The Tripper…Revisited


Oftentimes…especially after writing a blog post deep from my heart, I wonder if it has reached anyone…I mean I know people read it…but does it reach them?  As I write and write…I realize more and more this is common…among writers…or anyone I suppose doing anything with all their heart… Doctors…Pastors…Volunteers…Counselors…Caretakers…Military Men and Women…Nurses…Teachers…and so many others…I think anyone could feel this way…but you know what I’m saying…It’s normal to wonder…I think…to wonder if what you’re doing in your life…really matters.  Well…this week I received an e-mail comment from a little 10-year-old girl who helped me with my question:

“This is Caroline.  I loved your blog especially because one of my friends was not nice to me.  I want you to know that my favorite thing was where you put courage on there.  I will try to be strong.”

First of all…how great is that?  A child reading my blog…I love it!  Her mother let me know her 10-year-old daughter had not only read my blog post…she printed it out…taped it to her wall…cut out the “courage” part… and slept with it.  The blog post is called “The Tripper”…some of you may remember it…and it will follow these words(I’m reposting).  Before you read it again though, I want to tell you…this time if you’ve had any questions about what you do in your job…what you do as a parent…a husband…a wife…a child…if you’ve had any question about yourself…and whether you matter…this time when you read The Tripper….realize…that you CAN trip yourself.  I’ve done it…you can do it…trip yourself so you end up on your face…getting all tangled up in yourself.  But always remember this: YOU MATTER…YOU MATTER…what you do…MATTERS.  You make a difference…it may be to one person…a family…or thousands of people in a business or church…one child…or a classroom full of children…a patient…or a hospital full of patients…one person longing for freedom…or a country full of people desiring peace and safety…IT ALL MATTERS.  What we need to do…is have courage.  Have the courage to keep doing what you do…and say to yourself what Caroline said to me : “I will try to be strong.” …that’s what you do…BE STRONG and COURAGEOUS…avoid the Trippers…and don’t trip yourself…Enjoy and reflect….The Tripper…Revisited:


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

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Hold Onto It…

Wow…Yesterday…was quite a day.  We moved Amy’s Grandmother from Weaverville to Canton…in the pouring rain.  After packing the big truck, making the trip to the new house, unloading, getting the moving truck stuck in the mud, and finally pulling it out…we made our way home.  I jumped in the shower and then into bed.  As I took a deep relaxed breath, visions of my kids walking up the moving truck ramp in the hard rain carrying boxes containing anything from dishes to wooden doggie toilet paper holders flashed in my mind…and made me smile…and made me so proud of them.  As I started to fall asleep, one more vision seeped into my mind.  It was of Amy cleaning out one of her Grandmother’s closets.  She was placing old newspapers and an old hat in a plastic bag so the rain wouldn’t touch them.  I found out the newspapers were from when her Grandmother’s mother died and the hat was her Grandfather’s(he has passed away).  Her Grandmother hadn’t thrown it away after all those years.  With that vision, I was inspired to write this blog post.

Memory…is the diary that we all carry about with us. – Oscar Wilde

Last week my friend and client Beverly Burt came up to me before her session and said, “I have to show you something and tell you a quick story about it.”  She pulled me to the side and held up an old ink pen.  It was well used and had an old worn rubber band wrapped tightly around it.  “I wanted to show you this.  It was my dad’s pen.  I keep it in my purse.” she said.  She was using it that day to write her exercises/weight/reps for the session in her training book.  “What’s the rubber band for?” I asked.  “He kept this pen with him everywhere he went. The rubber band kept it from falling out of his pocket.  I just like to have it close to me because it was his.” she answered.  For those of you who don’t know, Beverly’s father passed away a few years ago.

“Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose.”

When I think about Beverly, Amy’s Grandmother, the newspapers, the hat, and the pen…a valuable message comes to mind : Do whatever you can to never forget what you love.  Whether the love has passed or is still with you…be aware, soak up, treasure, and capture every moment you can because it all moves so fast.  And…if it helps to hold onto something that refreshes your mind, lifts your spirit, and rejuvenates your soul…HOLD ONTO IT.   You probably already do this…if not now, I guarantee you did at one time right?  You know…that shell from a beach trip, a movie ticket from a date or family night out, a coin, jewelry, concert ticket stub, hair from a first haircut, a rock from a hiking trip, a report card, a hospital bracelet, artwork, a note, a bible, dishes, and of course pictures.  It doesn’t matter if it makes sense to anyone else.  You hold onto it…because as the above quote says…you don’t want to ever lose the things you love…the things you are…and sometimes a newspaper, a pen with a rubber band wrapped around it, or an old hat will help you accomplish…just that.

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AN IMPORTANT SIDE NOTE:  Share your stories.  Share your memories.  Share the item(s) you are holding onto.  I’m serious.  As my favorite guy Ralph Waldo Emerson said : “Our best thoughts come from others.”  Think if Beverly hadn’t pulled me aside to share her story…I couldn’t have written this.  These are the things that should be shared…not who went to what party…who is skinny…who is fat…who was invited to the wedding and who wasn’t…who ate what…who wore what…who did what on a wrecking ball…who voted for who…who made millions…who doesn’t parent right…who lives where…who drives what…etc…etc…etc…  Share the stories that add value to people’s lives.  We all have them.  Finally let me share mine:

My Grandmother died September 29, 2005.  She lived about six hours from us…and I have written a lot about her in my journals.  She is still the sweetest lady I have ever known in my life.  When our twins were in the hospital she called to check on them often and would always end by saying, “I’m saying a special prayer for them.”  She did get to meet them when they came home….and then she lost her battle with cancer…passing away 3 months later.  I always say they’re the luckiest and most blessed twins in the world…not just because they survived being born at 1lb each…but also because they were able to be held by my Grandmother.


I travelled to her funeral alone because the twins could not go out in public yet…it was too dangerous.  The night before her funeral I tossed and turned in the hotel room…I could not sleep.  Finally, I got up at 5am and drove to Wal-Mart.  I bought a pad of paper, a pack of pens, and drove to a big rock I used to play on when I visited my Grandmother as a child.  There I sat…and wrote…and cried…and cried.  I went back to the hotel and put on my suit…sliding the tear-stained papers into the inside pocket of my suit.  The funeral was ending…the Pastor said a prayer…and something in me made me stand up and walk to the pulpit.  I didn’t even remember walking up there…and I stood…and a tear rolled down my cheek…and I could not speak.  I looked at my Dad…his eyes met mine and he quickly looked down and started to cry.  It was the first time I had ever seen him cry.  I heard someone in the pews say, “God bless him.”  And when I heard those words a calmness came over me…I pulled the papers from my suit pocket…and I began to speak.  This was the first time I had ever spoken my written words…words from my heart.  And to this day…after speaking to many churches, teams, small groups, and individuals…I still say it is the gift my Grandmother gave me.  It was born the day I said goodbye to her.

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And now it is a gift I’m able to share with you…you see…I still have the stained papers with the words I spoke that day…I held onto them…after all these years…I keep them folded up under my jeep seat…and when I feel like I’m stuck and unable to write, I’ll pull them out and read.  There have been many nights I’ve sat exhausted in my gym parking lot…and read them.  That’s the story about what I’ve held onto…the story I want to share with you…these papers accomplish a lot of things…they help me hold onto who I love…hold onto who I am…and help me share it all with you.  Thank you all for allowing me to do so. 🙂



Be Willing to…Jack it Up

A few months ago, we camped on Edisto Island in South Carolina and had a spot right on the beach.  Every morning Amy went running and when she returned, I went out on the beach to set up our umbrella and chairs.  We camped in the State Park on the end of the island and it is hardly ever crowded.  Some days we really had the beach to ourselves.  It is beautiful.  Anyway, I went out early every morning this particular week and never saw another person…except for this one man.

This is him :


At first glance, I know it just looks like an old guy doing some early morning fishing on the beach, but I want you to look closely…It is important for you to see how the old man got to his spot…Do you see his walker now?  I watched the old man hobble and scoot to the edge of the water for three days.  He had his pole, his chair, and his little red bucket.  When he got set up, he sat down and stayed allll day.  I mean ALL day…just sitting and fishing.


Every day…for three days.  I found myself admiring the old man and was aware that he was inspiring me to write(which is why I started taking pictures of him), but I couldn’t figure out what it was about this man’s journey from his tent in the dunes to the edge of the ocean that was making me stop every morning to watch him as if I was about to see him suddenly do something rare and spectacular.  Then on the fourth day it all came to me when I saw the old man….and this:




How great is that?  I remember saying out loud in these exact words with a smile on my face…bad grammar and all… “That old man done jacked up his walker…that’s soooo AWESOME!”  And the lesson hit me…and now I’ll share with you:

If you are guessing that I’m going to write about being grateful for what you have…I’m not (though we should be grateful…always).  If you’re thinking I’m going to write about how to improvise, adapt, and overcome…I’m not(though it is true…and I love that stuff…and it is exactly what the old man did).  Instead I want to write about WHY the old man adapted…WHY did the old man jack up that walker?…WHY did the old man create the best champion monster 4×4 walker ever….WHY?

I believe it’s because…He loves to fish…really really really loves to fish.  So? He was able to fish those first few days right?  Why did he need to change anything?  This is important : It is true he was able to fish the first three days…but what were his last four days like?….BETTER…They were better right?  Take a look at his new walker:


Think about it…look at how much extra stuff he has…extra bags…extra bait…extra poles…he loves to fish…so if he can run two or three poles now, doesn’t he increase his chances of catching more fish?  Doesn’t he increase the number of times he may get to experience the battle, the joy, the excitement of reeling in a fish?  Look at the wheels…imagine the first time he came out onto the dunes…rolling over them instead of getting stuck in sand with every step.  And finally…most importantly, think about how fast he got to his spot.  He saved time.  When he saved time on the hard tedious part of his journey…when he became more efficient in his journey…He added value to his day by allowing more time to do what he loves…fish.

So what am I saying to you?  Figure out what you want from this life.  Figure out what is important to you.  Figure out what you love…what you would be willing to hobble, scoot, struggle, and drag yourself through the sand for…FIGURE IT OUT.  When you figure it out, work as hard as you can to get there.  You will have to improvise, adapt, and overcome…do it…jack up your walker…put it in 4 wheel drive.  Whether you are there…close to being there…or still hobbling…MAKE IT BETTER.  Do everything you can to make yourself better.  Be so concretely set on what you love, that you’ll do anything to be doing it.  I once heard a man(I can’t remember who said it right now…sorry) say it this way, “Be willing to sacrifice who you are right now…for who you want to become.”  If you want to be a better student, father, mother, child, husband, wife…If you want a better job or more income…if you want to start a business…if you want to lose weight, gain weight, or start eating correctly…if you want to travel, go back to school, or play a sport…If you want to stop losing, smoking, being sick, shopping, or screaming at your kids…if you want to do ANYTHING BETTER…You have to want it bad enough to BE WILLING to struggle through the deep sand….You MUST BE WILLING to make hard choices and be responsible for those choices…YOU MUST HAVE A CLEAR AWARENESS about what you want…and BE WILLING to DO ALL THINGS POSSIBLE to make the journey BETTER…not necessarily easier…BETTER…more efficient, more practical, more strategic…BETTER…all with the mindset that after you work hard on the things you need to work on…after you make many slow trips in the sand…after you put the big wheels on…after you put it in 4 wheel drive…You’ll feel blessed for the chance you had to take such a journey…and grateful to be EXACTLY where you are.

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