a little earlier is irrelevant.

 

  • I’m too busy getting ready for the holidays to start working out.  Do a five minute non-stop circuit of burpees, push-ups, sit-ups and dips every morning and you will burn a ton of calories.  Add more, add something different when things slow down.  You have time to watch Chevy Chase and Christmas Vacation 50 times over the holidays, you have time to workout.

 

  • It takes away from family time.   Family is important but this is still a poor excuse.  You don’t need to spend all day working out.  I don’t think taking 30 minutes for yourself is being selfish. If you take care of yourself better you will be able to take care of your family better.

 

There are other reasons of course but these are what I most run into.  The point here is that if you are ready to make a change than make a change.  Do not rely on some arbitrary date to tell you that its time.  If you start early you can accomplish your goal early.

 

Take care and happy holidays to all!

RGD