I’ll tell you I cried yesterday. Not because I was frustrated or scared, but because I was overcome with Joy. You are a big part of that.
Let me explain. (and trust me, it’s worth the read)
For 8 years I had been working furiously, but living with a huge amount of credit card debt because I refused to work for some other jerk. I was fed up with the gym industry and the horrible way they treated their clients. It was absolutely reprehensible. So I left the gym business and vowed to never work for another human being again.
I decided to make a living on my own, but had a lot to learn. I wasn’t making much money and I watched the debt soar as I paid my mortgage, taxes, groceries with credit cards. I knew I wasn’t making the money that I could make, so I just worked harder.
Down The Rabbit Hole
Our debt continued to grow with some cards at 29.99% interest! But, I was undeterred. We were going to make this thing work. I HAD to succeed.
The years dragged on and the debt soared. I knew I was so close to getting everything right, but was missing a very small piece.
Even my friend who ran his own business admitted that I was working circles around him and he couldn’t understand why I wasn’t succeeding.
Finally, after years of beating my head against the wall, in December 2018 my wife found a business coach and sent me his info. I was sure he would be shyster like everyone else, but I was so desperate I called him anyway.
We talked for a bit and he gave me some advice that made a lot of sense to me. He were the first person I had talked to who seemed like they weren’t full of crap.
I was broke as hell, but my wife really thought he was legitimate and so I decided to hire him as my coach. Listening to him I realized that I wasn’t operating a business … I was just a self employed trainer. If I was ever going to get out from under this mountain of debt, then I had to learn how to build a business
And Then Things Got Bad
Only weeks later I suffered a traumatic spinal cord injury which paralyzed my left side. I had emergency surgery and was terrified about what would happen to my income. I HAD to work.
I was in a neck brace for three months and my wife drove me to work everyday. There was no way that I could see anything within 5 feet in front of me or on the sides or behind me because of the neck brace. If I tripped or fell I’d surely break what was left of my healing neck and be paralyzed from the neck down. The surgeon cautioned against me going out.
Some days it was snowing.
I was absolutely terrified.
Yet I went to work. Every. Single. Day.
It took nine months to heal and get my head screwed on straight again. The injury took a huge toll on my physically, mentally and emotionally.
But, throughout it all, I continued with his coaching. I was learning. Implementing. Screwing up all over the place and then trying it again differently.
In September of 2019 I was feeling like myself again. Everything clicked. From September 2019 to January 2020 we tripled our revenue to reach an all time high.
We made a plan to pay off our debt. It was so far away. It was only a dream. Or maybe a theory. But I committed to the plan.
From Bad To Worse
Then, in March COVID hit us. I was confident, but needed help. He was there again.
Under his guidance I was able to survive the shutdown and be in a great position to grow once things opened up again.
It was during the scariest time of the pandemic that we opened a new facility, sunk capital into renovating the new space, purchasing all new equipment, paying fees, permits and outdoor signs on the building, sanitizer, cleaners … and all that jazz…
We must have been NUTS! I mean, who the heck opens a business in the middle of a pandemic when the economy is tanking and people can’t come out to support you?
And we were now more than broke… we were poor.
But my wife and I were absolutely excited and knew we were making the right decision. The BEST decision we had ever made.
And There Was Light
In July and August of 2020 our business grew and we hit an all time high.
For the first time we were able to grow a cash cushion. That was HUGE for us. Remember, we were broke as hell with negative balances for 8 years.
I’ve been under ridiculous pressure borrowing from one creditor to pay another, to pay our mortgage mortgage, to pay our property taxes and pay for gorceries. It was a fast-handed shell game called “Hide the Debt.” And it was killing me.
I hadn’t slept in years, my health was screwed, my relationships with my family were done.
But, here’s what happened…
It Got Better
Last month I was able to pay off two credit cards.
Yesterday I was able to pay off two more credit cards.
I started to see the plan to be debt free taking shape. Becoming real. I almost couldn’t believe it. I talked about paying off all of our debt for 8 years and it was finally happening. It was real!
Next month I’ll have paid off one more.
January two more.
And I can continue to accelerate that rate.
By December 2021 I’ll have paid off close to $1 Million in credit card debt (only $187,000 was principle)
Why I cried yesterday
I realized this yesterday and I lost it as I drove to my studio. I cried yesterday like a little boy.
The burden I’ve been carrying is lifting. I really can’t believe it. I’m finally going to be free.
You’ve been a rudder to help me steer this ship and have helped me more than you can imagine.
And you’ve been incredibly generous.
This is a big thank you from me to you.
P.S. I’m debating and am conflicted about hitting the “Publish” button, so if you’re reading this, then obviously I had the courage to share it. This story is difficult to share because it exposes deep vulnerability and opens us up to a whole host of criticism. However, I feel some unexplainable obligation to give this small narrative of a very narrow slice of my life in the hope that our story can help others who are going through what seems like insurmountable adversity in their lives and inspire them to achieve greatness.
Tony Bianchino is a Nationally Certified Personal Trainer and Nutrition Specialist
See more about Tony on our website Out Run your Fork.com
Yours in health,
Out Run Your Fork Personal Training and Nutrition
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