Reverse Engineer the Journey: look how far you’ve come!

I never thought that in 2016 I’d be living in Milwaukee, Wisconsin working for one of the largest non-profit organizations in the country.

A year ago I was just settling in to the idea that I could direct a summer camp, and one of the things that helped my confidence was I knew that the experience would somehow be a setup to get me up to Milwaukee (whenever that would happen). But here’s the crazy part- I was trying to hustle and find a different full-time job while I was considering the summer camp director role. I was unsure. I wasn’t trusting the process. I had something in my grasp, yet I was grasping for something unknown in hopes of more certainty (or more money).

One of my good friends and mentors helped coach me through that moment. He helped me see that I can get so focused on the “next” or big picture that I take for granted what’s already happening in the moment. Before that conversation, I was a wreck. I was unsure of the full-time director role, so I was working a 5–9am job before my 10am-3pm job with a local non-profit. I had even considered a 4pm-8pm 3rd job because I wanted to hustle for my family. I wanted to provide, but I was also hoping that the “right” opportunity would come along.

From the end of 2013 through the spring of 2015 I wanted to become a coach at a local gym. I wanted to help kids reach their fullest athletic potential (or at least as much as they could while they were at our gym). I even started a non-profit and was about to file for 501c3 recognition because I saw how building athleticism through using the barbell could have impact in at-risk and disengaged youth.

I believed this because the barbell sports of powerlifting and weightlifting has impacted me in a huge way. I was learning something my coach called the barbell life. Lifting and developing your athleticism requires a perseverance and resilience that results in more than just muscular development. My character was being tested. I was seeing how my spiritual life was also impacted by these challenges. So I became passionate about helping our athletes not only with their workouts but also with whatever was going on in their lives.

I had the skills and EQ to help because I had already been working with teens and young adults for almost 8 years at that point. From 2009–2013 I was a full time youth pastor and also served as an assistant coach to a high school soccer team. During college I was a Resident Assistant and had interned at an amazing “hip-hop” church for 3 semesters.

I could even go further back into my high school years and talk about developing as a young leader under coaches and youth pastors who were probably the same I age I am now.

I’m confident that I’ve been developing qualities and skills for years to be ready for whatever is next. I’ve gotten off track a few times, and I’ve been insecure far more often than I needed to be. But when I look back to where I was and what I learned and how far I’ve come- then I can see why it’s all happened and why I need to push forward.

I don’t know what’s next, but I know why I’m here. And I know I need to be grateful to those who’ve helped me come this far. Steve Dickson, Ward Simpson, Michael Rowan, Richard Crisco, Chad Bonee, Louie Sahin, Matt Wagner, Tommy Kyllonen, Dan Bittinger, Matt Huett, Mike Rakes, Steve Gallagher, Dominic, Stross, Kevin McManus, Rob Sperti, Chris Owen, Nick Speas, Kevin Frack, Lance Everette, Travis Mash, Joe Kenn, Charlie Zamora, Danny Lehr, Dean Saddoris, Danny Lopez- Calleja, Jon North, Chuck H.- some of these men have been coaches or spiritual leaders or mentors, others have been like brothers, and one is even like a dad to me. I’ve learned so much about being a man, a dad,a leader, a pastor, a coach, a friend, and a business person/ entrepreneur from these guys. I’ve learned from their successes and failures. And I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve had with them.

My hope is that I’m able to do the same for other young men along the way. The journey is far from over.

So here’s the question: how far have you come?

Feel free to share in the comments or hit me up on social media.

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