So ... here's the condensed version of my life story! :)
I was never sure of my exact career pathway. I knew I loved acting, entertaining, writing, and speaking to a captivated audience. About what? Where? How? When? These were all unknowns and would only be discovered in stages.
The first stage was through York University where I worked for the Excalibur Newspaper, studied Creative Writing and Philosophy, and developed an appreciation for the publishing industry.
Using the skills and knowledge I acquired from the Excalibur, I led a team in developing Canada’s First Environmental Magazine, Recover, June 1990. The motto “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle. And Recover” won the approval of Canadian Literary Hero, Farley Mowat, and my favorite cartoonist, Calvin & Hobbes who both provided content. (stay tuned to read some excerpts from Recover which are still applicable today!)
The second stage came after I enrolled in the CGA program to study accounting. At the time, I figured that this added knowledge would be an asset for the publishing industry and/or any other career pathway I may chose. During my studies, my father offered me a job in the family business. I remained there for four years, however, my heart just was not in it. I enjoyed preparing spreadsheets and reports and knew that these skills would serve me well in any venture I moved onto next.
Feeling something was missing, I chose to take time off and reflect. I returned to the gym and a new passion was ignited. I felt there was something special about lifting; about stacking the weights; about becoming more knowledgeable about my body; and about shaping it with intention. As a result, I entered into the next stage of my ‘discovery process’, when I studied personal training, performance nutrition, and massage therapy. At this point, I still did not know the ‘what, where, how, and when’ of my career pathway, although I did know that its base was in fitness and bodybuilding.
Then, one fateful day, while doing cardio at the gym, a bodybuilding competition happened to be playing on TV. That’s when it dawned on me that if those people could sculpt their physique to seemingly perfection, so could I! “I want to be the biggest name in bodybuilding!” were the words that automatically flashed through my head. Echoed and rebounded again and again is more like what happened! Without understanding what that meant exactly, why that was, how to accomplish it, or even where to begin, I decided that I was ready to take on the task. That "mantra" - 'to be the biggest name in bodybuilding' is what absorbed every aspect of my life, thoughts and actions. It was the strongest feeling and emotion I had ever had and I intended to carry it through. Its sheer power set the rest of my story in motion. If you believe in something, truly believe, and the intention is coming from a place that will serve the highest good, it will always come true.
Within two years I was invited to be the Head Judge and main Officiator for the very TV event that ignited my passion. I also competed in three competitions along the way and gained experience and understanding of the industry from the athlete's perspective. However, I soon realized that competing itself was not my passion. Cleaning up the contest stage – and providing opportunities and exposure to natural athletes – was. Well, it was the start of the journey ....
The following year I fell in love at first sight with my soon-to-be best friend, business partner, confidant, role model, mentor and wife , Mindy Blackstien. Together we launched and developed the World Natural Sports Organization, the FAME World Tour, FAME: Fitness And Model Expo, The FAME World Championships, FAME Media Group, FAME Magazine, and so much more! We organized some of the biggest events in the industry with its peak at over 900 athletes, 375 exhibitors, 4 competition stages, 3 seminar stages and competitions that featured amateurs and pro athletes competing in - natural bodybuilding, fitness, figure, fitness model, muscle model, swimsuit model, dance, cheerleading, arm-wrestling, obstacle courses, martial arts, etc.
In 2007 the tides of change swept in .... and everything changed. Not knowing it at the time, it was a true blessing in disguise and allowed us to evolve to the next level both personally and in business. Through a series of uncontrollable and unexpected events 3 weeks prior to the 2007 FAME World Championships & Expo, the company took a major financial hit to the tune of an excess of $500,000! Everything changed in an instant. Bye-bye house, adios car, so long savings and investments - all gone. What we did have was each-other, and our passion for the vision we built. So we persevered. We hugged, held each-other ... And evolved!
We continued to host events and maintain the brand and in the background we went introspective. We took time to review the past decade and really understand what made us and FAME tick. We researched, analyzed, "whiteboarded" (yes, that is a term, at least in our own vocabulary LOL), discussed, strategized and everything in between. And voila, bodyPROUD was born!
Through bodyPROUD we embarked on a revolutionary journey to ignite positive change in our culture. Its message and mantra is dedicated to influencing positive change in the world by motivating, celebrating, and uplifting people of all walks of life as they transform themselves to reach their personal potentials while embracing healthy, active, and fulfilling lives in body, mind, heart and spirit.
The development of the bodyPROUD movement also came with a personal transformation. I have spent the last 3 years working on my personal aspects of body, mind, hear and spirit. After years of putting business first it was time to work on me, and let those changes guide the business. With Mindy as my guide, mentor, sounding board, confident and best friend, I reshaped my body, rekindled my spirituality and reconnected with my heart and mind. And I am still growing and learning. It is a fluid and constant process. It is both challenging and wonderful! (And if you follow my blog you will get a peak into this world, learn along with me and share in my journey.)
Along the way, I applied the skills and knowledge that I had acquired through the initial stages of my discovery process. I wore many hats during this time -- business manager, administrator, financial director, sales person, emcee, physique judge, media spokesperson, publisher, visionary, seminar leader, presenter, writer, ambassador and entrepreneur – and was successful, together with Mindy, in creating a movement, positively impacting people’s lives, and introducing natural athletics to individuals – and regions – around the world.
Today, I am is ready to wear one only one hat: that which suits me best and is the best fit. I am most interested in sharing my experiences; being a visionary; helping others to bring bodyPROUD values and the Sport of Bodybuilding and Fitness to improve many elements in mainstream society and family homes. I see a world of raised consciousness radiating love, health, joy and happiness! I intend to inspire, educate, guide and lead through my blog and through the message and mantra of bodyPROUD!
Stay tuned! :)