Ever been so overwhelmed that you felt like giving up? In this raw and heartfelt episode, I open up about my personal experiences, including hitting rock bottom, making mistakes, and finding the strength to keep moving forward. Listen in as I share the story of when I got caught stealing as a kid and thought my life was over. But through these challenges, I discovered the importance of not giving up, taking breaks, and sharpening our tools to reach our goals - even when it feels like we're stuck in the mud.
You're not alone in feeling overwhelmed. I've been there too, going on weekend binging drinking sprees and making poor financial decisions. But the love, mercy, and grace of a higher power always found me. I began to pick up the pieces and rebuild myself, sharpening my axe to ensure I follow my true path, not just what society dictates. Join me as I explore the lessons learned from our struggles and the blessings that life has to offer when we choose not to give up.
You're listening to Excellence Above Talent, a podcast where we have the hard conversations about the lives of men and what leads us to achieve greatness and suffer defeat. Hear from other men's journeys as well, as we all learn and grow together to become inspirations to ourselves and those around us. And now your host, aaron Thomas.Speaker 2:
What's up? my beautiful people? Aaron Thomas, with Excellence Above Talent, wanted to hop on this podcast today and talk about not giving up. Life can sometimes feel so overwhelming. You question why you do the things that you do. You question why things are happening to you. You question if you deserve the good things that happen to you. You question if you deserve the bad things that happen to you. Life is just a crazy journey and for a lot of my life, what happened to me in my life? I thought it was something that was going to last forever. When I was little, i stole. I went to all subs and stole some candy in Crane, texas, and I thought I got away with it. But the cashier in Crane knew my uncle and my uncle told my mom and I was at church Just having a good time. It was Wednesday night, was running around in the back hanging out with all the kids and I just happened to look at my mom and a look on her face and how she looked at me told me that something was going to go down and my stomach dropped and she motioned me to come over there and I was like oh goodness. Then I was glad we were at church because I'm not sure what would have happened if we were at the house. And then she said the cashier still ain't got all subs. And I was like yes, ma'am, and she said you got to come see me when we get to the house. Stop playing. I thought my life was over, i was going to die. I almost did. But it was just one of those things where, when living your life and you do something right, or if you do something wrong, you feel like that is the end of it. But it's really a process of growth. I know now, and I knew stealing was wrong, but I still did it, and when I got caught, there was a growth of you know what? Not only did I embarrass myself, i embarrassed my mom and my dad, but I also embarrassed my family as a whole that lived in Crane, and so having that conversation with myself, growing within myself, helped me in life. But when it happened, i thought my life was over. And there has been instances in my life where I thought my life was over. But I got up and I kept trying and I kept pushing. And the thing about life is you have those ups and downs. When you have those downs, it doesn't feel like life is moving and you are just stuck in that spot. But if you're getting up every day and you're trying, you're inching your way through the mud and it doesn't feel like it. 5, 6, 7, 8. Nine months go by and you turn around and you look to see if you're still stuck and you realize That you're not in the mud anymore and then when it's high, you don't feel like you're ever going to come down. But what I've learned in life is you will have those lows, you will have those highs if you get up every single day and some days You'll do more than other days. Some days You'll just wake up and not say when. Some days you'll wake up and you do a little, and not say when. We have this notion as a society that we always have to be moving, we always have to be grinding, we always have to be whatever it is that they say, you, you have to be, and in my Thought process, you don't always have to be moving and grinding and pushing Forward. There is an analogy that John Maxwell Says in his speech. You have two people that are cutting down a tree. When they're first cutting down a tree, both axes are sharp and When they say go, start cutting the tree, both people start cutting the tree. One person Hift the tree five times, goes inside and sharpens his axe and then goes about his day. The other guy Laughs at the guy who just hits the tree for five times and then goes about his day. And the other guy just start hacking away at the tree. The next day, the guy who hit the tree five times comes back out with a sharpened axe And he's the tree five more times and it goes about his day. And the guy who was Hacking at the tree Smirks and laughs cause that guy lazy and dumb and stupid and not a hard worker, because he's not doing what he thinks he's supposed to be doing in order to cut down the tree. Wow, the guy who was just hacking at the tree He isn't focused on Now, his axe isn't sharp and when he's hitting the tree There is little to no movement. But because he is hacking away, moving around, thinking he's doing something that he is above or better than the person Who's just hacking it a couple of times and then sharpening the tool that's going to help him cut down the tree, and so after a while, the guy who is cutting down the tree. After hitting it five times, his tree falls And the guy who is hacking at the tree not paying attention to what's really going on. Now he's upset and angry And now he thinks the guy whose tree is cut down he thinks that, he thinks he's better than him, and now he has all these negative notions and connotations about the guy who did it his way. And, i think, a lot of people in our society. If we don't do it one way and we choose to do it another, different way, they frown upon you, they try to make fun of you, they try to break you down. They try to break you because they want to put you back in that box, but all you have to do is hit the tree five times, go and sharpen your tool and then come back and try again. So that's when I say some days you're going to be hacking away, thinking you're doing something and nothing's really happening. Some days you'll realize I got to sharpen this tool and you sharpen it and you go about your day, and then some days you don't even make it out of bed And that is totally fine. That is how life is. I almost gave up a few times because I thought I wasn't moving fast enough. I almost gave up a few times because when I looked around everything seemed to be the same, not realizing the work and effort I was putting into growing in my life. I have been doing CrossFit for about two and a half, two and a half, three years And there's this movement called Fran And the Fran is 21, 15, nine. So you do 21 thrusters into 21 pull ups and then 15 thrusters into 15 pull ups and then nine thrusters into nine pull ups. And the first time I did Fran I did it in nine minutes and 45 seconds. There is a cap on Fran. It should only be nine minutes or less. But the first time I did it I was almost done. So I was like, let me just see what my time could be. So my first time was 9.45, over the nine minute cap. I did it yesterday and although it still sucked, my time was five minutes and 31 seconds. So I cut four minutes and 14 seconds off my time, which kind of blew my mind because my goal was like seven minutes, because I knew I had gotten better at CrossFit. So I just assumed like in that six to seven minute range, but to get 5.31 and to cut four minutes and 14 seconds off of my original time. It helped me realize, or it opened my eyes to, what progress is really about, what not giving up really does to a person mentally and physically and emotionally and financially. I realized that through suffering you grow. Because within that two and a half years of CrossFit I would say six months I had stopped going. Three or four months I had stopped going. I was off and on for a couple of months, but I would always come back and I would be consistent and I would show up at 5 am. For most of my training in CrossFit, 5 am class is where I get the most out of life. So the 5 am class every morning, 5 am up and at it trying to figure it out, not really paying attention to the journey of the process, that I was getting better and doing better for myself. I just didn't quit. And because I didn't quit I got better Suffering, going through hardships, going through heartbreaks, dealing with past trauma, dealing with pain. If you don't give up and keep looking at those things and saying to those things, i'm not going anywhere, i'm going to still get up, i'm going to still try. So we are going to have to figure out who is leading this ship, because a lot of times people don't understand or realize that their trauma and pain and heartbreak past heartbreak and suffering they don't realize that a lot of times those things are what is leading you to do and say the things that you're doing and saying. A lot of times people don't realize that it's not who they really are. It's the thing that is holding them back from being their true, authentic self. Because if you don't give up and you face your problems, at one point you will start to realize who you are, your true, authentic self. You will show up, you'll become the person or you'll be becoming the person that God has created you to be. A lot of people just give up. They don't think they're worthy, they don't think they're enough, so they just and when I say give up, it's not necessarily give up and commit suicide or kill yourself. Sometimes giving up is going to a job that you hate for 20 years, to retire and not make any impact in this world. Sometimes giving up is knowing you have gifts and talents that are inside of you and you are afraid to use them because you don't know what people will say or think. Sometimes giving up is putting so much emphasis on how people view you and you don't want to push the people in your life away, so you shrink, you don't show your true self to people. Sometimes giving up is grabbing a bottle and drinking every night because you don't want to deal with that trauma and pain that you're going through. Sometimes giving up is popping pills and smoking weed. Sometimes giving up is going to church 24 seven, saying you're religious, but nothing in your life shows that you go to church 24 seven. There are parents of it does. But your heart, the inside, nothing has changed and you think going to church and fulfilling all the things that you're doing at church is what you need to do. But there's pain and sadness and you're not happy. But you throw yourself into something, hoping that all this pain and these negative feelings will go away. Giving up looks different for people because people are different. I'm coming into more understanding about myself and the times that I have tried to give up, because I have tried to give up multiple times in my life Drinking and driving, putting a gun to my head, trying to have sex That's another way of giving up. People don't think about it like this, because if a man is having sex with a bunch of females. Oh, he's about that life or he's so cool. But now I look back and I think, bruh, i was using sex as a drug. I didn't want to feel that trauma, i didn't want to feel that pain, so I buried myself into this female, gave her all that I could give her. It didn't chop off. It didn't found somebody else. That's giving up, because when you get done with that bottle or that drugs or sex, that feeling comes back again and it's not a good feeling. So now, in this process of in my life and looking at the times that I tried to give up, i wake up now with a different sense of purpose and joy. Now, then, i did a year ago. My birthday is in July 1st, turning 37, 35 and 36. Man, i can't describe to you the roller coaster of emotion, of emotions that happened these past two years, from having a six-figure contract with the workforce working with kids financially, was able to really help these kids out in ways I never thought I could. I was married, we were making good money together. My 35th birthday, i was in Cancun doing all kinds of stuff that I never thought I could ever do or imagine, had a four bedroom, two bath home, 3300 square feet, two cars, or four cars Two were paid off, i think my truck was either almost paid off or about to be paid off was out in the community, heavy winning awards, winning accolades on the outside and it looked like I had a perfect life, but only inside. There was so much destruction and pain and trauma. And then I got a divorce and that sent me down a different spiral. And then, while getting a divorce, my contract with the workforce was canceled. I had just put in my two weeks at the crisis center because I was really going to jump into focusing more on the kids that I was working with. So my two weeks was up. My ex-wife says she wanted a divorce. My contract with the workforce was canceled. I tried to give up, not even going to lie and say I didn't. I tried to give up. I would go on these drinking binges. Sunday was Sunday fund day. Monday was Monday, so why not drink? Tuesday was Taco Tuesday. Wednesday was Wildin' Out Wednesday. Thursday was Thirsty Thursday, and in Friday and Saturday you just drank because it was a weekend. I made a lot of dumb financial decisions trying to create this life of partying and hanging out And I was out there, y'all. I'd show up to CrossFit, i'd get an Uber because I was so trashed, and if I was up around 4.30, i'd get an Uber to go to CrossFit, drunk as hell Do the workout. Somebody from the gym would drive, take me back to the crib and I'd wake up the next day and don't remember none of it Why am I sore? And then go on the CrossFit page and be like, oh, i want to go work out. I don't remember any of that. So I tried to give up multiple times, but I thank God for his love and his mercy and his grace. He always showed up when I thought I had nothing else to give, that I did not deserve love or joy or happiness. He always showed up through a church service or through a book I was reading, or just through somebody that came into my life. He always showed up to tell me that he loves me. And then, when I came to and realized the financial mess I'd put myself in because, therefore, about five or six months, it was pure craziness, it was an everyday thing, and for five or six months, financially, i just did not care And a few people called me out like, hey, man, what are you doing Or what's going on To help snap me out of me trying to give up? And then once I realized, okay, i have to do better and be better, not only for myself but for the people that are in my life. Because at this time, at this time, i was still going to the youth detention center talking to those young men and women about life and trying to figure it out. Well, i was, i was still doing a lot of things in the community, like I was. I was still doing things while trying to quit at the same time. But when I came to and I realized I got to do better, there was just so much destruction left in my path of me trying to give up. And I'm now in that process of picking up those pieces and putting them back into places where they need to be and rebuilding myself. I can truly say, at the age of 36, regardless of what I have gone through, what I have put myself through mentally, physically, financially, sexually, emotionally, all the least I am in a place of I know myself, i love myself and I want to push myself to continue to figure out more about me. I look in the mirror and I don't hide or run from the guy that I see I love, the guy that is looking back at me, because I'm trying to make him the best possible person he could be, not for anyone else, but for myself. I don't want to go into heaven and God asked me, or shows me, all the things I could have done in this world And I didn't do them because I was so hell bent on quitting, on giving up, that I didn't put myself in situations where the gifts and talents that he has given me were able to be shown. Because it's not about me And I'm realizing that more and more. It has never been about me. It has been about what God has put in me that could help glorify his kingdom And bring people to him because of my acts of love and kindness and joy. So this podcast today is about not giving up because you have a beautiful life to live, and I'm so thankful that I did not give up because I have this beautiful life that I get to create and enjoy and figure out. And there will be some hurts and there will be some pains and there will be some trauma that I'm still dealing with, but at least I know now that I'm that guy sharpening his axe and chopping his wood five times and then going back inside and trying to figure out ways to be better and do better. I'm not that guy previously chopping at the wood, hoping for a change, hoping that things will get better, but not taking a step back and assessing the situation of this tree isn't going anywhere because my axe isn't sharp. I'm not that guy anymore. Head down, just grind, just grind, just grind, just grind, just grind. You eventually get out of it. That's a damn lie. You won't. If your tools aren't sharp, sharp, you'll never get out of it. You'll stay there until you can't work anymore and you'll look up and you'll realize there were no relationships formed. No one really knows who you are. The people in your life that loved you are now gone. They saw you killing yourself, grinding for something that society says you had to do, and now you're no more. You're a shell of yourself and you're angry and you're upset and you're pissed off because you took what society says you had to do to be a man, and all that work, all that money did nothing for you because you'd never stop to create relationships. You never stop to figure out is this what I'm supposed to be doing. You wasn't having fun chopping that wood. I wasn't having fun drinking. I wasn't having fun having sex with all these females. I was not having fun working 18 hour days. I wasn't finding myself in those work days. I wasn't finding myself in those women. I wasn't finding myself in that alcohol. I wasn't finding myself in porn. But in my head, that is what you have to do in this society. Get up and grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind, grind. Try to destroy everybody in your path. Don't collaborate. Collaborations are for weak individuals. Do it yourself. You don't need any help Now. I will accept the help if it's given. I will collaborate with people. I will form and create relationships, because I realized trying to do life by myself only puts me in places where I don't want to be. Trying to do life by myself only puts me in places I do not want to be. So I'm now trying to surround myself with people. I'm now trying to do things that are meaningful. I'm trying to slow down and gain perspective on what is really going on around me. I'm trying to take some time for myself, to sit and learn about myself. So this podcast is for the people who want to give up. I'm telling you now do not, because life is beautiful. If you take a step back and you see all the things that you have accomplished and all the things you have done, then you know that you can accomplish more things and do more things. So don't give up on yourself. Don't give up on the people in your life. Give yourself grace. You're going to mess up. Allow yourself to be to mess up. Allow yourself to be human. Allow yourself to figure it out. We don't know all the answers, and the only way you can find the answers is if you keep growing in this world. Keep growing in this life. I heard an analogy the other day that really helped me out, and it was trees. Roots get stronger when they go through storms. So, in my Bruce Lee voice, be a tree. If anyone hasn't told you today that they love you, let me be the first to say I love you. You're awesome, you're amazing. You deserve the best that this world has to offer. Do not quit, do not give up. The world does not get easier, but you will get stronger. My friend, y'all have a blessed weekend. Bye-bye.Speaker 1:
Thank you for listening. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast so you never miss an episode And for daily motivational and up-to-date content. follow us on Facebook and Instagram at excellenceabovetalent. And remember keep moving forward, never give up and you are never alone in this battle. We'll see you next time.