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As I sit here writing this on my 46th birthday,with my daughters sitting on the couch next to me and my girlfriend quietly working around the house, I’m at peace.

Pure, unadulterated peace.

But it wasn’t always like this; far from it actually.

And if you’ve read through my posts here, you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.

Many of you know that I spent 11 years in a career that I loathed and took much pleasure in writing about my journey out of cubicle hell from 2010-2013.

All I could think about what how badly I needed to be working for myself and doing meaningful work. It consumed me and I wrote hundreds of articles about it. A few of the most personal (and powerful) are here, here, and here.

The desire to have freedom over my time and my schedule was the fire that kept me going when things slowly fell apart around me. My writing was the one thing that was mine and nobody could take that away from me.

I still look back at my early writing and am amazed by what I created. It was born from passion, anger, frustration, and the will to beat the system.

And I did. Sort of..

Change….Lots and Lots of Change

Since starting this blog in 2010, my life has changed pretty much 180 degrees. I went from a stressed out, unhappily married, unhappily employed, and overall miserable man to who I am today.

No longer do I have a morning commute. No longer am I married. No longer am I doing meaningless and unfulfilling work. No longer do I dread Monday mornings.

Instead, I’m divorced, in a wonderfully supportive and loving relationship, my daughters and I are closer than ever before, I’m healthier than I’ve been in a decade, and I get to wake up each morning with a purpose.

I get to do what I love each day and that’s helping other dads get and stay healthy.

Life is good and I’m in a good place. Scratch that, I’m in a great place.

But it took work to get here…lots of it. And believe me, it wasn’t all fun and games.

And it was just a few short years ago, in 2014, that I broke free from my office prison and went to work in the field I’m most passionate about; fitness.

It was in that year I decided to carve out my own path and started a real live online business. FitDadNation.com was born and I went all in.

Going All In

Yes, once I made the transition from corporate stooge to full fledged entrepreneur, I went in with both feet. I didn’t have any other option. It became a”sink or swim” situation and I had to hustle my ass off just to make enough to live.

I went from just having to be at work from 9-5 to working all day, every day. I loved what I was doing so it didn’t really feel like work, although those 15 hour days can wear a brother out..

And I’ll tell you straight up that not knowing when (or if) you’ll get paid again is a BIG motivator and what I once took for granted (lunch breaks, video games, wasting time) are no longer viable.

If I wasn’t creating, producing, or connecting, I was failing.

Eight hours of sleep was now a distant memory and surviving on Red Bulls and sugar was how I got through most of the early days. I was so busy in fact that I lost 20 pounds in just 4 months.

And that wasn’t a good thing since I’m not a big guy. At 6’0, I fell to a low of 162 pounds with my pants (and even boxers) falling off of me, and people wondering if I was “sick”..

No I didn’t have cancer, I just had more things to do than I had time.

And I think about all of you who are in the situation I was in for so many years; a situation I was able to get myself out of before it was too late.

And I want you to understand that leaving your job in order to pursue your passion is an amazing thing, but also one that needs to be fully understood before you try…because it’s going to be the most challenging thing you’ve ever done.

Believe me.

There Is No Glory In Misery

After spending over a decade grinding out a miserable job in finance, dreading Monday mornings, and being a slave to egotistical bosses and the almighty cubicle, I am now a different man in a much different place.

On a day like today; my birthday, it only makes sense to take stock of all the blessings I have in my life and be truly grateful for them all.

It’s not something that comes easy as the years of negativity and a strained marriage have taken its toll on my psyche.

But I feel good. In fact, better than I have in many, many years. And it’s because of all the decisions I’ve made in the last four years that led me to this moment.

You see, my life sucked just a few short years ago. My marriage was crumbling, my job was insanely unrewarding, and I thought all my dreams were destined to die along with me (probably at an early age due to a massive heart attack).

But then something happened.

I made the choice to not live the rest of my life for someone else and instead was gong to live it for me. I played the martyr long enough and sacrificed my happiness to keep the status quo going.

It wasn’t working.

And I knew that if I made changes; massive changes, that life would change as well. For me and for my daughters.

And I’d love to end this post by telling you that I have no stress, all the money I could ever want, and ride unicorns all day long, but that’s just not the case.

In fact, life in many ways, has presented more challenges.

Say what?!?

Being an online entrepreneur sounds glamorous and sexy and many fall into the trap of thinking it’s a cake walk. And maybe for some, it is.

But for me, it’s a  real struggle. Yes, it’s a struggle I love, but a struggle nonetheless.

The Grass Is Always Greener

The ironic thing about my story is that I spent SOOO much time thinking about how much I hated my job and how badly I wanted to run my own business, that I failed to really understand the magnitude of what actually goes into creating and running a successful online business.

I mean it looks so simple and there are so many “experts” that make it seem like success can happen from little more than starting a website and sharing your story.

But it’s been far from that for me. Really fucking far.

Since starting FitDadNation.com and my online business in 2014 (started as SingleDadFitDad.com), I’ve had my share of uphill battles and have doubted myself more times than I’ll admit to you.

I’ve shed tears of frustration, been on the verge of a total financial collapse, and considered just shutting it all down and going back to get a “real” job.

Pretty crazy, I know.

Why on Earth would I ever consider going back to a j-o-b when I finally have realized my dream of entrepreneurship?? Because it’s insanely fucking hard and there is nobody to hold you accountable…to anything. There are no schedules, no required hours, and no boss.

There are no paycheck every two weeks, no health benefits, and no 401k plan. There is nothing given to you and everything is earned. And if you don’t figure it out, you’ll soon find yourself deep in the shit.

Please understand that I am not complaining because although I still struggle almost every day with one thing or another, I love my life and my choices.

But I want you to understand that your desire to break free from your cushy office job in order to sit on a white, sandy beach with a laptop and a margarita isn’t exactly reality.

I was looking over some of the comments I’ve gotten on this blog over the years and noticed a interesting thing; more than 80% of the bloggers who were pursuing the laptop lifestyle are no longer doing it.

They’ve quit. They’ve gone back to the “safety” of their jobs. They gave up on their hopes and dreams of having a more fulfilling career. In short, they’ve settled.

Why?

Because it’s hard. There is a ton of negativity. It’s risky. It’s unforgiving. It requires great effort. Most fail. And those who don’t stand out, get chewed up.

I’m not here to discourage you. I’m just telling you how it is, for me at least. I’m all for pursuing your passions and living with purpose and I’d love nothing more than to hear your success story.

Hell, I’ll even share your story on here if you’d like.

But I want you to full understand the price you’ll pay for embarking on this journey. Be prepared to fail. And fail. And fail.

Be strong; stronger than your excuses or that little voice in your head telling you to quit.

It’ll be worth it…

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