The Art of Gratefulness and Defining your Purpose
Hello, it has been a while since I have written a post and felt that I needed to update my blog. As usual, my work life has been busy and I have been afforded some unique work opportunities I would never really get the opportunity to partake in. I had the privilege of working at the Australian Open in January and got to meet several well known Tennis Players and TV personalities during my two week stint working security at this prestigious event.
Despite the weather being unbearable and having to wear a suit in the heat and drinking my body weight in water, I overall enjoyed working at the Tennis. A different experience from the usual, and what it taught me is when an opportunity is present to take it by the reins and run with it. However, no matter how busy I get Personal Protection Training will always be my passion and now I am determined to make an even bigger impact in 2019. The journey to get up to this point where I am now invited to speak at various networking events, collaborate with respected business people and promote the business has helped me determine the company vision. Winning a government award was an important and life defining moment and really made me understand why the company exists today, that being to serve our clientele and help fight injustices for those not in a position to be heard.
Initially when I started this business back in 2014 it was just a way to make money teaching something I knew plenty about, shortly after my forced redundancy. That being Martial Arts. However, since the early days of driving my beat up Burgundy Ford Falcon Wagon in order to instruct at the gym, buying secondhand training equipment on EBay, and only having our Co-Founder Lisa join me on the mats to now where we have a team of professionals who align themselves with our brand, dedicated clientele who embrace our cause and finally having a permanent location to run classes from it has been far from smooth sailing.
You may be wondering what made me stay the course and fight to build this business? I will gladly tell you. Having a purpose... You see, the reason I initially struggled in the fitness industry a decade ago was because my focus was just on making the cash. I remember attending every sales seminar under the sun ranging from former PT industry pioneers such as NPE and PT Plus, as well as going to AIPT seminars to get my industry credits on a yearly basis to continue working in the field. I learnt a few tricks regarding salesmanship, however it didn't translate into many sales for me and I spent more money then I earned despite being given a ''Winning Formula'' and a "Proven Blueprint" that would GUARANTEE me success. As a result, I quit working as a trainer after 2 years, closed my business and my mother suggested I become a Security Guard to pay the bills. The problem I had looking back was my intentions. Prior to becoming a Qualified Personal Trainer, I worked as a Builder's Labourer.
From the age of 7, my father would get me to clean dried mortar of used bricks and make me carry 40 kg bags of cement on bricklaying jobs he was doing. As I got older, my school holidays were not filled with the usual fanfare and excitement most children experience, in fact I would be working with Dad on renovating our house. Looking back on this as an adult, I am grateful to my Dad for instilling the work ethic in me to tackle what some may deem to be impossible. I applied this ethic into everything I did.
When I began mixing with the wrong crowd and after failing my VCE, I skipped going to Schoolies and began work. The lure of a weekly pay packet drew me into the workforce as opposed to higher learning. I declined the rite of passage that many young Australians often partake in after year 12. For those unfamiliar with what Schoolies is, simply watch this Australian Indie movie called 'Blurred'. This movie pretty much sums up what most Australian teenagers seek out once they leave school and cease their studies.
Much like Spring Break or the Amish tradition called Rumspringa, it often involves teenagers making life choices both good and bad in the search of having a good time. Alcohol and Drugs often being the social lubricant of choice at Schoolies. Working in Crowd Control has also shifted my views regarding excessive alcohol consumption to the point where I would be known as a 'Teetotaller"
I then for the next 6 years worked in construction, and took it upon myself to get qualifications to make up for the shitty marks I got for my VCE after leaving my first job. I then worked as a labourer for hire and studied my fitness qualifications part time around my job. 6 months later, I became a Personal Trainer and struggled to gain experience so I became self employed and worked for a couple of years, then I changed careers once more. However, to this day I still credit being a Security Guard and Crowd Controller the best move I made. I am grateful to work in an industry, that despite having its fair share of danger and risk afforded me the opportunity to develop myself continually on a professional basis, plus there is an abundance of work available.
Working to protect and serve the community as well as the interests of the clients I have worked for has made me understand that without having a purpose, we simply are just selling our souls for the almighty dollar. When I instruct my students, I will agree that I get paid to instruct my students, however the sheer satisfaction I get from seeing them develop and turning them into lean, mean fighting machines is what really gives me joy. Despite, having chronic health issues that I have been addressing and seeking professional guidance with I am committed to my students and having the support is what really makes this venture work as well as it does. The importance of building a community and creating a support network is now what gives me the fuel needed to accomplish my goals.
Being a coach is bloody challenging, and when you have nothing left to give, you need to siphon out your tank and give some more, because as a coach you owe it to your students and followers to be there for them in times of weakness and be a leader. Knowing that some of those that seek are help are in trouble or need a helping hand is what keeps me going even when I am exhausted and frazzled. Their safety, became my priority, which helped me define my WHY or for the lack of a better word purpose. If I wasn't sure of how to help someone, I would then look for guidance myself.
The moment, I stopped making it about ME and focusing on WE, is when the penny dropped. It was when I spoke to a woman named Lisa Wiking in the infant stages of Personal Protection Training who works as Small Business Coach. My moment of clarity appeared during an impromptu phone coaching session. She was the one who shifted my thinking, because it was drilled into me that making money was the litmus test for success. How wrong was I? She then told me to focus on my clients needs and not just the money. If I did that, the money will soon follow. Despite being the complete opposite of what I was taught I went with her advice. As a result time had passed and we began to grow as a company.
Not only that, we now have had our students share their troubling stories, and often have attributed Personal Protection Training to their success. I don't claim to be perfect and have made my fair share of mistakes on this business journey, but now I look at what happened to me several years ago as a blessing and not a curse. I never would have imagined that me being in financial ruin, would help me get to where I am now. I also learnt that when you hit rock bottom, the superficial crap society expects us to attain means bugger all in the grand scheme of things.
Having the opportunity to also pen my next two books and seeing how the other half live was also a wake up call. Travelling to the remote villages and hamlets of Indonesia and Jamaica really made me think twice and as a result I have become some what of a minimalist. I have no desire to keep up with the Jones's and as long as I have shelter, clothing, food and access to utilities, knowledge and transport I will forever be grateful. I can remember a time when I had to sell scrap metal to put petrol in my car and I was living off Frozen Pizza and Instant Noodles. As unpleasant as that was to experience it taught me that to plan for the future and that in order to make the next steps to achieving my goals having like minded people in your corner who hold you accountable is worth for more then anything in the world.
In summing up, I wrote this blog to illustrate that even if it seems like your dream is out of reach, you must ask yourself what drives you to do what you do? Economically, most people work to survive, which is fine but when you learn to be grateful for what you have and define your purpose, then life truly become enriching. Since Colleen and I have parted ways, this certainly is the case. Society dictates that by now I should be married, have children and live behind a white picket fence. In fact I was in a relationship with a woman I loved this time last year, however something was missing. It took me some time to figure out, but after much deliberation I felt that we should end our relationship and end things on a positive note. She also agreed. To this day we still talk, and I can see she is now finding her purpose by studying at University for a new vocation as opposed to working just to pay the bills, which took its toll on our relationship. Change in life as dramatic as it can be, sometimes happens for a reason.
Whilst I seek to find my better half, and perhaps start a family of my own, I am content with being on my own now because I look at what I already have instead. I am grateful for my students who have been loyal to our organisation and as long as I am making a difference in the lives of those I come into contact with then I can truly say that I am content. I value the friendships and close relationships I have with those in my life. That is what true wealth can be defined as. Define your place in the world and seek to do more then the average person and make your journey from the cradle to the grave an exciting one.