One of the things I LOVE to do most in life is to present and teach at conferences/workshops. The energy, the attendees, the connecting, the learning, and the overall environment reminds me WHY I love the fitness industry.
One of the things I also love to do at these conferences is answer questions from the attendees at the end of sessions.
There are ALWAYS some great questions, but one of the best questions I ever got happened this past weekend when I was up in Halifax, Nova Scotia presenting for Goodlife Fitness and canfitpro.
A young gal in her mid 20’s asked me this question: “Todd, what would you today (at age 45) tell your 25-year old self? If you could go back in time and talk to that guy, what would you tell him….?”
WOW. Great question. I’ve been through a lot in 20 years. This is what I would say to my 25-year old younger self:
“Todd, you’re putting way too much pressure on yourself to figure life out now. Heck, 6 months ago you just ended your football career and your dream to play in the NFL. It’s going to take you a few years to figure out exactly what you want to do. I want you to focus on the following things…
1. Relax more and enjoy the process. You’re putting unfair self-imposed time demands on yourself that you don’t need to do. I want you to relax more and have more fun.
2. Embrace the journey & LEARN. The next 5 years are about LEARNING. I’m going to send you on a wild-ride of learning and adventure, all over the world, to try and heal your back-pain and to meet people that will change your life. LISTEN to them as they impact your career greatly.
You have to trust the process and realize that success is not going to come as quick or easy as you want. Learning is something you must do for the rest of your life. Become a life-long student.
3. Stop worrying. Enjoy the simplicity of life and don’t rush to have to figure out life right now. Dad taught us that ‘90% of the things you worry about never happen…and the other 10% of things you can’t do anything about anyway. So stop worrying.’
4. Keep dreaming BIG. It’s good that you have big dreams. Keep dreaming. They will fuel your spirit and drive you to keep moving forward.
5. Stay humble. Humility is one of the greatest lessons Dad taught you at a young age. NEVER lose that. And the more success you create in the next few years, the more important humility will become.
6. Stay hungry. Hard work is the cornerstone to success. It’s what’s allowed you to get to this point in your life. And it’s what will allow you to achieve great things in your life. Be willing to have the work ethic of Rocky Balboa preparing for Ivan Drago in Rocky IV when you have to. Realize that you are entitled to nothing and must work your tail off for everything you get.
7. Trust your gut. You learned that lesson when you changed your major from government to kinesiology at William & Mary. You are going to need to make some big decisions in the future. ALWAYS trust your gut. It rarely leads you wrong. Whether you are 19, 25, 45, or 85.
8. Stay STRONG in faith. You’re going to be faced with adversity in life. You’re going to have trials and tribulations. Never veer far away from your strong faith in God…it will allow you to stay close to your true purpose in life. your faith will always triumph fear.
9. Be different. Don’t feel like you need to fit in with everyone else. Actually, it’s better if you don’t. Don’t worry about fitting into someone else’s time-frame of where you should be in your career or life at a certain age. Or getting married by a certain age. Or having kids by a certain age.
Just keep learning and discovering your dream, meeting new people, and getting life experiences. All those things that you want will fall into place when they are supposed to happen. Don't rush to get what you want. Your time-frame will be different than everyone else’s. And that’s OK.
10. Enjoy how GREAT you feel physically right now. You know how you can run the mile in 7 minutes and 20 seconds…bench press 300 lbs…run the 40 in 4.7 seconds…and throw a ball 60 yards? Haha...well, someday when you are 45 that will all vanish and you will just wish that your knees felt good all the time…or that you could throw the football more than 40 yards
So do NOT take that for granted now.
Oh yeah…one more thing…Dad is proud of you and you have an incredible family waiting for you in a few years. So go ENJOY life now!
What a fun “exercise” to write after such a profound question. If you’re a twenty-something, I hope this advice and wisdom helps you.
If you’ve entered another stage of life, I would encourage you to complete a similar exercise as to what you would tell your younger self. And then share it!