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Men's Life Coach

The Man in the Arena (Getting his Ass Kicked a Little Bit)

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The Man in the Arena (Getting his Ass Kicked a Little Bit)

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 “Get in the arena, show up, do your thing and don’t be afraid to get your ass kicked a little bit.” –Brene Brown

Do you ever have one of those days, weeks, months or even years where you just want to quit?  Where you don’t want to get in the arena anymore and keep getting your ass kicked? When you get to the point in your life where you want to say screw it and run away from reality?

I had one of those weeks not too long ago.  I wanted to quit everything.  Quit trying to grow a fitness ministry that I feel less than qualified to lead because of all of my glaring weaknesses.  Quit leading my men’s Bible and Barbells and Spiritual Warriors Unite men’s discipleship programs.  I wanted to run and hide and never come back.  I am an expert at isolation.  That is a behavior I have down pat. 

When I left my six figure job and my comfortable surroundings I had lived in for twenty years in Orlando about a year and a half ago, I knew things were going to be hard as I jumped in with both feet to become a Kingdom building entrepreneur.   I just didn’t know all of the things that would show up in my life.  Areas of personal development and growth that I have been avoiding for years, probably more subconsciously than anything else. 

I have always been a fly under the radar kind of a guy.  You know the guy that says my actions speak for themselves.  The strong, silent type.  Stoic and composed.  Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with those character traits, but sometimes we need to be heard and seen and that means speaking up and playing big. 

Even as a star athlete in high school, I shunned the lime light.  When I saw a sports reporter coming my way, I conveniently headed the other direction.  I never really liked talking about myself.  It felt self-serving, conceited and egotistical. 

 For me it was much safer to play it small and not take risks.  To put on my body armor and not let anybody in.  To play it safe and fly under the radar. 

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What I have learned recently, that if I keep myself small, keep hiding behind the scenes, I am not going to make the impact in the world that God is calling me to make.   God will not be able to use me fully if I am not willing to be vulnerable and get into the arena and get bloodied and sweaty. 

I am learning that great leaders are vulnerable.  They are willing to admit that they aren’t perfect and don’t have all of the answers.  They share what’s on their heart and are not concerned about what people think about them. 

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I get how Moses felt inadequate to do what God called him to do. He came up with every excuse in the book not to fulfill the mission God gave him from I am not good enough, I am a terrible public speaker and I am not qualified. I have told myself all of those things, unfortunately many times.

My work is asking me to be more vulnerable.  To open myself up to failure, criticism and the great unknown.  And quite honestly that scares the hell out of me.  I am a master at control, but I am being asked to let go of certainty and embrace uncertainty as the main theme of my life and that means being vulnerable. 

Everything in me says quit and run the other way, but I am going to get in the arena.  I may come out bloody, but that’s OK.  The man who says I failed is ten times more of a man that says what if. 

I am going to step into the arena and dare greatly.  I know I am going to mess up along the way, and fact if I don’t, I am not taking big enough risks for God.    My intention is to be a leader of men and show what being vulnerable and courageous is all about.   My hope and prayer is that leads to greater connection, love, self-worth and belonging.  I am going to get in the arena and dare greatly even if I fall short again and again. How about you?

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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Heart Transformation Happens in Community

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Heart Transformation Happens in Community

Is there ever a word that keeps showing up in your life over and over again?  It’s that tap on the shoulder, that voice in your head, that desire in your heart.   The word that keeps getting shown to me is community.  Which is kind of ironic as I have become a master of isolation over the course of a life time.  Isolation is my default button when I feel overwhelmed and don’t want to deal with the challenges in life.

What God is showing me is heart transformation happens in community.  Of course we need our alone time with God, I have been doing that consistently for over eight years now.   What I am learning is the importance of community.  A place to be authentic and vulnerable.  Without that component of non-judgmental accountability it will be very challenging to become the person God created us to be. 

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There are two components to heart transformation.  A relationship with Jesus is the vertical component that helps us to become more like Christ.  The horizontal component to heart transformation is our relationship with other people.  Proverbs 27:17 states, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

This played out recently on a personal level with me last week.  I lift weights once a week with a great friend.  Our workouts are as much about spiritual transformation as they are about physical transformation.  We have a relationship where we can be real and vulnerable with each other.  He spoke the truth into me and encouraged me based on some of the struggles I have shared with him over the past year.   

He showed me the love of Christ by speaking words of encouragement into my heart.  Of course I have taken this battle to God many times over, but there is something about sharing our battle with other believers that brings it home.  What I have discovered through being in community is so many of us our facing the same battles.  Why go it alone?

God recently put this strong desire on my heart to create a community for men where we can be completely real and vulnerable.   To me this is church.  It’s men showing brotherly love to each other.  Learning how to become more like Christ through scripture, prayer and shared struggles and victories.  It’s having our hearts transformed in community. 

This community is called Spiritual Warriors Unite that meets once a month at the gym I train at called The Body, which stands for the Body of Christ.  How cool is that?  Romans 12:4-5 says, “For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 

We are developing a community or church at The Body that is caring for the Body of Christ.  After all the church is people.  It’s not a building or an institution.  It’s quite simply followers of Jesus serving and caring for others. 

Heart transformation happens in community, but so many people isolate themselves from community when they are hurting, depressed, struggling with sin and addiction or feel unworthy.   I totally get that as isolation has been my default for many years of my life.  I have learned the hard way that things never turn out good when we go into isolation mode. 

Here are three things I have learned to do to get out of isolation and into community for a heart transformation.

Find one or two guys you can be 100% real and vulnerable with:

This has been the biggest game changer in my life.  I have two guys in my life I can share my heart and soul with.  I know I can tell them anything and I will not be judged.  I can share my heart, my struggles and my dark side knowing that they will love me unconditionally. 

This is a rare thing especially for guys.  We talk about real matters of the heart.  We don’t try to fix each other.  We listen to each other, showing compassion and caring for one another.  If you don’t have somebody like this in your life you are missing that horizontal component of life change.  Pray and ask God to bring a brother in Christ into your life that can speak the words of truth and love into your life. 

Join a men’s Bible study: 

Being in the Word of God shoulder to shoulder with other brothers is transformative.  I recently joined a men’s Bible study at a local church.  At first I was hesitant to do so because I wanted a morning where I didn’t have to be somewhere at a certain time early in the morning. I also love my quiet time alone (there is that isolation piece shining through.)  I made myself go and it has been one of the best decisions I have made. 

The pastor is a masterful teacher of the Word.  The insights I have gained in a few short weeks has already transformed my heart.  I have also developed friendships with other men I never would have had the chance to know on a personal level.  Take a chance and join a men’s Bible study. It will transform you heart.

Be a spiritual mentor to someone else:  

As followers of Jesus we are called to love and serve others.  We are not meant to keep our faith to ourselves.  We are called to disciple other men.  This will transform our heart as well as the person we are mentoring. 

When we know we are making a difference in someone else’s life it changes us on the inside as well.  One of the best things we can do when we are hurting and suffering is to use our pain to do good.  That has been a basic principle in my life over the past eight years.  It’s amazing how God uses the suffering in our life to make a difference in other people’s lives. 

God has used my pain of divorce to mentor and counsel other people who have gone and are going through the trials of divorce.  He is using my story to help others to see that there is life after divorce.   “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”  Romans 8:28.

Isolation only leads to a dark and lonely place full of depression, sadness and despair.  Being in community leads to heart transformation, peace and love.  Find another guy you trust, join a men’s Bible study and be a mentor to another person and you will see heart transformation at its finest. 

Heart transformation happens in community.  Don’t go it alone.  Take that first step and reach out to me or another brother.  It takes courage and strength to put yourself out there and to create a new possibility for yourself.  Choose life not despair. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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I Doubted I Could Do It

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I Doubted I Could Do It

A few weeks ago I wrote a blog post titled, “Why You Should Push Your Physical Limits.”  I shared how I signed up for the Triple Bypass bike ride which covers 120 miles and over 10,000 feet of climbing.  I signed up for it because I didn’t know if I could do it.  Well I did it.  I finished the ride in nine hours and thirteen minutes.  It was the greatest feeling to accomplish something I didn’t know if I could do it or not. 

I want to challenge you to sign up for something you doubt you can do and then train your butt off.  It will be worth every second of the journey whether you “succeed” or not.  The way I see it is the only way you will fail is if you don’t get in the arena.  If you sit on the sidelines watching.  That is a horrible way to live life in my opinion. 

LIFE IS MEANT TO BE AN ADVENTURE

Our life is meant to be an adventure.  That’s why I quit my six figure job, because I was bored out of my mind.  It wasn’t my calling.  What an adventure I have been on ever since.  I never know what day it is because I love every day of my life, not just Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. 

My vision is to make a living writing, speaking, podcasting and coaching.  Am I making a living doing these things yet?  No!  But I will.  If I stay in the game, if I stay in the arena I will.  If I rely on God’s strength and wisdom I have no doubt in my mind I will have a successful fitness ministry. 

My measure of success is going to be determined by the amount of lives I change and nothing else.  God will take care of the rest.  I am not worried about paying my bills or putting food on the table.  God wouldn’t have put this dream in my heart if he wouldn’t help me see it through.

I know it won’t be easy.  Its’ not supposed to be easy.  If it were easy then I wouldn’t have to rely on God to make my mission a success.  Just like on my bike ride I will just turn the pedal crank over one revolution at a time. 

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THE ADRENALINE RUSH

Back to my bike ride.  It was an early morning wake-up call at 3am.  I was excited as soon as I woke up.  A little bit of coffee and breakfast and I was out the door.  Upon first arriving and getting everything ready for my ride, my heart rate was at about 115.  My normal resting heart rate is about 50, so clearly I was pretty amped, nervous and excited.  Another words, I was fully alive.  Nothing better than that pre-bike ride adrenaline rush. 

My ride officially started at 6am on the dot.  I was greeted with 15 miles of steady climbing.  No time to warm up, just into a long steady climb.  It was exciting to be a part of a large group of passionate cyclists.  I am estimating there were about 3,000 of us tackling the Triple Bypass. 

I felt strong up the first climb and then came the descent.  I can’t say I love descending.  I am not fearless by any stretch of the imagination.  When I get up over 40 miles per hour is when the nerves start to kick in.  I also didn’t know the course at all and there were quite of few blind turns.  I managed to descend without any mishaps.  

One of the highlights of the ride was going through some small towns along the way.  There were lots of people cheering us on.  Some even had signs and cowbells they would ring along the way.  It got a small taste of what it feels like to be in the Tour de France.  What a cool feeling. 

JUST KEEP GOING

Now it was time for the 35 mile climb up Loveland pass.  I felt strong until the last four miles ascending up to 12,000 feet.  My lungs were searing and my quads felt like they were going to blow up, but my mantra was just to keep turning the pedal cranks over just like we have to do in life.  Just keep going, just keep showing up.  I was going at a break neck speed of about 5-6 mph.  Just fast enough to keep my bike from tipping over. 

The scenery was amazing.  The beauty of God’s creation was all around me.  I was overwhelmed with the scenery on the whole ride.  There is no better way to see God’s beauty than on a bike.  There definitely was some suffering involved, but when you crest a mountain pass it is breathtaking. 

The hardest part of the ride for me was around mile 80.  I actually ran out of water for about 30 minutes of the ride.  The previous aid station for all of the cyclists ran out of water.  How does that happen?  I knew it would be tight on hydration, but I had to keep going. 

FINISH STRONG

My quads were completely fried, I was a little dehydrated and it was blazing hot at this point.  I had two goals for this ride.  One was to embrace every moment of the ride no matter how tough it was and the second was to finish strong. 

Even though I was pretty whipped at mile 80, I knew I had some more climbing to do, so I decided to embrace suffering.  I decided to go into the pain of my legs and appreciate the fact that my body is capable of biking this far. 

I got a surge of energy around mile 100.  At this point I knew I was going to finish strong.   Twenty more miles to go.   One of the best things about this ride was my daughter being there at the finish line to greet me.  What a great feeling to know my daughter will be sharing this milestone with me. 

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Nine hours and thirteen minutes later I crossed the finish line of the Triple Bypass.  I was exhausted and exhilarated.  I think it really hit home when we drove back to Fort Collins and I realized that the mileage we just covered in my car, I covered on my bike.  Wow!  What once was doubt is now confidence and a great sense of satisfaction. 

So what do you doubt you can do?  A 10k?  Hike a fourteener?  Run a marathon?  Do a triathlon?  Drop 50 pounds?  Run a mile without stopping?  I say do it!  Get in the arena!  Get sweaty, get dirty and maybe even a little bloody.  I guarantee you that you will feel fully alive when you reclaim your inner warrior. 

Don’t go on this journey alone.  I would love to partner with you on your journey of reclaiming your inner warrior through physical fitness and adventure.  Please reach out to me at troy@troyismir.com to start a powerful conversation. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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