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How Creating a Vision Saved My Life


I’ve always prided myself on being a smart kid with a good head on my shoulders. I’ve also always had a love for fitness. In April of 2014, I flew across the world, all the way from Canada, to compete in an Australian fitness competition. Out of 50 athletes, I was able to place in the top twenty. I felt on top of the world.

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Leading up to the show, I had spent years training followed by several months of intense preparation, and after the competition was over, I told myself that I needed a break.

For me, a break meant one thing: it was time to party!

At first, I was doing it just to celebrate. I mean I had just placed in the top twenty! I started going hard with my close friends. After a week of nonstop raging, the celebration was over for them, but for me it had just begun. I kept partying. I loved the rush: doing drugs and drinking. It made me feel good.  Time started to melt away. I would stay up for three days straight, high and drunk the whole time. I eventually stopped working out and monitoring my diet: the two things that had made me feel good in the first place. After a month, I was at the point where I was doing drugs and drinking just to feel normal.

My friends around me started noticing that I had a serious problem. At first, I brushed them off and ignored their attempts to intervene. I found myself at more nightclubs, hanging out with people who were tapped into the drug community. My sober friends quickly dropped off the map, and all of my new friends were either doing or selling drugs. This just enabled and encouraged my addiction. At this point, all of my responsibilities had taken a backseat.

I stopped paying my bills, I stopped working out, I stopped caring about everything that had ever held any value to me.

After three months of broken promises and forgotten nights, I realized I had a problem. I was fired from my job, my car got repossessed, and my old friends were no longer speaking with me.

I paused to reflect on my situation. How did I end up here? It wasn’t more than a year ago that I had had it all! I had an amazing girlfriend, I had a great circle of friends, I had a following of people who believed in my fitness career. Yet here I was at the low point of my life, and all I had was a mountain of debt, friends who wouldn’t talk to me, and a family who had lost all faith in me. Add to that a serious drug addiction, and my life had started to look pretty bleak.

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I knew if I kept going like this there would be no going back. I knew that I had to change everything. My environment, my friends, my habits, my way of life. I made a decision then and there that I was going to stop doing drugs forever, and I was going to find my way out of this hole I had dug for myself.

I looked online for new jobs and saw a posting for a summer camp cleaner. In one weekend, I quit my job as a Nightclub Bartender / Manager and decided to try my hand as a Summer Camp Cleaner.

I spent my days scrubbing toilets, mopping floors, and taking out garbage. My summer nights were spent going for runs to dissolve the internal resistance that was building up as a result of my withdrawal. My fitness was at an all-time low. Despite all this, despite how I looked and felt at the time, I believed in my heart that I had what it would take to come out of this stronger than ever.

The camp had a lake with a road paved around it. It was 1 km in length. The first time I went for a run around the lake I barely made it 100 meters before nearly collapsing. I told myself that I was going to finish a lap no matter what. I’d crawl if I had to. The next day I ran a little further before stopping. Once I was able to complete a lap around the lake, I set a goal to hit 1 lap in 5 minutes. Gradually I increased the time and length of my runs. Day to day, I felt my consciousness coming back to life.

“It’s only once you’ve lost everything that you’re free to do anything.” — Tyler Durden  

I created a vision and worked on it every day. Everyone from Calgary saw me as a drug addict.  But I saw myself as a champion, business owner, entrepreneur, leader, and most importantly, a source of inspiration. I wrote a clear and detailed vision about my business, my body, my family, my house, my life. Every day I would run, and afterwards I would sit down and work on my vision. It became so clear that it got me out of bed and forced me to move!

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At the end of the summer, I moved back to Calgary and got a job at a restaurant. I wasn’t going to associate myself with any of the old “friends” that I had who encouraged my addiction.

I started wanting to compete again but I hadn’t stepped into a gym in a LONG time. In September 2014 I started building back the habit of lifting weights. At first, I stuck to short workouts and light weight. As my love for the gym came back, I increased the intensity and duration of my workouts. I saw growth, so I kept pushing. I worked harder than ever with unmatched focus; determined to be a champion.

One month ago, on April 4th, 2015, I stepped onto the stage in Montreal, Canada and I placed 2nd out of 30 athletes.

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This placing was exponentially better than the year before, and with it, I took one giant step closer to becoming a professional fitness model.

This time around, my celebration was a week of eating good food and enjoying some spare time with my beautiful girlfriend. Now I’m back to the grind, working on my vision and creating my reality. I’m putting my head down and paying off all of the debt I accumulated during my drug addiction. I’m helping other people achieve their fitness goals through my online community.

Every day I’m finding a way to take one more step forward.

Create a vision and be clear about what you want. We all have bad days, days where we feel like doing nothing, days when we feel utterly defeated. ALL of us experience adversity and setbacks at some point or another.

Do not allow your setbacks to break you. Create a vision that is as clear as a cloudless sky, and when your life becomes clouded with problems, look to your vision for clarity. Have your dream written down on a Microsoft Word document, create a physical Vision board, or have a stream of pictures on your phone that reminds you of the life that you want to live. Each one of us has a unique way of creating and appreciating our vision. Find the way that works best for you.

When everything was lost and didn’t make sense, my vision was always clear. Here I am a year later and my life still isn’t perfect. I still have bad days. But my vision is clear, clearer than ever. I am determined to be the strongest version of myself, inspiring others to find a way to take one more step forward. I want to spread my message and have my voice be heard.

Never give up on your dreams. Believe in yourself and know that you have the power to create anything you want with your life. Create a vision, make it clear and every day take one more step forward.

in your inbox everyday at 10am CST.

No fluff or "pie in the sky inspiration." Just real stories.

Written by Brian Mark

Brian lives in Calgary, AB. He is a fitness freak, and an ISSA Certified PT. For 12 Week Diet & Fitness programs email: oneaestheticnation@gmail.com. Find him on Instagram @brian22mark