Tag: inspiration

Ep. 18 Recap – Will Hardy

Will Hardy is one of Cleveland’s top up-and-coming personal fitness trainers. What inspired me was his dedication to his six-days-a-week training program! This is a man who eats, breathes and sleeps fitness. He makes sure to be at the gym every morning by 5 or 6 AM. Meaning he is finishing his workout as us mere mortals are beginning to get out of bed…  Now that’s dedication!

I look forward to seeing Will’s continued climb within the fitness industry not only here in Cleveland but on a regional and hopefully national level down the road.

 

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. 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. 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?).

Find Gratitude

All, I want to keep this post short and sweet as we head into the new year.  In 2018, I have vowed to find gratitude in life’s simple moments.

Not every day is a “walk in the park,” but every day is a gift. 

Be grateful for everything in your life that is not catastrophic.  Find joy in the little things – i.e. playing with your kids, reading a book, having a good meal, exercising, etc.  There are people in this world who won’t experience any of these moments that so many of us consider normal or even take for granted.  Therefore, I vow to be more conscious, more aware and more appreciative of life’s “tiny” blessings in 2018.

Happy New Year!

Ep. 1 Recap – Beanie Wells

Ep. 1 Recap – Beanie Wells

Wow…what a way to launch The Optimal Life podcast!  I could not have asked for a better guest to join me as we introduce ourselves to the podcasting world.  I hope you were able to feel Beanie’s authenticity in our hour-long conversation.  He’s a remarkable man who has always kept with him a winning mentality in every facet of his life.  It was clear that he was raised by a good family; a sound support system who only wanted to see the best for him.

I was blown away by his USC recruiting story near the beginning of the episode.  Here he is, this young, 17 year old in the Hills of LA, rolling with some of USC’s elite players – its city’s biggest stars at that time.  Beanie was a senior in high school and had already committed to Coach Jim Tressel at Ohio State, and, most importantly, had already committed to his mom that he’d be going there!  But, like he said, he simply wanted to take one visit outside of Ohio to see what else was out there.  So he went to the bright lights of Hollywood, and, rather than a typical tour of the facility and maybe a quiet dinner off campus, he ended up at the Playboy Mansion surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful women.  Talk about pulling a 180 from Columbus’ Short North!  And you can imagine what happens the next day when he’s with USC Coach Pete Carroll as his mind has completely shifted away from Ohio and instead now to LA… (I will leave the rest for you to listen to as Beanie said on the show that this was the most detail he’s ever shared publicly on this event).  The power of [persuasion] recruiting!

I was really impressed with how Beanie seemed to handle the pressures and responsibilities of being THE star player at THE Ohio State University during his junior season.  He knew that temptations were always there, but that he did not want to let down the people who believed in him the most.  I also found it fascinating that he could hardly go anywhere on campus – including class – without getting hounded for pictures and autographs.  What a crazy year that must’ve been for #28.

I also thought Beanie said it best when he said many guys face an ‘identity crisis’ once their professional sports careers come to an end.  All these guys have known since they were kids was athletics.  Now you take athletics away and force them into the real world and it can be a crazy, emotional tug-of-war to find your next purpose in life.  He mentioned someone he knew who only played less than two years in the NFL but needed ten years thereafter to figure out his life.  Find what makes you happy.  Bless the fact that you were able to play in the league for even one year.  Make it a part of your journey and understand that each and every player – no matter how successful – struggles with this next phase in some shape or form.  To all former professional athletes: you are not alone.  Take time to bless the situation and then to accept the fact that this universal cycle exists.  Don’t let your best years in life be the ones you had before age 30.

Throughout our conversation, you notice that Beanie always felt that he had to prove someone right and to prove someone wrong.  “For every person who thinks you’re the best thing since sliced bread, there’s two others who think you ain’t shit.”  And that’s why this 6’3″, 230 lbs beast has always succeeded at every level.  And why he continues to succeed in life after football!  Restaurants, day care centers, a trucking company, and successful radio and TV gigs are just some of the things that consume Beanie these days.  The grind never stops.  You can never get complacent.  If you want to be the best, you must always work; always grind.  There is always someone there to take your spot the moment you begin to slip.  It’s a warrior mentality that has allowed Beanie to remain at the top.

Unfortunately too, sometimes that warrior mentality can be a hindrance if not managed properly.  Beanie admits that he came off the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list in his fourth NFL season way too early.  It was his “grind” mentality of not letting the next guy in line take his spot that forced him back onto the field prematurely.  And likely that which caused his injuries to intensify and ultimately lead to the end of his career.  It’s a subtle, underlying lesson that can be learned from :: we must maintain a balanced approach in all that we do.  We must have that warrior mentality, but we must not let that warrior ego get in the way of what is ultimately best for us as individuals.  We must hone it and make sure that we know when to push and that we know when to pause.

At all times, life is about trust.  Trusting in yourself and in your faith.  And having perseverance, yet also having patience.  And just like Beanie said as we wrapped up the show, “Not rushing the process.”  It’s this balanced warrior mindset that we should all seek to achieve.