“You are today where your thoughts have brought you; you will be tomorrow where your thoughts take you.” – James Allen
I am consumed with the sheer power of the human will to accomplish something, anything really. The opportunity to witness dreams realized, physical and spiritual transformations, fears shattered, to have someone tell you “You gave me my life back!” are words and experiences once heard and witnessed, remain forever etched in your mind. I have been a part of acts of kindness that go above and beyond anything I could have ever imagined. It is by the grace of God that my life’s path took a sharp U turn and I found my calling. The vehicle that lends itself to do such amazing work is our little fitness center called The Max Challenge.
Little by its physical appearance, but the enormity of its power is immeasurable. It is my church; the members my parish, the music is far from any church hymn but just as uplifting, and the power talk is my homily. It gives people something to hold on to for the day, stirring and provoking deeper thoughts about what is possible. I love every single second of the process, from the moment we get on a sales call to ease their fears and explain the program to the last day of each 10 week Challenge when they get to see their before and after picture revealing how far they have come physically, emotionally and spiritually. You see, everyone comes searching for something. Every person that walks through those doors has a unique story and a reason. We give them a place to work through whatever it is they are holding on to, a shoulder to cry on, or maybe just someone that will listen. Others just want to lose themselves and forget about life for those 45 minutes. The physicality of each class is such a visceral act that so absorbs the mind it is nearly impossible to think of anything else but the task at hand.
In order to change one’s direction in life you need a combination of things to happen. First and foremost is self awareness. To walk a mile in my shoes and do the digging I did into my heart and soul is something that is incredibly challenging to do. I say challenging and not hard because anyone can do it, but it’s not just anyone that is willing to take that long hard look in the mirror, acknowledge your shortcomings, see what’s holding you back, stop feeling sorry for yourself and be willing to CHANGE your story. You need a mentor to guide you through the obstacles, to help you see things that are holding you back, which are quite often self inflicted obstacles. My story was to be one of historic success on Wall St., but a funny thing happened to me when I was doing what I thought I was supposed to be doing in order to succeed, the definition of success changed for me. Success was not about the collecting of earthly riches, but about riches of the soul. It sounded like some pie in the sky fairy tale oh how nice that would be, “to do what I love and the money will follow”, but then I made a decision. I thought to myself if I were gone tomorrow, what would my legacy be? It has now become my life’s mission to touch as many lives as possible in some meaningful way.
Matthew 22:14 For many are called, but few are chosen. I can honestly say that for the first time in my life, at the what now feels to be the young age of 51, I have found what I have been chosen to do. I now see that sometimes what you are looking for in your life finds you. Yes, there are times when the stories pile up and the hurt and tears that I feel are overwhelming, but then again that’s what we are here for isn’t it? I am convinced our sole purpose is to help our fellow men and women in their time of need, when they need it most, that’s what gives our lives depth. In the words of Einstein, “Man is here for the sake of other men, only.” My life, the second act anyway, has become more about giving than getting and when that seismic shift occurs, something changes deep in you. Your appreciation for life and everything in it evolves, the colors sharpen, the sun shines a little brighter and warmer on your face.
It has been more than a year since I have blogged, since I left my wingtips, cufflinks and long train rides home behind for Nikes, dri fit shirts, shorts and rides down the parkway with the top down and man I haven’t looked back. Everyone talks about the life they want but not enough of those very same people actually live it. You need to grab life by the horns and run it or it will run you and run you over if you let it.
The Berkeley Project (the Township where our Max Challenge center resides) has truly taken on a life of its own. I have never felt more alive than I am in front of a class of people pushing and driving themselves to be better in every way. I love inspiring people to see that everything they could possibly want in life is there for the taking if they just dig deep enough and allow themselves to have it!
Why do we feel the need to hold ourselves back? What happened in our lives that we lost our sense of self worth so much so that we go to jobs we hate, stay in abusive relationships, find relief in addictions of whatever the flavor of the week may be? It is a vicious cycle and the answer resides in one place, in you. The myth of life is that the problem and the solution lie within the same place. Let go.
We tend to believe that if we hold on longer that it will make us stronger, I am here to tell you to let go. Let go of your fears, your inhibitions, your anger, your hate, all of the limiting beliefs that you have and live your life. The blip in time that we spend on God’s great earth is far too short, embrace it. Money and time. We never think we have enough of the former and we always think we have more of the latter, and not time in a day, I mean time to live our lives. Why do we continue to put off writing the book, learning to play the guitar or piano, opening the business, telling that person you love them more, forgiving the person who at the time wronged you more than you could bear?
My message to you is no matter where you are in your life, it is not too late. Live your life with a sense of purpose, of intention, with the end in mind. Today is your Day One. Don’t wait for Jan 1, 2019. Do it NOW and don’t look back! If The Berkeley Project has become a blueprint for the change I want to see in the world, I know it’s not nearly finished, to be honest I’m not sure it ever will be finished. It will be passed on when my work here is done and I hope I have impacted enough people that one will take the reins when it’s time.
8 thoughts on “The Berkeley Project…”
Inspiriational, heartwarming, so happy that you are not only living your passion, but helping others, the best career is “when your best skills line up with what the world needs most”… not sure who said that but you nailed it!
Love you with all my heart and soul.
Incredible. Thank you for this, Mike. You are truly an inspiration. EVERY DAY. We love you.
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Thank you Jamie!! Makes me smile to know this.
Or I should say…..
The beyond comes from knowing that for Mike these are more then words on a page. It is truly a way of being, a way of life.
As a recent example, I was in a pretty great mood yesterday, rushing from my morning workout to a meeting then running in to a 10am meeting with Mike at 10:30. I was immediately impacted by Mikes positivitivity and enthusiasm which took my day from great to beyond great.
Thank you Mike for having such a positive impact on all!
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Thanks BK! Incredibly kind words. Always grateful for the amazing people in my life. Much appreciated.
Your positive energy is passed on to all of us as we enter the doors each morning. Thank you for giving us a reason to keep coming back.