The Moment That Took My Breath Away

So here I am; back stage with my fitness coach doing push ups, among a variety of other techniques to get my muscles pumped up. I just slugged a few Reese’s Cups; in addition to about 3 grams of table salt, which was pretty gross by the way. I made the newbie mistake of putting down the candy before the salt; and now I’ve got that awful taste in my mouth that’s all too familiar like when you accidentally drink ocean water at the beach.

The room itself; and the entire atmosphere for that matter, just feels so surreal to me. It’s been months of preparation and anticipation for this competition, and the moment of truth has finally come.

I’ve got more butterflies in my stomach than I know what to do with, and I can already hear the crowd cheering so loudly. I’m trying desperately to keep calm; but there are far more people in the audience than I’d ever anticipated, and that’s not to mention how many of my close friends and family came out to see this. They all took valuable time out of their busy lives to support me, and my coach even flew in from across the country to be here. I’m starting to panic, and all I can think is:

“I must not let them down…”

At this point, my mind and body are experiencing a combination of fear, anxiety, and excitement that I’ve honestly never known before. It’s really only describable to those who’ve experienced the feeling of having literally three years of hard work and dedication compressed into one single moment. The show prep itself was only about 12 weeks or so, but I’ve been working on building muscle and improving my overall physique for far longer than that.

Now my heart’s beginning to race. I can feel it rigorously beating out of my chest; the pump-up exercises aren’t exactly helping, and I know that I’m about to be called out on stage at any second…

I turn to my coach and look directly at him. I make eye contact, and I know that my eyes were glowing with a level of intensity as to imply that nothing I’ve ever said; or ever will say, will be as important as what’s about to come out of my mouth:

“Nate… This is it man. Right here. Right now. This very moment. This is what life’s really about. This feeling. These butterflies. I am so ridiculously far outside of my comfort zone right now. This is what people like us live for man. THIS IS LIVING, and I’m just glad you’re here.”

One thing I know for certain; in my heart of hearts, is that neither one of us will ever forget that moment.

We’ve all heard that familiar cliché at one time or another:

“Our life is not measured by the number of breaths we take; but rather, by the moments that take our breath away.”

As corny as it sounds; that statement is true, and for Nate and myself, this was undoubtedly one of those moments…

This article isn’t about us though; nor is it about fitness, or even the competition itself… What this article’s really about is how we can all learn to re-create; and to cherish, those breathtaking moments that ultimately form the tapestry of our lives. Those moments that we’re remembered for; and that we’ll never forget. Those eternal moments; that really do, take our breath away…

If you’re an avid reader of my content, you know that nothing gets me going like a great question. A question that causes us to seek for answers. A question that’s compelling; and that if answered accurately, can help to bring us all a new level of joy, success and fulfillment in our lives, and in the lives of those we touch.

So then… Here’s the big question; well, two questions actually:

  1. What is it exactly that causes all of our life’s stars to align in such a way that these brief, breathtaking moments are possible?
  2. How is it that for one brief moment; we can have a full and complete sense of certainty that where we’ve been, who we are, and where we’re headed; are all exactly as they should be!?

I think that we could all come up with our own unique and interesting theories; and what’s most special about the answer to both questions, is that the circumstances required to re-create these special moments really is different for each of us.

That said; however, what I’ve found is that there are certain commonalities that can be broken down into the following six categories.

Side note… Please take notice that these categories were not created by me specifically. A personal hero of mine; Tony Robbins, created these as the Six Human Needs. We all have these needs in our lives, but in different proportions, and they are described fully by Tony in one of the most famous TED Talks of all time. If you’re interested, I provided the link to the talk here.

The Six Requirements for a Breathtaking Moment:

  1. Certainty — In this moment; we have a full and complete sense of certainty that where we’ve been, who we are, and where we’re headed; are all exactly as they should be. Our past has brought us here; and so for at least a brief moment, all of our regrets and past traumas slip away.
  2. Uncertainty — In this moment; we aren’t entirely sure of what’s going to happen, so we have some level of fear and anxiety; but those feelings are followed by a feeling of pleasant surprise. We overcame our fear, and the outcome and/or the feeling that we’re experiencing has far exceeded our expectations.
  3. Significance — In this moment; what we are doing makes us feel special. Whatever it is; it is clear that we are different than most people, and that what we’re doing or what we’ve accomplished, makes us feel unique and powerful.
  4. Love — In this moment; we are not alone, but rather, we are experiencing this special moment with someone that we love dearly — or many someones.
  5. Growth — In this moment; the old us has died, and the new and stronger version of us is born. In our very core, we know for sure that we are forever changed in a positive way, and that we have become more of who we’ve always wanted to be.
  6. Contribution — In this moment; it’s not just about us. Everyone who has experienced this moment with us, has also undoubtedly changed for the better as well. They’ve also been inspired to make a shift, and have become more of their true selves in the process as well.

Okay… Let’s take a minute now to reflect on our own lives:

If you would, please take a second to think back to some of the most special moments in your life. This could be anything, big or small. It could be as big as having a child, graduating from high school, or even as simple as two people kissing for the first time. Regardless of what it is; the size and scope doesn’t matter, what matters is the feeling — the intensity of the emotional response.

So right now, please think back to a moment that really did take your breath away…

Okay… Do you have it?

Excellent. Now let’s see if you can come up with at least one small part of that experience that falls into each of the six categories. If you think hard, my bet is that you can.

Remember… Life’s not about the breaths we take; but rather, the moments that take our breath away. Understanding these six human needs is absolutely critical to living a full and rich life. A life where we are constantly pursuing and creating those special moments as often as we can; and not just for us, but for everyone we have the privilege to touch.

Never forget… Those moments are what matter most. Those moments are eternal. They are exactly why we’re here; and they’re what we’ll be remembered for. They are our legacy, and will live on through our children and others long after we die.

I hope you enjoyed this article. Thanks so much, and please don’t hesitate to reach out on Social Media or email anytime ( I look forward to hopefully meeting all of you at a live speaking event soon; and as always:

There’s a Superhero in all of us. Keep chasin’ dreams and bettering yourself every day. Humanity needs your uniqueness. After all… This world ain’t gonna save itself!