THE STAY TRUE CHALLENGE
A Pro Athlete’s Tips on Values, Startups, Anxiety, and Being Your Best Self
Do you have bush-league values?
If your life, startup, partner, teams, friends, and tribe align with values that don’t give you back passion, purpose, love, respect, community, laughter, and loyalty, who’s to blame?
A tough love moment: you are.
Here is a simple question you can start with asking yourself: do you live to work, drink, and eat, or do you work, drink, and eat to live?
“Beware the barrenness of a busy life.”- Socrates
I want to live better. Happier. Fulfilled. These are all questions I asked myself as a teenager. I desired to know what happiness was, what my purpose was, who God was, and why bad things happened to good people? Why did my parents have to divorce? Why did my older brother want to beat my ass? Why were we so angry in our household?
I didn’t have those answers.
So when I started writing in high school, it was because I needed some answers. And slowly, that intuition, my gut, the voice that was deeper than that douchebag that told me to wear Polo cologne and flip my collar to impress the ladies, starting coming through.
Being a douche early on is okay. But not reflecting on those defective values, the ones I held that didn’t really align with who I wanted to become — is not.
I found that out by writing and listening. I loved to write and express limitlessness, creativity, and obsess about being an athlete running around a court, or a field, or being on a team. I valued sports and my team more than anything in life, but it has changed as I’ve gotten older, mostly because I have never stopped that process of exploration.
STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF CHALLENGE #1
Never stop exploring. Writing. Journaling. Reflecting. Feeling. Playing. Learning. Trying to be your best self. Can you write out a list of your most bush-league values?
Don’t know the difference? Start with values that tap into our most authentic self. We all know what we put into our health, our practice, our relationships, our friendships, our workouts, our family, we typically get back ten-fold, but yet, something stops us from understanding and acting on behalf of our best self is. What we see ourselves becoming and valuing tomorrow is a value in itself.
Why do we stop looking as adults? Why do we stop playing with teams and communities in our lives? How do we stay true to ourselves and make a practice of doing it every day?
STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF CHALLENGE #2:
For two weeks, write for 15 minutes a day about what you envision your life becoming. What will bring you happiness? What do you want to focus on becoming? What is your craft? Your passion? What are you curious about? Please share and comment!
I ask myself these questions and write constantly. It has helped me so much in life; to dedicate myself purposely to what I want to create next. There is a Science to Happiness, to practice this type of mental exercise — it is proven to empower, direct, build happiness, but it can slap you in the face too. By putting tons of pressure on your identity or future, it’s like shooting a game winning free throw every moment. This can create anxiety and helplessness as you realize you are about to miss or aren’t ready to take that big shot.
Anxiety is normal in the unknown. Nothing is so important that you feel you’re a failure if don’t reach your ultimate vision or take that next shot. I have experienced failure. Helplessness. Panic. Mind numbing anxiety. But the moment, I changed my thinking, I became more malleable and flexible — much like a lean startup.
In fact, we are all walking startups. Experiments. Able to change and flex and move where we want. Each day is a chance to build a new product or idea, measure what you like about it, and pivot as you gather information that helps you create purposefully.
Each day our path, parts of our vision can change. So if you feel like a failure because you can’t move forward, it’s normal. Relax. Breathe. None of this game matters as much as that small step you take next. That is greatness compadres.
You are great. So practice practicing and enjoy this wild game of life.
By practicing your stay true writing challenge, you will begin to understand it’s time to make small steps toward a life you may want to live. Yet, when I look around, I see a majority of busy people distracted by a society that wants them to be distracted and stay that way.
STAY TRUE TO YOURSELF CHALLENGE #3:
Write out a list of values you want to live by that give you more meaning, happiness, peace, purpose, and better health.
1.) My life must have simplicity, autonomy, and freedom.
2.) Money from startups or work will be invested in passive income streams that help me pay and learn from new experiences, people, and adventure travel.
3.) Growth and exploring my inner purpose starts with living outside my physical and mental comforts.
4.) Living and working with my vibe tribe (doing business and life with people that have similar core values & interests).
5.) Shine baby shine. Create and share every day.
7.) Laughing a ton and finding genuine happiness from the struggle.
8.) Building a business or community of people I love to help.
When did I come up with this list? When I would sit and write for four months as I was sailing through the world on a 40-foot sailboat looking up the stars wondering what the hell my life was supposed to be. I didn’t know how to navigate. How to raise and reef the sails. How to chart the waters. Three years before that, I was living in the South of France in a career I loved. 12 years before that, I left for Germany with no clue of what or who I was, just a 22-year old kid with a dream to play hoops.
Little did I know, my life has been a walking startup; failing, growing, measuring, building, pivoting, learning, and starting over.
But that dream wasn’t always easy for me at first, just like trying to build a startup isn’t now. There is tons of uncertainty. Fear. Doubt. Anxiety. All that stuff I usually hate to feel.
The best way to predict the future is to start building it yourself, brick by brick.
It’s always weird when you get paid to do what you love. It feels like cheating; like I cheated the system as I watched other people doing unfulfilling work to buy the American life. Many Americans could slowly pull away from this busy lifestyle of consumption with asking a few tough questions and growing their stay-true mindset.
Lately, my life has been getting a startup, HoopsLink Fitness off the ground. It feels like I am cheating again. It has been so much fun figuring out how to coach adults in a way that helps them be fitter, healthier, happier versions of themselves. It’s not all about the performance on the court; it’s the chance to connect to the community of adults that want to share doing what they love.
I want to self-actualize doing what I’m passionate about, and something that gives me purpose just like being an athlete did.
But every day, I move forward three steps and back two. I fail. I mess up. It’s messy. Reflecting helped me start down this path. Writing helped me find a way to build my future. But that’s how I’ve always learned, measured, adapted, and pivoted towards making a better life.