Hurricane Sandy happened about 2 years ago, hitting NJ pretty heavily. The town I live in, Manasquan, NJ, got hammered, especially the area 1 mile from the water front.
I remember that day very clearly and it was one of the biggest learning experiences I've had, mainly about people, business and life in general.
I've had a completely different look on life since then, mainly due to the life lessons I learned.
1) People are WAY Over Stimulated Through Social Media.
What I mean by this is that during the 2 weeks that Hurricane Sandy hit, we were out of power, as was much of NJ and parts of NY.
People were e mailing me questions on what is the best workout for _______, fat loss questions, nutrition questions, etc.
They had NO clue what had happened here because the main news comes from sitting on facebook for several hours a day or they are swiping their finger so fast across their phone they miss a TON of information actually happening in the real world.
While I was busy focusing on getting my kids a hot meal the rest of the world was asking questions that they easily could have found by searching on my blog, articles and videos that have been compiled since 2003 or so.
No power in most of NJ for 2 weeks meant that supermarkets were closed and food was going bad.
The big lesson here is people need to spend less time on facebook and more time being pro active, doing some leg work, researching and finding things themselves rather than asking a question to avoid the work to find an answer.
This was the FIRST time I really understood that many of your "friends" won't pick up the phone but they will post 20 times on facebook and twitter.
You can't fake it - actions prove the real deal.
2) The Zombie Apocalypse is NO Joke.
It was a big joke a few years ago with everyone saying to "prepare for the zombies".
It's not the zombies you see on SciFi channel, we're talking when people use natural disasters like Hurricane Sandy to attack those who are weaker.
The people who are shady, dangerous and out to prey on the weak are "the zombies".
For example, during Sandy, there were looters going into backyards and stealing generators.
Looters were on kayak coming from neighboring towns to break into beach front homes to steal art work, jewelery, etc from homes that had to be evacuated.
I would carry the generator into the garage around 11 pm or midnight, then back outside at 5 am. That's a deadlift and farmer walk without all your perfect warm up and mobility work on top of a lot of stress.
Before Sandy, I always left a 275-325 lb barbell loaded in my garage and I would Grease The Groove on my Deadlifts all week long.
I saw adult men drinking beer in the middle of the street actually enjoying the fact that schools were closed, power was out, etc. Listen, if you need quiet time then go camping. Instead of drinking beer when hundreds of families lost their homes, get out there and HELP those in need.
When The Lakers won the NBA championship the town went into a riot and looters destroyed the town. That's what happened when they WON!
WTF happens when someone loses?
The point here: Be READY. Be ready for the times when the shit hits the fan. It's happened before and it will happen again.
The weak will lose.
3) Stress Will Fuck You Up.
During the 2 weeks that we had no power, I shut down The Underground Strength gym except for 2 days.
I opened up and the gym was packed.
I assumed people wanted more and could do this, so I opened up 2 or 3 days later but no one could make it because they had NO gas.
I saw gas stations with lines that were hours long. On the Garden State Parkway the lines were easily over 1 mile long.
I saw people arguing over gas, treating others like shit and stories spread of people siphoning gas out of other peoples cars in the middle of the night.
The lack of human compassion stressed me out BIG time.
The Big Lesson Here: If you let it stress you out, it will. Emotional Stress will crush you harder than your most intense session of squats. Learn to get thicker skin AND control your emotions.
4) Every Man for Himself & Get That Money.
Not long after Sandy, I had a business relation go south in a direction I never would have imagined. I quickly learned about "every man for himself", "The Art of War" and how easily people are manipulated when it comes to money and ego.
People can say all they want about integrity, but, actions and the truth are what rise to the top.
The BIG lesson Here: Even when something bad happens to you or bad people do wrong by you, stand your ground and don't stoop down to the level of unethical behavior.
If you make a mistake, say sorry and actually mean it.
The truth will always prevail.
5) It's Up to YOU.
A few weeks after all the stress of The Hurricane and life itself, I got really sick.
I have gotten pneumonia before and I think I was one step away from getting pneumonia again.
I was sick for about 3 weeks and could barely get out of bed or off the couch. It ALL hurt. Laying down would hurt my back where I literally felt the virus sitting in my back.
I lost close to 20 lbs in those 3 weeks. I got better, somewhat, and that lasted all about 2 weeks, then, I got sick again and felt like the walking dead for another 2 weeks.
It was a BIG reminder to me that when you let things bother you, there is no end in sight. Stress and emotions will drag you down lower than low, IF you don't stand tall.
It's OK to be passionate and emotional, BUT, you need to have thick skin and straight up be a Bad MoFo in all areas of life. Don't let poison live inside of you.
The BIG Lesson Here:
6) More Is Not Better.
Leading up to Hurricane Sandy I was on a mission that year, inside 2 Mastermind Groups and was learning like a mad man about life, business, training and more.
Although I was busy, I was working hard towards a simpler life, not more of everything.
I met a guy at my Mastermind Group who was earning several million a year with his 2 companies.
We had dinner before I hopped on the plane home for the night and I spoke to him about my plans to get rid of a LOT of "things" in my life. He was about 15 years older than me and he told me that he just learned this lesson recently.
He sold 1 of his companies and in turn, DOUBLED his income.
He had greater focus, more energy, more family time and more peace of mind.
What can you remove from you life that will give you more of the "good stuff"?
Get out a sheet of paper and make a list.
Place a a deadline next to each item and make it happen.
The BIG Lesson learned:
Be A Simple Kinda Man......
7) I'm Glad You Left.
After Hurricane Sandy I was supposed to finish my book, The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength & Conditioning. I was nearing my deadline of the book and after seeing the way people acted when it came to money, life, getting gas, (NOT) caring for others, etc I decided to make my book something MUCH more than just a book about getting stronger and bigger.
I felt that was pretty shallow, boring and would be just another "me too" book.
I must admit, I have ZERO interest in being anything like everyone else.
Things changed BIG time as I went and opened my second location of The Underground Strength Gym so I could spend more time with family and less time stuck behind the steering wheel commuting 45 minutes each way.
As I began to open up my second Underground Strength Gym, I spent less time on the internet stuff and more time training athletes. It was super refreshing to get back to what I always loved, which was helping athletes kick ass.
As a Coach, there is no hiding behind hyped up facebook posts or photos. You are you and your results speak the truth. Plain and simple, yet I loved it.
The more I coaches, the more I was inspired to write in a deeper and more powerful way for The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength & Conditioning. The stories that were spilling out onto my computer screen were bringing back tears, laughter and more inspiration.
I decided that my book HAD to inspire people. Every single page had to be powerful, NO filler bull shyt.
My original book publisher bailed on me slightly before Hurricane Sandy and rather than be disappointed, I celebrated and stepped up my game to the 20th degree to create a book that will change the life of anyone who read it.
The BIG lesson: Don't be upset when people leave your life. There is meaning behind everything in life and instead of letting negative energy or circumstance control you, celebrate and find the beauty behind it all.
Let go of the past. Be in the present. You can't move forward if you're always busy looking in your rear view mirror.
8) YOU Are # 1
I spent many, many years focusing on helping everyone else. Sure, I had lots of pleasure in helping others but I quickly learned that if you don't take care of you and put your happiness and your health as a priority, people will take advantage of it.
Being nice is great and all, but damn, you will trampled like the running of the bulls if you're always trying to help people. This doesn't give you the green light to be a dick, but, be careful of over extending yourself.
The BIG Lesson here is to help yourself and put YOU as a priority.
9) Break The Bad Habits
I realized that as an entrepreneur, I was in the habit of always running my business and living my life along the same schedule.
When I had no option but to shut down my gym for 2 weeks I saw a different way of living. I had always taken vacations but this was NO vacation.
I was used to always running my gym till 8 at night, coming home late or opening up the gym to work around everyone's schedule.
I was reminded to operate my business in a way that gave me life NOT took life away from me. I had the wrong people on the team, who were not truly part of a team. I changed what we focused on at The Underground and pushed for excellence, plain and simple.
You can disagree all you want with Coach Glassman and CrossFit but his speech on the pursuit of excellence is tops.
The BIG Lesson here is simple yet powerful: CARE.
If someone doesn't care, you can sense it a mile away. I got rid of all people in my life who didn't care as well as people who were not self thinkers. Anyone who was a follower was gone. You don't want weak people in your life.
10) ZERO Expectations.
A few months after Hurricane Sandy I took a trip to meet a friend in NYC. We spoke about all the good things happening but we also spoke about getting rid of the poison in your life and having ZERO expectations.
This is a TOUGH skill to learn and follow through on but it is GREAT. It takes practice and I practice it every day.
If you do something for someone else you should have ZERO expectations of anything in return.
As soon as you have expectations you get let down.
Onward and Upward. That is the only way to go, my friend.
Next week, my first ever physical book, The Encyclopedia of Underground Strength & Conditioning will hit book stores, Amazon, Dragon Door and who knows where else 🙂
I'm excited to share it with you as it took my approximately 3 years of actual writing but the time that went into it is my entire life.
Stand by for some early excerpts such as from my podcast and some give away for members of the Underground Inner Circle.
I'd love to hear your comments / questions on this blog post so please comment below.
Live The Code 365,
Encyclopedia of Underground Strength & Conditioning Surprise Give Aways for Members Only - Details HERE