I was speaking at an event in New Orleans recently, and I told a story of a defining moment I had during my time on The Biggest Loser. I think it might be something that you need to hear, too.
On The Biggest Loser, each week we had a challenge. It might be a feat of speed that you might have to compete at (of which I would never win…I’m slow). Or it might be a feat of strength that you might have to win (and there was a contestant there that could do a pull-up on day one! I couldn’t even hang for 1 second at 430 pounds). Needless to say, this 5’11” short, Irish-American wasn’t very fast, or strong, or even confident at the time. For the first 4 weeks I didn’t do well in the challenges. In fact, I was usually in the back of the pack. But in Week 6, we had a different kind of challenge.
Your Strength may not be your strength
When we walked down to the beach and saw Alison Sweeny, we knew something was about to happen. We arrived to see 8 large sand piles on Malibu Beach, each with a shovel handle sticking out of the top. I heard the contestant next to me groan, “Ah, man! Do you know what we’re gonna have to do?” And I answered while smiling, “Oh yea, I do! We’re gonna have to DIG!”
He thought I was crazy, but what he didn’t know was that I can dig! I mean, not just dig, but if you put a sharp-shooter shovel in my hands, it’s like a 6-shooter in John Wayne’s hands! Much of my life was spent with a shovel in hand – on my Uncle’s paving crew, and while looking for property corners while surveying land – and I felt something for the first time: confidence!
The Race Begins
Alison explained that each team of four would have to dig down into the beach and uncover a treasure chest that contained a key. After we retrieved it and unlocked one of four locks on a prize box, we could go back to help a teammate dig. The first team of four to unlock all of the locks would get what was inside the box.
Alison said, “On your mark, get set, GO!” and we were off! And after 25 minutes of digging, with my back killing me, my chest was nowhere in sight. I was so frustrated, because it seemed I was just making no headway!
Have you ever dug a hole in the sand? What happens? After you dig some sand out, and it looks like you’re making progress, the sides cave in and cover up all of the hard work you just did. After the 25 minutes I was getting so discouraged that I felt like giving up.
It’s not a matter of speed, it’s a matter of will
But I didn’t give up. I kept digging and digging and digging. So much so that I got angry! And finally, the shovel came down and hit something!
“Danny’s the first one to get to his treasure chest!” Those words were the sweetest words I’d heard since going to the biggest loser! I was FIRST at something! I pulled it out of the sand, got the key, and ran to unlock my lock. After doing so, I returned to see who could dig the best so I could help them finish – and my team couldn’t dig worth a darn!
I was first, but our team lost the challenge. And when I found out that the Blue Team had won plane tickets home to their families, I cried. I hadn’t seen or talked to Darci, David and Mary Claire in over a month! I was devastated.
Defining moments often come in defeat
I walked over to the hole I had just dug and looked down in it. And I saw something other than a hole; I saw my life.
Over and over I would begin to lose weight, losing 10 – 20 – 30 – even 60 pounds, only to become discouraged and quit. In fact, I lost 239 pounds in 6 months, 3 weeks, and 5 days on that show – but that was NOTHING! I added up all of the weight I had lost and regained over the 10 years before that night and was shocked. I’d lost over 1,000 pounds! I’d lose some and get injured – quit – and gain it all back. Then I’d lose some more and go out with friends – and eat pizza – and never get back on track, causing me to gain it all back and then some. And let’s face it – when you weigh almost 500 pounds like I did, and you lose 20 pounds, it seems like the sand that kept caving in on me! I’ll never be finished!
But that night, digging that hole, I didn’t give up; I didn’t quit. And I finished! I made myself a promise that night. I promised myself that no matter how hard things got, no matter how hopeless things seemed in my life, that when I set out to do something, I WOULD FINISH! I would Lose My Quit. And never again would I be a quitter.
Life is that hole in the sand
In our marriages and relationships, in our jobs, in our health, in our goals and dreams…There will always be a thousand reasons to quit. But what you need to do when you hit those times is keep going! Victory is just on the other side of that obstacle! Lose Your Quit and you will get where you are going.
No matter what you see (or don’t see), no matter what you hear, no matter how you feel, what matters is what you do – Never, ever quit. Never give up, and I promise, you’ll have a defining moment in the struggle, and your Journey will not be in vain!
In The Journey Training, you’ll have several defining moments like mine. You’ll find out things that have been holding you back, things you need to do to get you where you want to be, and you’ll also find ways to enjoy the journey instead of just racing the race! I hope you’ll join us for the next Threshold and begin digging your hole today! The sooner you do, the sooner you’ll have your defining moment!