This week I got people together to raise money for a charity event. Contributing to good causes and helping others who are less fortunate has always been a passion of mine, and by extension, a goal of Trifecta’s. I’m actually kind of proud of the fact that we were able to gather a team and donate to the charity—it’s not necessarily something that we could have accomplished a year ago. If you think about it, being a trainer is all about helping others make changes in their own lives.

Making a positive impact on someone’s life is by far one of my favorite things about being a trainer. I know it sounds cliché, but it’s the truth. I’ve seen so many people change over the time that I’ve known them. The most obvious thing I see is their change in confidence. Confidence makes such a difference. Whether you gain it from losing weight, learning a skill (like boxing), or realizing what you can actually achieve (way more than you think!), it’s something that will expand into all parts of your life.

I gotta be honest. I didn’t start teaching because I wanted to instill confidence in people or make a change in their lives, really. I just happened to give some advice to someone who was lifting weights at the gym that I was boxing at, Church Street Boxing Gym. He told me I was a natural at teaching and that I should consider becoming an instructor at the gym. He was the son of the owner and I needed a job, so I took him up on the offer.

Fast forward to today—I’m in the process of opening up my own location in Tribeca. Life’s funny like that sometimes. My helping someone turned me on a path that I would have never considered taking. And now it’s my biggest passion. It reminds me of a quote from Steve Jobs: “You can’t connect the dots going forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect your future.”

Last week I wrote about trying to learn and grow to become a better person. Like everyone else, I’ve had people who I looked up to and tried to live my life by throughout the years. A few years ago, I was lucky enough to have met someone who ended up making a significant impact on me and ended up changing me for the better.

Jason Harris came into my life by happenstance. I was teaching his boxing class at Church Street Boxing Gym. I saw people come and go from the gym every day, so of course I didn’t remember him. A few days after, I was told that I had a 1-on-1 scheduled with a “Jason Harris” and when we had our session, I officially met him. I recalled Jason instantly. I had given him hell in class for dropping his hands and made him run the stairs every time. He had been visibly annoyed about it, too. (That’s not my fault. Don’t drop your damn hands!)

I had been feeling a bit iffy prior to the session. I wasn’t sure if we’d work well together but 3 minutes into it, we were getting along great. We just clicked. He was pretty much everything I aspired to be (except for the lack of coordination, haha). Fast forward a few sessions later—I decided to pitch my business plan at him in the locker room. I told him that I had a brilliant idea for opening a new gym and threw some numbers at him. He said he’d love to own a gym and would be interested in investing $20k. When he asked why I wanted to open a gym, though, I told him that I wanted to take someone down who had left me jobless and homeless, and that that was my motivation. Jason said something that I’ll never forget. Somehow, it resonated with me more than anything else anyone had ever said.

“Yeah, I’d love to invest in someone with no moral compass.”

I also remember the look of disgust on his face as he walked out of the locker room. I hung back for a few minutes. I felt like shit. Here was someone whom I’d just met but had quickly started looking up to as a guiding figure in my life, and he was telling me that I had no chance at success with my kind of mindset. That moment and his words shifted my whole perspective. I left the locker room wanting to start being better, start doing better, and to find the right reasons.

Today, Jason is my business partner and he has invested much more than just money. He’s given me his time, words of wisdom, friendship, and more. I got a lot done being driven by ego, but I’ve honestly accomplished much more by being a better person. And that’s something I can be proud of. I slip up occasionally because I’m human like everyone else, but I am grateful for the people in my life who keep me in check and point my moral compass in the right direction every day.

“You need people who can tell you what you don’t want to hear.” –Robert De Niro

“There is no passion to be found playing small—in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.”

—Nelson Mandela

This is my first actual vacation in a long time. I thought I’d do it big for my 30th. I’ve worked hard to get to this point, to get to where I am today. I still have a lot of milestones to hit going forward, but sometimes it’s good to take a step back and reflect on what one has accomplished. If you think about it, you’re the only person responsible for building your life. So why not build a life that you are fully capable of living? That is the best life you can live? I’m continuing to work on that every day, but I’ve certainly learned a lot already.

Anyone can start building a healthy life through diet and fitness. But “healthy” means different things to different people. In my opinion, it’s important to make life changes that benefit you in the long run. Don’t go on a strict diet that you can’t stick to; change the way you eat. Don’t put off recovery because you’re in a rush to see results; let your body recover, then get back to the gym stronger than you were before. I didn’t start out with a morning routine already and I didn’t spontaneously decide to do it all one magical day. I built it up over time and it slowly became a fundamental part of my mornings, which then became a key part to my success.

Even when I’m on vacation I enjoy waking up early and keeping a morning routine. I make sure my clients stay accountable when they’re on vacation, too. Go a little wild for a couple of meals because hey, you’re on vacation! And then eat healthy for the other ones (for me, that’s dinner). You don’t get anywhere by doing something every once in a while. I’ll say it a million times—consistency is key. It also leaves less room for error.

How do you want to live your life? What can you do to get there? How do you set yourself up for success? I’m always thinking about what I can do to learn, to become better, to grow as a person. I refuse to settle for a life that is less than the one I am capable of living, and you should too!