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You have to ‘jump’

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Happy New Year to everyone are CrossFit Back On The Bar! I want to start 2017 off by sharing a little bit about my journey to being one of the owners of BOTB. You may or may not know this but before opening BOTB I ran an organic snack food company called Laughing Giraffe Organics that I had founded in 2006. I created this company, all the products, and ran it myself until being acquired in 2010 by the Gilmour family. I was retained to continue running the operations and R&D side of things here in Phoenix while they ran the sales and marketing side out of Lafayette, Ca. This company was my baby and I spent 10yrs pouring myself into it. I literally created it at my kitchen table in Brooklyn, NY and started it upon moving back to Arizona.

Long story short about Christmas time last year(2015) I was hit in the face with the realization that I was miserable and what I was doing was not fulfilling anymore and not only that but is was sucking the life out of me. I knew I had to make a change but I had a very comfortable existence so I sucked it up and told myself I was being silly.  Well, that worked for a little while then something would happen and I’d be smacked in the face with the fact that I was not doing what I was supposed to be doing with my life and yet again I’d just get through it and choose comfort over fulfillment. This cycle went on for a few months until I could not ignore it anymore and I started telling my wife and friends how I felt and it was at that point, after verbalizing it to others, I knew something had to change. It was around this time that I coincidentally saw a video of Steve Harvey speaking to the studio audience before a taping of the Family Feud that I know I had to make a change. I know this sounds corny as hell but most inspiring shit is a little corny and one of my goals of 2017 is to care a little less about being corny and a lot more about inspiring the people around me. At any rate, I saw this video and it spoke right to me……..I still can’t watch it without getting emotional, I know…corny as fuck. I decided to tell Dawn I had to quit my job as soon as possible. As you can imagine, that went well, but after digesting it a bit she fully supported my decision and whatever my plan was since I sure as hell didn’t have one right then.

I had no idea what I was going to do and kept bitching out as far as setting a timeline for exiting my company. It’s at this point Matt sat me down and said, “You have to set a date to resign”. He was right and he was going to hold me to it. I’m the kind of guy that if words come out of my mouth it’s going to happen so I was petrified to actually say a date out loud but I did.  I told Matt and Dawn I was resigning on I think April 1st or something like that…..but I still had absolutely no idea what I was going to do after. I had been a chef and in food for 15yrs and I knew I did not want to have anything to do with food. On the agreed date I sat at my computer, email locked and loaded and tried to push send for what seemed like an hour….it was more like two or three minutes. I finally bucked up and hit send and nearly soiled myself. It is safe to say I experienced a whole new level of anxiety that day. Things did not end well with LGO as many times things of this nature do not buy by May 6th 2016 I was no longer an employee of the company I had founded 10 years prior and all I could do was look forward.

A man without a plan is one fucked man so of course being that I am a natural born hustler I had all kinds of ideas I was exploring. My family’s life has revolved around CrossFit and Weightlifting since I was turned onto it by Matt in 2010. If I was not at LGO, I was doing something CrossFit related, training, working for HQ, DJing a local even, competing, etc. Seems totally logical I’d open a gym, right…..not so fast. I was VERY hesitant to go into the gym industry for obvious reasons like it’s very competitive but also for more personal reasons like I was not sure people would like what I had to offer or that I had anything of value to offer at all. Talking shit with your buddies and being someone “in the know” is a lot different that taking the responsibility for other’s health and well being. I wasn’t sure I had what it takes to steer the ship or maybe it was more like I didn’t know if I had the ability to put myself out there for fear of not being good enough….either way I was being a big pussy.

Matt and I had talked about opening a gym over the years and we were certainly discussing it at this time but it still was not the only option on the table. I was looking into opening a mobile cryotherapy company and a few other things. I have been a Special Olympics coach for the past four years and it is the single most fulfilling thing I am blessed to be a part of and I knew I wanted to do more of that so I decided that by opening a gym I could develop my own Special Olympics program at some point that that was the deciding factor for me and focused my full energy on opening a gym with Matt. Matt and I were in talks with another local gym about acquiring them and I was really on board with it and then the deal fell apart. Matt had been talking to Luke and Naj about buying SicFit and brought it up a few times but I was extremely hesitant to do business with them. Matt and I spoke in May just before I left to DJ the South Regional for CrossFit HQ and he proposed we move on SicFit and I should really think about it.  Well, clearly we did and I won’t get into all of that but in July of 2016 Matt and I opened the doors to CrossFit Back On The Bar and I couldn’t be happier. It is a huge change for me and my family and a lot more work than running LGO but I love coming to work every day and I’m changing people’s lives for the better, hopefully. I take the fact that you have trusted me to guide your fitness journey very seriously. I take the fact that you CHOOSE to give us your hard earned money every month even more seriously and I am committed 1000% to providing the best experience and value I can for that money. I need to pay my bills and the goal of any business is of course to make money but for me money is a bi-product of doing what you do well and taking a genuine interest in the people who have chosen to be a part of the community. If your intentions are right and you do right by people you will get what you need financially out of the business. I truly believe this and that is how we run BOTB. Doing right by our members is our #1 priority.

All of that is the easy part though. My ‘jump’ is not leaving LGO and mustering up the courage to put myself out there and open a gym…. I knew I could do those things, .

I’m still working on getting all the way off the ledge and opening my shute but 2017 will be the year my shute opens. You see, writing things like this and being corny is hard for me. I worry that people will think it is stupid or that I am corny but if I am really going to affect people’s lives I have to get past that and put myself out there and not worry about being corny or people thinking I’m wack because my silly fears could be keeping me from really changing someone’s life for the better. The difference in being a success or not is really simple…….. successful people aren’t afraid to do shit and they take action.

That being said my goal for 2017 is to create more content saying  what is in my heart regardless of how afraid I am of what people will think. Now, don’t think I’m going to be running around the gym being all inspirational-n-shit…..that is not going to happen BUT I will be writing regularly on this blog and hopefully some day will get to a place I can say these sorts of things in front of people… steps. I’ve also been working on getting the gym involved with Special Olympics since day one but have hit a few hurdles….it’s time to put more focus on that and make it happen.

If in your heart you know you need to make a change, whether it’s fitness related, job related, relationship related, or whatever. “YOU HAVE TO JUMP……..because if you do not and you stay safely on the ledge the only thing that is for certain is that your parachute will not open and you  will never soar……”. -Steve Harvey

Watch this video. It may speak to you…… you may think it’s stupid but it was a catalyst for change in my life and it may be that same catalyst in another’s life.





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