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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

I know I have said that I will continue to post... but man, Blogging is hard! I just forget to do it. I am sure that I have a boat load of stuff to say, but I just forget to "Blog" it.

I also will re-post some of the old stuff that was on my old site.

Marking the year anniversary of his passing, here is a little somthing I wrote after a conversation that I had with Charles "MASK" Lewis back in 2005.

Being competitive athletes we constantly hear people talk about 'motivation' and what drives them. We listen to people day in and day out giving their two cents on what we can do to achieve our goals and what we should rely on for motivation. While I value the opinion, as I'm sure you do, of everyone who wants to 'help', it is not all that often that someone says something that I either haven't heard already or truly settles in my mind and makes me really stop and think. I'm not talking about 'motivational quotes', as we all know I am big on that, but someone who says something that challenges you to dig deep. To look inside yourself.

Has someone ever said something to you and it seems to settle into an empty place inside you, that maybe you didn't know was empty? Has someone shared words that, although you had never verbalized them yourself you thought "Aha! That's how I feel!" Or "That is what I was trying to say?!" Some people have the natural born ability to do that; interpret feelings into words or to simply motivate. They may motivate you by telling you their "story" and what they learned and got out of their experience. Or just by being so charismatic and excited about their own goals, whatever they may be. Have you heard a story so inspirational that you could apply the same train of thought to your own life and you are able to draw on that person or their story each time you were unable to find your own motivation?

I recently had a conversation with someone who, in my opinion, by their own right is amazing. This person played by life's "rules", and lived the "norm". Marines, College, Professional Career, etc. And one day with an alternative vision in mind, decided "Nah, this isn't for me." And went ahead to pursue dreams… dreams that weren't the 'norm', dreams that people around him, even the ones who by family default should have supported, turned their noses up at. Being told that he couldn't/shouldn't do it, and it was a complete risk, went ahead and did it anyway. Why? Because he was passionate about it, and he believed not only in his vision, but in himself. A quality that everyone should be so lucky to possess.

As he chronicled the events of his journey, and his struggles through the lows and disappointments of pursuing his highest aspirations I found myself completely rapt in his story. More so, than the story itself, but I was utterly intrigued by his outlook, enthusiasm and perseverance on his road to accomplishing what he set out to do.

As well as humbled, upon hearing about the sacrifices he was willing to make along the way. He sat with visible tears in his eyes replaying how even when shooting for the stars and not hitting them the first, second, and even the third times, he refused to become discouraged. It only made him try harder, as he was determined to prove to himself and to everyone else, that he undoubtedly would achieve what he had set out to do. He was coming closer still with every small accomplishment all the while still shooting straight up and keeping his sights set on the "Big Picture", which of course, had grown and grown. If in the end of his quest he didn't accomplish what he set out to do, no one could ever say he didn't try and more importantly, no one could ever say he failed. Consequently, he did accomplish what he set out to do and then some. He is still on his quest of success, and his horizons are broader by the day. Now instead of shooting for the stars, he is shooting higher and further.

Within the same conversation we discussed fitness and goals within the support. I explained the preparation, the training, subjectivity of the sport, and how you just never know who is going to show up the day of the show and what 'package' they will bring. All you can do is prepare yourself to the best of your ability and hope that it works out in your favor and you place well. "F@$K that!" he said "Why even bother competing, if that is your attitude?! Why not just work out and look good, and not worry about all this other stuff like suits and routines and show times?" What? I had to stop and think about what he just said. Then I got it. Although someone else may hear this statement and it may mean nothing, for me it was a 'light bulb' moment. I don't know if it's because of the context that it was put in, the enthusiasm and the encouragement it was said with, or this amazing and successful person that was relaying it, but it hit me, and it stuck. While I don't completely agree with the statement because I truly just love to compete, I completely understood the point he was making. He continued on saying "You shouldn't even be concerned with who is showing up that day… your biggest competitor is yourself. Every time you walk into that gym you should compete with yourself. You should be your own biggest competition." Although I have heard this uttered in different variations before, this time it came at me blind side and it stuck. It stuck somewhere deep inside me, and I use this conversation that has so subtly made a place for itself in the back of my conscience… to call on when I feel that I need that extra motivation.

At the end of my conversation with him, I said "Now what are you shooting for?" His answer….. "People ask me where I am going now, and I say 'Pluto'. Damn Mutha F&@ckers already walked on the Moon, and hell, people even touched on Mars. I'm going where no one has been." And with that… the conversation was over.

Although there is no real 'point' to my story. I just wanted to share with you the fact that motivation comes from all around. Whether you are preparing for a fitness competition, setting out on an uncharted path in your life, or just trying something new, you will undoubtedly run into a wall at one point or another. You will need to find some external motivation. So be aware in your daily interactions. And the next time you need to draw on yourself for motivation, I encourage you to dig deep. You just never know what you may find.

RIP ~Charles "Mask" Lewis 1963~2009