There is something special about moving to a new place. Everything that you’ve done in the past becomes irrelevant. Cliché says, “You can be whoever you want to be; no one knows you.” What happens, though, when you try to be someone else but continue the same behavior? Nothing.
I moved to San Francisco in April of 2015. In the year prior, I lost 100 pounds and taught myself about men’s style. I’d created a website to help other men become remarkable in their own health and fitness. I was determined that, as I left my old life to begin anew in body, spirit and career, I was going to be different.
I realized quickly, though, that I didn’t know how to be anyone else. My entire life, I’d thrived on the affirmation of others. I needed everyone’s approval. I was fat and sloppy and relied on the “funny guy routine” to get other people to like me. It never mattered what I wanted; my job was to become a chameleon to my surroundings because that’s how I obtained the approval of others.
It was my goal to change. It’s an interesting place to be ready to change but not to know how. As the Buddhist proverb would have it, “When the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” Enter Jaunty.
The six-week course was valuable. The treasure of Jaunty is that you leave each class with the courage, knowledge, and drive to begin to change. I would begin the homework with just enough gallantry to make one small change, then another.
There was a specific change that I struggled to make about halfway through the class. I didn’t know it then, but this one change, this single experience, would open the floodgates of progress and put me in a place where my life was completely changed. That struggle was familiar to many of us and is known commonly as “approach anxiety”; Seeing an attractive person and feeling unable to start talking to them.
While working with Jaunty coach Craig Gibbons in a one-on-one session, I saw her: the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.
“Go,” Craig encouraged me.
“Go now,” he commanded.
I was stunned. To Craig, this was normal and within the bounds of where my progress should have lied. To me, however, she was an angel with no interest in talking to me. I became overwhelmed and stunned.
“Go make her day,” he said in a final effort. Light bulb. I finally understood that it wasn’t about me. She was going to be excited about this. He was right. I approached and as soon as I began speaking, the anxiety subsided. Her soft features were countermanded by the smile that stretched across her face. She was glowing. It was in this moment that I realized that I have the capacity to be the person who goes after what I want in every area of my life.
In a new city where I accepted the challenge and wasn’t sure what to expect from Jaunty, I left the course with a new skill-set, new confidence, and new friends. All of that is mute in comparison to my new mindset. At the end of the course we were asked, “What is your biggest takeaway?”
I said, “I am allowed to have the edge. I am allowed to have what I want. I am allowed to have the girl, the job, the friends; I am allowed.”