My whole life I’ve considered myself a winner. Even as a kid I hated to lose. I think about all my accomplishments to date with two World Series rings, thirteen seasons as an MLB player and millions in the bank… yet I still feel that fire to achieve. It’s something that I love about myself but also loathe. Due to my desire to constantly achieve I find it hard to find inner peace, settle, relax and be content.
Since I’ve retired I have had an incredibly hard time transitioning into post-baseball life. I’ve been very transparent with my anxiety, depression, and Adderall abuse as a player. What I haven’t been transparent about is the fact that I’m secretly dying inside due to lack of fulfillment.
This is where my journey with the self-help industry began. Back in 2014 after I had seriously begun contemplating suicide, I knew I needed to reposition my life. I was riddled with daily panic attacks and crippling depression. I hit rock bottom with a persistently negative thought process. I became, for whatever reason, a “worst case” scenario philosopher. I would wake up and think, “Life will never be as fulfilling as it used to be with baseball. I’ll never be as happy again.”
I was only 37!
When you tell yourself something long enough it tends to become a reality. I became hopeless and decided to turn to the self-help section of the library. I read every book I could on personal development. Many were o.k. …most sucked.
Walking down the personal development isle at Barnes and Noble made me feel like a loser. I used to think the people that needed to read this shit to get “pumped up” were weak minded individuals who needed to man the fuck up. I even thought of the self-help industry as a scam. A money making scheme to fuck people who are struggling in life out of money resulting in actually making them more miserable. In my mind Tony Robbins was the ultimate scam artist. All this “motivational” nonsense he spewed, and the poor suckers that guzzled his “kool-aide”.
Despite my outlook on the industry, I began to read the books.
After all…I was miserable.
I also began to work out daily, and instead of having music in my ears I downloaded and listened to motivational speakers. People like Les Brown, Greg Plitt, Eric Thomas, and yes, even Tony Robbins. Needless to say, listening to this playlist while I worked out began to slowly shift the way I thought. Ironically, Tony quickly became my favorite guy to listen to because of the actual science of the psychology he used. He didn’t just talk shit to motivate you, he was teaching me skills to use so I could motivate myself and change my thought process. It was at this time I purchased his DVD series, “The Ultimate Edge.” I listened to the entire audio in 3 days. I was hooked.
I found myself still struggling to find a purpose, value, and fulfillment in my everyday life despite the fact that I was slowly beginning to “buy in” to what was being said.
Then the magic happened.
Halfway through my divorce, I got the answer I was looking for. I had just finished a set of bicep curls, and upon admiring myself in the gym mirror, a quote from Tony sent shock waves through my brain.
“Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure.”
That was my holy shit moment. Despite all I had accomplished in life I knew I was still unfulfilled thus a failure.
I was pissed!
How could I have not allowed myself to feel fulfilled? I had chosen the negativity for years, and I was willing to do anything to find a positive mental state. I began researching Tony Robbins and his upcoming events. Ironically enough his Unleash the Power Within tour would be coming to Los Angeles in March of 2019. I had no excuse not to attend.
I still had doubts.
I still thought of the people that attended his events as insane Tony “groupies.” I could never picture myself jumping up and down, screaming at the top of my lungs and crying in front of perfect strangers like a little bitch. I put off signing up until a good friend, Destiny Davis, who had been twisting my arm for months to go to the event, sent me a text. She asked if I had signed up yet. When I read the text I was at my house sitting on the couch, alone, on my third glass of scotch feeling sorry for myself and the life I had created. No bullshit, there was even a tear streaming down my face as I received the text. I immediately hopped on my laptop and signed up while I still had some liquid courage in me.
On March 14th I walked into the LA Convention center with 15,000 insane Tony Robbins fans not knowing what to expect. I have to be honest, it was ridiculously uncomfortable being there. I decided to settle in with an open mind and see what the weekend had in store.
Moments before Tony hit the stage the lights went out. All at once a laser light show overpowered my eyes as The Alan Parsons Project song “Sirius” played at insane volumes. An announcer yelled, “LA are you readddddddy for Tony!!!!” The music switched to Darude’s, “Sandstorm” as Tony busted out onto the stage with his massive presence. The crowd went fucking wild, jumping up and down, and screaming at the top of their lungs. I stood there looking around at all these idiots while I put a couple of silent fist pumps in the air just for show so I wouldn’t be judged.
Once the music died down Tony quickly went to work. He was passionate, sincere, loving, informative, educational, real, raw, and surprisingly funny; dropping the type of language I had only heard in a baseball dugout. I loved him immediately. The first half of the first day was really uncomfortable for me. I had to “high five” and hug perfect strangers. Hell, I even had to massage a guy I had never met for two minutes.
I was way out of my comfort zone.
Then Tony repeated the quote in the gym that got me to attend. It was almost like God had to hit me over the head with a hammer!
“You ever notice how it’s the rich and successful people of the world who are most miserable? Success without fulfillment is the ultimate failure. If that’s you, I promise you, by the end of this seminar you’ll have the tools you’ll need to live a life rich with fulfillment.”
I have always considered myself a pretty unemotional guy. I don’t like to cry in front of people. But after he said that I couldn’t help myself. I began crying while bright white lights shined down on me. I didn’t care what anyone thought. It was in that moment that I let go. I bought in and dedicated that whole weekend to not worrying what others around me thought. It was at that moment that I decided to take control of my life once again, after floundering for years in retirement.
I consider day three to be the most “eye-opening.” Tony began teaching us about limiting beliefs. We all have them, and they hold us back. At this point in my life, I had not given this much thought. In this environment, however, my mind went to places I never knew it could. We all had to dig deep into our subconscious minds and see the lies we told ourselves on a daily basis. As the meditative music played I began to access a part of my brain I didn’t know was alive. I began to have an “out of body” writing experience. I went to places in my past long forgotten and found incredible lies I had been telling myself for years.
Tony wanted us to write down three limiting beliefs.
- I will never know how to be a real confident man since my father was murdered when I was six.
- I don’t know if I even know what love is.
- Men only want to be friends with women because they want to be with them sexually.
After we found our limiting beliefs Tony had us all stand. The lights turned completely off while an ominous musical ballad played in the background. Tony began to ask us where our lives would be in 5, 10 or 20 years if we continued accepting our limiting beliefs. At times he was talking to us aggressively…almost taunting the crowd. He wanted us to feel the massive pain our futures would hold if we continued to believe the lies we told ourselves. This process went on for 45 minutes. There was monstrous pain all around me. People yelling at themselves, cursing at themselves. It sounded like I imagined Hell to sound with people crying out as their souls burned. It was a very negative, emotionally draining, scary, yet cleansing moment. All I could do was hit my knees and wail, whimper and bawl as I had never done before.
When the lights turned on I felt purified as the guilt, resentment, pain, sadness, anxiety, and depression of my past beliefs disappeared. Those feelings were replaced with the opposite statements of what I previously believed:
- I am a strong, inspirational, confident man and strong presence for my boys to emulate.
- I love myself, and I love other people like family.
- Women are a gift, and they can and will be some of my best friends.
I seriously wanted to feel that at peace for the rest of my life. As the lights turned on, Tony told us to give ten hugs to anyone around us. I hugged everyone I could and wanted to hug everyone at the conference. I had never felt this much love for others in all my life. After the hugs, a celebratory song came on and I jumped, screamed, and danced with enthusiasm. I was free and happy. I remember at that moment I didn’t give two shits what anyone thought about me anymore. I felt like I did when I was a child… innocent of the world and all of its constraints.