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

The Corporate Exit Strategy and Figuring Out What You Want to Do!

smallmonkeyI was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and he told me that he had just had  “one of those moments” at work  that pushed him closer to the edge of quitting and going out on his own.  We talked about a few options that he might have that would allow him to supplement that “reliable paycheck” that anyone who has been in the corporate world has taken for granted at one time or another.  This conversation reminded me of another conversation that I had with another one of my friends earlier in the week.  This other conversation was with another friend who owns his own business, and had also left a job several years ago to start his own business.  He was telling me how hard it was when he first started (yup, know all about that), and how he just had to keep working no matter what.  You have to know that everything is going to work out.  No matter how hard it is or no matter how bad you think the situation might be, you will eventually make it.  Sometimes it can be overwhelming, but you just have to force yourself to remain positive.

It is a little easier to stay positive though if you know exactly what you want to do, and it also REALLY helps if you are passionate about what you want to do.  Is that easier said than done though?  Maybe and maybe not.  How do you figure out just exactly what it is you are good at or what you love to do?

I am not sure where I heard this, but it was either on a podcast or a blog post somewhere.  Wherever I heard it, it stuck with me.  This person was saying that you need to think about all of the things you find yourself doing that nobody has to really prompt you to do.  The things that you could do for hours without wanting to stop and take a break.  Spend a few days paying close attention to what you are doing.  It may even be something you are doing that you do not even realize you are spending so much time with.  I think I wrote about this a little bit the other day, but once I heard this I forced myself to sit down and think about all of the things I was doing.

What were the tasks that I kept ignoring?  What were the tasks I always knocked out immediately? Why was I choosing the tasks to ignore and more importantly what was it about the things I did quickly that made me gravitate toward them?  Honestly, it wasn’t really that hard.  I feel like I already knew what the result was going to be, but before I sat down and did this I never was able to focus on what I really needed to be doing.  So what did I find?  I found myself getting wrapped up with a few things.  There were a few distinct things that I would consistently catch myself getting carried away with whether or not I was getting paid for the time or not.  Once I made a list of things that I loved spending time on, I then looked at each one of them an asked whether or not someone was already paying me or could possibly pay me to do that thing.  Look, it’s not all about money, but when you are trying not to spend your life sitting behind a stupid desk making someone else money it helps to be able to figure out some value that you can create for people.  Something that you are passionate about that those people will pay you to create. Get it?

I realized that I was totally cool with spending all my time with a few different things.  These things were:  Lifting weights/working out, talking about lifting weights/working out, coaching or helping people be better runners, helping people launch their products or business, helping people with WordPress websites, and talking to people about how they could go about executing their idea or making their ideas reality as it relates to the technology side of things.  Once I figured all this out, I realized that there were already people paying me to do most of these things.  I was also doing a lot of these things for people for free just because I loved what I was doing.  So I made a conscious effort to stop doing things that I really did not enjoy.  Just say no.  Then, I decided to stop doing things for free and focus on how I could not only do all of these things better, but do them so well that people would want to pay me for my time and the value that I created for them.  If you create value for someone they will pay you for it.  If you absolutely LOVE the process of creating that value then everybody wins!

So…take a few days and pay attention to the things that you are doing.  What things are you spending the most time on without even thinking about it?  Once you find those things, then think about the millions and millions of people out there that might want to learn how to do those things that you are really good at.  I promise they are out there.  Then once you figure all that out, call me and I’ll help you figure out how to execute. 🙂

The Corporate Exit Strategy and Figuring Out What You Want to Do!

Crushing Work With Friends aka Work Jam

selfieI had a new client in the gym this morning and I was explaining to him that the community at our gym is one of the top reasons to become a member of Olive Branch CrossFit.  When you join a CrossFit gym (most of the time) you are joining a community that will help keep you accountable.  The people that you work out with on a daily basis will encourage you, push you to be better, and will check on you when you do not show up for class.  Most of you probably know my story, but there is no way I would be where I am today without all of the people that I have trained with over the years.  My morning buddies at Faction Strength and Conditioning played a HUGE part in my progress.  I realized today that this same sort of environment applies directly to your work and productivity.

Staying focused is really hard for me when I am working by myself.  There are so many distractions, and it can be really hard to avoid those distractions.  Especially when you are trying to work by yourself.  Today I was working with a good friend of mine that owns a company called Mobility Kits (you aren’t serious about fitness unless you own a mobility kit).  He had sent me a text message and asked me if I wanted to meet up at the local Starbucks and get some work done.  We have done this a couple of times in the past.  I told him I would meet him there, and we crushed a bunch of work drinking some sort of Starbucks Mojito drinks for a couple of hours.  When he arrived, he asked me what I was working on and I told him.  I asked him what he was working on, and he told me what he would like to get done.  Sort of like looking at the workout of the day written on the chalkboard or whiteboard at the gym together and saying, “Ok, we are gonna kill this.”

This “work jam” as I have nicknamed it is one of the coolest things I have experienced.  The Barbell Shrugged crew is becoming more and more remote, but when everyone was in Memphis there were a few times where we would meet at CTP’s apartment and just crush work for a couple of hours.  It was great!  I have one or two other friends/clients that I meet with face to face regularly to sit down and get things done.  It really is great to just get together with someone else that has similar goals and just crush work.  You can bounce ideas off of each other and really use the motivation to be more productive.  If the workout of the day at the gym calls for 100 burpees for time, when 3, 2, 1 go is called I want to make sure that I am doing my best to keep up with my workout buddy.  The same applies to my “Work Jam.”  If we sit down and say we are going to do something then we are going to do it.   It has been said that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.  I have been fortunate to be able to live with, work with, and workout with some of the most awesome people ever.

Crushing Work With Friends aka Work Jam

One T-Shirt

shutterstock_138996962If you had to wear one t-shirt for the rest of your life what would it be?  What would it say?  What color would it be?  Yes, I stole this writing prompt from here:  This is a very interesting question, and I’m not sure I will be able to fill up 500 words with the answer or not.   One might immediately think the answer would be a Lift Heavy Run Long shirt or an Olive Branch CrossFit shirt.  However, when you think about wearing just one shirt everyday forever this can get a little more complicated.  For me this question goes a lot deeper than just your shirt.  There are quite a few successful people that wear the exact same outfit every time you see (or saw) them.  Among those people are Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, Pee Wee Herman, Johnny Cash and even Jerry Garcia.

I can’t remember who the podcast was with but Tim Ferriss had someone on and they were talking about how easy and convenient it is to wear the same thing every day.  Say for instance you decide you are going to just wear a black t-shirt, jeans and Chuck Taylors every day.  How easy does that make traveling and packing?  What if you were like Steve Jobs and just wore a black turtle neck, jeans and sneakers every day?  For Men I think this would be a great solution, and I have seriously been considering it myself.  I am not so sure this would be as easy for women though.  I feel like I could choose jeans and a tee shirt, but I do not feel like females could get away with that as easily as a guy could.  Not that women can’t wear tee shirts, jeans and chuck taylors…Hopefully everyone knows what I mean here. Leave your thoughts on that in the comments if you feel like it. What would a woman that chose to wear the same type outfit every day choose to wear?

Here is what I would wear.  Lulu Lemon.  I would find one good warm weather outfit and one good cold weather outfit at Lulu Lemon and just wear them every day.  You see, I could coach, work, and workout in these clothes.  How awesome is that?  So I would find one good outfit for Summer and one for Winter and then buy 5 or 10x of them and just wear the same thing every day.

I think I have pretty much gotten way off topic.  The question was, If you had to wear one t-shirt for the rest of your life what would it be?  What would it say?  What color would it be?  I think if you’re going to make me choose then it would be this one:


As long as it was a good quality t-shirt that I could workout in as well as wear the rest of the day I would be okay with it.  I mean if you you are going to wear the same thing every day and it has to be a tee shirt of a certain color with something written on it then this would be my choice.  It would be a pretty good ice breaker or conversation starter for me wherever I went.  What about you?  If you had to wear the same outfit every day or if you had to pick one t-shirt to wear every day what would that outfit be?  What would that t-shirt look like?  Let me know…


One T-Shirt