Dr. Nicholas Romanov’s mission is to advance the science of human movement and make it useful to people. He is committed to empowering people to take greater control of their well being. Dr. Romanov is a 2-time Olympic Coach, developer of the Pose Method of running, author, coach/athlete and world-renowned sports scientist. His career has spanned over forty years in numerous countries all over the world, all which started with very humble beginnings in Russia.
This is not just about the Pose Method, this is about the man behind it. Dr. R left his country after his poor childhood in Siberia’s wilderness. He struggled as a teenager and had numerous brushes with death. Through it all he has maintained a strong dedication to his family, and to discovering the truth. He has faced extreme circumstances most of us can not fathom, but only he has turned those moments into becoming the greatest mind in running.
It is my extreme honor to be able to not only have him on my podcast, but in the studio in person. He is one of the smartest guys I’ve met, but it’s his character that leads the way.
Erik Swoope is an NFL Tight End with a humble spirit who was with the Indianapolis Colts the past 5 seasons. He is 6’5”, 250 lbs, athletic, fast, and moves with the mass of a truck and coordination of a gymnast. The impressive part is this: He’s never played football before playing in the NFL. The more impressive part is that for as big and strong as Erik is, his character is more powerful. If perseverance, depth, gratitude, humility, and grit were measurable statistical categories, Erik would not only be an All-Pro amongst the NFL, he would be in the Pro Bowl of humans.
This episode is dedicated to understanding where Erik’s grit and gratitude come from, his upbringing, and the importance and meaning of family. We look at his accomplishments in the classroom, community, and on the court/field. We learn what it’s like to go from playing ACC basketball at the University of Miami to playing football for the first time (ever) in the NFL.
Want to know what it feels like to score a touchdown in the NFL? This episode is for you. Want to know how to overcome setbacks with a growth mindset and perseverance? This episode is for you. How you handle yourself when everything is great is one thing, but the best of us excel in the face of adversity. That struggle is where true strength is forged.
Into: Keep Your Dream
Don’t let your own will be the reason you fail. Keep that will strong and unconquerable. There are too many dreams buried in the cemetery of collapsed wills. Not yours. Be unconquerable. -Scott McGee
8:30 Where does Erik’s grit come from? What does it mean to be a Swoope man?
18:30 Family and upbringing. “If you start something you have to finish it.”
25:50 Athletic background as a kid. First dunk at 12 years old.
Lake Elsinore to Harvard Westalke (Los Angeles)
36:20 What are some of highlights from high school? “My struggle.”
One of my fondest memories. I found out how to do something the right way. I knew how to put in the effort, but are you doing it in a way that benefits you.
39:30 More proud of academics or sports?
The school work was where I had to prove to myself that I’m willing to go through something with no one else’s help. I had to find a way.
41:05 When did Erik figure out he was really good at sports?
48:00 How went from high school in SoCal to Miami to play basketball. What was it like leaving family?
56:22 Train Keeps Moving: No matter what happens in your life the train keeps moving and it doesn’t stop for anyone. If you think that life is going to hold up because you hit something… that train is going to keep moving.
59:00 Post college – The interest from the NFL Scouts. They want to see if Erik had “football traits.”
Learning football and drills. Try outs. 4.57 40 on first try.
1:01:40 Jimmy Graham – Mentor – First advice from former basketball player turned football player. “Football is not fun”. Ha.
1:10:40 Workout with NFL scout to the Indianapolis Colts
1:17:45 Learning the basics of football.
1:24:34 First time getting hit really hard in practice and a game. First Catch.
1:30:30 What it was like playing with Andrew Luck.
1:34:40 What it feels like to score a touchdown in the NFL.
1:39:40 The hardest part of playing football in the NFL… Handling stress
1:41:11 Where does Erik find the fun?
1:49:00 Purchases with NFL money.
1:51:50 NFL journey through being undrafted, injuries, practice squad, active roster.
In game experiences…
Responding from injuries, surgery, and learning to recover stronger than before.
2:07:18 Where does he go from here? Restricted Free Agent
2:09:16 What do you do with your doubts? I try and take that energy and put it into my training. My journey is not like anyone else’s.
What happens after an injury, loss, or major change? How do you adapt to this new normal state? How do you find strength in the face of adversity? How do you accept this new change without always wishing to be like before? My guest, Dr. Theresa Larson, helps me answer these questions. She says our minds are a war zone and adaptation will occur no matter what, but there is a choice to to optimally adapt or maladapt.
Dr. Larson (DPT) is a mom, wife, sister, friend, and TEDx Speaker who happens to be a former Marine Corps Engineer Officer, combat veteran, and professional softball player. While that sounds like a resume of a strong person, it was the other moments where she developed her strength. Dr. T made it through the death of her mother at the age of 10, the loss of her father, and learned to suffer skillfully while battling an internal war with bulimia in the middle of an actual war. It’s here she learned strength, positive adaption, and her call to help others.
You see, her greatest strength isn’t in which she has done. Her greatest strength was in asking for help. Our stories are unique, but the struggle is universal. The mission of this episode is to deliver info to people who need it. To those who have gone through loss, trauma, or a major change in their life and needs to find their new normal again, this episode is dedicated to you.
We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy. – Pema Chödrön
Mary Beth Larue’s professional passion is teaching yoga, meditation, mentoring and writing. She is the co-founder of the movement, Rock Your Bliss.But it’s her soulful journey as a foster mom that has exposed her to wholehearted love and presence. For the past eleven months, she and her husband (7: Matt Aporta – Fostering Love) have fostered-to-adopt a beautiful little baby boy. They have opened themselves to the continually changing, dynamic nature of of vulnerability with a brutally exposed open and full heart. They have accepted that people might be temporary in your life, but that is not in your control.What is in your control is the deliberate and passionate love shared in the moment, everyday.
Mary Beth is not who she is because she fosters. She fosters because of who she is.Through the darkness, she has learned to focus on the light. She has learned to hold herself accountable for her thoughts, because they create her reality.She has conversations full of possibilities, love and vulnerability. Her focus is on the now. Owning our story is hard, but not as difficult as running from it.That strength, that vulnerability, privilege,and love, is what this episode is about.
Intro: Pema Chodron – When Things Fall Apart: Heartfelt Advice for Hard Times.
6:40 How to slow down. The moment is enough.
13:00How to shine light on yourself in the darkness.
14:00 Relationship with Social Media – Perspective
27:00What to do when starting to feel down.
29:03* Holding myself accountable for thoughts that I’m thinking and whats coming out of my mouth because its creating my whole reality. I get to have conversations full of possibilities. Where as before I was having conversations with a giant stop sign.
29:47 A warrior is skilled in action and non-action. Vulnerability is Strength. The strength to allow yourself to feel.
35:00 The identity and transition in becoming a mom.
Fostering Baby A
47:00 Seeking the light in the face of loss.
48:53* I’m different now because we’re willing to put ourselves in the fire. I want my heart to be all used up. I want ever inch of my heart and my spirit to have been used and grown and transformed because whats the point otherwise.
We get the privilege of making an impact in a child’s life, but mainly get the privilege of this child making a massive impact in our life.
58:20 How to become more self-aware so you can self-regulate.
1:07:50 Grief and Emotion is love. How to learn from kids.
1:14:20 Solitude is a super power. Micro Meditation.
1:18:00 The Yoga Room
1:22:30Meditation and Breath work – It makes you kinder.
Mantras: Be fully present. Feel your heart. Engage in the next moment without any agenda.
1:35:03What has yoga taught you? Being present. Finding peace in the chaos.
1:41:26A letter from her husband. Gratitude, Intention, Love
Ryan Fischer has off the charts fitness, numerous feats of physical strength, and experience in helicopter flying, Olympic skeleton, BMX racing, competitive CrossFitting, and hiking all over the world.His life is a set of circumstances that have developed him into a fulfilled gym owner.But his biggest strength is his drive and his work ethic, and Ryan is more than a competitor or gym owner.
This episode is more than what his bio says.This episode is about the man you think you know as Ryan Fischer. We had the chance to dive deep into Ryan’s life on a level you have never heard before. This episode goes beyond fitness as we reflect on where Ryan’s drive comes from, his relationship with his family, how he always knew he was different, what makes him happy, and where his unconquerable soul comes from.This isn’t an episode I took lightly. I wanted to offer a platform of reflection and growth through a respectful path of vulnerability and strength. This special episode was an honor for me to record. I humbly thank you for choosing this to listen to with a special thank you to Ryan’s mom, Kim.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
4:32What is stronger? Your muscles or your work ethic.
10:36To find your work ethic, does it need to found through physical effort?Moments that forced you to be strong.
A story of a Son.
13:43 I never really had that dad feeling and because of that I searched for different things to put energy into that couldn’t be bought. You cant get it any other way except for super hard work. If I did that, I created that and it made me feel good.
Finding out some big news at 18 that changed everything.
22:30I remember always telling my mom that there was something about me that was different. I knew that I was going to be different. I always knew it.
23:00First contacts with real dad.
30:30Raising money for Olympics.The biggest check Ryan had ever received.
The $500 check.
37:40Everybody has a struggle. Everyone has a deal going on. But there’s always room for a heart to heart conversation between a father and son. -SM
38:33Do you think finding out made you a stronger person?
40:00Reflection on life and relationships.
41:04What do you think your mom is most proud about you? A conversation with mom.
(Ryan’s mom): He never followed the crowd. He stayed true to himself and his values.
Where does Ryan’s drive come from? And how his drive is a weakness.
49:30What makes Ryan happy?
58:00“Settling down” and relationships.
1:04:30*What is your inner conversation like during a workout?
Once everything starts to hurt, we just started working out. Let’s go to work.
Little cues to help push through the work out.
1:10:20The Little Man Story
1:14:10How memory retention works.
1:16:11The CrossFit drive that transcends and the ripple effects.
Two things that define you.Your patience when you have nothing and your attitude when you have everything.
Happiness vs Fulfilled
Planting the seed of gratitude is in someone else’s couch. -SM
1:28:09Military dreams. How training to be a Nazy Seal led Ryan to CrossFit.
1:37:00Wim Hof, Ice Baths, Float Tanks, Saunas
1:42:00Being dedicated to action and non-action.How to destress.
The Sisu Way is defined as strength and determination in the face of adversity. Persistence. Hope. GRIT. An unbeatable mindset full of courage, tenacity, resilience, willpower, triumph, and an unconquerable soul. They say the finest souls are those who gulped pain and avoided making others taste it.Well ladies and gentlemen, that is my brother and esteemed guest, Kenny Kane.
Kenny Kane is lighthouse to many of us, but even lighthouses have shadows.If strength is a product of suffering and struggle, then Kenny is by far one of the strongest people I know.He has faced a massive amount emotional trauma and death packed on top of each other.He was force fed a beautifully violent lesson in the balance of life and death.In the face of this much pain and chaos, how do you do the most good?How can we use our resources to be in service to something greater than ourselves?
If there is a lesson I have learned from late world-class Coach Marion Kane Elston through her son Kenny, it is you have to be willing to get up strong each and every time without complaint.You have to put in the effort and open yourself up to the experience, or the time won’t come.
This episode was an honor for me record, but the real honor was the vulnerable and heartfelt conversation.Kenny is one of the best humans I know. I’m proud to call him my friend and a mentor.This episode is dedicated to the Kane family.
“In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, in the expert’s mind there are few.” — Zen Master Shunryu Suzuki
Andy Petranek couples curiosity and enthusiasm and applies it to learn new perspectives for a better way. He is an early adopter, coach, athlete, entrepreneur, family man, and a life-explorer who travels with a sense of humor. He loves to work on developing and improving himself physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, but more importantly he strives to help others do the same. He lives his life based on the words of his grandfather, “Never stop learning. Never stop growing.”
I open the show with a lesson on Shoshin.Shoshin is a word from Zen Buddhism meaning “beginner’s mind.” It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject, even when studying at an advanced level, just as a beginner would.
What is most fascinating about Andy is his curious mind and his ability to choose strength. These themes are evident when we take a step back and observe from a different perspective. From this framework, we take a look at some of the events that have lead Andy to become the father that he is and his ability to change lives for the better across the world through The Whole Life Challenge.
6:10Spoon Challenge – See it for the first time with a curious mind.
11:20Perspective Chair Challenge
13:30Opening question on purpose and emotion
17:2585 year-old self Challenge
21:00Musical background and the life bowling analogy
29:10Trumpet player to Marine – What was he looking for?
34:20Outdoor Eco Challenge races – Lost for 36 hours, learning, and pushing himself
“Trust your compass”
52:40Learning a new skill like unicycling.
56:15The 10-Minute training to overcome weaknesses.
1:04:10Back Tucks and what you can learn about life through them.
1:15:13How do I have a better impact on the wellness of my clients?Beginning of The Whole Life Challenge
1:22:11“Its the transformation of humans. Its working on virtues. Its developing peoples courage and commitment and testing their resolve. Being in the game of life, rather than thinking of winning or losing.”
You have the power to change your life for the better.
1:26:00We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence therefore is not an act, it’s a habit.
Virtues are formed in a man by doing the right actions.
1:27:28The 7 Daily Habits
1:33:30Awaken with Gratitude
1:37:20Fatherhood, post-it notes
1:44:55Lessons learned from The Andy Petranek Podcast
“You’re taking curiosity, enthusiasm and applying to people to learn new perspectives for a better way.”
Dan “Nitro” Clark is a American Gladiator, TEDx Speaker, Writer, Happiness Seeker, & Gratitude Practicer, who is committed to serving others.Dan’s path was one of suffering and trauma, but he grew into someone who set out to burn bright, or die trying.
In this episode we learn about his past struggles, how culture taught him “big boys don’t cry,” how losing his brother created the person he has become, how sports has defined him, and how cheating death kicked his ass into loving, learning, and living his best life.
We discuss how to master the art of living a happy, fulfilled, and meaningful life worth living.
Why are you alive? To be of service.Live – Love -Feel
4:58Losing brother created the person he became.
“We tie our happiness to what we achieve and we achieve in order to achieve, but that happiness is short lived.” “Happily achieve instead of achieving to be happy.”
9:20Don’t chase gratification.Chase Gratitude.
11:00How Dan was culturally taught not to cry or show emotion. Big boys don’t cry.
14:00Sports filled a hole, a chance to hide.
Visualization and the power of the mind.
18:35Morning routine. Key to life is being in right state.
*25:54“Anything thats good in my life came through the dedication of self improvement and personal growth.”
Service to others.
30:00Why are you alive?
**32:50“Sports taught me about life, but almost dying taught me how to live.”
33:20Health is Wealth – The ability to walk.What are your stairs?
Gratitude Practice – Ka ching!
43:44Vulnerability is Strength – “The vulnerability in me gives the light a chance to shine.”
49:00Strength is a Choice
49:59Smiling Practice – The ripple effect of happiness.
Dali Lami: “In every human interaction we have, we have a choice to make that person happier or less happy.”
Relationships and Conflict Resolution.Seek to understand, then to be understood.
1:02:50What does surrender mean?“Even though I was having a heart attack and dying… When I surrendered, I felt a deep sense and profound sense of peace.”
Meditation and breathing for overall health and well being.
The Wim Hof Method
“Life is not lost by dying. Life is lost minute by minute, day by day, by not really living.”
Caroline Burckle is an Olympic Bronze Medalist Swimmer performing in the 2008 Beijing Olympics in the 4 x 200m relay.She took gold in the 2007 Pan Am Games in the 800m freestyle, was the 2x NCAA champ, and was named the 2008 NCAA Swimmer of the Year.
But this is not a story of accolades. Titles and achievements do not define a person.In this episode, we look between the medals and at the person.Caroline takes us through the darker side of being an olympic athlete. We learn about the personal struggle of what to do after spending years preparing for a narrow window of opportunity.
We also discuss the strength in being vulnerable, mentoring, and generating a positive mindset in the face of adversity. I am proud of this conversation. Caroline is an honest, powerful, and unconquerable soul. I humbly thank you for listening.
Strength is a Choice,
3:05Creativity and Fear“Fear doesn’t want you to do anything” -SM
*5:17Strongest when faced with a challenge
7:33Was swimming and the achievements a challenge for you?
15:10What was it like for your parents when you made Olympic team?
19:30 “I had no idea who I was. I was lost. I was depressed. I was in a dark place.”This was in the six months after winning an Olympic medal.
21:00Transitioning your identity after being a competitive athlete
The dark side of the Olympics
28:00Have you found what you are looking for?
“I am more than just what dives in the pool and mermaids around.”
47:00What is your injury teaching you?
1:07The power of depression
1:09How do you generate a positive mindset shift
*1:17What is your brother most proud about you.
“Im so proud to be part of what my sister did.” -Clark Burckle
The Sisu Way: Strength and Determination in the face of adversity. Persistence. Hope. Grit. A unbeatable mindset full of courage, tenacity, resilience, willpower and triumph. An unconquerable soul….This description, this definition, describes my guest Marcus Kowal.
Marcus is a martial arts coach, gym owner and professional fighter that specializes in kickboxing, boxing, BJJ, and MMA. But as Victor Frankl says:
“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances: but only by lack of meaning and purpose. Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of human freedoms – to choose ones attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose ones own way.”
Marcus and his wife have gone through something no parent ever should. The death of a child. They lost their 15 month old son, Liam, to a drunk driver. However his death does not define them, nor is it the end of their love. Liam, the people’s protector, has saved lives through organ donation and his legacy continues to make an impact in the social culture around drunk driving through awareness and education.
Marcus is someone I look up to and have respected for a long time. He is someone I would walk with to face demons.In the face of life’s worst loss, Marcus chose to fight. He is a father…He is a fighter…and when a man knows where he is going…. the whole world steps aside.
I am completely humbled and grateful to Marcus for taking the time to be on The Sisu Way.I would also like to thank the listeners for your time and support.I sincerely appreciate you listening to this episode.I humbly request that you take a moment to click through the links below, and help join the fight.I believe that Liam did not die in vain. He continues to save and inspire, and there is something we can all do to help.
Strength is a Choice,
1:57What is sisu? Discussion about the opener.
4:38“Because of our son, there will be a change.”Discussion about writing.
9:00Don’t wait. Do that thing now. Why write the book, Life is a Moment. For self, son, and others.
12:509/3/16 – The moment no one should go through.
19:30 “It feels like life stops. What you love more than life itself has been taken from you, and how are you going to go on? I decided that we were going to find our way back to happiness.”
27:00The background between Marcus/Liam and Scott/Connor. Respect, life guilt, honor, responsibility. How Liam inspires and motivates Scott.
How Liam’s Green Frog become the logo for the foundation and the symbol for this fight.
33:35What is a hero? What is the greatest courage? The courage to suffer.
35:30Therapy – Vulnerability is Strength – Surrender to help – True strength
40:20Ego is an enemy.Mindset under pressure.
43:00How can we combat drunk driving?A discussion on the culture of driving under the influence.
51:41 “Its not a question of if we’re going to do it. We are going to do it. Don’t know how long its going to take but I wont stop until we get there.Now I know I’m fighting for the right thing. I’m told all the time you’re up against giants, you’re up against Washington and Lobbyists. I don’t care, they’ve never been up [against] someone like me. They are fighting for revenue. I’m fighting for my sons legacy.”
Christmas Abbott is an author, athlete, CrossFit gym owner, girl boss, former pit crew member, entrepreneur, branding/marketing expert, speaker, and model …but these titles DON’T define her. It’s her courage, spunk, guts, and her gumption that make her a relentless human. It is these qualities coupled with her heart, that will fuel her greatest title ever… Mom.
In this episode we talk about one of Christmas’ darkest years, how she is grateful for tragedy, the collateral beauty associated with it, what helps her recover emotionally, and her pregnancy. 2018 is serving to be a transformative year, as Christmas is using her vulnerability, struggle, fire, and heart to not only empower others, but to prepare for the best thing she will do with her life, and that is to be a mother.
I am honored to hear (and share) the news and super proud of her. I hope you enjoy this side of the one and only, Christmas Abbott.
“Stopped being impressed by things, and started being impressed by people that were happy. People that made other people feel good.” – Scott
4:00Who are you? “Work in progress. A human who wants to leave a beautiful footprint.”
8:001996 Sister’s car accident when Christmas was 13 – Darkest years of life, as was 2017.
11:132017 A dark year. Learned what made of and the bigger picture
13:01 Near death experience – Mortar round in Iraq
Experience in Iraq as a female
14:10 Looks a strength or a weakness?
16:37 Health is Wealth – Broken Foot
2017 Broke up with finance – friend OD’d – Depression – Broken foot
19:15 Big Brother TV show – Human Experiment
23:10 What helped her recover emotionally.Service. Vulnerability. Struggle.
Vulnerability is Strength
“Saving lives saves lives.”
26:20 Connection and therapy through social media
27:07 Caterpillar or butterfly?
“Life is awesome, but first I’m going to make you strong.” -Scott
Whats hurting you?Word for this year is, “Transformative”.
31:00 Slice of life that “normal people” are protected from.
32:30 Nar-Anon – support group – community that understood demons
34:00 How to be honest with yourself.
38:20 How to figure of what your Why is.
38:53 Christmas is pregnant – Her greatest role is yet to come.
41:40 “I’m pregnant”
“This is the best thing I will do in my life.”
47:00 Slow Down Challenge – Pay Attention
51:46Grateful for Tragedy – Collateral Beauty
56:00Get Up Strong – Live and Love on Purpose – Empowering Kids
Lindsey Valenzuela is someone you may identify as a CrossFit Games Athlete, but Lindsey is more than that. She is a powerhouse of emotion, passion, strength, and love that has had a renewed sense of purpose since the birth of her son. Lindsey has inspired generations of men, women, and children to “Lift Like Lindsey”, to find their strength through vulnerability, and that its okay to show your emotions. She isn’t defined by her victories or loss’s, what matters is what kind of human being she has become.
In this episode we talk about having belief in your ability to work for what you want, successes and failures in CrossFit, letting pain resonate and moving on, being true to yourself, legacies, becoming a mom, giving back, perspective on growth, what its like to be married to a law enforcement officer, and where she draws strength from. I am lucky to record this episode with Lindsey, surrounded by loved ones, because she is like a little sister to me. This is a also a special episode to me because we learn to not only Lift Like Lindsey, but to have a Heart Like Lindsey.
Be Strong when you are weak, Brave when you are scared, & Humble when you are Victorious. – Michelle Moschetti.
1:03What is Autumo?It is Latin for “I Believe.”A motto and way of living that has guided Lindsey.
2:30The “why” for this episode.
6:50Believe in your ability to work for what you want.
11:53 “Take whats yours.” –Coach Kellee Roesel. If you want something, but willing to go work for it.
13:10“It doesn’t matter about victories or loses. It matters about what kind of human being you have become.”
13:342014 CrossFit experience and lessons learned from “failing” to make the CrossFit Games.
18:12 How silly does not making the Games look now?
19:23Victories, defeats, letting pain resonate with you, and learning to move on.
21:30Vulnerability is a sign of Strength.
24:30Lindsey’s honesty about her pregnancy
35:17Titles? How does Lindsey identify herself? Vulnerability, passion, and emotions.
38:45Being true to yourself in the face of adversity. Being a role model.
44:15Ability to make others feel good. Strength to Give.Strength is more than a muscle.
At just 10-months-old, Fritz was diagnosed with Duchenne Muscular Disorder, a fatal genetic disorder leading to progressive muscle degeneration. It’s incurable though physical therapy can help re-build weak muscles, but living beyond 30 is rare. Fritz’s parents started a non-profit to raise awareness and help fund research for a cure. **Lindsey’s gym did a fundraiser to help support the family. You can help by clinking the link below**
“Live on Purpose” – Scott
56:35What do you want your legacy to be?
“Get Up Strong.” – Scott
58:50What message would you want to leave for your son to find in 20 years?
“I didn’t really start living until he was born.” – LV
1:02:53What its like to be married to a law enforcement officer and how does that affect parenting.
1:19:30Where draw biggest strength from.
“He shows me what it means to make hard times simple.” – LV on her son.
Episode 7: Fostering Love with Matt Aporta is more than a story of what its like to foster-to-adopt a child.It is a lesson and reminder that everyday is a gift and nothing is more powerful than love. Relationships can come and go in an instant. Nothing in life is guaranteed. Love with a sense of urgency and live on purpose.
Fostering a child is the highest form of service. In the dictionary, service is defined as: the action of helping or doing work for someone. What act is greater than giving a child-in-need a family? The opportunity to be loved beyond words, a safe environment, and the chance to thrive?
People might be temporary in your life, but that is not in your control.What is in your control is the deliberate and passionate love shared in the moment, everyday.Nothing is guaranteed, regardless of the word (bio, adoptive, foster, step) that comes before parent. What is guaranteed is the love and dedication in the heart of my guest, Matt Aporta and his wife Mary Beth Larue.
They have opened their heart to foster-to-adopt a newborn child, giving this soul a chance to thrive in the most loving environment.In these moments, Matt and Mary Beth became what they were meant to be.This is the story of a good man, who grew into a great dad, and a women who has never known a love like this or had a “purpose as deep as the sea and as vast as the sky.”
The Art of Living is the classical manual of Epictetus (a Stoic philosopher who lived from A.D. 55 to A.D. 135) on how to live a good and moral life. It has helped me effectively meet everyday challenges of life, deal with life’s inevitable major losses, disappointments, and adversity. It came at a time in my life when I did not have a philosophy of inner freedom and tranquility to follow.
It started me on a path to mastering my desires, performing my duties well, and learning to think clearly about myself (Temet Nosce) and my relationship with others. It gave me the ability to see that some things are in my control, and some things are not.I can either accept things, or resent them, but most importantly, my will is always within my power.Well there are some things are within our power, and some things are not.Sometimes the things that are not come in the form of an unexpected violent cancer.
My Aunt, the one who gifted me this book many years ago, is in a fight for her life. She is fighting for her husband, her boys, her family, and her future grandkids. She is a warm ball of light stuck in a human body, and that human body is failing her.There is not much I can do physically, but I don’t think it starts or ends there. This is an opportunity and reminder that Strength is a Choice, and there is something I can do in her honor. I can use this platform to pass along the gift that she gave me to you.
I give this book to people very frequently because it helps learn the art of living a good life. Since I cannot physically hand each of you a copy, I would like to take this opportunity to share the gift with you via the podcast in my Aunts honor. The Sisu Way podcast is telling a story, and this is part of the journey.
Vulnerability is Strength, so I hope this helps you as much as it has helped me. In following podcast I present, read, and paraphrase some of my favorite parts of the book with you. To begin, I open with The Serenity Prayer.
Val Voboril is the everyday woman with super-powered fitness.She is a mother, 4th Grade teacher, and a 6-time CrossFit Games Athlete.But these titles do not define her. The quality of her character is shown through her resilient spirit, her unconquerable soul, and her commitment to teaching kids that they have the power to choose strength.
Val’s successes has not come without a dip, a trial of “failure.” Despite her almost super-human powers, in 2015 at the CrossFit Games California Regional, Val doubted herself and felt the fear of disappointing others by failing to meet certain standards. This is a place we have all been. We have all been knocked down, but that’s not where we have to stay.She thought about the kind of message she wanted to send to her daughter, her students, fans, and the community.
Her dad asked her:
What do you want the story to be to tell your daughter? That you pulled through, gave up, or persevered when it was hard?
When faced with adversity, we have a choice. Val found strength in having fun and connecting to the community. She used strength and love to conquer. Val remembered to smile. Through this simple act, Val showed the power of having fun. That Health is Wealth. In turn, through her unconquerable spirit she prevailed in competition and triumphed over her own adversity.
Val is not only a role model to the CrossFit community, she leads the way by teaching her students the importance of a positive attitude and how to get themselves out of a dip. This mindset and indomitable spirit is why we at The Sisu Way are proud to welcome Val as our first guest.