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Faith and Fitness

My Story

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My Story

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I was sitting in the audience of a national pharmaceutical sales meeting when they were handing out awards for the top sales people in the country.  As they announced all of the top award winners for the year, I could feel my level of angst go through the roof.    I had this inner turmoil of knowing that pharmaceutical sales wasn’t my gifting.  It wasn’t what God put me on this earth for. 

I had been in those top sales performers shoes before winning my share of national awards.  But at this national meeting, I knew my time in this industry was coming to an end.  This was a defining moment for me. 

MY SOUL WAS EMPTY

After the awards ceremony was over, I got into my car and started sobbing.  Not just crying, but literally sobbing.  I cried out to God, well actually screamed out, “I can’t do this anymore.”    I don’t care how much money I am making, I have to go live out my purpose.  My dream.    I literally felt like my soul was empty.  I knew I had to make some changes in my life. 

I had always had a burning desire to be an entrepreneur.  To be my own boss.  I have never been a big fan of meetings.  Big pharmaceutical meetings were always a challenge for me, being a deep introvert.    Don’t get me wrong, the people in the industry were awesome, but let’s just say it was too much of a good thing being around that many people.  I wanted to break free and have the freedom to create my own schedule and build my own business.  Financial and time freedom has always been a strong desire of mine. 

MY DESIRE IS TO BE AN INSPIRED LEADER AND CHANGE THE WORLD

What ultimately led to my deep feeling of smoldering discontent was knowing that I was not living out my purpose.  When I saw the people going up on stage winning their awards and feeling on top of the world, all I could think of was I was wasting my life.   I wasn’t using my gifts that God gave me to inspire the world.  I felt like I was stuck on a hamster wheel, just checking the box day by day.  I wanted to get back to feeling fully alive.  I wanted to move forward and become the inspired leader that God was calling me to be. 

Despite all of the smoldering discontent in my life because my career wasn’t in line with my calling, I felt trapped.  I was making six figures, I had a company car, good insurance, a 401k, pension plan and all of the comfort and security anyone could ask for.   The only problem was, I was dying inside. 

I knew I had to get away and be by myself and do some deep soul searching so I could figure out a plan and strategy.  I wrote in my journal, prayed, meditated and read the Bible for three days straight.  I wrote down everything that God put on my heart. 

LEAP OF FAITH

After those three days of intense introspective work, I knew I had to take the leap of faith and quit the comfort and security of my six figure job to start my own fitness ministry that is aligned with the core of my being.   I knew that my life’s work would be all about the integration of faith and fitness.  That I was going to change the world by helping people transform every area of their lives.  That I would help churches do fitness and gyms do ministry. 

With the help of my life and business coach, she pushed me to set a date of when I was going to leave the pharmaceutical industry.  Not only that, I always had the dream of living in Colorado.  So after picking a date on the calendar, I gave my two weeks’ notice to the pharmaceutical company I was working for and planned to move to Colorado and start my fitness ministry there.  That was in May of 2017. 

As I share my story it is now August of 2019.    I would love to tell you that everything has worked out exactly as I had imagined, but that would be very misleading.   There has been many speed bumps along the way. 

There has been personal heart break.    There has been financial distress.  I have seen my bank account be depleted to negative numbers along the way.   There have been challenges on how to impact people’s lives and not go broke along the way.   There has been learning of how to open my life to others and be more vulnerable.   I have been learning my voice and how to share it with the world. 

I have not achieved the financial success I had hoped for yet.  I do not have the time freedom I had hoped for yet.  I have not had the global impact that I had hoped for yet. But I will. 

MY LIFE HAS BEEN TRANSFORMED

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Here is what I do know.  On this journey of stepping into my purpose, my personal growth and character transformation has been exponential.   In the last two years since starting my fitness ministry I have felt God’s presence in my life more than ever before.  I am becoming more like Christ each and every day.  I have failed many times over, but I am learning radical self-love.  I am learning to be an inspired leader, just by being. 

What has been even better is to see is the lives that have been impacted by my fitness ministry so far.  I have seen father’s become more involved in their kids’ lives.  I have seen husbands become better husbands.  I have seen church leaders become better leaders.  I have seen a men’s ministry develop at the gym I train out of.  I have seen relationships being built.  I have seen people become more fit at the church I lead a faith and fitness class at.  I have seen people lose weight, overcome type 2 diabetes, draw closer to God and feel their self-worth again. 

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I ask myself this question often. What if I didn’t take a chance on myself and step into my life’s purpose?   What if I would have continued to play it safe?  All of these lives, including my own, wouldn’t have been transformed.  What if we all stepped into our purpose and lived life fully alive?  How would are lives and the lives of other’s be impacted.  Imagine the possibilities. 

There is no substitute for life learning than getting into the arena and getting bloodied and sweaty. Taking risks and living a life of adventure.This journey of personal transformation will never end for me, but I know without taking that leap of faith and stepping into living my mission every day, I wouldn’t be the Spiritual Warrior that I am today.I AM a Spiritual Warrior who is called to be an inspired leader.

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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Are You Dense?

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Are You Dense?

“Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in good health, just as your soul prospers.”

3 John 1:2

OBESITY AND TYPE 2 DIABETES

I think we have all heard these statistics before.   In fact we have heard them so much I think we have become numb to them because being overweight has become normal.  7 out of every 10 Americans are overweight.  4 out of every 10 Americans are obese.  1 out of every 2 Americans has some type of chronic disease such as heart disease or diabetes.  Currently there are 30 million Americans living in the United States with diagnosed diabetes, costing the US healthcare system 245 billion dollars.   One of the main reasons that disease is so rampant in the United States is due to the over consumption of processed foods. 

I think most everyone knows that eating sugar and processed foods isn’t very good for us, but so many people continue to consume these foods.  One of the reasons for this is that processed foods are specifically designed to be addictive.    Processed and packaged foods are also readily available at the grocery store and heavily marketed to kids and adults alike.    

As a nation these processed foods are being over consumed, but it is leaving our bodies literally starving for nutrients.   We have it backwards in this country.  We eat a lot of food, but get very little nutrition.  We actually don’t need a lot of food, but we do need a lot of nutrition.

NUTRIENT DENSE

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That is where eating foods that are nutrient dense comes in.    Nutrient density refers to a food that is relatively rich in nutrients for the number of calories it contains.  It’s getting the most bang for your buck so to speak.  This is true both literally, getting the most nutrients and energy per calorie, and figuratively, spending your hard earned dollars on foods that leave you satisfied and sustain your metabolic needs. 

It’s a fact that purchasing foods that keep you satiated and nourish every cell in the body keep you from wasting money on expensive packaged snacks, fast foods, and unhealthy foods that lack the ability to provide what the body needs. 

In order to get your hijacked taste buds back, start eating foods that are very nutrient dense.  Here is a list of some of the top nutrient dense foods you can consume. 

·         Kale

·         Watercress

·         Bok Choy

·         Spinach

·         Brussel Sprouts

·         Carrots

·         Broccoli

·         Cranberries

·         Strawberries

·         Raspberries

·         Blueberries

·         Flax Seeds

·         Basil

 A POWER SALAD A DAY KEEPS THE DOCTOR AWAY

One suggestion that I like to make to people is try to eat at least one power salad a day.   Have a big bowl of greens such as spinach and kale and top it off with some berries, broccoli sprouts, peppers and other vegetables you enjoy. 

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 Start gradually by replacing one meal that would normally be full of processed foods and eat a power salad instead.  Eventually replace all processed foods with real food that is nutrient dense.    You will get your health back and drop those extra pounds without starving yourself to death.

 According to Webster’s Dictionary, the original definition of the word diet is “the usual food and drink consumed by an organism.”  However in today’s society the word diet has become a nasty four letter word.  Most people associate the word “diet” with restricting food intake in order to lose weight.  The thought of restriction elicits all types of negative emotions setting most people up for failure before they have even begun to make changes.    My goal is to change this paradigm. 

Diet is what you do on a daily basis to nourish every cell in your body; it’s a lifestyle.  What you choose to put in your mouth moves you in one of two directions; the direction of health and nourishment or the direction of disease and degeneration.  The choice is yours.  You have the God given power and strength to decide.  The good news is that even small changes in your eating habits can yield big results!

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

 

 

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How to Thrive in the Face of Fear and Self-Doubt

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How to Thrive in the Face of Fear and Self-Doubt

Fear, self-doubt and self-judgement seems to sabotage so many of us.  In whatever area we are trying to change in our lives, fear, self-doubt and self-judgement are the limiting factors that reach up and tear us down most often.  At least that is the case for me and many of the other people I talk to. 

I have recently been geeking out on some documentaries.  The latest one I have been watching is called iThrive.  It is a documentary on obesity and diabetes.  It’s a fascinating and heartbreaking documentary on how obesity and type 2 diabetes have become a pandemic in our world. 

The name of the host and creator of the docuseries is Jon McMahon.   At the start of the documentary he shares his story of his battle with being morbidly obese and having type 2 diabetes.  He has diabetic neuropathy, has suffered a silent heart attack and struggles with many of the other symptoms that go along with obesity and diabetes. 

FEAR…SELF-DOUBT…SELF-JUDGEMENT

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When he started on the journey of self-discovery of trying to overcome the dreaded disease of diabesity (the combination of diabetes and obesity), his biggest battle was overcoming fear, self-doubt and self-judgement.   He didn’t know if he had what it would take to get healthy.  He was scared of failing, because he had tried so many times before to get healthy and never had any sustainable success. 

I have never struggled with my weight a day in my life and I have never struggled with type 2 diabetes, but that doesn’t mean Jon’s story doesn’t resonate with the deepest part of my soul. 

No matter who we are, we all face demons in our lives.  Mine just happens to have never been about weight loss.  That isn’t my personal struggle.  It may be yours and I know from working with hundreds of clients over the years who are struggling to lose weight how challenging it can be.   The inner voice of fear, self-doubt and self-judgement seems to rear its ugly head just when you think you have everything mastered.  It’s really sneaky that way. 

So what’s my battle if it isn’t weight loss?  It’s believing in myself enough that I can step into the leadership role that God is asking me to take.  To be the inspired leader of a movement of men who want to become Spiritual Warriors.   For the life of me I want to keep playing small, because it’s safe.  I am full of fear, self-doubt and self-judgement. 

My coach, Kimberly Dawson, spoke these words into my heart that shook me to my core. “The safe life isn’t safe because it destroys us.”  I experienced that in my pharmaceutical career.  It was safe, but my soul was filled with smoldering discontent.  It literally was destroying me despite all of the tangible benefits.  I knew it wasn’t my life’s purpose. 

Overcoming fear, self-doubt and self-judgement is a daily battle for me.  The voices inside my head aren’t always kind.  In fact they are downright brutal some times. 

So how am I going to overcome this battle of self-doubt and flip it on its head so I can fully step into being the inspired leader that God is asking me to be?

PRACTICE SELF LOVE

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The first step is to practice self-love.    As a self-confessed perfectionist for the majority of my life I have become really good at beating myself up.  For the slightest mistake or failure I would ruminate over it to the point it would destroy all of my joy.  I would get caught in this relentless trap of being hypercritical of myself.  I would literally beat myself up with my words. 

I am learning to give myself grace when I don’t do things perfectly.   To be more vulnerable and know I can show up in the world less than perfect.  I am finally getting to the point in my life where I don’t need any external validation from anyone.  I know my identity is in Jesus.

SEE YOURSELF THE WAY GOD SEES YOU

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The second step is to see ourselves the way God sees us.  Why is this so hard to do?  Why do we focus on our flaws instead of all of our gifts?  Why do we focus on our weaknesses and not our strengths?  What if we actually believed everything that God says about us? 

Until I start to see myself the way God sees me, I will not be the inspired leader that I am called to be.  I will not make the impact in the world that God wants me to make.   It’s so easy to believe the lies of the enemy instead of the truth of God. 

TAKE A CHANCE ON YOURSELF

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The third step to overcoming self-doubt is to start to take chances.  To overcome fear, self-doubt and self-judgement and live from a place of inspiration instead of trying to control our world requires risk.  It requires putting ourselves in a position of vulnerability and daring greatly with failure as a very real possibility. 

When we practice self-love, see ourselves the way God sees us and start taking chances is when we will lead the lives that make us feel fully alive.  Not for our own benefit, but for the benefit of humanity. 

The people who are most fully alive are the ones who are living a life of adventure, purpose and vitality.  That is what I want for you no matter what battle you are facing whether it be weight loss, finances, career, relationships or any other challenge.  I want you to know, you are not alone.  There is power in community. 

As Spiritual Warriors, let’s unite.  Let’s come together to change ourselves so we can change the world all for the glory of God. 

Troy Ismir, MS

Spiritual Warrior Coach

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Nothing to Prove

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Nothing to Prove

“Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God?  Or am I trying to please people?  If I were trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ?”  Galatians 1:10

Have you ever been caught in that trap where you feel like you have to prove yourself over and over again to yourself, God and others?  It feels like my whole life I have been on that hamster wheel of proving myself by performing and proving myself. 

DRIVEN BY GOALS

At the beginning of the cycling season I mapped out four different races that I was planning on doing over the course of four months.  I completed a 100 mile gravel race in May.  A 110 mile gravel race in June and had my sights set on another 100 miler in July and August. 

Due to some schedule changes and a new puppy in my life, I decided I would do a self-supported century on the local Fort Collins bike trails.  I set out early Saturday morning for my planned 100 mile ride.  I really didn’t think much of it.  I am trained and fit and was prepared for a fairly easy, albeit a long day in the saddle.  My goal was to finish in about 6 ½ hours. 

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As I was heading out, I was feeling strong.  It wasn’t too hot yet and the wind seemed fairly calm.  Then I noticed the wind starting to pick up and when I turned around to head back to Fort Collins I ran smack into a 17 mph headwind.   At this point the temperature was climbing steadily into the mid 80’s with a higher than normal humidity in Colorado. 

“You Have Nothing to Prove”

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As I got about 50 miles into the ride, I started questioning my why.  I wasn’t feeling all that great as I had been fighting a cold all week.  I was feeling dehydrated and quite honestly I was exhausted.  As I think back to all of my training rides and organized rides, I can’t recall many that I have cut short.   I kept telling myself to push through and then this deep sense inside my soul said, “You have nothing to prove.”

Those words reverberated in my heart.  It actually brought tears to my eyes.  I have been trying to prove that I am enough my whole life.  Mainly through sports, bodybuilding and now endurance cycling.  I felt the presence of God when he spoke those words into me, “I have nothing to prove.”  To God or anyone for that matter.  I am enough.

I decided to call it quits after 60 miles.  I felt the beginnings of heat exhaustion.  I read the day before that a former professional football player died from heat stroke from working outside all day. 

What was different for me, was I didn’t feel guilty or less than because I cut my ride short.  In fact I felt really good about my decision.  The words ring true that I have nothing to prove. 

LIVE FOR AN AUDIENCE OF ONE

How about you?  What are you trying to prove?  Who are you trying to impress?  I am learning to live for an audience of one.  God already approves of me and loves me unconditionally.  I don’t need to earn anything.  Through his grace and mercy I am deeply loved.  Oh how easy it is to forget this. 

Let’s rest in the loving arms of Jesus and leave the performance based need for approval behind.  Rest easy my friends.  It’s not about accomplishing certain tasks, it’s about who we are becoming on this journey of life.  God loves you just the way you are.  When you start to see yourself the way God sees you, you will fully step into the person you are created to be. 

MY MISSION

I am on a mission to build a movement of men who are willing to go on this journey with me of becoming a Spiritual Warrior.  My vision is to impact one million men’s lives through this tribe of Spiritual Warriors.  The journey to one million men starts with one.  Will you be that one who is willing to take a chance on yourself so you can live the life of your dreams?  So you can live a life of purpose feeling fully alive. 

The first step to being part of this community is to sign up for my Spiritual Warriors Unite Newsletter and becoming a part of our Spiritual Warriors Unite Facebook group.

One thing we must never forget that what is done for ourselves will quickly be forgotten, but what we do for others will be remembered for eternity.  The choice is yours.

Troy Ismir, MS

Speaker, Author, Podcaster and Spiritual Warrior Coach

facebook.com/groups/spiritualwarriorsunite/

https://www.troyismir.com/

 

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Three Ways to go from Surviving to Thriving

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Three Ways to go from Surviving to Thriving

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, I will give you rest.”  Matthew 11:28

We only have 24 hours in a day.  So much to do, but so little time.  My question to you is how efficient are you with that time?  It’s not about doing more with your time, it’s about being more effective with your time.  One of the biggest barriers and challenges I hear from my clients as a fitness professional is a lack of energy and honestly, something I struggle with from time to time.   Many of us are just trying to survive the day and not thrive.

Think back to a day where you felt well rested and full of energy.  What was that day like for you?  I am guessing it was enjoyable and you felt very productive.  Now think back to a day, and that day may be today where you are exhausted and just trying to survive the day.  What was that day like for you?

I know for me, when I am rested and full of energy I can take on the world.  My challenges don’t seem so big and my purpose and vision for my life is much clearer.   On days when I am exhausted and don’t have much energy, that is often times when my thoughts are negative and self-destructive.  I find myself questioning my purpose and self-doubt and fear creeps in.

Of course we are all going to have days that our energy level is low, that’s just part of life.  But how would your life be different if the majority of your days were full of energy and your stamina was through the roof? 

Here are three strategies that can significantly improve your stamina that will allow you to be more efficient and effective each and every day of your life. 

BUILD IN MOVEMENT EVERY MORNING

Our bodies were created to move.  When we are sedentary, it creates fatigue in our muscles and our minds.  By getting the blood flowing first thing in the morning it sets the tone for a positive and energetic day. 

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I know what you are thinking, I don’t have time in the morning to go to the gym and workout for an hour.  I totally understand.  My question to you is, do you have 10-15 minutes to move?  It’s more about setting the tone for the day that you did something healthy for yourself to increase your energy levels.  It’s amazing how good you can feel after just 10-15 minutes of movement. 

Try doing this basic body weight circuit first thing in the morning:

·         20 reps of push-ups

·         20 reps of body weight squats

·         60 second plank

Repeat this circuit three times.  This shouldn’t take more than 10 minutes.  You will be surprised how energizing this can be. 

WRITE DOWN FIVE THINGS YOU ARE GRATEFUL FOR EVERY MORNING

When you write down every day what you are grateful, study after study has shown that it makes you feel happier.  When we are happy and grateful our energy levels naturally increase.  We feel less stress and our body’s neurochemistry actually changes in a positive and helpful way.  Instead of producing cortisol which is a stress hormone it produces oxytocin which is one of the “happy hormones.”

READ SCRIPTURE EVERY MORNING

Even if it is for only 5-10 minutes there is no better way to start the day than spending some quiet time with God.  It sets the day up to be connected to God.  Without his guidance and strength it is easy to try and control everything on our own.  That can be exhausting.  Ask for God’s guidance for your day and allow Him to direct your path.  This will ease your tension and allow your energy level to flow naturally. 

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One of my favorite scripture passages is from Matthew 11:28 which states, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, I will give you rest.”  This is a powerful promise. 

Our energy level often dictates the quality of our life.  By starting to incorporate some stamina boosting habits into our life, we can have a more productive, efficient and joyful life.  Setting aside 15-20 minutes a day to move, be grateful and study God’s word can be life changing. 

MISSION

I am on a mission to build a movement of men who are willing to go on this journey with me of becoming a Spiritual Warrior.  My vision is to impact one million men’s lives through this tribe of Spiritual Warriors.  The journey to one million men starts with one.  Will you be that one who is willing to take a chance on yourself so you can live the life of your dreams?  So you can live a life of purpose feeling fully alive. 

The first step to being part of this community is to sign up for my Spiritual Warriors Unite Newsletter and becoming a part of our Spiritual Warriors Unite Facebook group.

One thing we must never forget that what is done for ourselves will quickly be forgotten, but what we do for others will be remembered for eternity.  The choice is yours.

Troy Ismir, MS

Speaker, Author, Podcaster and Spiritual Warrior Coach

Helping men bust through the status quo through shared workouts and coaching so we can make a bigger difference in our world.

facebook.com/groups/spiritualwarriorsunite/

https://www.troyismir.com/

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ONE Million Starts with ONE

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ONE Million Starts with ONE

In this world of follows and likes on Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, LinkedIn and however many more social media platforms we have it is so easy to get caught up in numbers.  Believe me I have fallen into that trap many times myself. 

I often times wonder what our life would be like if we went back to the days before social media.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think social media is all bad and I certainly use it to share my story and encourage others, but I also know it’s a source of wounding.  It’s a source of comparison and envy. 

Sometimes I feel wounded after habitually glancing at Instagram when I subconsciously grab the phone without thinking about it and mindlessly scroll down the page. 

My thoughts run to why does he have so many followers and I can’t get past 230?   Why was he able to find an amazing and beautiful wife and I am still in my singleness searching for my life’s partner and dealing with the challenges of loneliness and the dating world?  Wow, that dude has some serious biceps and abs on him.  What do I have to do to look like him?  Wound after psychological wound.

That’s not good for any of us.  It has created an atmosphere of lack, scarcity and victim hood.  All very negative emotions instead of being grateful for the gift of life we have.   

There is one number that is truly important to me and that is the number ONE.  First of all, I am here on this earth to live for an audience of ONE.  That ONE for me is Jesus.  If I am living each and every day according to His plan and not my own, I know my life will be fulfilling and full of love, joy and inner peace.   It’s the audience of ONE that I crave not the number of followers I have on Instagram.

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The other reason that the number ONE is important to me is that I want to be a conduit of transformed lives ONE person at a time.   Yes, I have a huge vision of impacting ONE millions men’s lives through my Spiritual Warriors Unite community, but to me it’s all about that ONE person.   That ONE person I can reach through my blog, my podcast, my Bible and Barbells ministry, my Faith and Fitness class at Redeemer Lutheran Church, my Spiritual Warriors Unite monthly gathering at The Body. 

I got a phone call the other day from a twenty-five year old man who is seeking out mentorship from me.   If I can make a difference in this ONE man’s life, then I am doing what God has called me to do.  I am not going to worry about the numbers.  That I will leave up to God.  My job is to dream big.  To be more visible so more people can know our amazing and wonderful invisible God.   But my main focus is to be a source of encouragement and inspiration for that ONE man who will be sitting across from me. 

I will continue to have the dream and vision to impact ONE million men’s lives through my fitness ministry, but my main concern is that ONE person God has put in front of me today.   The rest is up to Him. 

What if we all just focused on the ONE?  The ONE interaction we have at the grocery store.  The ONE interaction we have at the gym?  The ONE interaction we have at the park.  We never know how God is going to use us.   We never know when those divine opportunities are going to happen, but when we live with openness and powerful energy and in our strength, God will align the moments at the right time so we can have a positive influence on ONE.

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My message is let’s dream big.  Let’s take risks.  Let’s change the world with love.  But let’s not lose sight that it starts with ONE.  It starts with living for an audience of ONE and impacting ONE person’s life at a time. 

I am on a mission to build a movement of men who are willing to go on this journey with me of becoming a Spiritual Warrior.  My vision is to impact one million men’s lives through this tribe of Spiritual Warriors.  The journey to one million men starts with one.  Will you be that one who is willing to take a chance on yourself so you can live the life of your dreams?  So you can live a life of purpose feeling fully alive. 

The first step to being part of this community is to sign up for my Spiritual Warriors Unite Newsletter and becoming a part of our Spiritual Warriors Unite Facebook group.

One thing we must never forget that what is done for ourselves will quickly be forgotten, but what we do for others will be remembered for eternity.  The choice is yours.

Troy Ismir, MS

Speaker, Author, Podcaster and Spiritual Warrior Coach

facebook.com/groups/spiritualwarriorsunite/

https://www.troyismir.com/

Spiritual Warriors Unite Podcast

 

 

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