How to overcome obstacles in life


Do you think I said yes?

As many of us prepare ourselves for a new year and possibly a new life, I wanted to take a few moments to share with you one of the most important things I took away with me from the Marine Corps that helped me overcome obstacles in life. This same piece of advice has helped me find my love for fitness, acquire a job at Cressey Sports Performance and  and find the love of my life which I am about to marry in 15 days.

Since it is the start of a New Year, it is only right to give yourself permission to tear up your previous script of life and start a new one if you need to.  Seriously, right now you have the power to look at your life from the perspective of new and better possibilities, create new habits, and really go after what you want in life.

Let’s take a look at a story that has stuck with me ever since I was a young Marine : Two Marines were out on daily missions for a week. The mission required the Marines to pack everything for the day they needed because they would leave early and return later that day.  Each Marine had the same exact list, and could take whatever food supplies they could fit in their sack.

Half way through the day when it was lunch time, Sam would always complain about how he hated balogne sandwiches.  In turn,  Jake, offered to share his peanut butter sandwich with his fellow Marine. Sam declined the offer but just kept complaining about how he hated bologna. The next day arrived and Sam went to open his lunch, and another bologna sandwich was packed. But why, Sam hates bologna?  Third day , believe it or not, another bologna sandwich. By this time, Jake was sick of hearing Sam complain, and replied if you hate bologna so much why don’t you tell your wife to stop making them for you.  Jake the replied, I’m not married, and I make my lunch everyday.

The morale of the story is that we all make our own lunch every day, and today is a new day, and you officially have the power to create a new menu of life.

So how can you overcome obstacles in life, and make changes?

bloom where you are planted

Photo Taken from

In the Marine Corps we were always told to bloom where you are planted.  No matter how small the task may seem, there is always a relative meaning behind it.  For example, as a young Marine cleaning was part of an everyday task. I hated it at the time and never understood why we had to clean so much. As I came up in the ranks and understood the meaning behind leadership , cleaning did not seem like such a simple and mundane task anymore.

If I had the initiative to take the trash out without being told, or to start clean up at the end of the day, it showed my leaders that I had what it takes to take on more responsibly.  Sometimes, simple tasks may seem irrelevant, but if you look at the big picture in life, they may not seem all that pointless in all. After all, how  could I lead Marines into combat, if I could not even take responsibility to take the trash out at the end of the day or clean up after myself?

Take that one step further in life. Last year, I was an intern at Cressey Sports Performance, a premier strength and conditioning facility in Hudson, Massachusetts. With no real experience in the coaching field outside of being a Marine, I quit my job of being an air traffic controller and pursued a career in the fitness industry. Knowing that I was well behind in the power curve in terms of experience and degrees, I tried to make up for it in other areas.

CSP is a 15,000 square foot facility, and sometimes things can get pretty hectic, and sometimes things can get pretty slow.  When I was an intern, I always made it a point to be as busy as possible.  If weights were not where they needed to be, I took time to re-rack them. If things needed to be cleaned, I cleaned them.  As the internship passed, not only did I grow stronger as a coach, I grew stronger as a person and grew a sense of responsibility in a new field.

After interning at CSP, I acquired a job as a personal trainer at the Executive Health and Sports Center in Manchester, NH. It was the toughest 6 months of my life I have ever had to face. At 30 years old, and an MBA, I had to work 60 hour work weeks for minimum wages to gain clientele. I was exhausted both mentally and physically and was very close to quitting the industry and going back to air traffic control. But, it was my determination and will that helped me through tough times. Around April, things started to slowly come around and I began to have a steady schedule of clients.

Fast forward one year later, and I still work at EHSC, and have recently been hired at CSP as their head strength camp instructor for their adult population in the mornings.

I know, I know, what is the point? 

Some times life will throw you curve balls, and will truly suck.  Working for minimum wage at 30 years old was not the best scenario one can be in, especially after earning an MBA and having substantial experience in leadership . However, I understood that if this career is what I wanted to do do for the rest of my life, I needed to put in the grinding hours to pull out ahead.

“Bloom where you are planted “

One of the most amazing things we have been giving as humans is the ability to to dream and go after a better life.  The human mind is capable of many different things, and being able to establish goals and live out those dreams is an incredible feeling to have. Better yet, what makes us even more powerful is that we actually have the ability to make change by taking action and living with a purpose.

As we begin 2015, I challenge you to always remember that when times get tough, bloom where you are planted.

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