Thankful

photo: me standing up giving a speech at my wedding… most likely embarrassing my wife haha. love her so much!

There’s so much in life for me to be thankful for. I have an amazing, beautiful, and supportive wife. I have beautiful and healthy children. I have an amazing family. I have a successful gym filled with some of the most passionate and kind people ever. I have been blessed with traveling around the US and to several countries teaching and training. I have a roof over my head to protect my family. I have a vehicle to get me places. I make enough money to support the family. I have an amazing staff and business partners. I have many mentors and people I am learning from. I was able to release a book that so far has gotten positive feedback. I am healthy. I get to train and test myself everyday.

The list goes on. It’s relatively easy to be thankful for the good things in your life. However, one of the most important lessons I have learned (the hard way) in my life, is to be thankful for the dark times as well.

I am thankful that I was born to a man that wasn’t a great father. It opened the door for a deeper relationship with the other great men in my family growing up: my brother, my uncle, and my grandfather. It led to many great father figures taking me under their wing over the years: Darrin and Mark. It led to me truly understanding what I wanted to represent as a father myself. It showed me just how amazing and powerful my mother was to raise three kids on her own. It was truly a blessing.

I am thankful for not having money growing up. It showed me that no matter what you can get by. It showed me that money isn’t the root of happiness. It showed me what hard work was. It led to me having to cut yards to raise money to watch WWF pay-per-view, it taught work ethic. I got to watch my mother work hard to do what she had to do and rarely complain about it to us. It taught me to fully appreciate life and not stress over things that don’t matter. That tomorrow is another day.

I am thankful for the failed business relationships over the past ten years. The fights. The blow outs. The backstabbing. It showed me that I am not always right, even if I think I am. It taught me to try and recognize where I contributed to the issue. It taught me forgiveness. It taught me patience. It taught me many lessons about business in general. It taught me about respect. It showed me that change isn’t always a bad thing. It showed me that doing things for the right reasons is always better than doing things for money or to spite someone: even if doing things for the right reasons causes issues between someone you cared about. It taught me no amount of money is worth screwing someone over.

I am thankful for my failures. My cage match, several bjj competitions, several CrossFit competitions. Business ventures. Classes or seminars I taught. Deals I made. I certainly didn’t learn from all of the them, but I know I learned from most of them.

A few years ago a friend of mine posted this quote on a status I made…

“Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” -Mary Oliver

Such a profound quote. Seeing the light int he darkness is truly a blessing. It’s not easy. Truly. But it can completely change your life for the better.

Thank you. All of you. Every person that has contributed directly to my life. Everyone that has supported me and encouraged me. Everyone that doubted me and slighted me. Everyone that has gone before me and shared their knowledge. Truly. I am so thankful for you all.

Be good, train hard, stay safe.

-aaron