2 Weeks of Unlimited Training

April 26, 2018

Struggles That Build Dreams

by Michael Hughes

I admit that I am a documentary junkie. I love and aspire to stories of great innovators who succeeded in the face of intense opposition. One of the best ways for me to re-energize my personal goals is to watch a documentary about the successes of a famous entrepreneur. I love game changers. I love ingenuity and the pursuit of something everyone once thought was impossible. I love these stories so much in large part because of the hope it gives me. I deeply connect to the underlying sense of pride in seeing an underestimated underdog push through pessimism and, through sheer willpower and hustle, prove everyone wrong. 

If online hackers were to connect my Netflix viewing habits with my internal optimism, they would likely come to the conclusion that when I’m experiencing lots of self-doubt, I tend to reach for content about those who have been there and risen above it. 

Recently, I had been on a Netflix documentary binge, inhaling story after story about innovators who have changed history. I took a moment to step back and think about why I suddenly felt the need to surround myself with stories of optimism and success, and I was able to pinpoint something: For months, I had been internalizing a very damaging voice of self doubt that had me doubting my dreams.  

Last fall, I was given advice by a mentor that proved incredibly disheartening. In a conversation about my life purpose and my desire to be a pioneer of a new industry and bridge the medical and fitness industry by creating the movement industry, he said, “You’re already 33, and even if you work hard for the next 25 years, the likelihood of you doing anything close to this in your lifetime is highly unlikely.” While he intended his well meaning advice to be “reasonable and practical”, it landed as doubt. 

Pessimism is like an infection that can spread quickly before we realize it. I started to believe my mentor could be right, so I stopped dreaming for a while and started to think shorter term. It felt practical, and it felt more comfortable. But ultimately, it was uninspiring and flat. 

We’ve all been there. And if you’re a perfectionist like me, you probably have a well-honed inner critic. This voice serves us well when we direct it towards quality control and always reaching for “better.” However, it can also unleash havoc internally when we allow it to whisper doubt and pessimism into our goals. 

So, in the midst of surrounding myself with inspiring stories from Steve Jobs, Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey and others, I have reconnected with my passion. Each of them struggled, were told that their dreams were impossible and that they couldn’t do it, and they didn’t listen. They built inner walls to guard their optimism and protect against pessimism. They stayed open and positive. 

Recently, I’ve been reconnecting with my belief and purpose. I want to create services that change the game. I want to break the rules, defy traditional methods, question the norms, and build a new way of thinking about performance, fitness and restoration. I’m about to turn 34 next month and I’m just starting. I have reconnected with my mission and it’s incredibly energizing. 

When I hear the voice of self doubt, I actually picture many of your faces. I respect so many of you with your tenacity, drive and passion that you have for your work and purpose. Seemingly small comments made during warm ups and side conversations stick with me. I want to thank every person who walks into Gymnazo and believes in our methodology, as well as those of you who write reviews and share your feedback with me. Your presence reminds me that this work matters. 

Thank you for uplifting me. It is my goal to create an environment that fosters growth mindsets, authentic positivity and a culture of “yes”.  I am reminded to set my goals high and not be afraid of the hard work in front of me. Nothing worth having comes easily. To be successful, you have to anchor to optimism.

I’m incredibly thankful for the many stories coming out of Netflix and for the Gymnazo community that remind me of these daily.

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