Unsung

*The title of this post is taken from the Helmet song of the same name*

Lately, I’ve been posting a lot about gratitude. For one, I don’t think it can be overstated and two: I have a lot to be grateful for. Over the years since I opened RevFit, there is one person who I believe I failed to give appropriate credit to. The one person who I literally could not have opened the doors without: my grandmother.

In 2008, my life was in a fair amount of turmoil. My son’s mother and I had recently split, I was finishing up my bachelor’s degree after a couple of unsuccessful attempts at completing college in a timely fashion, and I had been let go from my job. My grandfather passed that summer and two months later, I lost my uncle on the same (maternal) side.

My grandfather owned some pieces of rental property in my hometown. He and my uncle had overseen those properties for years. Most all of the spaces were rented out and when we lost both of these extraordinary men, my grandmother was left holding on to the properties. She asked the family if anyone had any interest in taking them over. Considering what was happening in my life at the time, I figured it was a way to be back in my hometown, be close to some family and do a different type of work.

There was just one problem. I was not remotely handy.

You see, my grandfather and my uncle could fix almost anything that might go wrong with a house. I’ve always been mechanically challenged and I had to outsource nearly every bit of work that had to be done. So, while the properties did make money, I poured every red cent right back into them to cover repairs as they came up.

It was my initial hope that my dream of opening up a fitness studio would happen in my small hometown in Tennessee. I thought I would use the properties as collateral and approach the bank for a loan to get my business opened.

However, the fall of 2008 was the wrong time to approach the banks for much of anything. They declined my business plan and saw me as too high of a risk. So, I elected to sell the properties off only a handful of months after taking them over.

We were now heading into the spring of 2009 and I essentially had to do a fire sale to drop the properties. I took 25% of their value on paper to walk away from them and start fresh. With that money, I paid off the majority of my debts and opened my business with what was left.

When I opened my doors in May 2009, I had spent every penny of that money, was flat broke and living with my parents at 33 years of age.

There is so much more of this story to tell, along with what the first few years of owning RevFit was really like. But I go back to my original statement which is praising my grandmother for giving me this opportunity. Had she never offered those properties to me, had I never accepted the offer and attempted to do something with them, I don’t know that Revolution Fitness and Therapy could have ever existed. It may have always remained a pipe dream. To you, Gram: I love you and I thank you. I know how much of a pivotal role you have played in my life, for my entire life. You are an inspiration and I cannot ever repay you for the life you’ve helped me to build.

If you’re someone who is having trouble on your wellness journey, remember that the road to success will not always have a pretty bow on it. It may be marred with tragedy, poor decisions and a slew of mistakes. Learn from them. Grow with them.

There is no amount of orthodox scenarios that will play out that can give you a nice, comfy ride to your destination of a better body or better health. That road will be paved with bad decisions, impulsive behaviors and probably a healthy dose of self-deprecation. Accept it. It will shape the person who you ultimately are aiming to be.

A final thought: Don’t forget to show gratitude to the people who helped you find the success you have had, even if it was a stepping stone early on. Some people may not even know that they inspired you to greater things. Let them know.

Then, let them see how much you’ve learned.

Gram, I hope you’re pleased with how far I’ve come.

Without you, RevFit would not have been possible.

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