Tribulations that Lead to Triumphs

So here is the thing…the last time I wrote on this blog was September at the time I was doing great and making some strides in some areas that were important to me, primarily my fitness. Then October 12 came and I felt a pop in my shoulder and the next day woke up with a swollen shoulder the size of a coconut. On the 18th I had surgery to repair a torn labrum and a torn biceps tendon in my right shoulder that would take me out of commission for 4-6 months, so they said. Needless to say at this time my focus was not on this blog and to be honest my focus was more on my selfish self than anything. How would I recover; what would I look like afterwards; will I be able to do what I like to do. Surgery is not a fun thing and the immediate recovery is rough on the body with all the drugs they give you and the discomfort you are in. Thankfully I had a great support structure with my wife Kathy and some very great friends and family who helped me along the way. I know that I slipped into a bit of depression and abandoned some of my responsibilities as a man, father and husband and I am thankful that my wife challenged me to step up.

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One of the things that you learn when you are down and not able to do what you expect is how in tune you are with Gods Will for you. There was a distinct reason I was struck down at that time. There was another focus that I needed to have and that focus was on my family and what was best for them. As much as it hurt my soul being injured allowed me to pour my heart and full effort into our Advocare Team and our business. It took my mind away from myself and the pursuits I had for me and placed them on what could help and impact my family’s life and other families lives.  IMG_1806[1]

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See many people want to pigeon-hole Advocare into another supplement company that has a lot of unpaid endorsers and some people who “get paid”.  Well in what I have experienced in the last 6 months I can wholeheartedly tell you that is not true. Advocare, in our world is an answer to many prayers and it’s a testimony to fellowship, humility and service to others. See in order to be successful you must be willing to want to make an impact. That is not a concept that is only true with Advocare but in life. You live a life of insignificance if you are not positively impacting someone on a daily basis. What Advocare has allowed us to do is positively impact more people than we ever imagined we would ever impact in our entire life. People always ask me HOW, how have you become successful in Advocare is a short time. HOW have you gone from $500 a month to $6000 a month. HOW have you developed a team of people who see what you see. I will answer it this way, and it has been said many times in Advocare, don’t ask me HOW ask me WHY. Why did I decide to make a change in my life that will alter the course of my family’s future forever? Why did I make a decision that I wanted more out of life? Why did I decide to get paid what I was worth and not what someone said I was worth? Why did I decide to do more now to have more later? That’s the right question and the answer is simple: My Family!

family

My WHY is very simple and I can sum it up in an event that took place one day in October. I was putting my son Grafton down to sleep, as I do every night, and were going through our routine of prayer and discussion. I asked Grafton if he was going to come visit me at work the next day and he said “yes, go see daddy at work!” I said good and then he said something that stabbed me deep in my heart and made my purpose crystal clear with Advocare. He said ” I come see you at work because daddy lives at work.”

IMG_1810[1]Look, I know not everyone reading this is a father and that may not hit you like it hit me but what I knew from that point on was I was going to do whatever God allowed me to do to be able to tell him that daddy’s work is at home with Grafton. Yeah, yeah I know we all have to work, and we need a job to survive and it’s part of the deal that you have to leave your kids to provide for them. But what if that’s not true? What if someone came up to you and told you there was a way to earn the income you earn at your current job, at home helping others be physically and financially healthy?? What if someone made you aware that life does not have to be lived on someone else’s terms and that you can build your own legacy and not someone else’s? What if by reaching out to those you care about and wanting to make an impact their life you could free up time? 

We live in a world where society has dictated that we should all be on a level playing field. I simply ask the question why? Why should I work 12 hour days, miss my child’s life, build someone else’s empire knowing I will never move past my current situation. Why not change my perspective, invest in myself and others, become a leader and free up time to raise my child the way God intended me too?

The question always comes back to why, so I ask why not? Why not seek more, learn more, be more, believe more? Why not live the life God intended you to when he put you on this earth? Why not??? 

When you become a leader in life you realize that you have a responsibility to people and people depend on your for direction, love, encouragement, and praise. You realize that you can dynamically change a persons perspective with one word or one phrase. You enable people to do more in life then they ever imagined because you instill confidence and belief in them. Unfortunately there is not much of that going on in corporate America, so I chose to become the leader that God made me and show people the other side.

This mindset, this shift in my thinking started with a simple surgery and a conversation with a 2-year-old. These instances remind me of the uncommon power of God. He puts us in situations that force us to make a decision either comfortable or uncomfortable. And when we choose the right one, the one that forces us to dream…forces us to believe there is more….that we are GREATER…. he rewards us with blessings.  

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ADVOCARE SPARK AND ADD…A PERSONAL JOURNEY

Advocare came into my life in January of this year and we have more than blessed with the friends we have made, lives we are changing and personal health and finance success we have had. We love the products, use them daily and share our story with anyone who will listen. It has become a permanent part of our life that we are very proud of and honored to be a part of. God had a plan when he brought Spark into our life especially mine.

 

I am 34 years old, have a college degree and a great job. I achieved all this while suffering from ADD. I minimized the damage with my passion for what I do the ability focus on one thing and give it my all. However, when focusing on one thing in a management position other areas of importance were suffering as well as in my personal life.

All through my formative years of high school and college I had trouble focusing and retaining information. Many times I would question if I had the intelligence to understand what was being taught to me, essentially asking myself daily if I was stupid. I hate the word stupid, it’s extremely degrading and is thrown around without regard too many times. I am not stupid by any means, in fact I consider my self quite educated thanks to a lot of great leaders in my life pushing me to read more and do more. But I had always felt like I had holes in my brain and I was not retaining enough things to be productive.

In my profession I deal with people all day and must be in tune to what their needs and goals are concerning their health and wellness. I also must orchestrate a large staff of employees, hold company standards and adhere to a budget. There have been many times I would write a list out of things to do and never accomplish what I wrote out. Why?? Because I would get distracted and lose focus on the task at hand. When talking to a client or member of my gym and a person would pass behind or God forbid 4-5 people pass by, it was like I was at a tennis match watching the ball fly over the net. There was no chance I was retaining the information they were trying to tell me. I felt lost, many times confused, and unproductive. I would “zone out” as I call it and come back the next day with same list on my desk of important things that needed to be done.

I went to the doctor with concerns and I was looking for a solution. I was diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. Now I was one of those people who said that kids who were ADD were just lazy and un-motivated; I was sorely mistaken. It was a harsh reality to realize that I was not as controlled as I believed myself to be and that I needed help in order to better do my job, increase my productivity and enhance my communication. The doctors started me on Adderral, a low dose of 15mg, and I immediately felt like my brain was working at twice it’s normal rate. I was engaged, productive, and had wonderful conversations that I never had before. It was amazing!!!! As with any medication you build up a tolerance and we upped my dosage to 30mg and then finally to 20mg twice daily. I felt great, was functioning at a higher level and was happy. Having holes in your mind is not a comfortable feeling, and feeling the defeat of not accomplishing what you set out to in a day can leave you searching for the wrong answers.

Adderal, however, is an Amphetamine and there are a myriad of side effects. At times I experienced a racing heart rate, mood swings, and male hot flashes. My metabolism was working at an incredible rate when I added the medicine into my already 5 day a week training schedule and clean diet. My weight dropped from 188 to 182 in the first 2 months. I kept telling myself I did not want to keep dropping weight but I would sacrifice that for a clear mind and productivity.

Then I read a study that Texas Tech did on the effects of Advocare Spark and ADD. It showed that Spark actually helped kids with their attention deficit and was allowing them to get off of or lower their dosage of prescribed medication. We had become distributors in January and I said to myself “what better time than to try now”! I started by taking my first 20mg dose in the AM and would have a Spark around 12 when I would normally take my second dose. I immeditely noticed that my afternoon Spark was supplying me with the same energy, mental focus, and productivity that I was getting from my Adderral. I was thrilled!!! I did not have to rely on the medication to solve the problem, I could add in a sugar free, vitamin-mineral-amino acid packed energy drink that was great for my health and get the same benefits!! This spoke to the power of the products for me and I was so excited to be able to share this story with people and invite them to try a Spark! I have now reduced my adderal intake to 10mg a day and take 1 Spark in the morning and 1 at 3pm and I have also added in Intelli-Q(herbal mental focus supplement with Ginko) as well.

  

Advocare is not a weight loss company….it is a health and wellness company and Spark has made me a healthier person who is not dependent on medication! So if you are like me and you feel cloudy, unproductive and tired grab a Spark and feel the lights in your head come on!!!

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Are you ready for some football!!!!

This, to me, is the best time of the year by far!!!! The weather takes a little dip(except in the great state of Alabama), grills fire up and football is back on TV! It is a long summer without the image of my beloved Chicago Bears gracing my television Screen. It has become my guilty pleasure of choice and will either watch the games live or DVR them if we are having a mixer or a training which seems like every Sunday now…exciting!!!!

What you focus on Grows!!

I have started reading the Top Ten Distinctions Between Millionaires and the Middle Class for the third time. Don’t let the title fool you, this is not a rich mans perspective versus a poor mans, it is a complete look at the mindset of successful versus unsuccessful people. A positive train of thought, I forward thinking, a delayed gratification perspective. We live in a society of comfort, if we want it we go out and get it as opposed to working now for greater things later. People who have no vision think only about the day-to-day, week to week and month to month things that affect their life and never look at how they affect their life years from now or even decades. If you focus on the now all you will concern yourself with is the negative of paying bills, going to work, finding a parking spot or what someone else is saying about you. However, if for one second you allowed yourself to dream of what you want in your future, and put into motion things that will affect that future than the day-to-day, week to week and month to month things become second nature and part of the process. If you choose to have your words dictate your actions they will. If you don’t think you can do something you won’t, however if you think you can you will. Breathe life into your dreams and cast a vision that is so big it attracts those around you to follow your lead and dream as well. If I tell myself everyday that I will succeed, I will develop, I will grow in the end it is way better than saying I can’t! See dreaming and casting vision are uncomfortable, there is a fear of failure associated with it. Unfortunately it’s not if you are going to fail but when, so if you fail at a dream you will learn from it and continue to dream. If you fail without dreaming, you just fail with no direction and no purpose.

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Leadership

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There comes a point in time when you have to decide whether you will accept Gods purpose for you or you will not. God has given us all the task of leadership, he requests that we be stewards of his message and lead others to his word so they too can be saved. That is our Christian duty and it can become daunting in so many ways. This world is become less and less connected to God, not the church, but Christ himself. Your faith is not formed in the church, it is formed in you relenting your wants and desires and giving into Christs need and direction. The church is a support structure that can be used to enhance your connection to God through music, fellowship and service but it all starts with you and a bible. 

I have become engrossed in personal development material, trying to find the definition of leadership that I want to be the foundation of who I am. Many people can read this material and quote it at the right time, can use the material to deliver a message, and get others to follow them but for how long. At some point in time it becomes robotic and people tend to turn it off because they are looking for you to invest time in their life. For me the simplest explanation of leadership is caring. Caring about others so much that you want to show them what is good and true in life, what is available to them, what we are capable of if we care for others. If I influence someone it is because they know I care about them and want what is best for them, not because I want them to do something. People make the decision to be who they are, our influence can only do so much but our love for them can change their life. 

Before I became a parent and a Christian I was a horrible leader, I always used the tag line that I lead by example. I work hard, keep my nose to the ground and go about my business. Many times I would engage in things that compromised by character and integrity. I label people, denigrate people, take the easy way out or sometimes quit. I was living a life that was filled with fear and anxiety. Then on March 26th of 2010 God gave me Grafton Connor Eiff…

I was brought to my knees by the power of God. No way could I have done this, created this perfect child, this child that brought so much emotion to me emotion that I had never had or accepted. I remember one night sitting in his room rocking him to sleep and crying. I never cried in front of my wife or others. This child affirmed to me that God was true. Being saved affirmed that I had a choice, I had a path to salvation if I gave my all to Jesus and followed what he wanted me to do. Humbling, yes….but more gratifying that anything I could have ever imagined.

 

Upon having Grafton I began to see things in a different light. No longer did I want to have ill words for others, because he would hear it and repeat it. No longer did I want to quit on anything because he would find that acceptable. No longer did I want to live in fear, because then he would. Christ stepped into my life and gave me the responsibility to lead my family, to be an example to them of what to follow. 

How could I do this? What do I do? I need a plan of action, a ladder for success, a daily method of operation…that is how my life had been. Not anymore. Faith can move mountains, it goes beyond reason or organization. It leads you to do things you never thought possible, it breathes life into your soul. What do I do? I pray. What is my plan of action? Study to word of God, listen to him and follow his plan. What is my ladder for success? Glorify God in all I do, be humble and help others who are lost. What is my daily method of operation? Convey my love for Christ to whomever will listen. I consider myself a quiet Christian, some people in the church don’t like this but this is who I am. I don’t preach, boast of my prayer habits, service habits or tithing habits…I love God and I give my testimony to those who will listen. I serve others because others need us and God has commanded me to, how I serve is unique to who I am. I tithe because it is what we are commanded to do and it is needed. 

So what is leadership?? For me it is following the path God has set out for me, demanding that I be an example of courage, purpose and faith to my family. Serving others and genuinely being in their lives to better them as people first and foremost. Showing everyone there is a better way you are not meant to live in fear, anxiety or self doubt. How do we lead like Jesus? We pour our selves into someone else’s life. We carry ourself with integrity and character and never give up on our purpose. Our purpose is dictated by God and no one else. It is not our wants or desires, it is what we want to do to glorify God. You have to allow yourself to be lead to be a leader, you have to love those you want to lead, and you have to serve a purpose higher than your needs. Leadership is an awesome task of influence and character that inspires confidence and the greatest leader of all time was Jesus Christ. He influenced 12 men to give up their life and follow him because he served them in everything he did. He did not give up on his message, his purpose because he knew it was just and right and would serve others to salvation. That is leadership. 

Can we lead like Jesus? Are we built for that? 

I am trying. 

God taught me a valuable lesson on March 26th….Sacrifice your wants and desires and focus on the needs of another. Love something so much you would do anything for it. Know that God gave it to you and it is your responsibility to teach, lead and inspire that life. But always love it and always serve it’s needs. That is the type of leader I aspire to be. 

Proverbs 21:1 (MSG)

Good leadership is a channel of water controlled by god; he directs it to whatever ends he chooses.

John 12:13-15(NIV)

“Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them.13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet.15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you

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What are you taking???

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I recently had a client come to me after visiting the doctor for her annual check-up. She checked out better than she ever had as far as weight, heart rate, blood pressure and other vitals. She also had all her blood work run and sent me the results. The doctor while examining her asked her “what are you taking?” She told the doctor that she was using Advocare products at the suggestion or pestering of her crazy trainer. She said her trainer told her that Advocare is a world class supplement company that is designed to help people with their health and finances that that all the products are safe and effective. 

No diets, no wonder drugs, no quick fixes just great products and work. Everyone wants to know how Advocare works. It’s simple, get on the products, follow a good diet, talk with the person that suggested it to you when you have questions and stay the course. But why, why does THESE products work? Because they are the best formulated by the best intended to help you get real results and not fool you into buying more because a skinny girl in a bikini or a muscle head has told you so. Advocare is about real people achieving real results with their health and their finances. I have said many times that the proof is in the pudding and the stories I hear everyday from people I have introduced Advocare too are real stories of success. This among all things makes me happy, to hear a person who has struggled to lose weight finally get over that plateau. Or to hear someone who was in credit card debt be able to pay off that debt and begin to save because of the opportunity that Advocare presents. 

It’s an amazing vehicle that God has blessed us with and it allows us to share with others our story, our passion, and our love for helping others. This is just one example of a real person, who’s cholesterol was so high that it was forcing her to take medication, take control of her life. This above all else is why I share Advocare with others. 

dear …….

your lipids were check recently. Your total cholesterol was 110. Your HDL(good cholesterol) was 83. Your LDL(bad cholesterol) was 110. Your triglycerides were 39. This test was normal

testing of your sugar was done recently. Your glucose was 105. Your hemoglobin A1c(3-month average sugar reading) was 5.3. Your A1c was within normal limits. 

Your liver panel was checked and was normal. 

Your kidney blood test was done and was normal. 

Please continue to take the SAME medications at the SAME dose. 

I am sure that anyone can take a fine tooth comb through these readings and find something to complain about but here is the truth; since starting the Advocare 24 day challenge and staying on Omega plex, MNS3, Spark and Catalyst afterwards this person has lost over 12 lbs, 19 inches and her health has improved. There is no doubt by these test results. Before hand, every reading was in the high category. These products and this company change lives, plain and simple. 

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Oh and only 75 …

Oh and only 75 more days until the magic happens!!!! 

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MIA

I took a huge “break” from this whole blog thing because I lost interest and many thing arose in my life. Thankfully I focused more on my relationship with God than I did on other trivial things that had taken the bulk of my time. There has been a huge void in my life for a long time and it was a relationship with Christ. Through him I have found so much joy, forgiveness and grace. He has enabled me to do many things I did not think I could accomplish and I give him all the glory. I have slowly found that this life is not ours to revel in or take pride in, it is his to take pride in and we should be honored to give it to him. 

Gaining perspective on your life is a hard thing to do,because we all feel our life is more important than everyone else’s. Our needs are need to be met before others and our wants drive us. But if we ever take the time to look at the other side it would simply shock us into regret. I grew up in an atmosphere that never led on to struggle, the impression was we had everything we needed and more. To see that some people don’t have socks, shoes, heat, running water or food is a huge letdown by mankind. And then to further understand that these instances were brought about by other humans is even more of a letdown. If you understand anything about Christianity or God then you know that in order to spread the gospel or minister to anyone you have to love them first. Leaders often speak of leadership skills as influence and the ability to get others to follow, well many people that have put others in positions of extreme poverty and helplessness have influenced others to agree with their form of leadership. There is no love shown only hate….I can not follow this lead. Christ walked amongst his people, loved them, knew them and cared for them before sharing the gospel of salvation with them. He never did or has wavered from his undying love for his people and he paid the ultimate sacrifice for it. Where am I going with this? To be honest I don’t know, it was and has been something on my mind for many months, but I know in the last few months my purpose in life has been solidified and I am looking forward to sharing it with others and the challenges ahead. 

This past weekend a good friend of mine, who had a baby 14 weeks ago, and I competed in a Crossfit event named Embrace the Gauntlet. A gauntlet is a test used where the pretty much throw everything at you. Well they did just that!! We swam, ran, rowed, pulled, carried, burpee’d, and much more and we survived. Glory is in the eye of the beholder, everyone thinks you have to win for glory. I on the other hand understand that God gave me the vehicle of competition to raise others up, to show them that they can do anything if they trust in God. It does not matter where you place, it matters that you placed. Beth Campbell is a new hero of mine for accomplishing what many would not do and will not do and she did it with style and grace putting her full faith in God for guidance. It was an awesome event to be a part of and I am honored to be her partner! 

ImageMe in the headband and Beth next to me, along with our compadres the Baby Baker Makers!

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Low-Carb, Paleo, and Life

Oh my

Had an interesting conversation with someone the other day regarding the Paleo Diet. The Paleo Diet is a diet that is consumed with the quality of your food. It eliminates processed foods, sugar, starches, grains and legumes because they were not naturally around when man was forging for food in the Paleolithic era. With the advent of agriculture the above mentioned foods became popular sources of consumption 1. for taste and 2. for the overwhelming ease and availability. We have to remember that in Paleolithic time, man had to hunt and gather its source of nutrition, so naturally everything was lean, grass-fed, natural, whole, fresh and so on. Paleolithic mad did not have a check book, income and monetary inflation if he wanted something he went a got it or killed someone for it. nowadays cost plays a big factor in deciding how “healthy” we will eat. Grass-fed beef, free-range chicken, non-treated fruits/veggies, and almonds only made in a factory with almonds are grossly more expensive than the alternative. Now I agree that this lifestyle would be the ideal and most nutritionally relevant lifestyle to lead, but it is not practical or viable in todays inflationary economy. So where does that leave us in my mind? Again, SIMPLE, if you can’t afford grass-fed beef, get the best available and limit the intake. If your chicken was not running freely before you grilled it, don’t put barbecue sauce on it to compound the negative. If you eat canned veggies, drain them, wash them, and steam them. If you happened to buy nuts that were made in a plant where they process peanut(not a nut by the way) eat less of them, buy some good nuts and mix them together.

There are a lot of Diet/Food nazi’s in the fitness world and their big claim to fame is “I get results!” Really? Most of these Nazi’s are the ones I see at Cuco’s downing Dos Equis and eating cheese dip when their clients are not looking. Many people who eat a Paleo lifestyle have to, based on physical reasons. Something inside them does not allow their body to absorb, process and utilize the “other” foods. I on the other hand have no problem using, absorbing and processing these foods and have gotten great results without having to be Paleo. Now I have done Paleo and did not notice the biggest gains in performance, I did notice that I got extremely lean and could not keep weight on. Again, this goes from person to person and Paleo is a “lifestyle”! I tend to lead the low-carb, high protein, high “good” fat lifestyle because I have reached the age of enlightenment and know that Carbs are bad unless they are leafy and fibrous, and Fat is good, except for that stuff you see at the bottom of your bucket of fried chicken. I don’t have time to get into the medical and health side of all this but will address it at a different time. Just a guy out here in cyberspace voicing a opionion.

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Simplicity

Its as simple as this!!

I have had many people ask me how to get fit or how to look better. In a world dedicated to increasing our surplus of fat and wasted energy, it seem difficult to tackle the the healthy side of life. Life is quick, hard and overbearing sometimes and can lead people give up on fitness goals or outlooks. The greatest feeling is starting a workout, it feel like a new life sometimes and then all the sudden things get in the way. Job, kids, sports, social life they all play a factor into living healthy. I am not here to tell you that all these things are not important, in fact my family, my child and wife are the most important things in my life. Luckily, fitness and being fit are like second nature to me, it has been instilled in me since I was a child. This is the main reason I can tell you it’s simple! I think the biggest mistake people make is trying to make a simple thing extremely complex. There is a thought that you need to completely overhaul your diet or you will never get where you want. In some ways this is true, but who says it has to be done in one day. Simply make one change a week or month and the changes will build up into a lifestyle. I love seeing newbies tackling a New Years resolution workout program by trying to hit every muscle group on the body and visiting every machine in the club. It warms my heart that they are aggressive but simply stated, they are doing too much. Make it simple, concentrate on the movements and modalities that work. Fast and hard versus long and slow, there is no way around it.  Reduce the amount of nonsense that you allow in your life and make it simple!

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