August 28th, 2002, my friend Johann and I pull up to the Barr Trail trailhead at 8 am. The temperature is 68 degrees. Our mission today is to run 12 miles up the Barr Trail to reach the top of Pikes Peak, then back down for a total of 24 miles. Pikes Peak is one of Colorado’s 14er’s with an altitude 14,110 feet, which is almost 2.7 miles of elevation.
We slowly chug up the mountain, wearing shorts, a light long sleeve t-shirt and carrying a water bottle. With 3 miles to go, at about 12,000 ft of altitude, the game really changed. The partial air pressure is so low that we can’t seem to get enough oxygen to saturate our lungs. We are hypoxic. The best way to describe the feeling of hypoxia is to quickly run up 5 flights of stairs with your nose pinned together and only breathe out of a straw through your mouth. The air is so thin that trees no longer grow there.
On the 16 Golden Stairs: “Whoever named this section was under severe oxygen deprivation or had a sick sense of humor.”
With 1 mile to go Johann and I were really struggling. We had been running for 2 hours 40 minutes and were searching for the magical 16 Golden Stairs which were supposed to lead us to the top. This is very misleading because there are a lot more than 16 steps. According to the guide books it refers to the amount of switch backs. There are actually 32 switchbacks. I think whoever named this section was under severe oxygen deprivation or had a sick sense of humor. To make matters worse we had run out of water and a storm moved in, dropping the temperature from a cool 68 degrees to cold and windy 31 degrees. It started snowing. This was not good for us sea level, Miami boys.
At this point we were in really bad shape. Our core temperature dropped and we were shaking. We were going into hypothermia. After the final 45 minutes of swtichbacks, high winds, and snow flurries we reached the summit.
Dress for success. Plan for the unexpected. And above all to get to the top doesn’t take superhuman strength, tremendous leaps, or short cuts, all it takes is the commitment to take one more step.
When you encounter an obstacle, are feeling overwhelmed, or want to give up commit to taking one more step.
PS – There is a restaurant at the top of the mountain. We rested there for about an hour in order to warm up and re-hydrate. It took us almost as long running downhill as it did going up because the decent was so steep.
What do David, Venus De Milo, and the Pieta all have in common?
They are 3 of greatest marble sculptures ever created. These masterpieces were trapped inside marble slabs until their sculptor freed them.
What if I told you that you could sculpt something more beautiful, more unique, more important?
Let me share a quick story.
Growing up my parents had instilled in me a strong sense of curiosity. I romanced the thought of becoming a Renaissance Man. A Renaissance Man is defined as polymath or a person whose expertise spans many different subject areas. I drew inspiration from were men like my father, my 10th grade philosophy teacher Dr. Pedro Gonzalez, Aristotle, Leonardo De Vinci, and Benjamin Franklin.
I worked hard to become the best athlete I could be. I trained daily, I studied anatomy, physiology, I studied what great athletes and coaches were doing so I could be better. I studied French, Latin, German, Greek, Spanish so that I could communicate better. I took advanced courses to push my mind. I studied philosophers like Aristotle, Plato, Kant, Nietzsche, Watts to learn how to think. I was that kid that asked the teacher a “million” questions.
I kept adding to my “bag of tricks” trying to become Armando, the Man, but something was missing.
This year I went to Thailand for 10 days. I had the opportunity to really reflect and evaluate my life – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Here is one “Ah-ha” moment I had.
We spend much of our lives adding to our lives so that we are “worth it”, so that we become better, so that we can be successful. I believe we were always worth it. I believe that our greatest success lies in showing up as the best version of ourselves at that moment.
When they asked Michelangelo how he was able to sculpt “The David”, he replied, ” I just removed everything that was not David.”
Like Michelangelo, I ask you to start removing everything that is not you, everything that is blocking the best version of you from showing up into this world. Remove everything that is stopping your brilliance, everything stopping your light from shining brightly.
Marble sculpting is subtractive. To get to the masterpiece you must remove rock and dust to see details, to see the real form.
I challenge you to take your chisel and hammer and start removing from your life. Simplify and clarify, and what you have left is the most brilliant, most unique, and most beautiful sculpture of the greatest version of you.
PS – I continue to learn and be curious but they don’t determine my worth. They help magnify my brilliance. Take up your hammer and your chisel and get to work. Make it a great one.
Would you die for your beliefs?
I know it is a tough question but the answer to this question will change your life.
This Sunday I was in mass and the priest was giving his homily. He asked us this same question. He spoke of the killings of Christians that refused to convert to Islam in the Middle East.
This made me reflect on my faith. In that same scenario, what would would I do? The truth is we have it easy in the US. We are free to practice our faith and mostly anything else we decide. The question is, do we? Do we really cherish and live each moment, live each day to its potential?
Let’s change the focus.
What could you accomplish if you made your decisions as important as the air you breathe?
Hope your lunch was appetizing.
Time to seize the day, one moment at a time.
Yesterday was my 34th birthday.
The day before my birthday I felt down. I was feeling emotionally drained, a bit lost, a bit frustrated, a bit defeated.
I woke up on my birthday, February 25th (mark that on your calendar), at 4 am. I saw some of my great clients and my mood lifted. I felt supported and loved. I was getting bombarded by Facebook messages of people I rarely hear from just to wish me a happy birthday. I know Facebook lets you know but I was so appreciative that they took time to write me that message. It really meant a lot. I received text messages from friends and family.
Later that day I was the guest speaker at 2 UM classes. They sang me happy birthday then I had the opportunity to hear their story, their dreams. I felt energized.
By the time I got home, my wife had invited my parents, in-laws, and brother to come over for dinner. We had a great time together over dinner and a delicious strawberry shortcake and a banana-chocolate tiramisu from Glaser Organic Farms (I highly recommend it, very delicious). It was a perfect end to a special day with some of the most important people in my life.
Do the people that surround you add or subtract to your energy?
Do the people in your life offer value or only take away value?
Who you surround yourself with will highly impact your energy, your productivity, and your success in life.
In life there are adders, subtractors, dividers, and multipliers.
Adders are the people in your life that always leave you feeling more energized. They leave you with something extra of value than before you interacted with them.
Subtracters are people that seem to take and take and never give back. They are those negative people that leave you feeling drained.
Multipliers are those people that are exponential growers. They are similar to adders but make you excited to be around them. They help you grow exponentially.
Dividers are the most dangerous people of all. They are destroyers. They seek to divide and conquer. They are the gossipers that are looking to manipulate and destroy relationships. They seem to take away fro your life.
1. What category do the friends, family, and clients you have fall into?
2. What category would others say you fall into?
My birthday wish for you is that you eliminate the subtractors and dividers in your life, surround yourself with adders and multipliers, and most important is have you move closer to becoming that multiplier in the lives of your family, friends and clients. As Gandhi stated, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It is always easier to cast that stone and judge others.
I have said it before but I believe it is pertinent to this post,
“Our relationships are one of our most valuable assets for fulfillment, growth, and success.”
I am very appreciative to all the wonderful people in my life. To my family, my friends, my clients, thank you for the great birthday and for being the source of love and support that energizes me and my dreams.
PS – If you forgot to get me a birthday present don’t worry. 😉
Help me instead to help kids get clean drinking water. Did you know that every day 5,000 kids under the age of 5 die because of water related illness. Let’s bring that number down one child at a time.
(See why I donated my birthday to charity: water to help this cause –> Click here)
The other day I was watching Winnie-the-Pooh with my son and daughter. There was a scene that I wanted to share with you.
Eeyore was sad because he had lost his tail. Winnie-the-Pooh had been starving the entire show so he decided to go to owls house and ask for honey. Only when he got there he sees Eeyore’s tail. He declines the honey (and puts his needs on the back burner) because he feels compelled to bring back Eeyore’s tail.
They put Eeyore’s tail back and Rabbit asks him, “Eeyore are you happy now?” Eeyore’s reply, “No, I am not happy but I am glad I have my tail back.”
An Eeyore is person that no matter what, they choose to be unhappy, chooses to look at everything wrong with their life.
Time for some reflection.
No matter what you do for Eeyore it will never be good enough. Circumstances have very little to do with happiness. Happiness is not a place, it is not a thing, it is a choice. Unless you choose to be happy you will not be happy.
Life is too short not to.
PS – Watch this video and the message of this 11 year old. (Click Here)
This has nothing to do with writing a book, yet it has everything to do with it.
Recently I was writing the outline of one of the books I want to write. I have been saying I am going to write a book for a long time and never done it. In fact that is why I started blogging. I thought that if I blogged on a regular basis I would build the habit of writing and as a result it would make writing a book easier.
First – I judged the work before it was done.
Second – I did not play to my strengths
Third – I stopped.
*Bonus – I didn’t have accountability.
If you have not done so watch the 3:43 video. It will help put things in perspective on how you can use the analogy of writing to help you achieve what you want in your weight loss and fitness goals and more importantly in anything you desire in life.
If you are the cliff note type because 3:43 takes to much time to watch then here it is…
You will miss out on my smooth and eloquent delivery of such a fine message. You will miss my voice as it carries through the air penetrating your ear playing the hypnotizing rhythms on your eardrum. If you are willing to miss all that then read below. 😉
As the Great One, Wayne Gretzsky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you never take.”
Decide what you want in life.
Decide what you want for your health.
Decide what you want to be able to do and START.
Don’t be perfect.
Start creating some momentum. Create your life’s first draft. Embrace the process. Take imperfect action and correct and edit along the way. The truth is no matter how awesome your plan is, it does you no good if you don’t start executing it.
Don’t fall victim to the 3 Critical Mistakes I made. Start today.
Hope you find this helpful.
PS – I want to thank my friend David Altshuler for inspiring me to write this post and for lighting a fire under my butt to get my first book written. He just launched his book, Raising Healthy Kids In An Unhealthy World. I have not read it yet. I am finishing another book but I can assure you he is an expert and you will benefit from reading this book.
He quite the story teller and has a very humorous style of writing. Usually it involves typing from right to left as he reads it from the mirror in his underwear. Joking aside pick up the book if you are a parent or want to be a parent.
Be on the lookout for an interview with him in the future.
In our fast paced world listening almost seems like a luxury not afforded to us.
Over the next few paragraphs I hope to persuade you that listening is not a luxury but a necessity if you want more energy and abundance.
Think about everything you have ever been told about losing weight and getting fit.
It usually goes like this, “Eat less, move more.” (Sound familiar?)
What if this was all wrong?
Recently I was doing an assessment on a new client. She was frustrated with the way she looked and felt. She felt completely drained. She wanted to lose 30 lbs. Over the past few years she kept pushing harder but kept falling short and so the vicious cycle of frustration and self doubt continued.
She had signed up online for a 2 week intensive with us but after our assessment I explained to her why this would actually be the worst thing she could do for her health. Instead of leaving it there I created an alternative restorative plan. I wanted her to do it for 2 weeks then return and we would evaluate her progress. After I gave her the plan for the next 2 weeks that included meditation, walking, sunbathing, she instantly looked as if a huge pressure was removed. She finally had permission to listen to what her body had been telling her all along. She radiated with warmth and confidence.
In the above example my client was primarily operating in the sympathetic nervous system. Said differently, her body was operating as if she were surviving a life and death situation, like being chased by a lion. In this mode your body doesn’t digest the food you are eating and extract the nutrients needed, so you lack the energy. Because your body feels it is fighting for it’s life it stores more fat for later to protect itself for this emergency. Her body was not recovering properly. Her ability to create new information and problem solve were greatly reduce. She felt “burned out” which stimulates cravings for sugary and fatty foods that help satisfy the chemical and hormonal needs the body wants in the short term.
What do you do?
Do you push harder or do you take time to listen?
Carving time to listen and implementing what your body is asking for, in spite of conventional “wisdom” takes courage.
Be courageous today. Listen, feel, and grow stronger.
If you feel trapped, frustrated, or burned out and want some direction feel free to contact my team and I at 305-741-0560. We are here to serve, guide, and support you on your journey.
For all you parents I am sure you can remember with great clarity the first time you kids were hospitalized.
This is a vivid image I wish would never occurred, but I learned 5 things I want to share with you.
1. The Miami Children’s Hospital nurses and staff that we encountered were all very nice and genuinely cared. I really appreciated that considering it was the first time Mandy was admitted to the hospital. They made the experience less scary.
2. Doctors use you as an experiment. I know this is a little controversial but this came from the doctors mouth. He was wanted to prescribe medication for Mandy based what he thinks Mandy has. He said if it doesn’t work then we know it wasn’t what I thought. If it does work then it could be what I thought.
I get it that action in a life and death situation is better than nothing but this was not life and death. I feel it prudent to wait for lab results before you prescribe medication to my son that has side effects that my son will have to deal with for a long time. (I think I will elaborate on this on a future post because I can the people with pitch forks waiting outside my door for what I just said.)
3. Make the best of each situation. Mandy was feeling better the next day in the hospital so we spent the entire day together playing. It was amazing. We colored. Here is my Smurf. I didn’t get to work out but at least my Smurf looks like he has been hitting the gym with those 8-pack abs.
4. I need to disconnect more. When I was with Mandy he became my only focus. We hung out and watched Youtube videos about building Legos (he loves Legos, me too). We did some target practiced with a rubber band paper projectiles I use to make in class when I was a kid, and we hopped around the room form colored tile to colored tile. We dared not to step on the white tiles as they were part of an alligator pit. 😉
5. I need to be a kid more often. This is not some nostalgic dream but a practice of play and presence that I feel is beneficial to all. Try it today.
Looking forward to spending more time with the family. I’ve been dying to take the family camping.
A mentor of mine talks about the the 4 “F’s”
A great Family makes the other three that much sweeter. Enjoy.