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27: A Year In Review

This blog entry is also a Podcast on #TheGetMoreShow! If you’d prefer to listen to the audio version, click to listen below.

Hey, it’s been a while. I know I may have left you hanging a bit after listening to my last episode and for that, I’m sorry. I’m back though and am here to assure you I’m going to be more consistent with podcasting and I hope you’ll be consistent with meeting me here to catch up. I don’t plan these episodes, I don’t script them, I don’t have an agenda and I don’t have sponsors. What I have is my story and my journey and I’ll keep showing up to share it with you, if you keep showing up to listen. 

When we left off, I had finished telling you about something that I haven’t shared on social media anywhere except my last podcast and for now, I want to keep that between us. When I sit down to record these episodes, it’s real, it’s honest and it’s one of my favorite things to do so thanks for being here. Yesterday was my 28th birthday, or as Mariah Carey says, her anniversary, I kinda like that and I thought it was a really appropriate time for me to reflect on the last 365 days for reflection, gratitude, life lessons and that it would also be a great time for me to come back and hang out here, on my podcast.

A lot of amazing things happened to me in the last year but those amazing things also came with a lot of really, really tough times and that’s where the story begins. I closed the door to a part of my life that I had learned to invest in, confide in and depend on. It was the end of many, many years of a time that I found love in someone else, I found love for myself and a time when I was forced to deal with things I had been hiding for quite some time. There were certainly a lot of really fun times, vacations, workouts, puppy life, career advancements, roller coaster rides, laughing for no reason and the list goes on. But with that said, there were also dark times, there were times of miscommunications, lack of affection, questions of trustworthiness and struggle to paint the picture of what our future would hold. If you’ve listened to any of this show, you already know that I am a positive person. I choose happiness. I choose to look on the bright side. I choose to see the glass half full and that’s just the way it is. Unfortunately, he didn’t always get that side of me. He got a side of me that I’m not proud to admit I had then. That person was insecure, scared and lived feeling as if I wasn’t good enough — I felt as if I couldn’t measure up as a partner — I felt I couldn’t contribute enough financially, I felt unattractive and I felt that it was my job to bury all of this deep and disguise my lack of self-worth with constant excuses and lack of communication about how I really felt about us and the path we were on. This next part is uncomfortable for anyone to discuss but in the spirit of transparency and hoping to shed light on a subject that I think is widely avoided, I’m just going to say it. As I mentioned in the last episode of my show, as a teenager, I was the victim of sexual assault and it’s unfortunate how many people do suffer from leftover feelings as a result of this terrible epidemic that’s plaguing society today. At 17, my view of sex was forever changed as the result of the assault and little did I know it would continue to haunt me for years and years and years. At 17, I was old enough to know what was happening but also not strong enough to say no and 10 years later, here I was, 4 years in to a relationship with someone that I felt a love I had never felt before for someone, finding myself wondering why sex was so challenging for us. Was it him, was it me, was it us, what the hell was it? Was I not good? Did we not have chemistry? Was the spark just missing? I don’t know if any of those things are true but what I do know is, I was never able to know what a normal sex life looked like as a result of my experiences as a teenager. I don’t hold anyone accountable for that though. Playing the blame game isn’t the way to heal nor is it the way to accept your past so that it doesn’t consume you. What I do believe in is the power of acceptance, healing and therapy. You know, I’m not a the kind of guy to regret things, but I have to say that I do wish I had dealt with this much sooner than I did and I do often wonder if things would have been different if I had chosen to confront this monster sometime before my 27 years on this planet. Either way, I don’t lose sleep over it as much today as I did the past few months because my heart is at ease knowing that, what was meant for me will never miss me and what misses me was never meant for me.

 

And so that was the end. I left that part of my life just a few days past the one year mark from today and uncertainty began to set in not long after. I had big dreams and a plan to move across the country to California. Most people ask why I wanted to move to California and although I never answer that question with one word, I probably could, and that word would be acceptance. Now I don’t want to be over dramatic, I knew what acceptance felt like but I didn’t know what true acceptance felt like, only because I hadn’t yet fully accepted myself. I dreamed of a place where freedom existed. I wanted to wake up every day, smiling, ready to get to work serving other people. It wasn’t about fitness, it was about helping people realize that the answer to becoming better, to your friends, to your family, to your neighbor, to yourself, the ultimate key to living your best life is confidence. Sure, everyone says it, everyone tells you that you need to be more confident so I’ll tell you MY definition of confidence. Are you ready? Listen up. Confidence to me, means looking in the mirror and saying to yourself, even though I’m not perfect, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

 

That’s where my new chapter started. I moved in to my brand new apartment at 550 Los Arbolitos Boulevard in Oceanside, California. The rent was double what I paid in Florida, the gas was 1.5x what I paid in Florida and my salary hadn’t changed a penny. Again, I was uncertain what was to come but what I never lost sight of what I wanted — I told myself that I wanted to be a part of something bigger than me, I wanted to be a part of something that I could be a part of that would motivate people to stop living their life on autopilot, stop settling for the hand they’re dealt and start living life on their terms and who refuse to believe that normal exists. I’ll spare you the details but boy oh boy, did I go through some stuff!  I bought furniture to fill an empty apartment that I thought could fill an empty heart, I borrowed money, I drove for Uber, I missed car payments, I cried, I caught the flu, I caught pneumonia and I watched a lot of amazing sunsets as an official resident of the golden state, California.

 

Now, don’t get it twisted. I had some hella fun times too. Professionally, I got to be a part of some really cool opportunities! I was blessed enough to be a part of a world class health club, Equinox, I appeared in lots of fitness videos, I created and launched my very first, 100% solo source of passive income with an online course I created for those looking to build a brand online, I created my own consulting business and I did all this while taking care of two crazy adorable, high energy, very loving dogs, Jake and Liza.

 

I know it sounds silly but these dogs have enriched my life in ways I never imagined. I’ve always loved dogs, I’ve always thought dogs were loving back but these two are different. It’s almost unexplainable the attachment I have developed to them. I think it has a lot to do with what they represent. When I see them play together or I see them just want to be near me, it reminds me of a part of my life when I was still learning what love meant, how it felt to be loved and how rewarding the affection of another can be. To me, Jake and Liza represent love. It would have been easy for me to find a new home for them. Easy because I wouldn’t have to get a dog sitter every time I travel, I wouldn’t have to deal with the hassle that comes with taking care of two 50 pound dogs but I couldn’t do that because you can’t put a price tag on love.

 

I’m doing a lot of storytelling and a lot of reflection in this episode to let you know that despite what you may see on my Instagram feed, I don’t have it all figured out. I’m really just winging it like the rest of us.

 

I didn’t move to California for a job or because of an opportunity, I moved there because I believed in my potential to work really hard and hope that my actions would produce something so big that I couldn’t even visualize it… and if not… then I’d move back home and figure out something else.

 

It was around this time that I decided to heavily invest in figuring out what it truly meant to love — not just another but myself. I’d always had insecurities and I wanted to fight really hard to overcome them so that I could have love for myself and others. It might sound silly (and trust me, after everything I’ve already said to you, I’m okay with silly) but I watched RuPaul’s Drag Race, not because I liked it or got in to it, but because I was gay and well… that’s what most other gay people did so… I thought I’d give it a try. Despite the costumes, despite the lip sync for your life’s on every episode, despite the arguments and the glam, what stood out to me above everything else was at the end of every episode when RuPaul would say, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell you gon’ love somebody else, can I get an amen?” As I heard this week after week after week, I thought to myself, “What the hell does that actually even mean and why does she say it week after week?” After hearing that sentence on repeat, I finally decided to research and research and research and my research left me realizing that since I hadn’t exactly been proud of the way I had behaved in certain situations of my previous relationship and you know… it ended… it couldn’t hurt for me to invest in figuring out just how the hell I could love myself so that maybe, I could do a really great job at loving someone else. Not just romantically, but those in my life who truly meant the world to me… and so it began. I read books (yeah, I’m not a reader), I listened to podcasts, I watched YouTube videos and invested in this. The result of my quest for knowledge on love was a four letter word. Every single thing I read, listened to or watched constantly pointed to one word and that word was… kindness. Truthfully, I thought to myself, well that sounds easy enough… be kind. Be kind to myself, be kind to others. Okay, but what does kind mean? Well… let’s define kindness. To me, kindness means: honesty, even when it doesn’t mean it’s in your favor, giving someone the benefit of the doubt, even when it seems as you shouldn’t, smiling more, loving more and most importantly, doing the right thing even when no one else is looking.

I left a lot of things behind after this research. I resolved to let go of all anger because I knew it was unnecessary, I let go of toxic relationships and I committed to making people who were important to me, know they were important to me. I vowed to stop gossiping, making fun of others or pretending to be something I wasn’t. I decided to instead be me, every day, all day and I decided to do it with a smile on my face. It was in that very moment that I decided it was my job as a human on this earth to leave every situation just a little better than I found it. Believe me when I say, a lot of things will happen in your favor when you practice kindness. You see, kindness makes you likeable and likeable people get ahead, Likeable people get more opportunities, they are happier people and they are people that work smart and hard, not just one or the other. Most importantly, likeable people get ahead because they take care of others and I can’t think of anyone I’ve ever admired who got to where they are today without amazing people beside them.

 

And that… leads me to my next and most current chapter. I remember seeing a post on social media who truly tested me and that person is Fitness Celebrity and Motivational Icon, Shaun T.

I’m really not sure what inspired me more about Shaun, the fact that he was able to motivate people through his voice or that he so unapologetically lived his life as a married gay man and found a way to do it without flaunting it and also without hiding it. From afar, Shaun mentored me in many ways but I will be honest and say I never expected to work for or with him. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to, but it wasn’t on my radar. Anyway, I read the post and it said that he and Scott were looking to hire an assistant to join Team Shaun T. I remember immediately messaging a friend on Facebook who was in Shaun’s circle and asking her if the post was even real, “Is he really hiring someone and putting it on Facebook?” I said to her. She replied, “Yes and omg you would be perfect. You have to apply!” And so I did. I applied, I didn’t expect anything to come from it. I hoped but didn’t expect. I will save all of the details of that experience for a future episode but I will tell you, although I was not hired for the position of Shaun’s assistant, I got hired for a really amazing spot on their team that is absolutely the perfect fit for me and there truly has never been a moment in my life where I feel more fulfilled, more passionate and more invested than I do today.

 

Let’s get back to the part of this story that matters most — and that’s the part where this episode comes to a close. Whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s or beyond, I want to tell you what I wish someone would have told me a long time ago.

 

Anything that you believe, you can achieve.

Anything that brings you down, will make you stronger.

Anything that you can envision, you will manifest.

Stop chasing what you think you’re meant to be and instead – just be.

Take ownership of your circumstances and situation.

Take action.

Stand up and refuse to settle for the status quo.

You are capable, you are strong and you are powerful.

It’s okay to take a moment to realize the things you are unhappy with in your life but it’s not okay to dwell.

The only person who can create change is you.

Be kind.

Be understanding.

Be forgiving.

The more time you spend thinking, the less time you spend doing.

The less time you spend doing, the more you watch others do.

Every single day, you have the opportunity to change the world for the better.

You have the power to start a conversation that will spark an idea.

You have the power to clean up a mess someone else made.

You have the power to instill confidence and belief in someone with potential.

Every day, I tell myself to go through the day trying to leave each situation better than I found it because I believe THAT is how change is created. THAT is how the world becomes a better place.

Be the one.

Be the one who lets go of fear.

Be the one who sends someone a text instead of waiting on them to text you.

Be the one who asks someone on a date to see what might happen.

Be the one who chooses to go after that job that seems out of reach.

Be the one who decides to join a gym instead of just talking about it.

Be the one who stands up to that coworker who always has the last word.

Be the one who chooses to see the good in others instead of waiting on them to surprise you.

Be the one.

Stop letting the fear of “what if” keep you from just freaking going for it. Stop allowing life to happen to you. Stop allowing fear to keep you from living a courageous and proud life that you created on your terms. You only get one shot and you’re reading this on a device that allows you to take control, right now. Do it.

I love you. I love you for listening to this show. I love you for being you and I love you for going for it. I want to end this episode with a mantra that I live by and I want to share it with you a second time today:

Even though I’m not perfect, I deeply and completely love and accept myself.

For more, let’s connect on Instagram! You can find me: @ChipHoffa! Be sure to leave a comment under my last post using the hashtag #TheGetMoreShow so I know you’re a listener!

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