I had the opportunity to speak at my former place of employment this week & started working in 2007 at the Hollidaysburg Area Junior High and spent three years teaching Spanish and coaching wrestling. I have only positive things to say about my time there and the experience and knowledge I gained. My principal, in particular, was my number one fan in pursuing the UFC. He didn’t advise blindly following a passion, rather a systematic approach to achieving a goal.

It was neat to return to the junior high. On one hand, I am a completely different person than I was in 2007; I have lived a life I never would’ve imagined in my wildest dreams. On the other hand, though, I’m no different than I was in 2007, or even 1997. The experiences have changed. My viewpoints on certain things have changed. My knowledge base has changed. But as I told the kids sitting in the auditorium, I’m essentially the same person at my core as I’ve been my entire life. Just like I did at six years old, I still watch Rocky and do push ups in my living room. My values have remained intact, and I still want to do something extraordinary with my life.

In conversing with my former colleagues/friends, several of them said I had “made it.” As a kid, I thought “making it” meant a million dollars, a new corvette and a summer house at the beach. But as I talked with them, all of whom knew me before “The Spaniard” was ever born, they stressed the value and importance of actually pursuing goals and dreams. It got me thinking, and I’ve concluded that “making it” and “success” are defined by one thing: PEACE OF MIND.

Rather than focusing on the amount of money or the types of things that would make you happy, focus on the most efficient way possible to achieve peace of mind. Identify your core values and keep them in your back pocket along the way.

And every once in awhile, enjoy a peace of pizza :)