The Next Generation
I was packing up my Dodge Omni at the age of 19. With coal dust still covering the wheels of my car, I was unbelievably excited to get out so I could move to Columbus to start pursuing my dream. It was hard to leave the Ohio Valley and my family, but I will tell you what I thought that day I left. The thought flowing through my mind was that I am going to make something of myself, and this is the start. During my time growing up in the valley, I badly wanted to be able to look up to someone in the area, but there simply wasn’t anyone I could identify with. The best example that I could think of was Dean Martin, who is a famous Rat Pack member. This was pretty cool because you could see that becoming a famous entertainer is possible for someone in this area. That being said, it didn’t necessarily line up with my world, and it was so long ago when he was around.
I want kids from the Ohio Valley to look up to me, especially with the way social media is today. I wanted them to be able to reach out to me at any given time for them to see that I was like them. My family struggled with the mines and mills closing down, we struggled to pay the rent, and at times we lived in not so great conditions. I wanted them to see that I was not an amazing athlete and what I accomplished was through hard work and perseverance. I knew that my main goal was to become the guy from the Ohio Valley that people would aspire to be like. Something like this was not going to change overnight, and I was completely fine with putting in the work to get there. Every day when I wake up it’s on my mind that some kid in the Ohio Valley is struggling and needs a role model to help them achieve their dream.
I honestly can’t tell you why I felt so the way I did as I was leaving, other than that I wanted this for myself, and at the time it did not exist. Everyone, including myself, needs someone to look up to, learn from, and to keep them on track. Two things that keep me driving forward are looking up to a specific influential figure, and focusing on the things in life I didn’t have that I wanted. Once you can make the things you want to do larger, the motivation gets much easier. The emphasis is always on the long term, and not the short. I dreamed about owning my own gym and being a successful fitness entrepreneur. When I realized that I was doing it for the area I’m from, the meaning is much more powerful than I could ever imagine. When I embarked on my business journey, it got very real when I dialed into wanting to change generation of Gregory’s. This hits me down to the core because it’s bigger than you ever envisioned, and you hope you can teach future generations to go after their dreams. If you haven’t already, take a second and think about what you are doing right now in your life. How will what you do today affect your kids and grandkids? Are you happy with what you are doing?
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