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Trials of Miles, July 2020: Coach Nick

The Butterfly Effect

What is a Butterfly Effect?

The butterfly effect is defined as ” the phenomenon whereby a minute localized change in a complex system can have large effects elsewhere.” Basically, a small change can lead into large changes later. Have you had a personal butterfly effect experience?

A Comment at Breakfast

Around the spring of 1996, while working as a financial analyst in the Financial Planning and Analysis department at Hoffmann LaRoche in Nutley, our CFO started a project in which he hired an outside consultant, Mary. I still don’t know exactly what the project was for, but Mary sat in a cube outside of my office. One day I was eating a chocolate chip muffin for breakfast and Mary walked in and said , “Why are you eating a muffin? That is all fat calories for breakfast.” So I asked her what she was eating and she told me a Met-Rx protein bar. We also had a conversation on fitness – she lifted and I ran. So that honestly made me feel guilty about that muffin and I ran to the store and got some Met-Rx bars (I think chocolate chip and vanilla) that night.

That tiny remark – and soon I was eating Met-Rx bars daily – and my kids too. I would have them for breakfast – or a snack like dessert. From the same health company I ordered goji berries and goji juice and started including them in my diet for my running. Mary was long gone from my company and I even lost touch for many years, but her words stayed with me.

Much of the story that followed came together a few years later.

It was 2013: 

I was stuck.  Nothing was moving, I wasn’t improving, I felt like I was going nuts.

I hit a plateau in my running.  Between 2011-2013 I ran 20 5K races, and could no longer break 19 minutes.  What the heck?

“How can this be possible?”  I thought to myself, “If have broken 19 minutes in the past 25 years, why can’t I do it now?”

I had to face reality.  Despite my vibrant energy and handsome looks (some may say),  I was getting old. Family was confirming that fact as well.

My mind was telling me that because I was running slower, I was getting old.  My mind also made the case that there was nothing I could do about it.

Do you ever have conversations  with yourself?

I was having many, and at 44 it seemed that the odds were against me.  In my mind, this was out of my control and the only thing I could do was sit back and embrace "getting old."

I was almost convinced that my running days and fast races were over.

Ah, life goes on right?

And then… it all changed!

Right before I was ready to give up, a friend recommended a nutritional system to me…Now, if you knew me back then, I would have NEVER tried any kind of diet, shake regimen or fast, because I associate all those things with weight loss, not necessarily lifestyle improvement.

I decided it was time to change my circumstance and gave this system a shot—out of pure curiosity and trust that this will help me on some level…

The Flood Gates Opened.

My running improved.  I broke 19 minutes again, but there were other benefits to doing something new, which I had not considered.  Because I became a part of a community who was invested in changing their lifestyles, I started meeting new, like minded people.  I was able to leave my comfort zone and reach out to new people and begin new ‘running relationships’. I even reconnected with the owner of a gym who helped me form my own running coaching business.  I became certified as a personal trainer in May 2015 and have since trained people on building confidence, endurance and speed. Through fitness and mindset work.

I even change my ENTIRE CAREER PATH and left corporate life for something more fulfilling.

This would have never happened if I would have stayed in my circumstance.  All I did was DECIDE an put the word out there that I wanted to change my situation.

Also, I was willing to SEE the opportunities presented to me and take action on them (my friend and the new nutritional / lifestyle system).

Doing something scary has definitely amplified my courage.

It has been six years, and I am kind taken aback by the big changes I have made in my life – which obviously affected my family as well (along the way I realized that the changes I make are not just about improving me, but also the people around me).

So, tell me, my friends, what is holding you back from changing your circumstance?

Sometimes, it just requires a small, tiny leap into something that makes you curious and peaks your interest…

What Is The Butterfly Effect in Your Life?

Only you know what is the butterfly effect in your life. Maybe it happened like me a few years ago. Maybe it happened and you have not yet seen where all the ripples ended up yet. Maybe it is in the future – you just need to make that self-discovery to make it start. Who knows where it will lead as life is just crazy!

Trials of Miles,

Coach Nick

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