Fit for Life: Think you have it bad?

Fit for Life: Think you have it bad?

Saturday, January 27, 2024

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PHOTO: Archive

Last week, I was privileged, along with another BNI member, to be invited to speak at an organization called Boys Town New England, a service provider for children in the foster care system. They have a campus with 5 family homes in Portsmouth, RI, where children live until they complete the program.

As you may or may not know, I am passionate about mentoring and coaching teenage boys. I have coached The Shea High School football team for almost 10 years and always try to be involved as a trainer in The Squire Program, a father-son program.


I believe it is better to steer young boys in the right direction than to fix broken men later in life.

I do this because even though my parents were both there for me and provided me with all the basic needs of food, shelter and love, I didn’t have it that easy growing up. They were 19 and 20 when they had me, they broke up early in my life and they didn’t have a lot of money and resources in the early days.

Life is different when you come from a 2 parent household with plenty of money. However, my life was nothing compared to some of the stories I was told with these kids before we even got to talk to them.

After getting to know them all, we could talk to them, tell our stories and offer advice. I informed them that I went down the wrong path in my early 20’s, got fascinated with being a gangster and ended up in jail because of it. Because of my work ethic, discipline and drive I never went back, and they could do the same if they had a mind.

In this article, I want to share a few other things I told them, as I believe they apply to all of us. Applying a few simple principles to our lives plants the seed for improvement.

First, I told them to take their adversity and be a winner, not use it as an excuse to be a victim. I recognized that they were treated badly, but I also recognized that there was an opportunity for everyone to be successful if they used their adversity as fuel and worked hard, instead of using it as an excuse to continue being a victim.

We have all faced and will continue to face adversity and setbacks in life. However, our ability to bounce back and how quickly we resolve these issues is what makes the difference between success and failure. It’s a mindset!!

I then told them that Fitness is a gateway drug and that taking care of yourself is the first step to developing self-esteem, self-worth, confidence and a healthy lifestyle. I told them it takes discipline to get up every day and do what you have to do instead of seeking comfort and doing only what you want. Exercise and self-care are the first steps in building those discipline muscles, and they will transform into every other area of ​​their lives.

Then I told them to look at the wall and the 2 glass objects in front of them. One was a window and the other was a mirror. Instead of looking out the window and blaming all the external circumstances that are holding you back, look in the mirror and decide what you can change about yourself to improve your situation. Things in life usually don’t happen to you, but because of you, your actions and the position you put yourself in.

The product of 5 was the last thing I told them. The 5 people you surround yourself with will likely influence your outcome in life. If you associate with 5 business owners, you may want to open your own business. If you hang out with 5 drug dealers, you’ll probably end up in jail or dead. If you hang out with 5 gems who sit around eating pizza and playing video games all day, you’re going to get fat and lazy. If your 5 closest friends go to the gym every day, it’s more likely that you do too.

Out of the 12 or so kids that attended, I made it to maybe 3 of them.

They asked questions about businesses and ways they could improve their lives.

Actually, I know we can’t reach everyone.

This goes for my gym, my soccer team, and the rest of the world in general, but if I can change the life of anyone or even a small percentage of the people I come in contact with, I consider that a victory.

Committed to your success,

Coach Matt

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