1It’s 2:00 am, I’m laying under a desk on the gym floor, and I can’t sleep.
Every time sleep creeps up on me, the *clang* of a loaded barbell crashing against the cement floor pulls me back into reality. Each crash of the steel plates reminds me that yes, I am still laying on a gym floor in the middle of the night. I managed to find myself in an unusual situation. I was homeless, yet I had a demanding job.
This job was with an oilfield firefighting company. A job I left my home and moved 2000 miles across the country for. The promise of 14 12-hour days per month at $30/hour drew me out to Alberta.
I did the math, and it mathed out great.
As it turned out, the money I was promised was exaggerated. The company was within it’s first 6 months of operation, and had next to no business. I couldn’t afford a place to live, so I was staying day-to-day in a place called the Star Motel in Onoway, Alberta.
It was a sh*t hole.
And then they raised their price, and I had to leave. I packed up my car, found a parking lot, and called my mom. My parents had been telling me to leave this company for months. I kept relaying the same information I was being given.
“We’re about to get crazy busy”
I put all my trust in the owner, who always had an extravagant story about the riches awaiting us.
“Just a few more weeks”
This is the same guy who lured me across the country with the same story. I was slow to learn. The financial situation caused me a lot of stress. I was alone out there, living on credit card debt, and now homeless, and it started to take its toll.
I was breaking down. Still, I couldn’t find it within myself to take action.
Until that night, on the gym floor. This situation made me look back on my entire life and say,“How the f*ck did I end up here?”
Tears started to well up as I reminded myself that no one else in my family had ever been homeless before. Imagine how mortified my mother would be if she could see this.
My dad was taking care of our entire family with a well-paying job as an Ontario Provincial Police Officer at my age.
“What the f*ck am I doing?”
“Wait a minute…
…what am I doing?”
I sprang up off the floor, zipped open my backpack/ pillow, and pulled out my tablet. I started working on my resume, and I had this unstoppable focus. I’ve never put so much fire into a resume before. Or since. I spent the next 4 hours crafting my resume, and submitting it to every firefighting company in Alberta. My eyes felt like they were bleeding, but what I felt didn’t matter. I pushed until I heard the sound of my alarm. I showered, and went to work.
I knew I had to make a change for months leading up to this night. It doesn’t get more obvious; I was living on credit card debt, I was homeless, and I was breaking down from stress. But I didn’t, because it wasn’t bad enough. Not until I was laying on a gym floor at 2:00 am questioning my entire life. And this is why some people make massive change for the better, and others stay stagnant.
Massive Change Requires Massive Action
Massive action usually requires a massive reason.
These reasons come in two forms.
A prize – A potential outcome so rewarding that it motivates you to take massive action.
A monster – Something chasing your ass down. A situation or outcome so frightening that it leaves you no choice but to take massive action, or get chewed up and swallowed.
My dad used to always tell me that “you can run faster scared than you can mad”.
I believe this is true. The monster creates massive action more effectively than the prize. This is why we have a lot of people who’s talk doesn’t match their actions. Everybody wants to get lean and muscular, build businesses, travel the world, etc. But until their current situation is a scary enough monster, a lot of that talk will never manifest into real action.
Where’s Your Monster?
Does this mean you need to be broke, homeless, and laying on a gym floor listening to weights crash before you can take massive action?
But it does mean that until you find a good enough reason to act, you won’t. If your goals currently fall under the “It would be nice” category, you won’t take the determined action necessary to make them happen. There needs to be real meaning behind your goals. A monster so scary that your blood pressure jumps when you picture it.Or, possibly, a prize so motivating that you can’t imagine another day not working towards it. What makes a monster scary and a prize motivating is relative. But massive change requires massive action. And massive action requires a massive reason.
Your reason (or monster) may not be obvious. But if you have the desire to make a change in your life — getting in shape, living in Thailand, building a business — then you have a monster hiding in there somewhere.
That monster may not have come out of the darkness and wreaked havoc on your life.
But it’s in there.
I recommend you find it.
Because finding your monster means you found a reason powerful enough to inspire the change you want to make.
Whenever I talk with a new client about their goals, I ask ‘why’ several times following every answer. The reason is simple.
When a stranger asks you what your goal is, you give them the ‘sounds good’ answer. (Everyone has a ‘sounds good’ answer, and a ‘real’ answer).
When I ask why, over and over, it causes them to dig a little deeper each time. This eventually leads us to the real reason why they want to make this change. And that reason is usually a pretty vicious monster. If you have a change you want to make in your life, ask yourself why. Understand that your initial answer is going to barely graze the surface. Keep asking yourself why, and be brutally transparent with yourself. Eventually you will unearth the monster.
And when you do, look it in the eyes, turn around, and do everything in your power to never see that monster again.