Lessons Learned from Jacob Copeland’s National Signing Day Moment

Note to parents :: Build your kids up.  Don’t break them down.  Stand by their side, support their decisions.  If their decisions are not causing harm to anyone else or to themselves, then embrace them.  Sure, you may not agree with everything, but in pivotal moments such as the one shown in the video below, it is your dutyand not your option – to show solidarity and support.  Your kids need you.  They need to feel like you’ve got their back.  Don’t dim their light, especially when that light is supposed to be shining bright as it should have for Jacob Copeland this past week.

Ep. 9 Recap – Casey Wandell

I was completely blown away by my intimate and emotional conversation with Casey Wandell.  This is a man who, just ten years ago, was on the verge of self-destruction as he tried to take his own life.  His demise centered around a broken marriage in which his wife was in a full-blown, emotional affair with another man.  A downward spiral chain of events lead Casey to the dirty carpeting of a Motel 6 room floor in which he awoke to find himself still living after a night of pills, whiskey and beer.  It was at this lowest moment of his life that he waved the white flag; calling his mom and pleading for help.

It would still take several more years until Casey’s true awakening would begin, having finally found the light he needed in Title Boxing Club — a place that would save his life and alter his course forever.  After being kicked out of his sister’s apartment after a year of heavy booze and more bad decisions, Casey found a place in the Columbus, Ohio area.  The apartment happened to be situated next to a fitness center called Title Boxing Club… and the rest is history.  Fast forward eight years and countless days/nights of therapy, self-reflection and healing :: and now Casey is one of the top franchisees in the entire country, owning and operating six locations from Cleveland to Columbus!

Casey’s comeback toward rebuilding himself emotionally, mentally and physically is a powerful reminder that, no matter how dark life gets at times, there is always a path for hope, happiness and inner peace.

The stormy clouds do not last forever so long as you make the effort to change; so long as you do not let the circumstances of your situation define your life’s path for eternity.

We can either allow other people and events outside of our control to dictate our life, or we can take control so that our own actions dictate our life instead.  I, like Casey, choose the latter.

Ep. 8 Recap – Bobby Rutter

Bobby Rutter is one of the few people responsible for bringing back some amazing day and nightlife entertainment options to Northeast Ohio.  A full-time insurance attorney by day, he has been able to leverage his success in the legal world and translate that into chasing his ultimate dreams of becoming a nightlife/nightclub owner and entrepreneur.

I was fascinated by our hour-long conversation, one that provided many lessons on business and on life.  One of the greatest takeaways was that true entrepreneurs can foresee the future and have that gut instinct on when something feels right.  Bobby and his partners knew :: FWD Day + Nightclub not only could be, but would be, a success in Cleveland.  While the majority of people told Bobby he was crazy to think a full outdoor club would be sustainable in Cleveland – a city that gets about three to four months of “pool weather” per year – he and his partners/advisors knew otherwise.  Their thoughts were that Cleveland people would come out strong during the summer months since we crave the outdoors and crave the type of scene that is so often left for only the big cities.  And boy were they right!  FWD is killing the Cleveland game and is perfectly complemented by its sister club, Magnolia Cleveland, some 100 yards down the street.  While FWD is the wild, high energy, large outdoor electronic dance music mecca (think Las Vegas), Magnolia is the small, quaint, artsy underground vibe (think New York City).  While both offer completely different social experiences, they both offer the opportunity to enjoy some of the world’s best music, vibes and scenes.

I look forward to seeing what Bobby and Co. do next.  It sounds like this just may be the beginning of their climb in the entertainment and nightlife industry.  Stay tuned.

Ep. 7 Recap – Ryan Young

Real estate is by far one of the most exciting and opportunistic industries there is, especially for young people looking for more of a high risk-high reward career.  Ryan Young, principal of Young Team Realtors, proves that hard work, dedication and a persistent commitment toward positivity can yield some astounding results.  Five years ago, he founded his team within the Keller Williams brokerage.  It consisted of him, his parents, and an entry level assistant fresh out of college.  Five years later, it consists of 21 employees who were responsible for closing 260 Northeast Ohio residential real estate transactions in 2017!

Ryan’s passion for real estate can be easily felt during our hour-long conversation.  Listening to him dictate the course of his career, you can see why he has been able to rise to the top of this industry very quickly.  Key characteristics of successful agents are not necessarily test scores or educational background, but instead the ability to connect with people, form real/lasting relationships, and the motivation to provide unparalleled service regardless of the transaction size.  It seems like Ryan’s recipe for grooming his employees is one that should be provided on every menu across America.

I look forward to continuing to watch Ryan’s growth, both professionally and personally.  I believe that as he continues to focus his efforts on a macro level (i.e. building teams, creating far-reaching systems, etc.), he will also find more of the balance in his life that he says he has struggled with for quite some time.  Hell, it ain’t easy growing a business and still find time for your significant other, family, friends, exercise and nutrition.  That’s why Ryan will undoubtedly make time, instead.

Ep. 6 Recap – Greg Gentile

Need a DUI attorney or know someone who does?  Then look no further than one of Ohio’s brightest and aggressive attorneys, Greg Gentile.  Greg specializes in OVI and drug-related criminal defense matters.  He has been working with clients in this arena for over 12 years and continues to make a name for himself in Northeast Ohio.

I am fascinated by Greg’s professional experiences and found our conversation to be insightful and informative.  There are many scenarios one may be faced with when being pulled over, especially after having consumed alcohol.  How you handle yourself in those situations may be the difference between a severe punishment or a mere slap-on-the-wrist.  What I learned from Greg is that each situation is different and that you must use your best judgment to not incriminate yourself under the circumstances.  If in doubt, always remember that the only thing you need to provide is your name/identity and also must remove yourself from your vehicle if the officer demands that you do.  Everything else from there on out allows you to practice your fifth amendment right and simply remain silent to avoid self-incrimination.

For more on Greg and his practice, visit www.gregorygentile.com.

Ep. 5 Recap – Larry Grant

Was really great getting a chance to reconnect with my former client, LG.  LG was a big part of my transition into the NFL agent business and I will forever be grateful that he gave me a chance to represent him as he clearly had many options to choose from.  It was a thrill watching him get drafted by his hometown team in San Francisco and an even bigger thrill to watch him play on Sundays.

Listening to Larry, you can see how much time and dedication is required by these players in order to have any sort of chance at making it in the League.  “Cutthroat” is exactly what the League embodies, and “NFL” often stands for “Not For Long” in many sports circles (the average NFL career last three years or less).

LG beat the odds and played for six seasons.  He showed that hard work and persistence, coupled with doing the dirty work that many players shy away from – i.e. special teams – is what allowed him to stick around and even gain a starting role for several games as a veteran.  It is often not the type of natural talent that you have when you are at the top of any major team, business or organization, but instead the mentality, mindset and attitude that you bring to your craft.

Hard work and a “can do” attitude trumps talent every day of the week… including Sundays.

Ep. 4 Recap – Megan Kohler

So you think you can dance?  Then listen to Ep. 4 of The Optimal Life Podcast with Megan Kohler.  Megan went from high school cheerleader to college cheerleader to college dancer to NBA dancer.  A lifelong Clevelander, she knows what it takes to make it at the professional dance level.  She also knows what it takes to stay in shape so that an optimized body translates to an optimized mind.  5 A.M. workouts are not just a novelty – they are part of her everyday routine.

I want to thank Megan again for coming on the show.  She peeled back the curtain to life as an NBA dancer :: providing insight into its intense tryout process, practice schedule, and the mental focus required to handle “audibles” during live NBA games.  She also had a cool story about LeBron and Kobe.

Check her out @missmeganvk on Instagram and be inspired by her intense fitness and nutrition regimen & journey.

Ep. 3 Recap – Andy ‘Bull’ Barch

Thoroughly enjoyed my conversation with longtime friend, Andy ‘Bull’ Barch, as we discussed his journey in the broadcast radio industry.  The key lesson to take away from Andy is that networking is the name of the game.  Who you know is arguably the most important factor in the professional world.  The greatest talent doesn’t necessarily come with the greatest opportunities.  You have to create those opportunities by putting yourself out there and expanding your network wherever possible.  While honing your craft is essential, it is not the only factor that you must address in order to “climb the ranks.”

I look forward to Andy’s continued rise in media.  He is undoubtedly one of the best play-by-play voices in all of sports.  I have no doubt that we will see him as the voice of the [enter major pro team name here] in the years to come.

Ep. 2 Recap – Alissa Kolarik

Ep. 2 Recap – Alissa Kolarik

So you think you can’t pick up running “late” in life?  Think again.  My conversation with Alissa really blew me away.  She is an outlier in the running community; never having run a single mile until in her late twenties after getting married, having two kids and taking on a full time digital marketing career!  Fast forward two-and-one-half years later and she completed her first marathon (NYC) in November 2017 in 3:23:13.  Sick!

Alissa’s story is one that proves that hard work, dedication and a “can do” mentality will allow you to accomplish whatever it is you set your mind to.  Have to be at work at 8:00 AM?  Then you get yourself to the gym at 4:00 AM.  Have kids to take care of?  Then you get yourself to the gym at 4:00 AM.  Have a husband (or wife) to spend time with?  Then you get yourself to the gym at 4:00 AM.  Have major surgeries that require you to be out of running for months on end?  Then you get your yourself to consistent rehab and force your will on your medical team to ensure that you are back at it as soon as humanly possible.  These are the types of sacrifices and actions required if you want to be elite.

Thanks again to Alissa for shedding light on her running journey and showing all of us that we, too, can achieve these miraculous feats if we simply dedicate ourselves to an ultimate goal.  I really look forward to seeing what Alissa does in 2018 and beyond (Olympics anyone?).