Aloha and welcome to another instalment of ‘My Journey to Ninja Warrior’, this instalment is entitled ‘the Meaning of LIfe’ and has been prompted by my forty-second Birthday (Monday 7/17). Douglas Adams fans will get the relevance of the title 😊
So as I have approached the end of another orbit around the Sun I have been reflecting , as we all do, on what I have achieved in the last x number of Years. In fact I can’t say that until I left for College I ever achieved anything of note, as it was there that I met my sweetheart and proposed (eventually Married). Upon leaving College I began looking for, and found, a permanent role. This was with a large Bank and as 2003 began I felt that I had “made it”, I felt like an Adult. Unfortunately this wasn’t to last, within ten Years of graduating everything I felt I had achieved was stripped from me.
I clearly recall returning Home from Work on the Evening of 5/27/2010 to find my Wife and fur-kids “missing”. In their place was a note. With my entire World ending I crumbled to the ground and as night fell I was laying on the floor desperately praying for Death to claim me. Thankfully Death never came, so after a sleepless pain-filled Night I got up, dressed and headed off to Work at a job under a dysfunctional individual who had no business being in a Management position. The Hours turned into Days, the Days into Weeks and the Weeks into Months. 2010 would draw to a close and a catastrophic injury would take up much of my 2011, as bad as it was that’s not to say 2011 wasn’t without it’s high-points because I began to associate with people who seemed more aligned with the person I was becoming. No sooner had I begun the long painful rehabilitation than I faced Redundancy and a Divorce (coming within eight Weeks of one another) and my fall continued.
At the start of 2012 I was given an amazing opportunity by a man I call one of my greatest mentors, Richard. As it happened he had committed to work a couple of events and due to his own commitments he was going to be unable to do so. Knowing exactly who I am he asked me to step up in his stead, as it was Richard doing the asking I didn’t think twice and readily agreed.. this would prove to be the biggest mistake I could have ever made, not to say that I blame Richard at all. The people I hold responsible were the ones I trusted to support me in my mission to make a difference.
Given that in January 2012 I had been made redundant from Lloyds and that following my Divorce in February I was struggling financially, my now-ex was dragging her feet in signing the marital Home into my sole name and if I’m completely honest the entire process seemed more than a little vindictive on her part. Several members of the “Tony” World didn’t like what was on my Social Media accounts at this time and pulled the role I had been contracted to deliver.. with absolutely no notice. So I had paid for my flight and accommodations, at a total of nearly $4, 500 only to discover when I arrived in San Jose that I had been screwed over.
However, I didn’t learn the truth behind “Tony” and his business practices so when the opportunity came up to work in Las Vegas I agreed. The Vegas trip passed without incident and a few Months later I ended up in Orlando to work what I had advertised as my retirement engagement. On the final Day I had decided that didn’t want to leave and not make peace so I sought out the Contractor liason and thanked her for the opportunity, imagine my surprise when she told me I was lucky to be there as no-one had wanted me to be and that she had given me the benefit of the doubt. I was crushed and as I struggled to deal with the rejection one of my friends from that world, Dug, said something to one of my other friends that made it easier.. he said (and I’m paraphrasing); “if you’re continually returning somewhere time after time for Years then one thing is clear, you’ve not learned or grown”. I agree completely.
Everything I sacrificed (and paid), to work these events and support his “mission” (and yes I’m putting that in quotes as his mission is realistically only about the almighty dollar rather than helping people as it was when he started out) was repurposed into advancing my own cause. I’m glad it happened how it did, I have better things to do than advance someone else’s cause and pay for the privilege. Tony extolls people that attend his events to “give back”. What a load of BS. Give back? I have NOTHING to give back to that man, let me break it down for you; he gave me NOTHING without first being paid for it be that financially or with labor (a kind way to describe eighteen Hour plus Days). With the money I have saved since leaving the “Tony” World I paid for a second Personal Training course, accredited through the ACSM with the aim of allowing me to work as a PT in America and I have carried out a number of improvements to my own Home. This would never have happened if I had continued to be one of the hero worshipping sheep that turn up to event after event with the delusion they are valued and that they are making a difference to anything other than Tony’s bank balance.
So to get back on track, my first thirty-five Years were a test-run for the man I am becoming. Five short Years after commencing this journey on self-discovery I’m blessed with genetics that allow me to rapidly heal any injury, to put my physiology through absolute hell and bounce back. None of this means anything without will. The will to stand. The will to act.
Today I stand proudly at six feet tall, weigh around one-sixty (pounds), am in the best shape of my life (I can lift far more than I weigh, run faster and longer than logic dictates given my devastating injury of 2011) and I am in love with an amazing Woman. In addition to her I am blessed to have the unconditional love of a close-knit family who believe in me and watch as I constantly push the envelope of what is possible and redefining what I am capable of every single Day. Realistically I wouldn’t be much of a Superman without them.
Mahalo nui loa (Thank You Very Much) for sticking around given our very erratic publishing schedule these last few Weeks. I hadn’t realised how much work writing another eBook would take. I remain grateful that you take time out of your busy lives to read my musings and I hope that you find some value in said musings. Until next time, and as always with much Aloha, I remain..
Jon G. Richelieu-Booth
Author, Coach, Personal Trainer and Future American Ninja Warrior / Ninja Warrior