The recording is taking place about 6 am, and The Spaniard is once again in his cluttered basement so as to not wake up anyone else. He is sitting on his treadmill with his computer on a box in front of a weight bench (he suspects the box is a Christmas present for him). His microphone is on a toolbox. The Spaniard knows he will look back on all of this fondly.

When you dive into stories of success, you’ll find that nearly always (I’d say always were it not for the fact that the world does not operate in absolutes) find that the journey is filled with nooks and crannies and good times and bad times and uphill battles and losses and severed relationships and new relationships and an overall less-than-ideal path and trajectory. That’s the Hero’s Journey, and from the time I saw Rocky at 6 years old, I wanted to be the hero. I mean, really, who doesn’t?! Dave Berke, former Top Gun pilot and instructor (Guest on the SPANIARD101 Podcast), knew at 15 years old after seeing the movie Top Gun, the hero he wanted to be – Tom Cruise!

Setting out on any journey is scary and daunting and confusing. When I was just about to reach the point of legitimacy in professional fighting, I remember being told to appreciate what was going on around me, that one day I would look back on it fondly and miss it in a sort of way – all the local level fights, hustling to sell tickets and t-shirts, the family and community involvement, all of it. I was very aware and never took anything for granted. I thought I was fully, fully taking it all in, but I wasn’t. I only know that because of what came next.

Upon returning home from Brazil and losing my third straight UFC fight in 2014, it was only a matter of time until I was dealt my walking papers. I had resigned to the fact that something, something, had to come next. What it was I had no idea, but I knew I needed to start. So start is what I did; I started writing what turned into my first book (DRIVEN: My Unlikely Journey from Classroom to Cage), and I started speaking. I had experience and the ability to speak in front of a crowd, so, essentially, I had a voice; I put it to work. Soon to follow was a podcast. I was slowly building a platform from which to boom my voice and my message. Dread and I had no idea what we were doing, but we believed in it, were giving it 100% of our effort and were completely true and authentic in our pursuit.

Though as I write this, I’m (hopefully) only a portion of the way through my Hero’s Journey of life, I smile when I think of using every level, corner, cubbie, room and open space in my house at every hour of the day and night; it’s what needs to be done to get things done. Heck, my “office” and “recording studio” is a dank, unfinished basement! It’s the only place from which I won’t wake up the kids at 6:30 in the morning or keep them up at 9 at night! Now, this I’m truly appreciating.