Rick Daman has the piercing stare of a hawk.
I’d been watching him for a while, trying to figure out who he was and where he fit in the conference (attendee? presenter?) and then it was his turn to speak. (Ah, presenter.)
Zach introduced him as an early attendee at one of his Underground Strength Coach certifications and a member of Paul Reddick’s mastermind group. On his return from the Underground Strength Coach cert Rick felt the distinct and undeniable pull of opening his own gym. If you’ve ever had it, that tug, that says, “You can do this,” that prompts you to ditch all you current plans, to abandon all that’s “reasonable” and jump with both feet into whatever passion compels you, you know, it’s hard to put down and impossible to deny.
Given the aforementioned hawk-like stare it might be hard to imagine Rick as one crippled by self doubt, but the story Rick shared was one of injury compounded by insult.
Rick was a jokester in school, part of a growing horde of American children who fit the convenient label of ADHD. Like many kids, labelled or not, as the impending world of adulthood loomed ever closer the need to get “serious” began to make more sense. He started looking around at his options. Given his record, what did he need to focus on to go to college? Where did he need to apply his energy and what bar did he need to attain in order to move forward?
The educational system had already “failed” him by not assessing him as an individual first. Rather than recognizing that his behavior was a result of a paradigm that failed to meet the student and finding an alternate way to motivate him early on, he was labelled a “trouble-maker” and deemed not worth the system’s time and energy.
The insult that came on top of the injury came when he sought help and direction. First his “guidance” counsellor and then his principal informed him, “You will never amount to anything.”
Failures like this of our various “systems,” especially the educational system, are a favorite soapbox subject of mine. Children given convenient diagnoses that fit the system’s need more than the child’s and allow for mass medication rather than individualized care is, in the long run, a certain recipe for disaster.
Rick’s is a working class background, in the spring of his junior year he was “advised” to take a summer job at a local factory, return to school in the fall and hope for a full time position on graduation. Luckily, Rick is a fighter.
For some of us, “You can’t” is just what we need to hear to push us to prove, “I can.” Despite his doubt and uncertainty and zero support he went to college. He graduated with a degree in criminology he’d never use, it wasn’t until years after college that he discovered kinesiology or sports performance were even possibilities for study.
A few years later, when he returned from Zach’s cert he knew he wanted what Zach had. He wanted his own gym, his own way and that stubborn fighter once again rose to his feet.
He opened Daman’s Strength Training in Monaca, Pennsylvania the week after Thanksgiving in the midst of what has been called the worst recession since the Great Depression.
Everyone said, “Don’t do it.”
“It’s too risky.”
“The timing’s not right.”
“…the Recession is over…”
It was too late for waiting. The fighter was on his feet and Rick was following his heart. He opened his gym, when everyone told him he shouldn’t, and it became a success. Daman’s Strength Training caters primarily to young athletes with a distinctly family oriented atmosphere and a commitment to community. The response has been nothing short of enthusiastic.
Rick’s presence is compelling. He stands intent, ready, his piercing gaze ever on the lookout for both obstacle and challenge. It’s no wonder he’s a success, he’s the guy you want on your side in a fight, his commitment is so clearly visible. His community obviously feels the same, rallying behind his business, and his family.
Last month Rick and his wife recently welcomed their first daughter; every client and their parents made it a point to call with their congratulations. On his return to the gym he was greeted with an avalanche of gifts and appreciations.
You can’t fake this.
This type of response only comes when you lay it all on the line. You have to lead with your heart, your soul and your passion.
Be who you are, fully and without reserve. Yes, some people won’t necessarily like what you bring forth. That’s fine, let them. They’re not ready for what you have to offer.
Only by being fully yourself and sharing that as fully as you can will those who hunger for what you have be able to find you.
Take a risk. Be brave. Be yourself, and be amazed at what happens next.
Rick’s passion is kids. His drive to provide a role model and an opportunity for kids growing up just like he did, to let them see what is possible, and to fight against blind systems that limits a kid’s dreams and stuffs them into boxes they don’t belong in. Increasing athletic performance is his vehicle.
My passion is adults. I want to show you how you can reclaim your life, that it’s not too late. Strength and fitness training changed my life. It showed me my own power and gave me an arena of growth that spread to all other aspects of my life. I want to share this with you.
Agoge Fitness Systems uses the vehicle of strength and fitness training to create life changing opportunities, by reminding you that you have the strength and the power to make those opportunities yourself.
July 28th and 29th is the Bodytribe workshop. This a unique opportunity for you to further empower yourself and regain a sense of play, both in your workouts and in your life.
Join us and take your journey to the next level. –> http://agogefit.com/bodytribe/
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Thanks, for reading.