Life Really Is A Balancing Act

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The older I get, the more I discover that life has a way of coming back to “haunt” you. Your actions and the people you meet today can come back to influence your life years from now. So, I have a little advice for you:

BE NICE TO EVERYONE!

If you are going to be haunted by the people you met or things you did in your past, they might as well be GOOD THINGS! Today’s story is a big reminder of this truth in more ways than one!

Back in 2011, I had a unique and interesting request. I was asked by one of my friends (and former NY Giant) if I would host a bachelor party workout for a bunch of guys I did not know.   Most people would have said no. The extra work coupled with not knowing the guys was one thing. Giving up a Friday night with my family for no payment was another. But there were a few things to remember here more important than being busy or money. First, my friend that made the request had really helped my family out with financial advice years before. Second, these guys were fans of my work and it would be a good thing to do something special for them. So I said yes, we had a great time and as you will learn how I was “haunted” later as a result, I am glad I did.

Here is the video from that evening, which I have been told is one of the funniest I have recorded:

 

The final person in the bathroom scene is named Phil Squatrito. Although we made a little fun of him that night (and there were worse things they could be doing at a bachelor party!), his energy and enthusiasm was contagious. I knew there was something special about this guy and at the post-workout dinner afterwards, we spent some time talking about his career plans and future. Until now, I was not aware how much affect that conversation had on him.

Seven years later, his inspiring story is one I don’t mind being haunted by. If you are afraid to take risk or to listen to your heart, this is one story you need to read. As you will see in Phil’s story, success has less to do with talent than hard work and simply never giving up:

 

Plain and simple, my life was out of balance.

In 2012, if you saw me from the outside, you wouldn’t have thought I had anything to be upset about. I know my friends and family in New Jersey didn’t think I did. I was a partner in two fitness businesses that were making money, I was married and we had just had our first baby. You might think I had the “bull by the horns,” but I wasn’t fulfilled.

I knew something was wrong in my life.

I see life as a balancing act of your work, family and a sense of who you are. Although the first two were doing ok, I wanted something more. I was comfortable and that is what scared me the most. I had a different vision for my career and after over 30 years in New Jersey, I wanted a change. We now had a baby and it was either now or never. I decided with my wife we were going to move to Florida and start fresh. We were excited, but everyone was telling me I was making the biggest mistake of my life.

I learned failing to plan really is planning to fail.

Looking back, I know I could have planned the move better. When I left my other businesses, I got out with practically nothing, but believed I could just start right up with the same fitness franchise in Florida. After all, I knew how to run two of them. One would be easy. That, I found, was my first of a few costly mistakes.

I came to a scary realization.

When we got to Florida, I bought an existing franchise that was the same business I ran in NJ. What I didn’t realize was the building was a small space with leaks, the location wasn’t ideal and the previous owner had left the business in shambles. I was forced to dump all our savings into trying to save the business.  Over the course of a year, I got the business on its feet, but I realized I was right back where I started!   I was spending 80 hours a week working the same job I tried to escape. The hours were brutal, I never saw my family, we were getting deeper into debt and I was still unfulfilled. That balance I was seeking was only growing more instable. Maybe all the people in NJ were right.   I questioned everything and my wife was losing faith.

I needed to take another path.

In 2014, I had to get out; not of Florida, but of the business I now owned but didn’t want. When I took over the existing business in Florida, unfortunately the only thing I seemed to get with it was the previous contract. If I wanted to get out of that agreement, I had a pay a ton of money that I didn’t have or I had to find another buyer for the business and then I could only open something else outside of the non-compete area. I got another buyer for the business and then I became a TFW affiliate. Training For Warriors was exactly the organization I wanted to be a part of. I found what I wanted, but because of my existing business relationship, I didn’t know if could make it happen.

I was desperate.

I wasn’t working because the contract stated I couldn’t work within a 3.2 mile radius of the old business. I was still paying the lease of original place for 10 more months, and it was just money down the drain. Because I was unable to make money, my wife Erika had to go back to work. We just had our second child and I took the role of being home with the kids. I felt like I let my family down, but I had to fight my way out. I was going to take one more risk to find balance. I believed it would work, but if it didn’t, maybe my dream of a career I loved just wasn’t meant to happen.

I wanted to run a TFW.

I enlisted some real estate brokers to look for a new place out of my non-compete area near my home, but every one of them said there was nothing available.   Months went by, our money was dwindling and I was running out of time. I went from place to place and found nowhere suitable to run a TFW. I was at the end of my rope when I found a location for lease that could work.   The broker contacted the landlord, but since there was already a fitness business in the complex (and other fitness places had previously failed there) the answer was “no.”

I was not going to give up.

If you want something bad enough fight for it. When I got the “no,” I also got the idea to go and meet the owner of the other gym in the complex. I shared my story and did not know what to expect because many fitness businesses aren’t usually willing to help out other trainers. I introduced myself and as soon as I mentioned Martin Rooney and Training For Warriors he gave me his blessing. Being familiar with the TFW system and having read Martin’s books, that owner gave the skeptical landlord and me the green light to take the vacant space! I was back in the game and had one last chance to turn things around.

I am not a “halfway” kind of guy.

When you get your chance at the plate, you better swing for the fence. I was ready to give TFW all I had, but it was hard for my wife to buy in with my previous mistakes. There was a lot of strain in the house. But when I introduced her to TFW, it was different. She not only got into the training, she got certified to teach! We found ourselves together as a team on the project to the get the TFW gym ready. We painted late into the night and built our now shared vision with our bare hands. Our lives were coming back into balance.

I proved the naysayers wrong.

The next few months were filled with anxiety and anticipation. Not only were we planning a grand opening, but Martin had also let me take the lead on a Guinness World Record with the other TFW affiliates. The days and nights were long, but with the help of so many incredible people behind me we was able to pull it off. We had over 100 people at our TFW Ponte Vedra Beach grand opening and raised nearly 40,000 dollars for pediatric cancer all while setting a Guinness Record. The two-year journey since opening has been nothing short of incredible. We have impacted thousands of lives with TFW, and the relationships we have formed have been life changing. My wife is still coaching and we recently had our third daughter. We have also just gone over 200 students in our program and are officially at capacity in the same location the landlord didn’t think could support another fitness business.

I found what I was looking for.

Many said I took a big risk leaving my home state for a dream. Now I see the real risk is listening to what everyone else says and never going after what you really want. I have never been more fulfilled in my life as a coach, business owner, husband and father. To wake up each day in balance doing what I love was really the dream I was striving for.   I have Training For Warriors to thank for making that dream my reality.

 

My 5 Big Lessons From This Story?

Follow your heart, don’t listen to what people say you can’t do, don’t stay where you are just because it is easier, go for your dreams with all your might and good things can happen when you do good things for other people.

In addition to Phil becoming a successful TFW affiliate from the Bachelor Party, the groom Colin also became one and has two TFW’s in Florida too.

Since you never know how your actions will come back to you…BE NICE!

Yours in Strength,

Martin

This article was created by and can be viewed at: https://www.trainingforwarriors.com/life-really-balancing-act/

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