How Extreme Focus Can Change Your Life

How Extreme Focus Can Change Your Life

I’ve fantasized about living a successful life since the age of 14. I was first exposed to ideas of entrepreneurship in high school but never really understood what it might entail.

All I knew was I wanted to have an impact on others. I wanted to create something I could be proud of forever.

I had a feeling I couldn’t put my finger on. The people who had made it seemed different – they seemed to be cut from another cloth.

The more I hung out with those I deemed successful, the more I learned about their thought processes – and they didn’t seem normal.

Their thoughts were outlandish and at times, a bit unrealistic – but I loved it because it seemed their thinking was far above the average person.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Today, I want to share a very personal story in hopes that it will inspire you to do things you might not have ever thought possible.

I want you to think about why you’re here and what it is you want more than anything. My aim is to encourage you to, no matter the circumstances, never give up on doing exactly what you feel most passionate about.

The fact remains: nothing worth having ever comes easy.

If it did, everyone would live a happy, comfortable life with no worries or stress. But if that were the case, what’s the point in courageously chasing your dreams anyway?

Here we go.

The Struggle Begins

Back in early 2005, I was preparing to graduate high school. I’d applied and was accepted to a local college – the University of Arkansas. I was on my way to studying biology for my undergrad. Then I planned to head south about 3 hours to finish my graduate studies at the pharmacy school in Little Rock.

There was a problem though. I didn’t want to study biology. It was an external pressure and I finally told my parents it was not what I wanted to pursue.

I broke the news over dinner. I wanted to study something other than science and the war began. My mother was supportive, my father wasn’t.

The problem was that neither of them had gone to college – so the notion of me getting a fancy degree was their dream. However, I imagined this field of study was going create nothing but resentment and lack of fulfillment in my future.

The following fall I simply took the general prerequisites – aimlessly wandering through academia. I led a great social life, joined a fraternity and made lots of friends. But no matter what I did, I still felt empty inside.

I wasn’t making a difference. My existence didn’t seem to matter much.

That following spring, I entertained the idea of leaving northwest Arkansas for a while. I’d lived there my entire life and I needed a challenge. I needed a change of pace – a change of scenery.

Either I would succeed or I would fail.

After visiting Nashville that spring, I got into Belmont University and made plans to move.

During my first visit I met someone who is now one of my best friends and mentors.

More on this later.

Great Lessons Are Not Always Obvious

Once the spring semester was over, I moved back in with my dad and started working a dead-end retail job until the fall semester began. Since I was to be moving, I knocked out some more useless classes at the community college.

No real goals, nothing to focus upon.

I’d had enough at this point, and decided to take the spring 2007 semester off because I would soon continue my studies in Nashville. I picked up another part-time job to pay for my gas and random outings. In the meantime, I started working for a local salesman – a direct marketer.

While I initially believed this to be one of the worst work experiences in my life, it actually turned out to serve me very well.

I spent a few hours daily doing nothing but calling the coldest leads you’ve ever known. My job was to pitch them on a product I didn’t believe in to get them interested. Once they were hooked, I’d hand them off to my boss for the close.

The first week was the worst experience ever. I really don’t know why I stuck with it but I did anyway. In retrospect, it all makes sense. At the time, I was miserable.

If you’ve never cold-called someone, you cannot fully understand my experience.

Yet at the end of each day, it got easier. No longer was I afraid of picking up the phone and giving my sales pitch. I didn’t care if someone told me “no” or told me to “jump off a bridge”. I became a machine and selling became easier with time.

What did I learn? A few things, actually:

  • I learned how to communicate with a stranger – while this seems elementary, the thought of approaching and conversing with a complete stranger scares many people. Not to mention the idea of pitching your product/ideas to someone you’ve never contacted and will likely never speak to again.
  • We are much more concerned about ourselves than others are – I found the more I let go of my preconceptions about what I believed others might be thinking of me, the better I became at building rapport and nailing a conversation. Once you remember that we, as humans, are inherently selfish, you realize the other person is more worried about what they’re going to say as opposed to what you’re about to rattle off.
  • How to get a result – the more time I spent selling, the better I got at obtaining a result. Now regardless of whether or not I got a “yes” or a “no,” I was still getting a result. I became diligent and assertive. I made sure no stone was left unturned and that I walked away feeling good about the exchange, regardless of the outcome.
  • No’s” are rarely personal – it just means that whatever happened in that moment, the person was not ready to make the exchange. Most of the time, when a person told me to jump off a cliff or to drink lighter fluid, it was merely a reflection of something they were struggling with internally. I just happened to be the first person they could take out their frustrations on. Once I figured this out, I never got upset – it was just part of the game.

The Big Move and Unbelievable Grief

As the summer came to an end, it was time for the big move. My mother and father had divorced in May 2007. As a result of the splitting up, my mother wanted to follow me to Nashville in support of this decision to start my new life.

I never asked her to do this, but was incredibly grateful she wanted to help support me as I transitioned to the new city and continued my education.

I remember weeping uncontrollably in my room the day before I moved. I began to question my motives. Why did I want to leave it all behind and venture out, knowing that failure is a possibility?

I wanted change more than I wanted to sit and rot. I needed to get out. I needed a challenge. And boy did the challenges come.

After the 10-hour drive into Nashville with a truck full of stuff, we rolled into a very small apartment complex and proceeded to move into the cabinet-sized living quarters.

To this day, I have no idea how we fit everything into that dump, but we did. We used one of the bedrooms for storage only, so I spent the next year sleeping in the living room on the couch.

Financial Disaster and More Dead-End Jobs

Classes were scheduled to start within a few weeks. I was afraid and excited at the same time.

As for the backstory – this was in 2007, during the mortgage crisis. It just so happened that my mother worked in real estate banking as a loan closer. She helped build a bank from the ground up for 10 years before eventually moving to Nashville. As a result, she owned a nice share in the privately owned company.

She opted to cash out her retirement and move it into other investments while she found work in the new city. However, something wasn’t quite right.

The disbursement never came and the officers were not returning her calls. Something was fishy, and time was ticking.

Long story short, the bank failed and just about everyone involved lost their entire retirement due to the fraudulent owners’ actions. I immediately withdrew from the high-profile college because accruing a debt that Belmont would incur would be my financial demise.

She fought and fought for what was rightfully hers, but it never came.

So I did what I knew to do – go out and get a job. And I did just that.

By this point, I’d given up on academia. It was time to hustle.

Over the next year, I worked part-time at a few places. One job was in a local gym where I built a great relationship with the owner but I just couldn’t make ends meet. Something had to change but I had no direction – no idea what I was to do.

Stress and it’s Effects

Later into 2008, I began looking for a full-time job as opposed to random part-timers. At the same time, I began to withdraw from friends and depression slowly started setting in.

I’d officially been in Nashville for a year and nothing to show for my move. I was embarrassed, regretful and lost for ideas. Around the same time, my mother explained to me some symptoms she’d been having.

A few weeks, and numerous doctor visits later, she was officially diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. I remember welling up as I sat in the white room with her as she was given the diagnosis. Hitting rock bottom seemed to be in my near future and that’s where I was headed.

I was still looking for a full-time gig, and work at the part-timer was slowing down. So I had a ton of time to reflect and think about my situation. I needed an outlet – something to work on.

I’d always been into health and fitness and I found myself reading article after article on the topic. I had a conversation with someone who is an internet-entrepreneur – I told him I wanted to start a website – an outlet where I could just write and nothing more.

He asked me what I felt I could write about. Health and fitness immediately came to mind and my website JCDFitness.com was born. At first, I just wrote – without any real direction. It was my outlet and I didn’t care if anyone was reading. It felt good to do something that felt meaningful.

Within a few months, I landed a corporate gig in December 2008.

And This Is Where It Gets Really Dark

At first the training was easy. I didn’t care for the work, but it was easy and we were paid decently for sitting in a cubicle farm answering phone calls all day.

But over time, the stressors grew exponentially. I’d never worked in a setting with such high expectations. Jobs were threatened if we didn’t meet certain quotas. Email after email came with rigid guidelines or changes to policies.

Within a few months, I’d become a drone – floating through the workdays writing subtle haikus to myself. I’d show up at 3 in the afternoon and put in my time until midnight every Tuesday through Saturday. I lost a piece of my soul every time I scanned my badge to enter that building.

The faces all around me were long and worn out. The atmosphere reeked of disgust and everyone muttered how badly they hated their work.

In the mean time, I was losing weight, and my skin was turning pale. I had trouble sleeping and I couldn’t maintain a workout schedule.

I had some labs run to find out what was going on inside my body. The results came back with signs of very high stress levels. My thyroid hormones were out of whack and my testosterone levels were that of a 90-year-old man.

The stress was killing me and I was only 22 years old.

By May 2009 I was a zombie.

I had to call in “sick” because I would wake up unable to leave my bed. Some days the world was so black all I could think of was ending it all. I no longer wanted to do anything. I wanted to lie there and rot.

Other days were perfectly normal but it was during these low episodes in which I knew something was very wrong.

I eventually began having anxiety attacks that would cause me to miss work altogether.

Shortly after, I found myself in some major counseling with a psychologist in town.

After a few sessions, she eventually suggested I see a psychiatrist due to her belief that I was showing signs of major depression and the possibility of bipolar disorder.

I ran so fast out of the clinic – could I be so depressed and lost? Could this be happening to me?

I realized in this moment that I must change. While everything around me was crumbling, I knew within my being that I was in charge of how I felt and that if I fought hard enough, I could change everything.

I was going to be a miracle story. The thing is, hardly anyone knew about my suffering.

A Ray of Hope

After I ran out of that clinic in such ferociousness, I had to make a plan. I had a few objectives in mind and they were:

  • Work toward something that made me happy.
  • Get out of the job that was killing me.
  • Get my health back on track.

The Advice of Others

I had a good friend who encouraged me to begin brainstorming some ideas on how to regain my focus and eliminate some stressors. While I’d given up on the idea of continuing college, he suggested I seek some financial aid and apply to some schools – what could it hurt?

So I did just that. I applied to MTSU and a few other universities.

In the mean time, I sat down and figured out what I wanted to do with JCDFitness. How I kept up my writing despite the turmoil, I will never know, but my audience was growing.

I saw the potential to pour my efforts and knowledge into the site and hopefully help some others sidestep some of the fitness mistakes I’d made in the past.

This was also the time I began to get to know Alan Aragon, one of my biggest influences within the fitness world. He has since been a big help to me and for that I’m forever grateful.

I started to exercise again and take better care of my body. I was eating better and actually getting to sleep at night.

Shortly after my application to MTSU, I received a full-ride back for the following academic year. Come August, I’d be living in a new place, surrounded with people my age and back on track to finish my studies – 3 whole years of being out of school and I’d never been so excited in my life.

Some More Hope

After I headed back to campus, I cut my hours down from 40 to 20 at the call center. I was working 10-hour days on Saturday and Sunday, while traveling back to MTSU during the week for a full school schedule.

This lasted until February 2010 when some major scheduling conflicts arose in the workplace. As you might imagine, the corporate world is not very accommodating to a class schedule. I was to either accept the new routine and quit school, or quit the job.

At this point, I worried because I was midway through the spring semester and was about to lose my major source of income. Luckily, I’d saved up enough for about 6-8 months of unemployment and I quit the corporate hellhole.

For once in my life, I felt completely liberated. I no longer had the anxieties I did going into work. I didn’t worry about my boss’s calls or weekly reviews. The stress was gone, for the most part.

So I took the next few months to relax and begin figuring out what I needed to do to create the life I wanted.

It Was Time To Focus

I realized at this point that I needed to find work and continue my studies. All my energy at this point when toward creating content for JCDFitness, writing guest articles, and school work.

I began taking fitness clients and doing some freelance writing. I remember the first month I made enough to pay for my living expenses and groceries with nothing but money I made from consulting and writing.

I was so pumped (and a little freaked out). For the first time in my life, I’d made things happen on my terms and I loved every second of it.

I kept doing this until the semester ended and eventually worked part-time over the summer at a local gym helping with flood-relief from the massive Nashville flood in May.

On Looking Up

jcdeen
JC Deen and Alan Aragon

My health was back to normal and the labs proved it. I’d moved back to Nashville for the summer and spent it with my best friends.

This past summer (2010) has been my most productive one yet.

I managed to knock out 13 hours of classes whilst working 20 hours per week at the gym. My days started at 4:30 every morning.

I managed to land articles in some major online fitness publications, most notably the Alan Aragon Research Review, Bodybuilding.com and WannaBeBig.com.

I was terribly bored with my schoolwork and needed a creative outlet – something other than my fitness writing to keep me sharp.

So in the late night hours, I began taking WordPress templates and dissecting their code. As a result, I taught myself how to do web design. I completed tutorial after tutorial until I was proficient in Photoshop.

Then I went to work. In June, I sent out a newsletter to my readers promising a brand new web design. I had no idea what I was going to do for the new look but had to hold myself accountable, as I couldn’t afford to pay $2500 for a pro web design at the moment.

So I created a test-server and built the new JCDFitness web design. I launched it and no one could believe I did it all myself. Hell, I couldn’t believe it.

Shortly afterward, a few friends hired me to do their websites.

Then I got inspired.

What if I could continue pursuing the things I love most and get paid for it? Better yet, what if I could get paid to help others change their lives for the better, improve their relationship with health, fitness, and their dietary habits?

The following fall, I didn’t sleep. I was up in the morning at 5 a.m. to work on articles before class. During the day I’d go to my lectures and at night, I was up reading nerdy books on web design till about 1 a.m. I did this the entire semester.

Within that time frame, I’d become proficient in Photoshop, css and html. I’d put my skills to use on a few websites and I was really enjoying my work.

I was also taking on fitness clients as they came for personal consultations. The joy I got from helping others reach their goals was incredibly fulfilling.

I was getting a glimpse of what my life could look like doing my own thing on my own terms. It was addictive.

The Text Message

Late one night I got a text message that would change my life. You see, at the time, I was living in the college town about 45 minutes southeast of Nashville, so my trips back to the city were usually on the weekends.

The text message was from one of my best friends and mentors who lives in Nashville and runs a very successful performance coaching business.

It read: “hey, both my roommates are moving out in January, why don’t you drop out of MTSU and come live with me?!”

I literally fell out of my chair. Here was an opportunity of a lifetime – the chance to live with someone who was not only one of my best friends, but someone who has much more experience than I with entrepreneurship.

I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Then he said: “I’m kidding about dropping out, but you have a place to stay and it’d be great to have you here.”

There was only one problem. My lease in the crummy apartment wasn’t up until the following August. The choice was an easy one – I had to get out of that place as soon as I could.

So what did I do? I made darn certain over the month of December that I found someone to take over my lease. And sure enough, I made it happen.

I’d moved out the day before Christmas, crashed at my mom’s place for a few weeks and then moved into my new place. Life leveled up from great to awesome.

Shortly thereafter, I did a complete redesign of JCDFitness.com and from that point on I was incredibly busy with fitness consults and web design inquiries. I actually went to Vegas in March to celebrate my roommate’s birthday on the profits I’d made form the previous months.

I was finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. It was all becoming real and I’d never been more excited and scared at the same time. All of those that once discouraged me from entrepreneurship and personal training and who told me to get a “real job” were now eating their words.

Those who told me I was wasting my time “playing on the internet” were completely wrong.

I felt an extreme sense of accomplishment and was fired up to keep marching forward.

Getting From Point A to Point B

For anyone out there who has goals and dreams, the biggest obstacle we often face is getting started. The next obstacle is continuing our journey. It’s not always easy to stay motivated, especially when the environment we’re in isn’t the most ideal.

I’ll say this again: I have not “made it” just yet, and I still have a long way to go. I do know something for sure. I have the best job in the world because I am continually challenged and I get to work with people on a daily basis.

Someone once asked me “why do you do all the stuff you do?”

My response was “I’m extremely passionate about people. I’m also incredibly passionate about health, fitness and design work. This way, I get the best of both worlds: I do what I love whilst working with people. A work day for me is hardly ever ‘work’ at all.”

I’m currently 24 years old and have never felt more fulfilled in my life. I’m extremely fortunate to have found my passion at such an age because now I can continue working and pursuing what I love in full force.

However, I understand there’s often a major disconnect when it comes to getting from Point A to Point B. In my case, I had to hit rock bottom before I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life.

It’s Never Supposed to be Easy

I always find comfort in the words of Tyler Durden from the movie Fight Club when he said: “It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.”

Now, I don’t particularly believe you must hit the bottom of the barrel before you will know what to do with your life. It was simply the wake-up call I desperately needed to get my crap together.

What I do believe, though, is that you will have struggles on the road to finding your life’s purpose. The road to being who you were meant to be is never an easy one. It’s going to require hard work, diligence and persistence in the face of adversity.

Sometimes you’re going to feel beat down. Sometimes you may think your goals are unreachable. There will be times when your loved ones will try to discourage you from doing what it is you’re passionate about. Sometimes their motives are selfish and other times they’re legitimately worried about potential disappointment or afraid of failure.

Here is what I say to that. Go on and fail. Fail forward, but never ever give up on what it is you want the most. I look at “failure” as just another way NOT to do something. Either way, if you keep pushing, you’re going to get a result. Over time, you’ll be much closer to your goals than if you never tried in the first place.

The only person in control of you is yourself. You have the ability to make a conscious decision on a daily basis to work toward your goals and to make your visions a reality.

I’ve never shared this story so openly before but with it, I hope to encourage and inspire you to do much more with your life. If you have big dreams and aspirations, I beg you to push hard and never give up because there are people out there who will benefit from your efforts.

You are only limited by the size of your belief. I choose to believe anything is possible and everything is within my reach. It only takes time, hard work and knowing full well that you will make it.

You will make it.

Photo by OUCHcharley

JC Deen

JC Deen is the author of the popular fitness website JCDFitness.com, co-founder of FitMarker.com and the head nerd/co-founder of JCDeen - Web Design and Development.

Latest posts by JC Deen (see all)

111 Comments

  1. Hi JC!

    So enjoyed reading your journey and am amazed at your incredibly mature insight for someone aged 24. Loved hearing all the ups and downs, the challenges, how you handled them – but most of all – hearing the message of not giving up on what you love to do and to “focus” on what takes you closer to achieving that.

    Wish you continued success! With your approach to life, you’re certain to follow your dreams.

    Take care, Barb

    Reply
    • Thanks a lot. It’s been a long time coming and it feels great to put this out there.

      Reply
    • Thanks for this great story… I sometimes get discouraged pursuing my dream and make a lot of excuses… but ultimately it depends on us and there are no easy ways out of the trials to get to our happy spot in life… once we enter that dynamic, though, all the hard work pays off… then, we do not even have time to watch TV because our own lives are better! Thanks a lot.

      Reply
      • Glad you enjoyed this, and I hope it encourages you.

        JC

        Reply
  2. Very inspiring post! Thanks for sharing this part of your soul with us! Makes me look at my own issues and obstacles a bit different..

    Reply
    • Thanks Heather. I hope it helps many to see things in a different light.

      Reply
  3. Thanks, I love to read about the ways people find succes. Especially, when they point out the lessons learned. Inspiring indeed!

    Reply
  4. Thank you for being willing to share. This will change the lives of many!

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading! I sure hope it changes lives.

      Reply
  5. Sometimes a gnawing unhappiness eats at us in our jobs or in our quality of life and we continue on the same path. Other times that unhappiness causes us to seek another path – and that dictates who is successful. You know I admire you already, but respect you even more.

    Reply
    • Hell, I was just so down and depressed. If I didn’t pull myself out, I might not be here to write this.

      Reply
  6. Thank you, JC, for sharing your story. I am going through a very similar journey — feeling overworked at a job I no longer believe in and becoming progressively underappreciated — while trying to work on a website that I do believe in with all my heart. Thanks for reminding me there’s always a reason for everything.

    All the best,
    Sarah

    Reply
    • Sarah, I wish you the best. keep focusing on what it is you want more than anything and you’ll soon find a way to get there.

      Reply
  7. JC, I’m a regular reader of JCDFitness.

    Congratulations. I’m impressed. You belong to that kind of people I want as a reference in my life. Whenever I talk about my best examples about life and influences JC and JCDFitness will always come to my mind.

    The history of my life is a lot like yours. A friend of mine even gave me the Fight Club DVD as a birthday present, exactly when I was hitting rock bottom. Man, how that changed my entire life!

    I started reading your site as I share that no B.S. aim about fitness you have. But, the same way it happenned with Martin’s (Berkhan) website, it soon became an amazing and enriching reading FOR LIFE AS A WHOLE.

    Just like you did I went back to college (even if I’m a “little” older, 32 ;) ). I started to pursuit studies in what I’m very passionate about: Nutrition. I wanted to do it at the best university in my country in that field. Since my financial situation could not afford it I tried to get one of the “excellence schollarships” they offer (only for the best three application tests from about 5000 candidates). I couldn’t believe it but I achieved it. Now my goal is to graduate as the best from my generation while still improving my fitness and health.

    You are and will be part of this success (if I get it, which is very probable if I share your vision). Thank you for your words. They are an inspiration to continue seeking my own goals, and surely, for many other readers.

    Reply
    • Congrats to you for the accomplishment. Thanks so much for sharing. Fight Club, as I’m sure you’ve inferred from my past articles, has helped me mold a very serving thought process. I think about it daily.

      Reply
  8. Hey JC,
    I remember I got a telemarketing job for the summer when I was 17. No experience whatsoever and nervous as hell. After getting over my fears and phobias I became the top seller in my office. It definitely taught me to not take things personal.

    Reply
    • I love the world of marketing and sales, mainly because of how much character it can build.

      Reply
  9. Very Inspiring! your deff my e-hero. your past is very similar to what iam going through now. This helps a ton to what we were talking about over e-mails.

    Reply
    • Good, I am glad it’s helpful for you. I promise you, buddy, there is a light at the end. You’ve just gotta be strong enough to see it through.

      Reply
  10. Very inspiring and easy to relate to as i also am at a difficult point in my life now, trying to crawl out of that big black hole i fell down in some time ago. Reading real life stories like yours is what inspires me to move forward and start to apreciate life again knowing that things will get better. Thank you for helping by sharing this!

    Reply
    • Hey FInn, I know full well from our conversations that you’re gonna be alright. It’s coming – just keep looking up and focusing on the positive in your life.

      Reply
  11. Hey JC,

    Awesome post – some tough times, but you came out on top with determination. It’s times like those that define you. Respect dude.

    For anyone who doesn’t know JC Deen, the guy is as down to earth as they come. I’ve been following (his blog lol) the guy for a while and all his articles are awesome and for the real world. No crap, no fuss.

    There are only 2 fitness blogs I follow and jcdfitness.com is 1 of them.

    Reply
    • Thanks for the kind words, Darren.

      Reply
  12. The greatest pleasure in life is doing something someone says can’t be done. Loved your story my friend – I can totally relate for that is how I started my business – cold calling and now I’m reaping the benefis of hard work – I also inspire humans – http://www.makegirlfriends.com and would love to share your story on my site…..

    Kudos to you my friend,
    May the possibiliies of today excite you!
    Nancy

    Reply
  13. Thanks for the comments – I’ve dropped you an email.

    Reply
  14. Having come from the cold call world (8hrs a day) to writing about professional development, gives me respect for what you’ve done.

    I hope I can do the same for my future as well.

    Reply
  15. never stop hustling and it can be yours.

    Reply
  16. Two questions:

    1) Do you do email consultations?
    2) How’s your Mom?

    msred5 at gmail dot com

    Reply
    • 1) yes, I do – but they’re fitness consultations.
      2) just fine – you’d never know she was sick thanks to good pharmaceuticals

      Reply
  17. JC, thankyou so much for bearing it all for us to see. I confess I’m stuck at a point where I’m just plain sick and tired of the incredibly huge gap between my dreams and my current reality. You said the harder thing sometimes is continuing the journey after you’ve begun. I’m tired and feeling hopeless but your story has really encouraged me. It’s good to know what I’m feeling is normal and that others have felt the same and go on to succeed. Bless you and may you suceed even more.

    Reply
    • Thank you – and I sincerely wish you the best. It’s never easy but you can do it. keep pushing for your goals.

      Reply
  18. Success is a journey, one that never ends.
    As a species we are meant to continuously improve, we never want to stagnate.

    Our quest is never over, we meet struggles, we overcome just to be hurdled into new problems, but it is our attitude, our strength of character that forces through and lets us succeed against all odds, again and again.

    Reply
  19. JC,

    Another of your articles that hits home, and you know why JC. Every time I’m feeling a bit down something like this rolls around. Thanks for sharing this.

    Eric R.

    Reply
    • yea buddy. I know why – I wrote this for people like yourself. we all need something to draw strength and hope from every now and again.

      Reply
  20. Change is constant and you have proved it. The big two questions in life -did you follow me (Jesus ). Secondly, what have you done with the gifts I endowed on you? Your story is inspiring and thank you for sharing.

    Reply
  21. amazing post JC
    i felt you are telling my life story because i had a similar experience while i was 24 and it took me years to recover
    thank you and keep it up :)

    Reply
  22. JCD, Thanks for sharing your story. Too often we get derailed and stuck on a path that just doesn’t fit. It takes dedication and a willingness to keep working. Awesome all the way around!

    -Troy

    Reply
  23. JC, yet another poignant piece of writing from you. Until now, I only knew bits and pieces of your story. I relate very much to the part about running out of the psych. office after being given those dire labels. My own rock bottom came after 25 months of hell came after being diagnosed with depression and being given samples of an anti-depressant at the doctor’s office.

    I remember taking one right away when I got home, then getting on the internet and starting to read about the drug I had been given. Within minutes I was so horrified that I ran into the bathroom and made myself throw it up. (I”m not saying no one should take antidepressants. I just knew deep in my bones that I didn’t want to and that it really wasn’t the “solution” I needed.)

    It was literally in that moment that I knew there had to be a better way to live that the abyss into which I had sunk. Step by step, decision by decision, I found it. Still finding it, actually.

    My wish is that everyone who is not living a life that feels right and true will find the gifts and lessons in whatever situation they’re in, make the decision for life to be different, and then start to discover the tools, behaviors, and people that can help them to morph their life into one that allows and even requires them to be a better, higher version of themselves.

    Thanks for inspiring us, as always.

    Reply
  24. Thanks for writing Kim. I’ve had some pretty awesome conversations with you and those conversations were definitely inspirational to me. so thanks for that.

    Reply
  25. Hi JC,

    Thank you so much for writing this post. I stumbled upon this, and this site through Rob King on Facebook. I have to say that I’m very inspired by this post, you have accomplished so much in such a short time!

    I can totally relate to that feeling of urgency to start doing something you enjoy, or continue a long miserable road.

    Keep up the great work, and I’m looking forward to following your writing :)

    Cheers,

    Sirena

    Reply
    • well thanks to Rob then! I’m glad you’re inspired. While I was afraid to let this one go, I am really glad I did. thanks for your kind words.

      JC

      Reply
  26. Great article JC. I wasn’t sure about reading the whole thing because I come across a lot of articles like this with no life to them, but yours was different. Very inspiring and full of positivity and presence. I wish you further success!

    Reply
    • thanks, Shane. Glad you stuck it out for all 4000+ words!

      Reply
  27. Hi JC

    Good story and wonderfully inspiring and captivating

    Good going !!!

    Reply
  28. What an inspiring story!! I could “feel your pain” all the way to the game-changer! Incredible story and one I’ll be happy to share!

    Reply
  29. Awesome story man. Super motivating. Sometimes the only thing that separates those who succeed in life from those who fail is persistence.

    Reply
  30. @Marth – thanks for sharing

    @Greg – yes. we all have struggles and our fair share of stuff to deal with. the ones who win are the ones who stick through it.

    Reply
  31. Awesome, loved it. Very inspiring & gratifying to read.

    Reply
  32. Absolutely inspiring. Only a person who ‘gets it’ could write this piece. Thanks for taking the time to share.
    -Q

    Reply
  33. First, thanks for sharing your story. I am also 24 and have a scarily similar story to yours. While I’m not where I need to be yet, your story is definately inspiring. I read this post when I need a pick me up and it tends to have more of an effect knowing it’s not a celebrity being paid on an infomercial to talk about his or her success. Again thanks for sharing & good luck to you.

    Reply
    • thanks for commenting. I wish you the best – feel free to email/contact me anytime.

      JC

      Reply
  34. Hi:)
    Your story gives me hope. I am 21 and I have fallen to my lowest point right now. I have huge dreams that I have been tryign to go after for 2 years. Not achieving my goals has put me in a really bad spot- I had to go to counselling where they diagnosed me with major depression. At one point I didnt leave my house for 7 months because it got so bad.

    I am ready to start a new journey. This time I will achieve my goal, I know I will. I’m still scared and hopeless when I think about the journey ahead, but I know one day I will have a story just like yours.

    Thanks for giving us hope <3

    -Hannah

    Reply
    • Hannah,

      I am glad you found my story. Understand that anything worth doing/having is going to take time, patience and even some sacrifice.

      I understand about being scared – I’m experiencing fear on a daily basis these days. However, it’s this fear that keeps me pushing because I know on the other side of this fear lies amazing experiences and achievements.

      Let me know if you need anything, or just want someone to chat with about your goals/visions, etc.
      http://jcdfitness.com/contact/

      Reply
  35. I can’t express in words what it means to read this story. At first, like the typical Internet junkie, I started to grow impatient because of it’s length. I clicked away, but something drew me back periodically. What drew me in was your ability to express the real aspect of your journey…which is ebb and flow. Life is not always going to be easy. And the tragedies some of us experience are just the birth pains of something good to come. I needed to read this even more so today. I started a “100 day challenge”. I have 11 goals I want to achieve and focus on within this time frame. Reading this article is like the fuel I needed to really kick into high gear and make this effort of mine as successful as I can. You have just found yourself a new supporter and fan. THANK YOU!!

    Reply
  36. THanks for the comment, Antonio. Glad to be of some help.

    Reply
  37. I found this very inspiring, I think quite a few people can relate to all this to a certain extent and it’s great that not only you completely turned the situation around, but also shared it with all of us. :)

    Reply
  38. JC,

    Great story and true inspiration. I’ve taken a little longer to figure out my passion and “what I want to be when I grow up”, so feel proud that you’ve figured it out, albeit in a difficult manner, at an early age. I just gave up a career in corporate America to go for my doctorate in chiropractic care and pursuing my CSCS as well as a nutrition certification. I woke up one morning and realized I could not sit at a desk doing corporate tax planning any further and wanted to help people achieve health and wellness.

    Kudos again and congrats. Been reading your stuff for a little from knowing and following Roglaw. Definitely a good circle of knowledge and drive among you guys.

    Thanks again for sharing the story

    Reply
    • Nick, I’m glad you’re focusing on doing what you want as opposed to what the norm might suggest you do.

      Feel free to reach out to me if you need anything.

      thanks

      JC

      Reply
  39. you and I have been in contact a long time, but you’ve never completely put everything out there like this. I’ve always held what you had to say in the highest regard, and you’ve always had my respect – but now more than ever. Thanks for this.

    Reply
    • thanks for reading buddy. really appreciate it.

      Reply
  40. Hey man, I truly thank you for sharing this with everyone. I never voice my thoughts when I read an article on the web but this is an exception and deserves to be acknowledged. I wouldn’t usually read an article this long but i’m grateful i did lol. I’m 19 and from what you have described ALOT like yourself, which it’s satisfying in itself to know. You have opened my eyes and given me the incentive to take control of my life and change it..

    Once again, thanks.:)

    Reply
    • Raul-Enrique, I’m glad you enjoyed my story. It was hard to write, but I’m glad I did.

      Reply
  41. Hey JC!

    This is one of the best articles that I’ve read about pursuing passion! Truly inspirational and you’re a straight hustler! Mad love and respect homie!

    Myke

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading – glad it served as some inspiration!

      Reply
  42. You’re great JC
    Thanks to the life sharing
    I also agree with you
    that experienced could motivate others to the sky
    congretulation !

    Reply
    • thank you for reading, Mohamad.

      Reply
  43. This was exactly what I needed to hear, being at the beginning stages of where you were when you left school. I am just about to do my move not too far from home, to get myself ready to go to europe to further my education in practical art history. (as opposed to just in the text books) thank you for your insight!

    Reply
    • Glad it served as some inspiration, Caleb. Good luck to you!

      Reply
  44. Hey JC, great post. It’s as if the universe drew me to this cause I’m struggling with similar issues you did. I’m grateful for my wife who helps me through it and this article has given me more hope. Keep it up brother and I’ll definitely be checking your site as well.

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading, MK.

      Reply
  45. WHOA. Inspirational and incredible story- good to know I’m not the only one who has gone through a situation like that. You lit a fire under me!

    Reply
    • THanks for reading. Glad it encouraged you.

      Reply
  46. JC -

    I feel that I am at now at the lowest point in my life so far at 26. Though my path has been quite different from yours and I have not yet faced such incredibly difficult trials / tribulations such as yourself, I too hope that I can change my life even though I’ve not yet hit bottom. It takes an amazing person with an immeasurable amount of heart to write such a passionate and inspirational article. It will definitely be one I look back on often to realize that anything in life is possible – and for that I am grateful to you!

    Best wishes on the rest of your journey and perhaps one day soon I will reach out to you for advice / support.

    Thank You :)

    Chris

    P.S. Further thanks and appreciation to your for jcdfitness.com, as I had also discovered it sometime ago as well while reading through Martin Berkhans Lean Gains. The health information you put out is exceptional and i’m sure it helps many who read it everyday.

    Reply
    • hey Chris,

      Thanks for the kind words. Let me assure you though that it’s not necessarily essential to ‘hit bottom’ in order to make major changes. It was just how it happened for me. I wish you the best.

      Reply
  47. Amazing. Congratulations on transforming your life! It’s incredible how closely this mirrors my own. I also started up a design studio, supported myself with web design, conquered my own fitness/health demon: being 6’2 and 130 pounds soaking wet, and then started up a muscle-building blog for skinny dudes. After reading this article boy do I ever feel like it’s time to get back to work ;)

    Truly inspirational story.

    -Shane

    Reply
  48. wow. this post is amazing and inspiring. one of these most on point posts I have read on the Internet, and I surf the web quite a bit. thank you. thank you. thank you.

    Reply
    • Glad you liked it, Ben.

      Reply
  49. This is really inspiring. Thank you so much for this :)

    Reply
    • Thanks for reading, Sharlynn

      Reply
  50. JC,

    Great article. I wish you every success in the future!!!! Not that you will need it (-:

    Awesome stuff.

    Paul D

    Reply
    • :) Thanks Paul. I’ll keep it up!

      Reply
  51. JC –
    I firmly believe everything happens for a reason and I found The Change Blog over the past few days, for a reason. I also read your story as the first thing here –

    I have just recently had my entire life turned upside down – and am struggling to come to grips with all the changes that I never, in a million years, believed I would find myself staring at. I struggle with it, daily, and am trying to keep my sanity – but it is difficult. I am nearing 40 and pretty much have nothing … but I am trying to stay positive and focused and put one foot in front of the other. Thank you so much for sharing your story with us – it truly is inspiring.

    Keep up the great work!

    Reply
    • Shawmarie,

      Not sure what you’re going through, but I want to wish you the best and I’m glad my story inspired you.

      JC

      Reply
  52. Good read! :)

    Reply
  53. Very inspirational and encouraging! I agree with you that it is really hard to identify your purpose sometimes until you learn to follow your heart and rise above criticism. Your mind can take you far only when you stop living in the shadows of others and be yourself.

    Reply
  54. very inspiring….

    Reply
  55. I know I’m late but I just found this article. I printed it and It’s on my desk for those days when I’m uninspired. Thanks JC! All the best to you!

    Reply
    • Hugh, appreciate that. Best to you, as well.

      Reply
  56. This was a very interesting and uplifting article. I am currently trying to find my way through this maze of life and have my own high and low points. I too am trying to avoid the traditional route of 9-5 employment, as I believe that my gift cannot be contained in a generic box (i.e. customer service, technical support, office worker, etc.).

    Kudos to you for going through your trials because by reading your story, I find that my own troubles are nothing but trials that hopefully lead to a greater purpose. Thanks again for sharing this testimony.

    Reply
    • Jay,

      Glad you found this article of some value to you. I hope you too find what you’re searching after.

      JC

      Reply
  57. Wow. What an uplifting and inspiring story. Thanks for sharing. :)

    Reply
  58. Thank You JC for posting this very inspiring story! In life we are always faced with adversity, it’s how we choose to look at it and face it. Always staying Focused on where we are going and not allowing circumstances to determine who we are! I needed this!!

    Thanks Again,
    Rick

    Reply
  59. Wow, JC, this is an inspiring story. I am very impressed with your hard work, determination, adaptability and your great writing skills.

    Reply
  60. This article resonated with me so well.

    Much thanks for sharing your personal journey – if anything it has inspired me to keep chipping away in order to get to where I want to be.

    Ryan

    Reply
    • Hey Ryan,

      Glad it could inspire you – thanks so much for commenting.

      Reply
  61. I loved your story. my friend/mentor sent me this to read. And like you I am also really into to fitness and health. I loved it ever since i was a kid. when life would get hard and begin to lose value for me i would always turn to exercise as a means to subconsciously and symbolically cling to life. life for me has never gotten easier, when one challenge would fade another 2 would seem to take its place. life has seemed to grow more stressful in an exponential manner and continues to seem that way. So as the stress grow so did my desire for fitness and health i never was about to let my personal life and problems bring me down and make me lose passion for fitness. but my passion started to fade and i began to question, fitness. why continue what that point? but somewhere in my heart i knew i needed to cling to exercise something great will soon come my way. and it did that thing was parkour and i fell in love with it the second i tried it. sadly the stress and the anxiety in my life continued to grow and as it did i became less content with myself and become discontent with myself. i became reckless in order to prove to myself my worth. as a result of my recklessness i sub-came to an injury, a torn meniscus and there. that injury i am still facing to this day its been 2 years. and no longer can i exercise to the extent i wont to, i struggle to stay positive. everyday i seem to do whatever i can to heal my knee so i can get back into exercise a pursue my dreams. i dream to be a fitness trainer and parkour teach of my own gym one day and more. but lately ive been loosing faith in myself. but thanks to your article I feel that i have that much more faith to continue believing in myself. and as you put that there will be light at tunnel. thanks man for such a great story you shared. reading this was like finding a gallon of coconut water in the middle of the road in the desert knowing that the road still has a couple of miles more to go. for those of you who dont know coconut water is the best thing nature ever invented hydration wise and taste wise. (at-least for me)

    Reply
    • Charlie, I know I can help you with your thoughts, please get in touch and I will give you some exercises to practice.

      Joan

      Reply
  62. Thank you for sharing this story. I actually cried at the end, because through this story you made me think about my own life in a different way, something I desperately needed right now. Thank you so much, namaste <3

    Reply
    • hey Eline,

      Thanks so much for reading. Good luck to you.

      Reply
  63. Wonderful hearing your story. It’ s amazing how much life can pack in 24 years. Love your spirit. Wish you great success!

    Best wishes

    Reply
  64. Awesome story. I hear this story a lot from people who have stressed jobs like running a helpdesk or actually sitting on a helpdesk. I’m glad you made changes that brought more changes. Isn’t life full of changes as long as you are moving in the right direction.

    Mr.MakingUsmile

    Reply
  65. Wow. This was a great post. Congratulations on making it so far, so fast!

    It’s kinda funny, because I had to hit my own version of rock bottom before I made a big change in my own life. So your story really touched me.

    Thank you so much for sharing, and I wish you all the luck in the world in “making it”. Hopefully, you’ll have a lot of fun along the way there, too.

    Reply
  66. Great story!!

    I went through very similar paths…now I take the shortcut and put my entire focus on what feels good and, of course, I now choose to live in Easy World!! Things are totally different over here. WHEW! :-)

    Can’t remember the site address, and never read the book, but just knowing about Easy World (google it) and getting the daily emails from that site have opened my life up in ways I have only dreamed. Love and a life of ease to all!!

    Reply
  67. It’s inspiring me!! Thanks for sharing your soul. Your post is helping me to keep going of my life even in the bad situation.

    Reply
  68. Hi JC , loved reading your life’s experience’s ..you are a wonderful writer and a very good person ….you do inspire many people who read this article …. hope you stay this focused in life and have all the happiness you ever dreamed of .may god bless you .

    Reply
    • Thank you, Mubeen.

      I wish you the very best.

      Reply
  69. This is one of the most upfront and realistic motivating story I have read. You just wrote down what I’ve been through. You’re encouraging. Thank you so much. I may not be your older brother but boy I’m so proud of you. Will share this to my friends who need inspiration.

    Reply
    • :)

      Reply
  70. Hi JC,

    I googled ‘how to be focussed’.. and this came up! From my search topic you can see I feel confused.. but your article offers true encouragement and inspiration.
    It feels so real and something I could identify with.
    Your sentence ‘I lost a piece of my soul every time I scanned my badge to enter that building’ shook me to my core.. it is something I experienced every day at my previous job but could not explain to anyone! When I read this I thought finally.. see- there are people who feel that way :)

    I dream of living a life as filled with passion and purpose as yours.. and quitting that job was the first step in that direction..
    I know it is not going to be easy- just like your journey.. but I hope in the end- its going to be worth it!

    Cheers and keep inspiring others :)

    Reply
    • Ira, It will be worth it in the end.

      Good luck.

      Reply

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