It was so much easier being a professional athlete. Everything was provided for me. From meals to training gear, from hotel rooms to doctors on staff, I pretty much had everything I needed in order to just concentrate on my goals.

However, back then, instead of cherishing the opportunities that lay ahead of me, I was constantly focused upon what I didn’t have. I remember when my fellow teammates and I used to complain about the lack of resources, or about the lack of time, the lack of understanding or compassion from our wrestling coaches, and even complained about the lack of ice cubes at the dining room table.

Fast forward twenty years and I find myself experiencing the same thing. I often find myself reminiscing with nostalgia about my years as a competitor and about how much fun I used to have. Frequently, I hear my former teammates express their own longing for the good-old-times. And I say to myself, “Hey, wait a minute – I thought those years were awful!” Working as a coach with people for over twenty years and listening to them complain about their current situations, while longing instead to return to their pasts, has helped me to realize that most of us are guilty of wishing to be somewhere else or someone else. Again, we are all making the same mistakes we made when we were children, longing to be adults. Then I thought, “Haven’t we learned anything?”

We have just one life and one body. However, we have many chances to do things right. Today and right now is when and where we are in our lives. And, where we are right now, as in every other stage we go through along life’s journey, will come with obstacles. These obstacles are perfectly suited to our life, age, status, wealth and even our personality. Please believe me when I say that these obstacles are directly proportionate to our ability to overcome them.

If we are wishing to be somewhere or someone else, as we did when we were younger, it is because we are focusing our attention in the wrong direction. We are still focusing on what we don’t have, and upon who we are not. Twenty years from now, you’re going to look back at where you are right now and say, “Wow, those were some nice times. I used to have a spouse, have sex twice-a-week, and I could even touch my toes.” We need to wake up. We ARE living our dreams. Our dream now might not be what we may have expected, but don’t judge the dream. Rather, judge your expectations. Don’t look behind – and don’t fear to look ahead. Look within. Live your life to the fullest – problems, and all. Be your best, even if you think you are fat, poor, ugly, or stupid. Doing and being your best won’t leave any room for fat, poor, ugly or stupid. Trust me on this one.

Mind your own business. Take care of your problems, but don’t forget that you’re not the one who decides when you leave this “stage.” Don’t live like there’s no tomorrow, but don’t wait, either. Don’t waste your time, and don’t wish your problems away. Work on developing strengths and skills that will help you take care of your problems. LIVE AND LOVE. Love with your heart. Think with your head. Lead with your goals in mind. Work hard, love harder, love your life, and love yourself.

You’ve only got one shot. Appreciate who you are, because you ARE, and where you are, because you ARE HERE.

God Bless,

Leo Frincu is a world wrestling champion, author, speaker and performance coach for business leaders and athletes worldwide. To learn more about his training philosophy, check out his latest book, “WELCOME HOME, 3 Simple Steps On How To Reach Your Highest Potential,” available on Amazon and iBooks.