Today was a good day.

This story starts about an hour after the 2013 CrossFit Regionals had come to a conclusion. I was coming off a 2nd place Open finish and 48th Worldwide. I was good enough to be at the Games, but not that weekend. My phone was blowing up. Texts of “what happened?” and “Next year…” flooded my phone.

And then I smacked into the back of the driver in front of me. Not my proudest moment that’s for sure. I was also driving Lacey’s car- a Sebring convertible which had been handed down to her from her mom. She loved driving that thing with the top down. We didn’t have the money to get her a new car, so her Dad helped out and got her a 2006 Saturn Ion- a beater by all standards. She didn’t complain. But it was my fault and that was the worst part.

Life went on and we continued to get by. Teaching lots and running our gym. The gym hadn’t grown like we thought it could. We knew our stuff…better than anyone around fact. We were passionate, but still there was something missing. There were certainly some tough times. We saw a pretty significant and steady decline in members over 2014. Lacey and I went team and were trying to qualify for the Games. We ended up one spot short. I have since made the connection that now seems so obvious- you can’t take care of others if you’re focused on yourself.

It was now summer and we were hurting. I still loved every second in the gym, but there were definitely times we questioned things…more like “can we actually continue to do this and make a living?” During the summer we don’t get paid for teaching, and to this day I don’t know how we would have gotten by that year if we hadn’t of gotten married. Our mortgage came straight from our wedding gift for 2 months. September rolled around and our affiliate fee came up. I couldn’t pay it. I didn’t know what to do. Over the years I’ve personally gotten to know Dave Castro and he always told me “Let me know if you need anything” at the end of our conversations. Was he serious? Time to find out… I swallowed my pride and emailed him. I told him our situation and that I didn’t know what to do- but I knew CrossFit was for us, and that we were for CrossFit. He told me don’t worry about it. He waived our fee for the year. I think I may have cried in relief. But it was only a temporary solution.

That Christmas we didn’t exchange gifts. We couldn’t. We were still just catching up. I remember saying to myself “this is the last time that ever happens”. I swallowed my pride again and called Chris Cooper. I’d seen videos about him helping gyms and that he’d published a book about how to grow a gym. I knew him from the CrossFit Media team over the years, but now we were speaking under completely different conditions. I wasn’t being interviewed- instead I was completely vulnerable. I remember the call- remember where I was sitting and everything. As we wrapped up and talked about the next steps he said “Great man, I’d love to help. If you want to continue this is the price”. F***.

But I did it. Well, not right away. It took a few months of digging around and trying to get an idea of what I was getting into. I still didn’t know what to do. I was stubborn. I didn’t take action. There was lots of advice, but I thought “we don’t quite do things that way”. Everything was met with a bit of resistance.

Finally something clicked. Time to humble myself and get to work. Learn. Read. Spend time with others who were doing it better than me. As much as I possibly could. My phone became filled with audiobooks and relevant podcasts rather than mindless time-wasting games. From Mike Michaelowicz to Robert Kiyosaki; Bob Berg and John David Mann to Seth Godin; Dale Carnegie to various Stoic Philosophers. My laptop and various hard cover books came with me everywhere.

Life has been a lot different since then. We have seemingly turned the corner and figured a few things out. I truly believe I’ve become a better person through the whole process. Less selfish and far more giving. I knew I always had something to offer people but I couldn’t fully express it- and that lead to cognitive dissonance. So many times I thought “I deserve more than this”.
Nope. Nobody deserves anything. I’ve learned over the last couple of years that if you’re in service you can have whatever you want, as long as you help others have whatever THEY want.

Money is a funny thing. When you don’t have it- it’s a huge stress. It’s impossible to not think about it. So many things come down to money. You can’t have certain things because you can’t afford them. For me this was all sorts of stuff- new shoes, clothes, some new gadget. Because you can’t have them it makes you want them even more. But once you have enough money to cover your basic needs AND buy those things if you want to, all the sudden they don’t seem as desirable.
Now I’m more interested in finding investment options, setting up our future, and making sure we never get back in the situation we once were…though I do believe that going through that type of thing is good for someone if they can make it out the other side.

Anyway, to wrap this up- today we bought Lacey a Jeep (2010 4 door Sahara if you’re curious).

She’s been talking about a “white Jeep” for well over a year now and we finally did it.

Now don’t get me wrong, I didn’t “buy her this Jeep”. It was most definitely a combined effort- but it was still damn cool to come home and see that thing parked in the driveway and see the smile on her face.

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Jay Rhodes

Fitness & Nutrition Coach. Entrepreneur. Instilling confidence is my passion. I write only when it comes to me; to help and to bring clarity to my thoughts.