Not Every Obstacle is a Curse!
Have you faced some challenges recently? Maybe you have goals but life throws you a curveball and you wonder how you can get back on track? I'm not breaking new ground when I reveal to you that life will have challenges and your goals will never become a reality easily for you or anyone else. When you realize you have a goal and as soon as you develop an action plan on how to achieve said goal, life begins to test you and you must always predetermine how you will overcome any challenge that gets thrown your way, so you don't become another individual that gives up on their goal as soon as things get tough.
Challenges have become a welcomed addition to my life; ever since I decided to pursue a healthier lifestyle, devote my life to Christ, start my own business & focus on improving myself. More often than not, most challenges come in the form of mental & emotional battles because that is what breaks many people down the fastest. The simplest way (but never the easiest) to overcome any emotional or mental battle is to remember the WHY, or the reasoning, behind what you are doing. Meaning, the REAL reason!
Everyone wants to do well so they have a better and more stable life. Everyone wants to do better so they can give their children the life they themselves never had. Everyone wants that perfect relationship we see in Hallmark movies because it looks exciting. But, what is the real why as to whatever it is that you want to do? Peel back the layers of the onion and get uncomfortable! More often than not, the real reason you are so motivated to achieve a particular goal comes from an origin established long ago during childhood. Frequently, we want that stable lifestyle because many of us come from broken families with many personal wounds. Determining your why takes time and most of the time is revealed with the help of a safe friend or counselor that you can confide in, that will help you peel back those uncomfortable layers and make you confront whatever it is that you are holding in so closely. Only then can we find our true motivation and that real reason will help us overcome any obstacle we will or could face.
Recently, I've been going through many physical issues as opposed to the typical mental or emotional. I've become use to physical pain ever since I herniated a disk in my lower back when I was only 15 years old and had the unfortunate pleasure of going through a 1 year rehabilitation to overcome the injury. This has been the root reason as to why I'm such an advocate of prehab courses and adding in injury prevention techniques in the beginning and end of daily exercise routines. Unfortunately, the truth is no matter how much prevention work we do, as we grow older, injuries will still come up as that's just a part of life and unless you choose to live in a bubble, you can't escape them.
In 2015, injuries and other health issues really started to catch my attention which caused me to back away from competitive physique and other fitness related events. After re-stabilizing my hormone profile and basically "reverse dieting," I went into 2016 with new motivation to try to get back to my former competitive self which ultimately led me to going too hard and gathering more physical injuries. Anything from muscle inflammation, to acute injuries and minor muscle pulls. Throughout 2017, it was much of the same thing. Get an injury, rehab it for a bit, go back and perform hard in the gym, gather another injury, repeat vicious cycle while now dealing with newly developed food sensitivities. Needless to say, this cycle left me in a pretty depressed state for several months, leading into the early part of 2018. I broke my 2 year sobriety and started drinking alcohol again and eventually eating whatever I wanted since eating healthy wasn't giving me the results I wanted. For the first time in a long time, I felt worse than my age while coming to the realization that my days of being an athlete were over.
After being an athlete since I was 3 years old when my father put a basketball in my hands for the very first time, playing the sport for almost 11 years then moving on to professional wrestling for another 8, then participating in bodybuilding & cross-training competitions for a few more years, the realty of knowing that I wasn't Taylor Rodriguez-The Athlete anymore, scared the hell out of me. What was I going to become? When you don't know the answers to something in life, that can become incredibly terrifying!
Even as of today while participating in a lot less strenuous forms of exercise, the injuries do not stop. I still face nagging aches and pains everyday from the years of competitive sports and physical exercise I've done. I assume that they will always be a part of me. But, no injury could truly stop me from maintaining my hard working mentality. Not knowing what the future has in store can be terrifying but rest assured that an answer always gets revealed...eventually. Sometimes, that answer is in the form of a phone call. A call from a former associate I knew from a gym that I worked out at asking me if I would ever be interested in volunteering my time helping elementary school kids learn the game of basketball? All of a sudden, God started to slowly reveal something new to me.
In the first quarter of 2018, I started coaching youth basketball at a private school while offering free prehab and injury prevention techniques to former peers of mine in the gym so they wouldn't suffer from the same injuries I suffered years previously. Simultaneously, one week day after returning home from work early, a teenager from my neighborhood knocked on my door to ask me if I could show him some tips as he was prepping to enter High School the following year and wanted to try out for their basketball team. After several months of doing this, I remember my wife asking me how I was enjoying helping out with these various people and I instantly felt a rush of joy and satisfaction come over me. Maybe my athletic & competitive days were behind me but there was a young generation that needed guidance. For the first time, I realized how exciting giving back and helping others grow truly was. For years previously, I owned my own business that focused on helping others but by coaching people in the athletic field that I loved so much, I saw my new calling. Later this year, after our seasons concluded, I was asked if I would be interested in coaching the middle school team while I watched my neighbor successfully try out and join his first basketball team!
When facing obstacles, we may fear the unknown and we may go through a lot of mental or physical pain. But we must always remain focused on the light. Everything has a purpose behind it and we must always remain faithful to this. Saying goodbye to something you love is always a hard pill to swallow but you may have to say goodbye to something good to receive something great. Trust the process, grind it out and never give up. New passions await you ;)