Skateboarding and Life

When I was a kid and through my teenage years and early 20’s I loved skateboarding (still do).  I use to say that it was a way of life.  A way of life that was mine.  I once got paid $500.00 by my grandmother to spend some time with my great grandmother while my grandmother went out of town.  I think I was 16 at the time.  I spent every last penny at Cheapskates, the local skate shop in Memphis.  I bought clothes, shoes, decks, wheels, stickers, sex wax, all kinds of stuff.  It’s a memory that I’ll carry with me forever.  I was happy and I didn’t care what anyone else thought.  Every once in awhile I will come across a senior picture I took in high school. and I’m wearing a shirt that I bought that day with my $500.00.  I immediately think back to that day that I’ll never forget and smile.  Those were fun days.  We did whatever we wanted.  We had a car, skateboards, and a very small amount of cash.  Who could stop us?  As long as we (sort of) told our parents where we were, we were good.

There were 3 of us, me, Phillip and Todd.  Sometimes my friend Matt’s little brother Sam would tag along with us.  We liked to call him “little guy” because he was younger.  These were some of the coolest guys.  Some of the best friends I have ever had in my life.  We went to a Southern Baptist High School, and since we liked long hair, skateboards and rock music just about everyone thought we were “on drugs.”  We really weren’t.  The worst thing we probably did was piss off some security guard somewhere or damage some property with a skateboard.  There was one time where we picked up our friend Lesley and she tossed her Doc Martins out of her upstairs window so her parents wouldn’t know she was going to change into them.  Also, we probably were never where we told our parents we were.  Hell, we didn’t know where we were going half the time.  We just went.  We would go to a spot and skate, and move on to another spot.  Anyway, the point is, we were having fun.  Doing only what we wanted.  

I’m telling you all of this because it meant a lot to me and it still means a lot to me.  I recently picked skateboarding back up at the age of 40.  It had been almost 20 years since I had even stood on a skateboard.  Do you have any idea how odd it is for a suburban Dad in the South to all the sudden bust out of the door with a skateboard? I do and I’m glad I did.  I’ve learned a lot in the last few months from picking it back up.

Skateboarding is not easy.  Life is not easy.  You fall down and it hurts.  You get back up and do it again.  You fall down again and it hurts worse.  You get back up and do it again.  When you are 40 years old and you fall down, it hurts like a !@#$% but you still get back up and try again.  The thing is, it’s ok.  You know you’re going to fall down, but you’re doing something that you love so you’re just gonna give it another go.  The important thing is that you are doing something that you love to do and that makes you happy.

Find those things that you love and do them.  Don’t do anything else.  If you find yourself doing something that makes you miserable, figure out how to get away from it.  Do what you want to do.  You CAN do it.  It can be really hard sometimes, but at the very least start making note of things that you catch yourself loving.  Start making note of times when you are miserable.  Try to figure out how you can do more of the things you could do for hours on end and less of the things that make you unhappy.  If you are in a place where you just don’t know what you like, I recommend getting a skateboard and just cruising around on it.  It feels really good and will give you some time to think about what things you want to be doing….You may not always know where you are going, but just go.


Skateboarding and Life

JLA: Rock of Ages

IMG_0415I just finished the (Justice League) JLA:  Rock of Ages by DC Comics on the suggestion of a good friend of mine after watching Batman v. Superman.  There was a lot of it that I just did not understand, but overall it was absolutely amazing.  I am going to have to go back and reread it to try to get more understanding of what was going on.  The timeline was a little hard for me to follow since this was my first real comic book reading and I do not really have any knowledge of the character history and such outside of movies and/or TV shows.


There were a lot of things that peaked my interest as I read this book. The biggest thing was probably the writing of Grant Morrison.  I’m guessing that is the reason the book was a little hard for me to keep up with.  I think Morrison is famous for his “nonlinear narratives” (according to wikipedia anyway).  I wasn’t ready for the “out of the box” ideas that are inside this book, and it kind of took me by surprise.  This is nothing like a superhero movie you would go watch at the theater.  It’s pretty heavy.  You are forced to think about other dimensions, time travel, other universes, worlds, and much much more. Things that we don’t normally think about on a regular basis.  Even if it’s just imagination it’s REALLY fun to think about and read about.  So much so that some pages take 2 or 3 times to read over before you really get what is going on and will most likely require a couple more reads to really grasp it.  Most of us have a preconceived idea that comics are for kids or something that adults wouldn’t be into.  This couldn’t be more wrong.  There is a lot of stuff in this book that requires you to keep your brain sharp just to keep up.  There are also a lot of ideas and things that are really cool to think about and keep your imagination satisfied.  Now that I think about it, kids would probably understand it way more than adults because their not limited by all the filters we have on our thoughts and selves.  


The characters are WAY cooler in the book than they are in the movies.  Superman is WAY more powerful and awesome in the book.   I think we saw a little bit more of that in Batman v. Superman but WOAH!  Superman is way more powerful than anyone, like myself, who’s just seen him in movies knows.  Also, the relationship between Lex Luthor and Superman is obviously not what we think of it as (ie: Villian vs. Superhero). There’s apparently much more to it, but I’m not going to  give away anything here to spoil it for you.  Batman is bad ass!  He doesn’t do a whole lot really in this book, but the book does give you an insight into just how smart and awesome Batman/Bruce Wayne is.  I think Afleck is actually the best one to portray the character now that I’ve read this book.  Wonder Woman is something that you’ve never seen before if you’ve just watched the TV show or whatever.  Every time I think of Wonder Woman I think of a cheesy 70’s TV episode where she’s blocking bullets with her bracelets.  SO way off base.  Wonder Woman is amazing.  There are so many awesome characters in this book.  New villians I had never heard of like Darkseid and Dasaad.  Other characters like Hourman, Metron, and a whole bunch of others were just way cool to discover.  


Anyway, I can’t wait until another Justice League movie comes out.  I’m going to have a much better understanding of the characters and story next time.  I’m also going to read this book again to try to understand a little more.  You should definitely check it out if you haven’t ever read any of the comics and love the superhero movies.  That’s a no brainer.  

JLA: Rock of Ages

Celebrating 1 Year


I may not make 500 words because I don’t have a lot of time.  We have been celebrating the gym being open for 1 year, and I have a 50K race to run tomorrow morning early.  I wanted to try to check in with as many words as possible.  Look at the awesome people in this picture.  I would say 95% of them are all Olive Branch CrossFit athletes if not all of them.

I don’t want anyone to take this the wrong way but when we had our “Grand Opening” event one year ago I remember being a little bummed out because not a whole lot of local people showed up.  Most of the people that came to our grand opening event were friends of mine and John’s from the local CrossFit community.  I had put a lot of effort into promoting the grand opening event and I honestly thought there would be a ton of local Olive Branch folks there.  Most of the people in this picture are members of our gym.  No effort to promote, just our 1 year celebration.

As I stood before this awesome group of people in this picture this morning I immediately felt a huge wave of emotion.  I had them all circle up in the gym.  I looked around from right to left as I got ready to “warm everybody up.”  It hit me that this is exactly what I wanted. I did not know probably 90% of the people in this picture one year ago.  I think we had more people in the gym today than we did at the grand opening, and most of them are members of the gym!  I got a little emotional before we started our warm up.  I thought about myself one year ago and all the things I was worried about.  I was worried that this wouldn’t work.  I was worried that I would have to go get another 9 to 5 job and wouldn’t be able to coach or wouldn’t be able to do the things I needed to do to make this gym successful.  I told the group today, if I could take a picture of everyone in the gym this morning and show it to myself one year ago it would have saved me TONS of anxiety and worry.  What I have learned is that we have a really great community growing here in Olive Branch, and I have nothing to worry about.

So, consider this post a HUGE thank you to all of our Olive Branch CrossFit athletes.  I am inspired by you every day.  Even if I don’t tell you or don’t get to talk to you every day for whatever reason, every one of you are an inspiration to me.  I was privileged to get to know a few of the morning athletes early on and we had some really good moments together.  Many of you participated in my own “therapy sessions.”  Especially at 5AM.  I have learned so much in the last year and have become a better coach and a better person.  I have learned how to start and run a business.  More importantly I have become part of the most awesome community I have ever been a part of.  Magic.

Celebrating 1 Year

The Guitar

oscarI bought this guitar when I was 15.  It cost $139.00.  24 years later I still have it, and I still sort of know how to play it.  I carried it to school with me every day.  I played and played and played and played for hours on end every day.  Tom Petty, Bad Company, Skid Row, Boston.  I must have played Free Fallin’, Shooting Star and More than a Feelin’ thousands of times.  It was so cool to learn to play songs and when I learned a new one or a new riff I would play it over and over and over.  I have callouses on my hands now from pullups and deadlifts, but back in the day the tips of the fingers on my left hand looked much worse than my hands do today.  I was dedicated.  I practiced and practiced.  I loved it, and still do.

From the time I was 19 years old until about 24 or 25 I played in a band here in Memphis.  We played just about every dive you can think of in this town.  It was great.  Most people go to college and party I partied on stages and ran around jumping and windmilling E chords playing very loud rock and roll.  It truly was amazing.  It was my first experience having a real “wolfpack.”  A group of guys that would literally do anything for each other.  It sounds cheesy, but it was true.  At that stage in our lives, we would have done anything for each other.


That’s me on the left. 🙂  So why am I telling you all of this?  Because I’ve learned something over the last year that I wish I had known back in this picture at the Daily Planet in Memphis, TN.  When you are doing something that you could do for hours on end without stopping, that’s your passion and you figure out how to make that your career or your money maker.  If you have a group of people around you doing the same thing that are equally as passionate as you are then that’s your wolfpack.  Focus on that, stay with it. No matter what.

Now, that doesn’t mean that I wish I was 20 again.  What it means is that we all probably had a really great mindset when we were younger that we somehow lost as we got older.  It’s why I’m so passionate about working on the Barbell Shrugged team and it’s why I love CrossFit and Olive Branch CrossFit.  It’s just like being in a band.  We’re all working together to make something happen and we are all equally passionate about what we are doing.  I’m not saying that you need to get into a band or you need to join a CrossFit gym, but what I am saying is that you need to be doing something that you are passionate about and you need to be hanging around people that are just as passionate about that thing as you are.  When you have that “wolfpack” it’s amazing.

The Guitar

A Day of Chill


There was something different about today.  I haven’t figured it out just yet, but I feel like I have been on a different level all day.  I started my day coaching early as usual.  This is a “race week” for me so I did not train today.  That gave me a big break between my 6am class and 8:30 class which is when I usually train.  I have a lot of things going on right now, and a lot of things I need to tick off my todo list.  However, I decided to just take a moment and chill with my favorite album of all time.  When was the last time you just sat down and listened to an entire album?  Hopefully it was recently.  I haven’t fully embraced the idea of meditation just yet, but this is my own little form of meditation.  Sitting down with No Code and just letting my mind wander.  You should try it sometime.

Once I was done coaching classes, I got to spend the afternoon with some of the Barbell Shrugged team.  Since I was in a meeting with them the day before I knew everyone was going to be at Barbell Buddha’s house filming some sort of video.  I always love getting to hang out and work with the guys so I cleared my schedule and drove over there.  I stopped at Starbucks on the way and ended up with a free coffee because the machine was broken and I had to wait (Score!).

I knew everyone was going to be together, but I didn’t realize they were going to be recording a podcast.  With Jackie Perez.  I drove up and the garage door was open.  It had been raining pretty hard earlier in the day, but by this time it had slacked up a little.  The garage doors were open, so I just snuck in and listened (see pic).  I may actually end up with a cameo in this episode if CTP leaves it in there.  That’d be cool.  They finally took a break from filming and we all went and ate lunch at a little BBQ restaurant here in town.  It was a great time.  I always laugh more than usual and learn more than usual when I get to hang out with the guys.  Whenever I go back home, not only do I feel like I’m a better person, but I feel like I need to up my game in every way.  I feel like I need to be more creative and work even harder.  I don’t know anybody that works harder and cares more about what they do than this team.  You should all take a lesson from this and put more of yourself into what you are doing.  “Crush it.”

Anyway, what’s the point of this post other than to get my 500 words in for the challenge? Honestly, I’m not really sure.  However, you need to find some awesome people to hang out with and be inspired by if you don’t already have them in your life.  People that will encourage you and help you be a better person.  I’ll be crushing work tomorrow in the Starbucks in Olive Branch, MS if you want to come by and work.  There won’t be anyone famous there, but I will help you with your project if I can. 🙂


A Day of Chill

I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing!

communicationI just replied to a text from a good friend of mine that he sent like two days ago.  I have been missing a lot of messages lately.  Either in email, on Facebook (which is becoming more and more overwhelming every day) or text message.  Until recently the message hierarchy of importance has gone like this:  Text Message > Email > Facebook > Phone Call.  Seriously, I hate talking on the phone unless we have something super cool to talk about.  So if you really wanted to make sure I got the message, the best method would be to send me a text.  To a certain degree, this is still sort of true.  However, now text messages, Email and facebook have different levels of importance within themselves.



I now have Facebook pages and groups to manage and those pages have messages as well as my personal Facebook messages.  Now it seems to be common practice to just tag people on your own page when you want to ask them something so now there are like 5 or 6 different things to pay attention to just within Facebook.  Who has sent you a message?  Who has sent a page a message or who has tagged you in post?  Did I look at all the little red notification bubbles?


Then there is email which I now have cut down to 3 accounts that I need to check.  I am forwarding a couple of email addresses to my personal email address, but there are a couple of accounts that I still need to access directly and communicate with clients using those addresses.  Fortunately the Mailbox App for Mac is really doing a great job of letting me use all of my accounts and switching back and forth between accounts.

Text Messages

I have grown really fond of text messaging, and the Messages app on the mac.  Having the messages app really helps me stay on top of text messages since I do not have to reach over, look at my phone, slide to unlock and then try to reply to the message.  All of the messages are right there on my desktop and I can quickly read and reply to messages.  The problem with this is that it does not work with android users, and one or two stray iMessages that don’t get through.  So the one or two good friends of mine that don’t have iPhones have a lesser chance of their message reaching me than someone with an iPhone because I may be working on the laptop all day and not check my phone for a few hours.

Missing the Message

So, take all of these messaging platforms and add a ton of messages on each platform.  Granted, some of the messages just aren’t important, but mixed in with the unimportant messages are really important messages that I do not need to miss.  Sometimes there could even be a paying client in there.  I have picked up paying clients through a Facebook post or message believe it or not.  So how do I make sure I don’t miss anything?  How do I make sure I’m not “ignoring” a good friend or a paying client?

The Solution(s)

My friend Michael Bledsoe talks a lot about “batching” work or “AMRAPing” (As Many Rounds/Reps As Possible) certain tasks.  That is, setting aside a certain amount of time to focus on one task. So today I decided to start working with this method and I think I have been more productive today than I have been in a long time.  I found a really cool app called Eggscellent that I think is going to work well for me.  I spent some time this morning setting up a bunch of recurring reminders in the reminder app that would remind me twice a day to Check Email and Check Facebook.  I also put in tasks in Eggscellent for everything that I have to do.  When I got those reminders I would start up the Eggscellent timer and focus on whatever task it was time for.

Screen Shot 2014-09-10 at 1.39.09 PM

Eggscellent has a neat little timer (image above) that starts at 25 minutes.  You can choose however many blocks of 25 minutes it is going to take to do one task.  After each 25 minute session you get a 5:00 break before you can start another session.

So now I have 2 (I may add 3) times per day where I just focus on checking email, text messages or Facebook and other social network notifications/messages.  I also found that using this app to work on all of my projects helped me get way more done today than I have in a while.  I broke all of my tasks for today up into 25 minute sessions.  I didn’t get to all of them, but they are still in my task list for tomorrow and I can’t wait to get started.  I’ll report back in a couple of weeks to let you know how it’s going.


I Don’t Wanna Miss a Thing!

The Climb

treeclimbWhen I was a kid one of my awesome neighbors had a killer magnolia tree in their front yard.  When I was eight or nine years old it was the most epic thing I had ever seen.  I loved to climb this tree.  It seemed that the limbs of this tree were just perfect for us kids to climb.  We all climbed up this tree probably every day we got the chance.  One day I climbed up pretty high in this tree, and either lost my grip or a branch broke when I stepped on it.  I fell down to the ground.  Right on to my back.  It knocked the wind out of me and I couldn’t breathe for a few seconds.  That was my first real experience with pain that I can remember like it was yesterday.  I remember my friends mom coming outside and comforting me.  I was scared and not really sure what had happened.  Not unlike what we experience as we grow up and as we become adults and get older.  I can point out at least 3 or 4 times in my life when I have fallen out of that tree and had the wind knocked out of me.  Maybe when I quit my first job, got divorced or was rejected by someone when I presented them with an idea I thought was great.  We all get the wind knocked out of us at one time or another.  It’s how we deal with the set back that matters.

When I was a kid I could have never climbed another tree again in fear that I may fall down to the ground and hurt myself.  When I lost a job I thought I would have forever I could have been pissed off and blamed that company for everything wrong in my life forever.  Believe me I wanted to.  The thing is, we learn from our failures.  We analyze the failures and figure out what we did wrong and make sure we do better in the future. We never stop climbing those trees.  Yeah, we know that a limb might break but that just makes us more cautious, more aware of our surroundings.  It makes us better.  We will never stop climbing trees.

This lesson is even more important in the entrepreneurial world.  Most of the things we try are going to fail.  Most of the ideas we have are not going to pan out.  We have to be able to handle that.  Not only that, but we need to realize that other people can help us do what we want to do, and without those people we will not make it.  We need great people around us and we need to be able to give those great people credit for our success.  We do not need to be so wrapped up in ourselves that we can’t let someone else take credit for our success.  We need to build great teams and let everyone on the team take credit for our success.  It’s sad but most of the “corporate world” does not function like this.  I wonder what it would be like if it did.


The Climb

Negative Energy

mopeyToday I listened to this podcast:  Starting From Nothing:  The Foundation Podcast is a great podcast that features entrepreneurs that basically started from nothing and grew to do millions of dollars of business or more.  This particular episode is with Ari Weinzweig who is the founder of a Deli up in Ann Arbor called Zingerman’s.  This guy is really awesome.  I loved listening to him talk about his business and how he runs his company.  There were a lot of business related nuggets I took away from this podcast, but there were even more nuggets that I took away that I thought could apply to all of our personal lives.

The biggest thing was negative energy.  He talked a lot about surrounding yourself with people that encourage you and make you feel like getting things done, making things happen, and then removing or avoiding the people in your life that are always negative and making you feel bad.  This has been a huge thing for me in the last year.  How do you seek out and find people to hang out with that inspire you to be creative and get things done?  More importantly, how do you become that person that other awesome people are attracted to and want to hang out with? How can we make sure that we don’t give off that negative energy that puts people off and keeps us from being productive, creative, inspiring, and all those positive things.

We need to be able to take an honest look at ourselves and how we are behaving.  Do we find ourselves complaining about a lot of stuff ?  If so, we need to try to catch ourselves doing it and change the negatives into positives.  Instead of complaining and griping about things try to talk about something positive.  Set a goal to not say anything negative for 7 days.  See how many days you can go without saying something negative.  That could be a lot harder than it sounds for many of us.

What about taking responsibility for things happening around you?  Do you find yourself blaming other people for things happening around you?  Take some time and think about your situation.  Are you playing the role of “victim” on a regular basis or do you take responsibility and control the situation?  We can try the same 7 day experience here as well.  See if we can go 7 days without blaming someone or something else for whatever situation we find ourselves in.  See if we can take control of what could potentially be a negative situation and either let it go or turn it into something positive.  Nobody wants to be around that person that is always talking negative about other people or blaming other people for their situation.  People want to hang out with positive people that take responsibility and make things happen.

I am not really sure I got my point across here, but the what I am trying to say is that you want you need positive people around you in order to be successful.  If you find yourself feeling negative or feeling bad every time someone is around it could be a sign that you don’t need to spend so much time with this person.  If you know people that inspire you and whenever you are around them you want to do great things and make things happen, find more people like that and figure out how to hang out with them more.  In addition, if you find that nothing is really going on around you or you don’t have anyone around you that’s doing awesome stuff then maybe your negativity is ruining their mojo.  Dont’ be afraid to take a hard and honest look at yourself and most importantly be ready to make positive changes.


Negative Energy

On Running in the Woods

runnerI have a 50K trail race coming up next week.  I am really excited about it as it will be my longest run since my last 50 Miler back in April.  I had a pretty decent eight mile training run this morning out on the trail that the race will be held on next week.  I really love running through the woods.  It doesn’t matter if I am by myself or with other people.  I usually try to solve some sort of problem while I am out there.  If I am by myself I will think about a problem that might be stumping me or try to think out plans for a project I might be working on.  Today I was by myself for almost all of my run so, for example, I think I managed to plan out a whole new episode of the Barbell Geek podcast.  If there are other people running with me then I usually try to talk about what they are working on or try to tell them about something I have going on to give feedback or get feedback.  No music, no earbuds, just good thought and conversation.

trailrunnersToday I ran with a great group of people from my gym.  A number of them were running on trails for the first time ever.  I am always worried about bringing new people out to run on trails for the first time.  I worry that they won’t be prepared and get lost without water, food, or whatever they might need.  Everyone did awesome today though.  No problems at all.  There are a couple of cool things that I have noticed the last few times I have taken new runners out to the trails.  Most of the time they come out of the trail saying, “Wow, that was fun!”  I don’t know if they expect it to be miserable or what, but I notice a sense of surprise when they finish running like they can’t believe they actually enjoyed it.  Another thing I hear a lot is “that is way better than running on the road.”  I certainly agree with this one.  Given the choice I will always choose the trail over the road.  Time goes by much faster and it is not the same movement over and over and over on the hard pavement.

Anyway, I am feeling really good after today’s run and am looking forward to hitting the 50K pretty hard next weekend.  I have a pretty big group of athletes going to run it as well so it should be a pretty awesome event.  If you have any problems you need me to solve while I am out there running just let me know.  I did a 50K on the same course a couple of years ago and finished around 5 hours and 47(ish) minutes.  I would love a PR next week, but they switched the route up and it is going to be a little more difficult this time.  I am looking forward to the challenge.

On Running in the Woods

Let Us Enjoy This Fantastic Voyage

shutterstock_176640380One of my new goals that I am trying really hard to work toward is making everything I do fun and enjoyable.    If something is not fun, satisfying, enjoyable, or if I do not get some sort of sense of accomplishment out of it then I am going to try my hardest to not do that thing.  Of course, we all have times when there are things we must do that we really do not like doing.  In those instances I am going to make a point to figure out a way to make it fun.

Here I am once again with an idea that I have no clue where I got it from.  I am listening to so many podcasts at this point that I am having trouble keeping up with who I hear say things.  I guess it does not really matter as long as there is a positive change in my life or behavior.  Anyway, the idea is basically that you should try to insert fun into everything you do.  Most of us take ourselves way too seriously most of the time, and when we take ourselves too seriously I feel like it makes it harder for us to make an impact or lasting impression on anyone.

A perfect example of this is coaching a CrossFit class.  It can be so easy to get into a routine when coaching classes and forgetting about the experience of the people in that class.  In our gym we have been putting a lot of energy into our “Free Saturday Class.”  We invite anyone and everyone to come workout with us.  Usually there are 2 or 3 people in this class that have never experienced a “WoD” before.  I have really been working on making sure that everyone has a really good time at these workouts.  The last three Saturdays we have had over 20 people come to workout, and from my perspective they have all had a really good experience and have had a fun time as well.  I could easily walk into the gym, write a workout on the board, start the clock and say go without talking to anyone.  But that is not fun for me or anyone else.  It’s boring and nobody would want to come back again if there was no interaction and no fun.  Not only that, but that would not be any fun for me as a coach either.  It’s just a bad experience all the way around.  I would rather walk in the gym with a ton of energy, chat with people, do a fun warmup, turn the music up loud and scream and yell at people.  That is WAY more fun!

That was a pretty obvious example, but how can we take this and apply it to other things?  How can I make sure every class I coach is like the Saturday classes?  How can I shift my perspective when it comes time to mow the yard (I hate mowing the yard)?  How can I make that task that I hate doing become something that I can enjoy or even something I have fun with?  I don’t really have all of the answers for that, but I do know that it starts with your mindset and being aware of what you are doing.  Before I begin a task or start doing anything I can stop and think, “Is there a way I can make this fun?  How can this be better and more enjoyable?”  In addition, I can stop and make sure I’m not taking myself too seriously.

So let’s get out there and have some fun!  Let’s enjoy our lives.  Life is too short to walk around all stuffy and serious all the time.  Let’s think about how we can make everything we do enjoyable and fun.  I will report back in a week or so and let you know how it’s going.  In the meantime, I leave you with this video of the worst line reading ever…

Let Us Enjoy This Fantastic Voyage