My darkest moments; they always shared a common theme. They came as a result of me being consumed by my fears, and not devoted to the manifestation of my dreams. I would acquire all the tools. Round up all of my resources. Devise the perfect strategy and detail each and every possible variable...just to amount to feelings of hopelessness and failure. Why was I holding myself back? Why was I so content in a space of normality? Why was being perceived as being successful so soothing and acceptable, but actually doing the work to BE successful so intimidating and exhausting? I was successful alright. I was successful in allowing fear to dictate my actions and decisions. But that was back when I was fearful. Today, I am FEARLESS.
I remember the first time someone I loved told me I could be a really good personal trainer. It was back in 2008. My then girlfriend Shatorah Roberson, had recommended that I become a Personal Trainer back when we were still in undergrad, prior to Instagram's launch.
Why is this relevant to me? Well first and foremost, she was right (obviously). Most of all; the reason I disagreed with her had less to do with her and everything to do with me and more specifically my fears. Fear, for some, can motivate one to push past their limitations and unlock their potential. At the same time, fear can be what holds someone back from a life of happiness and positive energy. But as it pertains to Black and Brown men like myself and others, FEAR is more nuanced than feelings derived from watching scary movies, or spaces of unknown outcomes. Fear to us is the basis of why we're racially profiled. Fear to us is the restrictive veil in which we our existence is seen thru. Furthermore, fear to us Black Men is a state of existence that we have to be aware of, but not consumed by.
I remember standing online at a chase ATM machine, waiting with one of my athletes to get some cash. There were two white women in front of us. I remember walking up behind them and standing some 10-15feet behind them. My athlete was standing off to the side using her phone. I remember one of the women looking back at me and gesturing to the women with her. After what appeared to be some words, they both looked back at me and said: Don't worry you can go ahead of us. I finished my transaction and me and my athlete proceeded to stand outside the branch and wait for our Uber to arrive. The women inside the Branch ATM machine found their way outside and asked me what I was doing. I paused. I thought. I processed. They thought I was plotting to rob them. She was afraid that I was waiting for them to get cash out of the ATM, so I could proceed to rob them. They waited for me and my "accomplice" to leave the branch. But once we walked outside and stood there, they just knew we had the drop on them.
Our Uber came, but when my athlete asked me: Coach, what was that about? I knew the answer, but a chill hit me as I went to respond to her. The real world is cold. The real world is frigid and jaded at times. Most of all, the real world is full of fear. The question I struggle with is, how to best not let fear consume me and my life.
I remember when the video of Philando Castle's murder was floating around on social media. I remember when Mike Brown's senseless killing was on every screen in the country. I remember my athletes describing to me the story of the Gang that assassinated a young man named Junior in the Bronx. Horrifying content. I never watched any of those videos. Some images can't be unseen, some thoughts can never be unthought, and some moments in history just don't need to visualized to grasp their impact on society and or culture. Fear is felt and these days fear is being consumed at a vastly higher rate than when our parents were growing up. I believe fear can become a habit. The more you practice consuming and operating in fear, the more you are consumed and guided by it.
I don't have the world's most lucrative career. I don't possess any gems that have the potential to unlock life's secrets. But I do know this: One's quality of life will vastly improve the moment you decide to not let fear guide your heart and mind. So many times we are subconsciously consuming content that is encouraging us to live in fear. We share stories of breakups, failed marriages, loss of employment, death etc. We consume content that is ridden in speculation, uncertainty, and moreover fear. But what about love? What about positive energy and thoughts? Fear is a powerful tool, a very powerful concept indeed. But imagine if we feared less. Imagine if we consumed less fear and consumed more love? Fearless... Fear less.
As a Black Man, I understand that the world looks at me as a threat. They should. Because the day we all begin to live our lives outside of the fear that others project on us, that we at times project on ourselves...I hope everyone has their phone out. I hope that moment, those moments go viral. I hope you go tell it on the mountain. I pray one day that fear is understood more as a choice, and people inherently make better choices. I used to be afraid of being great at something. My fear of greatness is what made me frown upon my ex-girlfriend's advice. I guess I got over my fears eventually.
I’ve never been the type to glorify achieving a goal while putting in the minimal amount of work necessary. That’s not my philosophy, I don’t prescribe to such logic, but I certainly understand the approach considering the transactional energy that resonates throughout my generation and this industry.
I would never commit to a journey if I didn’t love the process. There’s something to be said about getting yours the hard way. There’s something beautiful in failing first, failing repeatedly, and learning along the way to your success. I believe in working for mine. I believe in the journey of my self-improvement. I’m fearless“