Opportunity to Dream

Opportunity to Dream

Last week I was speaking to a group of 6th grade classes at a middle school about dreams. Giving up on my dreams was a large part of how I ended up almost 500 pounds, feeling helpless and hopeless almost giving up on everything. My introduction video says at 17 seconds in, “When I was 17 years old, I was a rock star. I was lookin’ good and feelin’ good; I feel like somebody’s stolen my dream. This thing has stolen my life – and I want my life back!”

There’s so much truth in that statement. My passion has always been music. I went to my first concert at 16, saw the band on stage and the crowd, and made my decision: I was going to be a rock star.

Now, we all know that the odds of being a rock star were not in my favor. But I had an ingredient that could sure help: passion.

Opportunity Knocks

I went right home, dug a dusty guitar out of the closet, and went to work! I began learning melody lines from my favorite songs. After a few weeks, I heard some of my school mates had a band, so I went to watch them and was really impressed.

The week before I had just bought a bass guitar at a pawn shop at the advice of someone who told me, “You’re playing bass, not guitar. Guitar plays all of the strings at once, and you’re only playing 1 note at a time.” So I ran to the pawn shop and bought beat up, hollow-body bass and amplifier. The band I was watching finished rehearsal, and the bass player had to go. I asked, “How many gigs have you played?”

“None. We’ve only learned 6 songs. We want to learn Detroit Rock City by Kiss, and The Trooper by Iron Maiden, but Greg can’t play the bass lines.”

“I could play those bass lines,” I calmly declared, knowing I had barely been playing bass for a week. After convincing them of my bass playing prowess – which was completely falsified – they said, “Okay, Come back next Saturday and we’ll play those songs.” Boy did I have my work cut out for me! But I practiced until my fingers hurt until late every night, and the next Saturday I replaced Greg as the bass player in that unnamed band! I was really going to be a rock star! 3 months later we played a dance at school and became rocks stars on the high school level!

Dreams are the driver, opportunity is the road

Over the next 10 years, I played with several bands. I soon found myself on stage with Donny Osmond in front of thousands. Later, the band I was playing for actually knocked New Kids on the Block out of the number one singing group in the nation. We were on the Billboard Top 40, and had a record contract with RCA. After that opportunity didn’t pan out, a 3-man band I was in recorded an album and was ready to release it worldwide. It was bootlegged overseas, and the rug was pulled out from underneath me again. Later I found out Unleash the Dog was the #1 band in Greece in 1996, beating out Metallica and Rob Zombie – but we never even saw a cent of the profit.

At that point, another opportunity was sure to present itself, but I gave up. This is what I talked to those 6th graders about last week – not giving up on their dreams. My mantra since The Biggest Loser has been Lose Your Quit. There will always be another opportunity, so never give up.

Dreams can look different, so take the opportunities that come your way

At 39, I felt like my music career was over. My friends in that band in the 90’s (PC Quest) had gone on to do great things. Chad was the lead singer of Shiny Toy Guns, Steve was a studio musician and performer in LA, Drew was on tour with several artists, and I was left wondering what happened. Bob from Unleash the Dog was now in Arizona and was the national head of music instruction for Fender, and I could go on and on. They didn’t give up.

I only saw my dream of a rock star one way. Others kept their passion and brought it to the opportunities that came to them while I simply gave up. After going to my experiential training in 2008 and re-igniting my passion, I made it onto the cast of The Biggest Loser. The funny thing is, on that show I wrote new music. It provided me an opportunity to awaken those dreams once again – just not exactly how I thought.

I wouldn’t be a rock star, but I would be living my dream with passion! Since the show, I have spoken in 5 countries and 45 states in the US – to over a million people – and each time I close with two songs: the first I ever wrote called I can’t forget about you and Second Chance that I wrote on the show. I’m not a rock star, but I am living my dream, speaking and passing that passion of not giving up to others. And as I played Second Chance last week to those 6th graders, it was a dream fulfilled.

Where is your opportunity?

Your dreams are real, and they are possible. Those 6th graders raised their hands and told me what they wanted to be. One in the front row said, “I want to play in the NBA!” He was one of the shortest kids in the crowd, and that was a very lofty goal. I told him, “Never give up on that dream! And take the opportunities that come your way and you’ll live that dream! It might look different than you think, but it can happen. You might be a coach, or an announcer on TV for the NBA, or you very well might be the next Kevin Durant. Who knows?”

I thought about the movie The Sand Lot. Bennie made it to the big show, and Scotty Smalls made it as the LA Dodger announcer. They both realized their dreams – just in a different way.

So that vision that has been placed in your heart is true. Don’t waste an opportunity to bring the passion you have to the opportunities that present themselves. Even if it looks different that you thought, you can be a rock star!

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Sweat the Small Stuff

Sweat the Small Stuff

I hear it all the time: don’t sweat the small stuff. This can be true at times, such as someone leaving the cap off the toothpaste or other irritations such as not getting your way. However, if you live by this saying in other areas of your life, it can lead to disaster!

Small stuff becomes big stuff

I was mowing the lawn the other day, and when I was weed-eating the back corner of our yard, I saw it – my greatest enemy – POISON IVY! I am extremely allergic to poison ivy; so much so that I have been covered from head to toe, had in in my eyes and ears, and even in places I will not identify in this blog! Being a land surveyor since the age of 9, I’ve had the pleasure (actually the annoyance) of meeting this terrorizing plant on more occasions than the average Joe! Just take a hike with me at Turkey Mountain – you’ll hear me mention this plant at least 50 times during the hike – warning everyone that it is looming just beyond the boundary of the trail!

Poison Ivy has been in that area of my backyard for years, but I learned that if you remove it while it is small, it’s easy. Just a pair of gloves and pulling a few small plants and almost no chance of getting the rash if you’re careful. Obviously, that area of the yard hadn’t been tended in quite a long time, so that small stuff became big stuff and now it’s going to take much more effort to handle. The same can be said for other things in our lives, too.

Little Foxes seem small – but in the end they add up

Those peanut M&M’s in the breakroom… Oh how they call my name! Just one won’t hurt, right? Well, I can tell you that I didn’t make it onto the cast of The Biggest Loser by eating just one M&M. 

I made it on by eating just one M&M over and over again! Yes, I see it all the time, and have even experienced it again myself this year! Those little snacks and treats add up to enough calories that all the weeks of working hard in the gym makes absolutely no difference! Those small things canceled out my work, and in turn became a big thing again.

Yes, there have been people in my boot camp that haven’t lost very much weight. They feel better and are more physically fit, but the pant size just isn’t getting smaller. It is usually a lazy diet that causes this. For the most part, they may be making good choices when choosing what to eat. And then there are those small things – the few chips as they walk by the table, the couple of drinks they had on Saturday night, or yes – the M&M as you walk by the break room – that add up over the week to be as big as that 3500 calories you burned. And that 3500 calories you burned would have been a pound you lost! But the scale doesn’t move. This is just one example, but it can be applied to many areas of your life – in your business, your family, your faith and in you.

Small steps over time add up to big results

Results can always happen in a positive or negative aspect! Just as the above example I gave you in my own life, small choices can add up to sabotaging what you really want for what you want in the moment. Those small decisions add up to bigger results. Brian Klemmer once told me, “Results – often harsh, but always fair.” The good news is that it works both ways! Lately, I’ve been walking into that break room to get coffee or water and I look straight at those M&M’s and say out loud, “Nope! Not today folks!” And the results I am getting are amazing. I have lost 15 pounds in the past 3 weeks! A combination of that decision with a few others have made my results move in a different direction. And this direction is the one I desire!

I want to ask you a question: are you getting the results you desire? If not, could it be a product of those small choices you are making? Taking an inventory of your life in the areas you want to change is a must to actually see that change come to pass. When you see those small things that are growing into big things, it’s easier to handle it now than after weeks, months, or perhaps years of “putting up with it” and seeing it grow into something huge!

My friend Arthur Greeno was talking to me about small stuff a few months back. He saw that his Chick-Fil-A store wasn’t getting the numbers at the drive-through they had been in the past. He investigated and found out that the automatic change machine wasn’t working. He told me that counting up the change not only added to mistakes that can be made, but added an average of 6-seconds per transaction.

Not really that much, right? Well, that small amount can add up and cause their service to suffer…and also the profits to dwindle! In fact, if 1,200 cars normally go through the drive-through on a good day, that 6-seconds per car adds up to 2-hours of transactions lost in a day! Yes, small stuff can really add up to a big result!

Sweat the small stuff before it’s too late!

I’ve seen marriages end because of a few small things that were never addressed. I’ve seen businesses fail because of small things that were never caught or changed. I’ve seen diets fail because of small bites and nibbles that went unnoticed. Maybe it’s time for you to sweat the small stuff! Maybe your dreams and goals have been sabotaged by the small stuff you are not tending to. Yes, some things may only be a distraction, but the only way to know is to take an inventory.

In The Journey Training, people become aware of some of that small stuff that they didn’t even know was there! Many choose to change some of those things, and we’ve seen BIG results from those small changes, including reconciled marriages, weight-loss, and even increased income! What small stuff are you not aware of that might be holding you back? Why not give The Journey Training a chance to help you begin to sweat the small stuff and keep you from having to sweat the big stuff?!

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Watch Your Step!  By Alison Loyd

Watch Your Step! By Alison Loyd


 As a person with low vision and poor balance, I’ve heard my whole life, “Watch your step.” My family and friends don’t want me to trip on a curb, uneven step, or my own two feet! Even with the warning, I sometimes still fall. I pick myself up, collect anything that went flying, and move on. It was just a curb, no big deal; the knees are used to it.

On the occasion that I fall down the stairs, however, I’m not as quick to bounce back. I usually end up hobbling on a twisted ankle for days.

One step at a time

When using a GPS, we need to know the destination. While we may like to be aware of the next few steps, we can’t skip steps. When building a house, you can’t put up the walls until you lay the foundation.

Since taking the leap of faith to leave my job, I’ve had the privilege of networking with some incredible people. Each person I meet leads to another opportunity or lead. With each meeting comes quality conversation, new ideas, confirmations, convictions, and valuable relationships.

Overcoming a misstep is a lot easier than overcoming a giant tumble.

Most of the time when I trip, I don’t know the step is there, or I don’t have time to process the warning. If I know I’m going to fall, I will be afraid and will question taking the step.

One of the interviews that was offered to me came with a whole stairway of questions in my mind. Is it feasible to start immediately? Will I move? When will I move? What about this obligation or that obligation? All of these issues were raised in a matter of moments of accepting the interview! I felt so overwhelmed, I fell UP the stairs! I had to stop, allow God to hold my hand, and just go to the interview. After all, that was the only guaranteed step.

“Be aware of your surroundings.” 

Yet another phrase I’ve heard most of my life that holds a lot of truth: be aware of your surroundings. When a driver is courageous enough to let me navigate,

I have to pay extra close attention to where we are. Walking by myself or crossing a street requires my entire focus. I can’t get distracted…it never ends well. In the same way if all I think about in an interview is everything that is coming afterwards, I won’t interview well. I have to stay present and aware. 

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”

Like Neil Armstrong, The Journey Training likes to dream big! To make the giant leap to our dreams, we have to take small steps. If your dream is financial freedom, you have to start by writing down your income and expenses. If you want to lose 50 pounds, you can break it down into steps of a few pounds at a time. If you want an awesome job, you have to start with a search!

Where does your stairway lead? What’s your first step? You’re next step?

In the Journey Training, it is amazing what happens in each class. The people that end up in the room together always seem to offer exactly the perspective needed by the class to choose each of their next steps. Alison, and all the graduates of The Journey Training are proof of this. Through their very real struggles and life lessons, the rest of the class learns valuable perspectives of their own lives, allowing them to choose the next step for them with a little more insight. Watching your step can become a lot easier when you have a little perspective. Who knows? Maybe the very next threshold class is your next step!

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Move The Book By: Amy Deering

Move The Book By: Amy Deering

Have you ever had a job to do? I mean one that you had already fixed in your mind how you were going to do it? I mean, no matter what, it was going to be done your way. Or maybe it wasn’t a job. Maybe it was your vacation. Or the car you are going to buy. Or the puppy you are planning to get. Recently I had one – it was a book. But, something got in my way.

Turn on the light

By my bed on a table I have a lamp. Not just a lamp, but my grandmother’s lamp. It is something special to me. It also has something wrong with it. Tony has promised me he’ll fix it when he has the time. When I read a book, I enjoy reading under the light of my grandmother’s lamp before going to sleep.

A while ago I was so excited when I finally bought Arthur Greeno’s book, “Dysfunctional Inspiration.” After all, I was finally going to get to read about the famous brownie incident that Mike Tedford mentions frequently, advising that it, in fact, was something that really did happen!

I lay down to read the book and…my lamp is broken. I turn on the overhead light, but Tony he doesn’t like having it on while watching TV. I’m going to read this book in bed, so I read the first 2 chapters using the flashlight on my phone. This was a pain – not the easiest way to read a book – so I lay the book down by the lamp, and request again to Tony that he fix the lamp so I could read at night.
As the days – then the weeks – go by and I look at Arthur’s book laying unread under the lamp, I get really frustrated with Tony! Why won’t he fix my lamp when he said he would? Several times at Wal-Mart, I almost buy a cheap lamp, but I just can’t bring myself to replace Grandma’s lamp. In my mind, I can’t finish the book without Tony fixing the lamp.

As I lay in bed about 2 weeks ago, I again became frustrated. Then it was as if the lamp came on, only in my thoughts! Every morning, I do a devotion on the couch in the living room. There’s plenty of light to read. I thought, “What if I just MOVE THE BOOK?” So the next morning when I got up, I picked up the book and took it with me. After my devotional time, I read some of Arthur’s book and marked my place. And what seemed like the next day, I finished the book!

It took me over a month to finish Arthur’s book, but it seemed like a day! I got to thinking in a Journey Training way….how was this a reflection of my life? How many times am I so focused on doing it MY WAY, or being “right”, that I lose sight of the fact that there is another, and possibly quicker & easier way to do it? And why was I blaming Tony for me not choosing to read the book. Victim much?  Now I pose a question: What might you be putting off? Is there another way to do it? Perhaps instead of waiting for something to get fixed, maybe you just need to “move the book!”

Every month, people enter The Journey Training  wanting to be “right” so much that they end up being frustrated and not being happy! By the end of the weekend, they see so many more possibilities of how they can be happy, and that doing it their way isn’t the most important thing! What are you NOT doing? Why not sign up for the next Threshold class and find out?

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Where are you sowing your energy? By Debbie Loveless

Where are you sowing your energy? By Debbie Loveless

I watch people. Not the creepy kind of watching – just people watching. Lately, I’ve noticed how people react to and contribute to their surroundings. It is amazing to see this universal truth: Those who lead lives that are filled with drama, chaos, and turmoil seem to attract those very things. Those who lead lives filled with peace, love, and acceptance also attract those things. So what does this mean?

Sowing is a popular subject!

There are tons of books written on this subject. Just do a Google search for positive energy or sowing and you’ll see a huge list of speakers, books, and blogs. It’s a universal truth that what you sow will come back at you in spades! So think about it; where are you sowing your energy? How do you spend your time? What are you looking at on the internet, choosing for music, or choosing to read? Is it positive and uplifting or negative and full of darkness? Does it bring you momentary happiness that fades or does it fill your life with happiness that lasts? The truth is in your focus – what you choose to sow.

Reaping your own bullet

Once I fell into a depression. It lasted about a year and the cause was gossip. You see, I had spread gossip about someone which in turn hurt someone else. My personality didn’t allow grace for these kinds of mistakes, and this was a huge mistake! I had damaged a relationship between two people, and they weren’t even the subject of my gossip.

I was raised to believe that if you had gossip on someone, you had power over them. My mistake almost cost me my life. You see, at that time my children were the only thing that kept me from wishing I was gone. I was prescribed medication and started digging my way out of the darkness, but it eventually took a change of perspective and atmosphere as well. I’m sure you can relate – I couldn’t forgive myself. And I didn’t know what grace was, so I never even considered that God could forgive me. In fact, I really didn’t know God at the time so I really didn’t care…

For a while, I wallowed in it and couldn’t see a way out! And I sure couldn’t see how to find happiness. I was stuck; all I could see was the mistake. I surrounded myself with things, habits, and people that supported my view of myself. These things all confirmed my belief that I was worthless, nobody wanted me, and I wasn’t welcome. But these were LIES! The enemy wants you to believe that those lies are your reality. He is the author of deception, and he wants you to see no hope.

Grace is free – and frees others

Later, I met a man named Nick who taught me something. During his teaching on God’s grace, I sat in the back silently crying. I had never been taught that Jesus came to give grace and forgiveness. Deep down I knew that acceptance and salvation had nothing to do with rules, even though rules were what I’d been taught as a child. I was taught that to be loved, you had to be good; that salvation was hard and full of rules, and if you messed up you were no longer worthy of salvation!

What I learned is that the truth is that grace itself proves that we are all loved, and that we are all different by design! God made each of us unique – warts and all! Grace gives us permission to be who He meant us to be. Salvation isn’t about judgement, but about relationships! And grace gives us freedom!

Change first what you sow

So what does this mean? If you are struggling with your emotions, think back over the last couple of days. Have you sung praises to God, or wallowed in deep despair? Have you surrounded yourself with people and actions that lift you up or tear you down? Are you proud of how far you have come or still looking at how far you have to go?

My suggestion is to focus on the positive things, and on the positive people. Be proactive and bring the positive into your life! Be willing to do things that are out of character – go dance in the rain, find your inner child and do something you haven’t done in years – something that used to bring you joy! Start a gratitude journal. Find things to be thankful for every day. And then twice a day, and then every hour! You’ll begin to see the world differently – as God sees it! Take a step toward your dreams. It doesn’t matter how large or small. Take the time to sit and watch a sunrise, or take a friend to see God’s painting in the sky. Take the time to listen to the rain and notice its peace. Take the opportunity to watch God’s perfect timing. Give yourself Grace, forgive yourself; God already has! Know that God uses all things for good, and even your mess has a purpose; once you escape it, you’ll have a story of survival that will help others!

If you are surrounded with negativity, maybe a look in the mirror is required – a really good look! What energies are you sending out? How do you react to the small things? Are you proud of your accomplishments or a defeatist in the fact that you didn’t do more? Did you achieve your dreams or complain about how tired, sore, or time crunched you are? Do you have a mentality of scarcity or one of abundance? If you can’t see the positive in your life, ask someone who exhibits the positive traits you desire. And listen to what they have to say – really listen. Then, you’ll be a step closer to attaining the freedom you want!

Hundreds of people have found freedom through The Journey Training by letting themselves off the hook. Perhaps The Journey Training can help you begin a path of grace for yourself – and in turn set you on a course towards your dreams!

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