The name of the company was something that I struggled with from the start. Sure it sounded catchy, but was it too cliché? When I asked my wife she returned the question, “What does Warrior mean to you?” It triggered [in me] the all-too machismo response, what is the hardest thing that I’ve ever done? Equating the two wasn’t causation but it did give me an answer.
Since I can remember, I’ve always wanted to push myself physically with competitive sports. Into adulthood, it became more rigorous and obsessive. If there was a daily workout or run that was missed, my body felt heavy and my mind would relentlessly cycle through negative thoughts of mutual fund sales. I would beat myself up over rankings and numbers; then wake-up at 5:00am and push harder the next day. After a career of hosting endless work events, running 5 marathons, and often times, wearing a forced shallow smile; I knew things weren’t going to end well. I planned to drink, work, and run myself into the ground by the age of 45. Things started to get dark, quickly. At least I would be physically fit and feel like people remembered me as a success.
An inflection point occurred 4 years ago that started a sea change in my life. A business coach kept telling me that my energy dropped-off every time he asked me a personal question. It’s important to stress that I didn’t feel a difference. I thought, why does my personal life matter anyway? He said the drop in energy prevented me from connecting with people. Without conscience recognition, clients would feel disengaged and possibly misled. This was unintentional and so frustrating. Following our conversation, I knew something had to change. I sought the help of a professional therapist. After our first session I ignorantly asked, “So, do we like um…meet quarterly?” I wondered if I passed his test? His coy response was a question that sounded more like a statement, “How about tomorrow?” My stomach sank into a tight knot while I tried to garner the strength to smile. I felt like I failed and immediately knew there would be no easy way around this. The realization soon occurred that the instant gratification I so often experienced in the financial industry didn’t apply. Mental health wasn’t an achievement, per se, but a path. I desperately needed counseling and this would be a long road.
It seems obvious now that I was masking my dismal mental state with obsessive workouts and an overly professional persona. In other words, I would stay obsessively fit and wear expensive suits in an effort to trick my body into not knowing how depressed my mind really was. Ironically, my “persona” couldn’t see any of this. I would regiment a daily dose of self-medication to increase my so-called happiness and became quite content with emotional numbness. There were no natural highs and lows, just the ones that were self-induced. My own form of self-acceptance, mental awareness, and personal kindness is the hardest thing that I have had to do. What can be a healthy conscience lifestyle of inner-peace and contentment can feel like a burden instead of a gift. I want to let my mind wander and dream of how great the future will be rather than enjoy everything in the present. I want to be the person that others picture rather than celebrate the person I am. To practice self-acceptance and mindfulness in an authentic form is incredibly difficult. It is though, what a Warrior means to me. The fact that the word parallels nicely into the image of yoga is a bonus, not the reason.
The journey that has followed of self-discovery and acceptance from the last four years of help has been life-changing. And while I struggle to talk about the difficulties I have had (and have), reminding myself that this is what it takes to be warrior; reminds me that I want to be better. There is no easy path we can take, no quarterly call we can make, and no box we can check. Just the strength to be our best, accept the outcome, and celebrate every achievement…no matter how big or small. A subtle reminder from our closest friends that life can be hard and we should never be embarrassed by our struggles, works wonders. Getting help is a sign of strength, not a weakness.
Is Warrior too cliché? I’m proud to post the name because of what it means to me. Feel free to email your story or post a comment, I would love to hear what it means to you.
In the meantime, I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank all of the wonderful people who have supported the Warrior Wear vision over the past year. Taking the leap from full time traveling corporate financier to full time coffee-shop yoga entrepreneur has been a wonderful and challenging experience. I used to run into someone once every 4 months, now I see them once every 4 days. Letting people into my life to witness the highs and lows has been a rewarding struggle in and of itself. Study after study has shown that the “happiest” people on earth are the ones with the greatest sense of community, not the largest sum of money. This is my quest to build our community. Letting people into our lives is essential to fully experience the connections and fulfillment which make it so great.
One of my upcoming posts will be about our path to existence through the Kickstarter community. I can’t stress how much that campaign meant to me and how thankful I am to every one of our 77 backers. To those who have allowed me, I’ve featured their name underneath. If you see a business or service of interest, shoot me an email and I’ll gladly connect you. Also, as a quick teaser, I’ve posted our Kickstarter video above. And finally, I’ll leave you with a quote from Jack Kornfield which I’ve held near, “To love in the past is simply a memory. To love in the future is a fantasy. Only in the reality of the present can we love, can we awaken, and can we find peace and understanding and connection with ourselves and the world.” Until our next time, stay present.
A few of our gracious backers:
- Marketing Fun with Mike- Hiking, Yoga, Hot Dogs, & Good Vibes!
- David Nader- Friend Extraordinaire
- Janice Seibert
- Tracy Dush
- John Moeslein- LA Based Actor & Writer
- Roger R. Dush
- Rita Bauer Dush
- The International Chapter of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society
- Francie King
- Brad Bonenberger
- Cynthia Minnich
- Lover of Ballet
- Andrew Stoner
- Jeremy Gilman
- David Satterfield- Team RWB Yoga Coordinator
- Sid Schuman- Avid Gamer & Developer
- John Mayer-Splain
- Mike Rust
- Rogelio Buccat
- Christian Truong
- Melissa Doney
- Phil Edgewater- Community Yoga NSB
- Gunnar Kaufmann
- Carl Lukach
- Stephen Cella
- Philip Nagy
- Christopher Hawker- Founder of Trident Design and Next Level Columbus
- James Sutherland
- Michael Green
- Jon Rogge
- Sunil Krishnani
- Peggy Hill- Dental Hygienist
- Emo Rugene- Founder of Afro Shoes
- Joe Timmerman
- Shane Rock
- Elizabeth Martin
- Donna Ruark- Combined Insurance
- Don “The Idea Guy” Snyder- Ideas!