The Tripper…

I often go through photos and/or my journals until something pops out at me to write about.  Today, as I was going through an old training journal, I read a couple of sentences I wrote on the inside cardboard page.  It makes this post short…it is a warning…or more of a heads up I guess…anyway, I’d like to share it with you.  When I wrote these words, I was going through a few business things and dealing with certain people in my life as I was in prep for a bodybuilding contest.  I’m sure you’ll be able to relate if you stop and think about your own life….

Some people are so used to getting knocked down, they don’t even want to get back up.  This becomes a problem when they lose interest in getting up and their focus becomes to pull others down…to trip people…makes them feel better…STAY AWAY FROM THESE PEOPLE ANTHONY…TRIPPERS…it’s who they are…what they do…Decide right now who and what is worthwhile…YOU know what you’re supposed to do…NOW DO IT!

You know some Trippers right?  A person who is constantly negative…about everything.  A person who smiles at other people’s pain and frowns at other people’s happiness.  A person who has every answer for why you, someone, or something will fail…but solutions for NOTHING.  It’s that person who grabs your ankle when you’re on the fifth step…pulling you back to the first…all while making YOU believe you should have never even stood up to climb in the first place.  It’s the person who uses an eyedropper every minute…every hour…every day to extinguish the fire of greatness burning within you…drop…”you can’t”…drop…”no one has done that”….drop…”people will laugh”…drop…”that’s dumb…ridiculous…impossible”…drop, drop, drop.  Before you know it…you find yourself with a hose helping them extinguish your very own dream.  I’m telling you…I’ve been there. We all have them in our lives – Trippers…Let me tell you why it works and why they are so dangerous : It’s because…they are the people that surround us in life…friends, our children, brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, other family, coworkers, bosses, “experts”, politicians, and the media.  Most of the time we love these Trippers…which makes them so much more effective.  So what do we do about it?  First, let me say, hopefully you aren’t a Tripper.  If you read this and think you are…Change!  Come to grips with WHY you are a Tripper…get over it…and STOP!  If you do have a Tripper(s) in your life(be honest with yourself), here are a few tips for you:

“It ain’t what they call you, it’s what you answer to.” – W.C. Fields

1. BE AWARE…You have to realize what is going on.  Be aware of who is pulling you down.  Be aware of all areas in your life producing negativity.

2. FIGURE IT OUT…Is the tripping coming from a place of: unhappiness….ignorance…hatred…laziness…jealousy…feeling trapped in their own life?

3. REALIZE…It’s not your problem.  You thinking it is….enables the Tripper…Trust me

4. SEPARATE…You must choose to shed this Tripper…whether or not it’s forever is up to them right?  You have one life…live it fully…Choose to surround yourself with those who ADD TO…not subtract from… your life.

5. HAVE COURAGE…Have the courage to do…to try…the things in your heart.  Listen to yourself.  Define yourself.  It is said your life can be as small…or as large as you want it to be…which one it will be is directly proportional to….your COURAGE.

6. DO IT…As I wrote to myself…You know what you’re supposed  to do…NOW DO IT!!!  🙂

“A successful person is one who can lay a firm foundation with the bricks that others throw at him or her.” – David Brinkley






A few years ago I flew to Norfolk, Virginia to compete in a bodybuilding competition.  It was held in Currituck, North Carolina where I went to high school.  It ended up being one of my worst competitions so that’s all I’ll say about that contest.  I did learn a few lessons which is the most important thing.  This blog comes from a journal entry written on the plane as I was returning home.  I think the easiest thing to do is share it with you exactly as written…

Terrible showing.  Placed 4th.  The competition was tough.  I was not ready.  The contest had a different format…they held pre-judging and finals all at once…at night.  My food and water were off because of the timing.  This won’t happen again.  Good to see my family.  Wish I could have performed better with my Father there.  I really miss Amy, Aleck, and Emma Grace.  As I have already written, this is the first time being away from them since they were born.  I’m just so happy they’re not in the hospital though and Amy is an amazing mother so I know we’ll be just fine.  If you’re reading this, you know I always try to find the lessons in every moment….  And one just came to me about 25 minutes ago:

After saying goodbye to my family, I made my way through the airport to my gate.  I couldn’t help but feel like a rat in the rat race with all the people scurrying around trying to get …somewhere…on time.  And as I rounded a corner to make a left hand turn just past a Starbucks, I had to slow down because something was causing a people jam.  The rats…I mean people in front of me started peeling away…streaming around the obstruction…right…and left.  As I neared what was blocking us, I heard the most colorful language I’ve ever heard…and I’ve seen a lot of war movies.  The crowd was clearing and I heard grunting and then…”@##$%$…..%^$$#^@….(*&&^^#@@%”…  I stopped to see people just walking by and saying nothing to a man….who had lodged himself…and his bags between a solid decorative rock trash can and a black metal bench.  He was stuck.  I mean really stuck.  The man’s face was as red as pizza sauce and sweat beaded on his forehead.  He had a nice suit on…though his belly had spilled out of his now untucked shirt.  His pink tie flew back and forth like a flag waving for help.  I stopped, looked at him, and said “Hey man…you need some help?”  He looked at me through his now bloodshot beady eyes and said “No!  I got this!”  And so…just like that, I became another rat peeling away and around…the stuck…wedged…fat rat.  About 15 yards away, I turned back to see no change had occurred…including the language.  Still wiggling…still cursing.  And so I made my way to my gate…and now here.  Now that I’m in my seat, on time, and comfortable, I can’t help but hope someone helped that guy even though his stubborn self didn’t want it.  And that’s a nice lesson….If you need help and know it…accept it.  It beats being stuck.  It has just occurred to me though… the most important step happens after being stuck…or maybe…maybe it’s better to happen…right in the middle of being stuck.  We hear it all the time….”She has baggage….He has baggage…Oh there is so much that comes with him/her”.   The truth is we all have baggage.  It’s ok.  But how much of it is unnecessary baggage?  Thinking about the stuck man who had a bag on each shoulder, a laptop under his arm, and a pull-along suitcase on rollers, makes me wonder how one person can carry so much anyway.  And that’s the thing…how much can we carry?  I certainly know what it’s like to be blindsided in life…leaving me wondering how in the world I ended up carrying a load I never thought I could hold.  How many bags can one person hold?  It is said ” God won’t give you more than you can handle.”  I do believe this.  I also believe “God helps those who help themselves.”  The fact is, sometimes we don’t need all those bags…sometimes we aren’t supposed to be carrying all that JUNK.  When we find ourselves stuck in life…wiggling, cursing, and stubbornly thinking we can get out on our own, I think we need to take a deep breath…and if we don’t fall out of being stuck by taking that breath..we need to pray…and whether or not we fall out then…we still MUST…MUST…MUST take a look at ALL the bags we’re carrying.  We may need to shed a few bags…or at least go through all the “stuff” in our bags.  Past circumstances, pain, failures, grudges, attitudes, bad relationships, unspeakable tragedy…all this stuff…filling up our bags.  Oh and here’s one we’ll reach in our bags and dig around for(especially in hard times) until our fingertips are bloody and our hearts are exhausted…CONTROL…and guess what?  It isn’t in there…It NEVER WAS.  I’m sure I’ll elaborate and put more to this story…maybe give a talk about it…write a piece on it…or just tell it to Aleck and Emma Grace…I know they will definitely get stuck in life….and maybe they’ll remember the “heavy, sweaty, stubborn, pink tie wearing, wiggling, grunting, cursing…severely stuck guy in an airport story”…Then they’ll hopefully stop and check their bags…ask for help if they need it…and most importantly pray for wisdom and guidance when they start the tough tough tough task of sorting through the stuff in their bags…. Anyway, now I have to sleep…Can’t believe I finished 4th…dang it.

So there it is…honestly it feels weird to share the words out of this tattered and torn red notebook.  I’m not sure why because a lot of my blog posts are inspired by my past journals.  Maybe because the words were written at such a vulnerable time in my life…anyway, I hope that if you are stuck…or one day find yourself stuck in life…You’ll remember the wiggling wedged guy in an airport story and find peace, guidance, and freedom in sorting through your “bags” 🙂



Plan by the Tide…

As we passed in the kitchen, Amy and I looked at each other through our tired eyes.  It was December 31… about 9:30pm.  That morning and throughout the day we had hyped our kids into a New Year’s Eve frenzy by talking about staying up together and watching the ball drop at midnight.  I told Amy about one of my clients using the strategy of turning clocks ahead to trick her children into thinking it was midnight when it was really 9 or 10pm.  We were so tired and 9:30 felt like midnight so …close enough.  We called the kids in, poured grape flavored water into our glasses, toasted the New Year, and headed to bed….It was a perfect New Year’s Eve.  I was so tired I didn’t even have the energy to think about a New Year’s resolution(something I don’t put much stock into anyway).  It may sound funny coming from a Strength Coach and owner of a personal training studio, but it’s true.  I have never bought into the New Year resolution marketing, programming, or sign-up surge tactics.  I am blessed that I haven’t had to do it.  Don’t get me wrong, I think it is great to set exercise goals, and for whatever reason, January 1st seems to be the time to do it.  Think about it though…it’s weird.  It’s strange that people get a little spark to start living healthy…to spend money on a gym membership, trainer, and/or equipment, knowing…knowing…it’s going to last until about January 16th.  That’s the truth.  I believe a better way to look at the New Year is to see it as a fresh start…a new chance…a time to refocus…a time to be honest with yourself.  That’s all I am going to say about the New Year motivation/perspective issue because it is a different topic really.  Let’s skip all that and just say you have a true New Year’s resolution.  I don’t know what it is…exercise, job, parenting, eating…whatever….Let’s just assume you’ve done an honest, deep, true reflection of yourself and you have set thoughtful and healthy goals.  Congratulations…you’ve made it through the easiest part of your new year.  Now what?  How will you EVER do what you said you would do?  I’ll tell you.  This is the important thing to remember…for the rest of the year…and for the rest of your life… : “Tide and time wait for no man.”….. Let me explain.

A couple of summers ago, Amy, her sister, her sister’s husband, me, and another couple decided to kayak out of the salt marshes(ACE Basin surrounding Edisto Island) across the mouth of the Edisto River, and back to the island.  Amy’s sister’s husband, Tim, and the husband in the other couple, Mike, both have great experience in the outdoors, navigation, and these types of excursions.  We would put in just in time to catch the tide going out which would make our trip easier and assure we were going the right way.  For those of you who don’t know, salt marshes are filled with winding paths and can be very confusing when you are sitting low in a boat.  On top of that, the tide can change so quickly making it easy to become disoriented and/or without water at all.  We started the trip and made our way through the beautiful marsh and even stopped for a nice picnic on a small sandy beach that looked like it hadn’t yet been discovered.  With clouds rolling in, we decided to continue through the maze of waterways.  There were many split offs and paths from which to choose, but we had our map…and Tim and Mike.  Paddling away, we saw a couple of porpoises and began to follow them.  Amy and I were taking pictures and paddling towards them as they seemed to be having fun with each other and inviting us to join them.  All of the sudden Mike stopped paddling, sat silently, and looked all around.  He pulled out the map and said “Something isn’t right.”  We just looked at him.  He said “Look at the direction my kayak is floating.”  We pulled our paddles out of the water and floated….backwards.  We had been paddling…against the tide.  We were caught up in the beauty of the trees, moss, and playfulness of the wildlife.  We didn’t even notice we had missed a turn and were going the wrong way.  We made the correction and continued our amazing trip.

And so….that’s exactly what can happen to us in life.  We plan by the tide….we set our goals.  The answer to why we don’t keep our resolutions 99% of the time…we don’t meet our goals…is we become distracted…we miss a turn…The trip is planned by the tide but so often we don’t realize… at some point…somewhere along the line…we began paddling against the tide.  It happens…to ALL of us.  It will ALWAYS happen.  The key is to not forget where we are supposed to be going.  We were lucky to have Mike and Tim with us.  Without them we would have surely kept paddling in the wrong direction until we were literally sitting in mud.  So…what can you take from my story?  1. We need to listen to the people we are blessed to have in our lives.  They may certainly make our trip easier and more enjoyable one day.  They may keep us safe on another day.  They may one day turn us around and save us A LOT of time…and pain.  2. What do you do if you’re on your own and find yourself moving away from your goals?…What do you do when you find yourself paddling against the tide?  I’ll tell you what you DON’T do…you don’t throw away your map.  You don’t lose hope…you don’t self-sabotage…you DO NOT forget where you are going.  3. Here is another something you don’t do…When you are out in the marsh…far far away from anyone…and you find yourself lost or heading in the wrong direction, you DO NOT stop paddling!  And you NEVER NEVER EVER just throw away your paddles…you wouldn’t do it out there….so don’t do it ANYWHERE…You don’t quit.  You hear it from me in almost every blog post…NEVER GIVE UP!  If you have set a goal…If you want to be someone…something…If you want to accomplish something…You have to KEEP paddling no matter what!  Even if your mind is telling you it’s too late and your butt is sitting in mud…get up, drag your boat to water, get back in and paddle your heart out!  4. Don’t forget to stop and look at the beautiful things everywhere around you…  5. Remember : It isn’t easy…”Tide and time wait for no man.”…It’s true…Time is precious…we only have so much of it…The tide will come and go regardless of where we are…both have existed before we were born…and will continue to exist after we’re gone.  Use them wisely.  Look at your map…plan by the tide…and finish a trip…for once complete the journey you know in your heart you’re supposed to master… 🙂

“Listen to the tides slowly turning, wash all of your heartaches away.  We are part of the fire that is burning, from the ashes we can build another day.”


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