As I get ready to celebrate my 30th (gulp) birthday on Friday, I have to look back and laugh a little bit at the last 10 years. It doesn’t seem all that long ago that I was 20 years old, and sitting through Corporate Finance classes at Cornell, doing my best to understand the stock market, bonds, annuities and where I could realize the greatest personal ROI (Return on Investment). I was positioning myself (or so I thought at the time) to embark on an amazingly profitable career on Wall Street….and all this Ivy League stuff was sure to pave the way….right?
I hope you’ll bear with me on this one, it’s a little long…but there is a point…and hopefully you get some value out of it….
So life, like it tends to do, threw some unexpected obstacles in my path…..some more tragic and seemingly horrible than others, but all proved to be learning opportunities that have shaped my life over the last ten years….and realize that when we invest a little back into ourselves and what we really want…we get the greatest return.
The first was relatively uneventful….and included a bus trip to Wall Street, a one day “externship” (I still don’t know what that means) with Lehman Bros. (who??…thanks to some questionable accounting that lead to their crash in 2008 some of you might not remember this giant) …the 4th largest Investment Bank at the time…..and I learned a TON….mainly that Investment Banking was not my bag…and I didn’t care what my personal portfolio could look like…..I was taking the other prong in this fork in my road.
Shortly thereafter, as I returned to Cornell to figure out what it was I would do with my life (doesn’t everyone know by 20 years old..ha!), I got this frantic message from my then boss while at work (student computer lab supervisor…oh yeah!)….”A plane just flew into the World Trade Center!”………I’m sure everyone can remember exactly what they were doing at this moment in American History….it was one of the most tragic, yet heroic days in our lives….we lost many good people….our economy and job market tanked….but at the same time…we saw people come together like never before…and it re-instilled a sense of pride, patriotism, and purpose in our country. As a society, we began to rebuild and reinvest in ourselves…..and we once again felt good, and proud to be Americans.
Unfortunately the events of 9/11 made finding a job extremely difficult….and as a new-grad in 2003 I was fortunate enough that my older brother (a future Ironman by the way…follow him at http://mikeeisenhart.blogspot.com/) knew someone that could help me land a job at Hewitt Associates in Healthcare Mngt. Consulting (in plain English: basically crunching numbers for large corporations to determine how they could save on Healthcare Insurance premiums….no shortage of work there!). But within the first two months of my new job…my life came crashing down…..tragically I lost one of my best friends to a motorcycle accident. I’ll never forget the moment I got the news….it was like someone hit me with a baseball bat in the back of the knees, punched me in the stomach, and ripped my heart out all at once. And even with an amazing family and network of friends to comfort me and my other best friends….it was undoubtedly the darkest time in my life. For a few months I literally questioned everything, most especially who I was and where I was going….and with the exception of being around family & friends, and coaching youth sports….I struggled to find purpose. And then it hit me….
What if I could do the things that made me happy, and actually make a living doing it? Could I really make some changes, reinvest in my personal happiness, make a living, and contribute to the greater good all at the same time?….Enter Pro-Activity!
While in my final high school days and college two of my siblings had the guts to take the entrepreneurial leap, and open what was at the time a Physical Therapy company that dabbled in everything from home care, to sub-acute rehab, to athletic performance and traditional PT, to workplace injury prevention, with one simple purpose: to provide clients with opportunity to experience individual excellence in their health, and thereby, their lives! And, more than anything…I wanted in, so I could formally pursue this whole “coaching thing” with everyone from young athletes to folks looking to get and stay fit & well……oh and by the way I’d work for next to free (thanks Mom & Dad for covering me these years).
It seemed like the perfect reinvestment in self, even if it cost me a decent paycheck from Hewitt….at Pro-Activity I could be around family, and pursue health and fitness coaching at a professional level. My siblings continued to drive our business growth with the support of my sister-in-law, another friend, and me – and things started to develop. And as we continued to hone our focus on Wellness (from Prevention of Disease and Injury, to Performance, to Healthy Aging) we continued to grow, and so did our team. It wasn’t long before we added a few more important cogs in the wheel, my college best-friend, and health & fitness specialist Nick (follow at http://corewrestling.wordpress.com/) and childhood best-friend and Doctor of Physical Therapy Justin (follow at http://rootsofmyhealth.blogspot.com/).
Now years later, our “Pro-Activity Family” has gotten larger with some more key additions, and we’re preparing for some exciting times (one especially dear to my heart: The Fuel Good Cafe, operated by my sister-in-law, and my wife – a place to get good food, at a good price, that tastes great, and “Fuels Good”). And while our group doesn’t always see eye to eye, and like any “family” have our skeletons in the closet, stressful times, and heated confrontations….at the end of the day being around this part of my “family” and being able to coach and serve yours towards greater fitness continues to serve me as a rewarding reinvestment in self, and has given me a substantial self-fulfilling positive return. And with that, I’ll keep pushing so long as it does….thank you for reading, and more importantly, playing a part!
(Some of our recently coached athletes below!)