Hi! I’m Sean and I’m super glad to meet you!
Welcome to my little corner of the world (wide web). I am SO excited to share my journey with you, and I am hoping you’ll consider sharing your journey with me.
I will admit, first and foremost: I’m just like anyone else. I’m not at all unique or special. I’m just a guy that’s become convinced, through my own personal journey, that LIFE IS AMAZING and absolutely full of wonder and potential. BUT it requires work and focus and (what I call) “being in it” to truly capture that sentiment and bask in it on a regular basis.
Growing up & achieving (some) success
I was born way back in the ’70s and grew up a child of the ’80s (yes, parachute pants and all). Ever restless, after high school, I enlisted in the US Navy as a Data Systems Technician. I really didn’t know what I wanted to do as a career, but I did know that I had an aptitude for computers (and I loved playing video games). Little did I realize that that fateful decision would serve me well decades to come.
In the 90’s, I served onboard the USS Comte de Grasse (DD-974), a Spruance-Class Destroyer based out of Norfolk, VA. This was a transformational time for me, and it gave me the unique opportunity to see much of the world, meet many great people, and learn what hard work really is.
After serving honorably for six years, I used my GI Bill to get my bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and achieved my dream of being a Web Programmer at a large Fortune 500 company. Life was truly good, and I felt I’d “arrived”. Having that job was, to me, the pinnacle of success; I’d always dreamt of having a placard with my name and the title “Programmer” emblazoned on it, and that’s precisely what I had.
Life Was Good, But Challenges Awaited
Way back then, the Internet was brand new and all the rage, and we were just getting glimpses into how business, commerce, and life itself would change as a result of this innovation. It was an exciting time and the sky was truly the limit, and as a result, life was really good. We lived in comfort, went on summer vacations every year, drove nice cars, and, of course, ate (and drank) very well.
Unfortunately, that success led to many bad patterns: late-night eating binges, skipping the gym, addiction to sugar, alcohol, and, ultimately obesity, unhappiness and a struggle with depression.
On the surface, my career was going well: I had my dream job and the title I’d worked hard for years to achieve; unfortunately, the definition of “success” in this (leadership) role was very different from what had gotten me there.
Where I’d cultivated success through my engineering and software development skills, my new role required something more abstract, more vulnerable, and frankly more difficult: leadership, influence, executive presence, and ultimately tremendous personal (and professional) confidence.
I admitted to myself that I was absolutely miserable at work, not much happier at home, and the result was a serious battle with depression, which turned to suicidal thoughts.
Kevin Enters the Picture
On Thursday, May 30, 2013, I took a step (with my uncle and best friend, Kevin) that forever changed my life: I started a 90-day fitness program called P90X. And, then after I finished, I did it again.
Now, for the record, I am not endorsing any product, and I will admit that, although this particular program worked great for me, it definitely isn’t for everyone. That said, it undoubtedly saved my life, and absolutely altered the course of my life.
Spartan Races & Knee Injuries
If you aren’t familiar with Spartan Races, they are mud/obstacle course races that come in three flavors: a short one, approximately equivalent to a 5k, called the Spartan Sprint, a medium one, approximately equivalent to a 10k, called the Spartan Super, and a long one, roughly equivalent to a half-marathon called the Spartan Beast. If you do all three in a year, it’s called the “Spartan Trifecta”. So, as you can imagine, to celebrate our success, Kevin and I decided to run our first Spartan Race in Fort Carson, Colorado, a “military-inspired” Spartan Sprint.
Later in the year, in the brisk month of October, Kevin traveled to Ohio and we ran “leg two” of our trifecta journey, the Spartan Sprint in Cumberland, a small town east of Columbus. Unfortunately during this race, tragedy would strike. I damaged the medial meniscus in my left knee and ended up limping through the majority of the ten-mile race.
But, I did it!
In December of 2014, I required surgery on my knee and unfortunately all of the high-impact stuff I did, not only with the Spartan Races, but with P90X as well, had left little cartilage in my knee, and most of it had to be scraped out.
To this day, I am left with what the doctor calls a “seventy-year-old knee”, constant pain and very limited mobility.
For the next four years, I focused on knee therapy and recovery, fearful that my days of Spartan Races were forever behind me. It was during this time that I found a love for weight lifting, and I poured myself into this endeavor. As we discuss in “My Intrepid Journey”, a lifestyle pattern that I strongly recommend is that we all choose a sport. Any sport. Not only do sporting endeavors decorate your life with meaningful opportunity for connecting with other people, but they can also serve to give your fitness journey meaning; a “destination”, so to speak.
Rebuilding your body takes time, and lots and lots of patience. It wasn’t until 2018 that I finally ran another Spartan Race, this time with Kevin and my son. For his high-school graduation, we celebrated by (finally) running the trifecta: The Sprint in Ohio, the Super in Utah and the Beast in Hawaii. Yes, my knee is still in pain, and yes, it was against the advice of my doctor (and my wife), but I did it.
I’ll never forget the advice my doctor gave me, after trying (unsuccessfully) to chide me about my plans to run the trifecta. He sat down next to me, put his hand on my shoulder and told me, “look I can’t tell you when your knee will give out. It could be today, tomorrow, or, quite honestly, never”. His eyes narrowed, and he looked me straight in the eyes and said, “just do these three things: one, stay as light as you can and lose as much body fat as possible. Two, keep your legs strong, and three, minimize the high-impact stuff, and if you feel pain, stop.”
I walked out of that office, reinvigorated, because I felt like I had a plan: something I could execute on. That year, running those races, were the happiest I had been in a long time, and I have the trifecta medals proudly displayed on my night-stand as a daily reminder of how a life dedicated to goals, on a foundation of fitness, nutrition and gratitude, is simply amazing.
Since then, I’ve dramatically modified my daily exercise routines to match my goals with a very specific pattern of weight management, strength training, yoga and low-impact cardiovascular exercise. My knee has never felt better.
Bodybuilding at the age of 48
At the end of 2019, and at the age of 48, I decided that perhaps I’d give a new sport a try: bodybuilding. I had been working out with a personal trainer, a professional bodybuilder, Jack, for about a year, and I finally decided to take the plunge.
Why? Mostly because I love new challenges, but it also resonated with me as a sport that might fit better with the advice my doctor had given me in 2019 prior to running the Spartan Races: lose body-fat. Check. Keep your legs strong. Check. Minimize high-impact exercises. Check.
Unfortunately, three weeks before the bodybuilding show, and after ten weeks of preparation, the show was postponed, and eventually cancelled because of COVID-19. So, I took pictures, and celebrated by eating a huge stack of cinnamon-bun pancakes with my family.
What Does it All Add Up To?
In closing, I’ve learned a lot about fitness, nutrution and gratitude. And I’m still learning. Every day. The journey continues, and I continually uncover new lifestyle patterns that I want to share.
This is my chance to share what I’ve learned with you and to learn from you. I can’t wait to share our journey together.
The journey is on.