What is Next For Me
I cringe at hearing my voice on a voicemail. I suffer through viewing my speeches and comedy videos to look for points of improvement so it was ridiculously awkward to sit in a movie theatre at LA Film Festival and have people watch me watch the Netflix documentary “CounterPunch”.
I didn’t know what was going to be in it or how I would be portrayed. A lot of things happen in the 2 1/2 years a camera crew followed me around. Some immature moments, some potentially offensive moments, some moments of vulnerability, and other moments I couldn’t remember.
I’m not one to post on Facebook about how hard I’m working out or how passionate I am. From a distance I’m probably perceived as empty headed and a goof-ball. Knowing I changed my name to Mr. Awesome and seeing how nonchalant attitude makes it easy for me to be disliked. I get it.
The film showed some vulnerable moments in my life. It showed who I really was. It disclosed what I would have never made available for the public. And I couldn’t have been happier with it.
The amount of messages I have received from strangers has been overwhelming. I have never seen my story from a different perspective that my own. I’ve sacrificed what isn’t visible to others.
I’ve struggled financially and mentally to no avail. There isn’t a happy ending to my story or at least that all I can see during my down moments. I never put much thought into it until recently but I realized that I constantly lie to myself to allow myself to push a little further. I’m completely delusional and wouldn’t have it any other way.
The outpour of messages telling me how inspiring it was to see someone so dedicated to their dreams caught me off guard. I’ve received countless messages from countless countries in countless languages sharing how touching my story was.
I can’t express how amazing it is to read. I’ve screenshotted all of these messages and I’m storing them in a folder I plan on keeping private. I want to keep them as a reminder that my ten years boxing hasn’t been in vain.
Many people have asked me why I wont to turn pro and make “millions of dollars”. Well, because it doesn’t really work like that. You don’t turn pro and fight for a million dollars your first fight (unless you’re McGregor and that’s a different story).
I have dedicated my entire adult life to boxing while barely skating by financially in order to reach my dreams. My dream has never been to be a professional boxer. I’m 28 and I have nothing to show for it but memories passport stamps. These memories are priceless but they are mostly financially worthless.
I have busted my ass and struggle since July 5th, 2016 pursuing a speaking career. I have been boxing part time and won the USA nationals to get the national team health insurance. I won Golden Gloves nationals in hopes that I would receive some TV coverage for winning my 4th Golden Gloves nationals title to get my speaking business out there.
I have sent my speaking flyer to over 500 middle and high schools only to have nothing confirmed. I have reached out to countless conferences to hire me as a speaker with no word back.
I’ve done more than my fair share of free gigs as some type of initiation to get my foot in the speaking door with nothing in return. Frustration set in more than once and I’ve had pity parties of one on multiple occasions.
I’ve spend days at a time locked in my basement creating contents for speeches, reaching out for gigs, watching other speakers, and practicing in the mirror. Working hard out of desperation for success.
It took me a while to realize that a lack of sunlight will lead to depression. In the last month I have made myself take mandatory daily walks to get out of the house. It has helped me get out of my funk.
Becoming a successful speaker had become my new Olympic dream.
Receiving all of these messages and comments letting me know that my failure has been inspiring has made me decide to go even harder. I’m not being hired because of my “lack of experience” and I’ll never get experience if I’m never hired, I’ve decided to make my own path.
Long-shot? Under-qualified? Over my head? Yeah, probably. If I fail at least my failure couldn’t inspire someone else. It can’t be as stressful as waiting around for someone to give me an opportunity.
I’m writing from my hotel in Merrick, NY where I have no rental car. I was brought out here by Adam Kownacki as his sparring partner to help him prepare for his next fight. I purposely didn’t get a rental car because it will force me to be confined to a hotel room reading, writing, and bettering myself.
I will be spending the next two weeks in my hotel solitary confinement working on throwing my own events to speak at.
And for the question of a 2020 Olympic run…we’ll see.