In 2003, after finally getting the courage to ask a girl to dance at a local Salsa club, she flat out walked out on me after about a minute of dancing together...
I couldn't believe it. I was so upset at the time (don't judge, I was about 18) that, when the next semester came around, I decided to double-down on my efforts and rebuild my confidence.
I signed up for 3 dance classes, tried my first ballroom dance competition and within a few months successfully auditioned for ASU's Latin Exhibition team.
Because of my new efforts, I went from being rejected and barely keeping up to performing every weekend at the club in front of hundreds of my peers.
I got bit by the dance bug and I literally had no idea where it would be taking me...
As the years flew by and I improved my skill, competed across the country and eventually began coaching, my life was full of challenges... and some amazing lessons, too.
Throughout the years as a coach, professional athlete and personal growth junkie, the Transformation Train took me on many adventures:
I have had 6 near-death experiences (so far!) that have each taught me the value of faith and that everything works out in the end
I dealt with debilitating anxiety attacks for several years, landing me in emergency rooms and even crippling my ability to eat
I slept on a mattress covered in blood (and other stains) because it was the only thing I could afford at the time
I had serious abdominal surgery and walked around with a colostomy bag for a few months before having surgery again to get back to normal
I've been hypothyroid, hyperthyroid, had SIBO, adrenal fatigue, insomnia and depression at various times in my life, and have been burned out on numerous occasions
I had a violent gang break into my home, assault me and my girlfriend at the time and rob my stuff
I've been cheated on and betrayed multiple times (who hasn't)
I was betrayed by an employer and threatened with a a lawsuit, forcing me to sell all my things and seek legal counsel
I've been broke on numerous occasions, taken a ton of risks that didn't pan out, had to sell all of my things and move in with my parents and wondered if I'd ever be successful and reach my dreams
...On and on, just like the unique and valuable struggles in your own life.
But I believe that every challenge is a gift in disguise, and these powerful lessons not only gave me many blessings in return like self-acceptance, patience and perseverance - they inspired many life lessons like the one portrayed below:
Life is not a Competition, it is a Performance