“American Ninja Warrior Changed My Life”

Okay, so I’m sitting next to someone at Starbucks right now that just inspired the crap out of me.

She asked me if I worked online because she always sees me typing away, and when I told her I did, she immediately jumped into her life story, wondering if it was worth sharing as well on a blog or something.

45 minutes later I gave her an emphatic “YES GIRL!!! GET THAT $HIT OUT THERE!!” as I picked my jaw off the floor, and then promptly scurried back to my laptop to pump this article out to y’all ;)

I’ll refrain from naming names or specifics so I don’t steal her thunder, but in a nutshell here’s her story over the past couple of years which I hope motivates you to go after your OWN dreams and take action as well. You just never really know what can come of it until you put yourself out there!!

Two years ago…

  • My new friend was obese, depressed, and in loads of debt
  • She randomly flipped on American Ninja Warrior one day on TV and started watching
  • It inspired her to pick up the book – You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living by Jen Sincero (which I’ve also heard was a good read)
  • She thought that if she could turn herself into a Ninja Warrior that would be pretty bad ass and a huge accomplishment to fight for
  • Started looking up Ninja meetups and decided to drive out to one, despite her fears of being “a fat girl” (pretty cool that these exist!! They’re all over apparently!)
  • 30 minutes after arriving, she was crying and freaking out and almost turned right around to go home
  • She sucked it up and found the courage to introduce herself to a competitor she had recognized, and admired, from the show
  • The competitor introduced her to her own personal trainer who happened to be standing there right next to her
  • She hit it off with the trainer and ended up hiring her/him? to help her with her own weight loss/dieting/exercising problems
  • She immediately immersed herself into the “Ninja Warrior” community, making friends and networking and showing up to events all around the country while training in American Ninja Warrior gyms (yes – there are gyms that are specifically set up for this stuff!! Who knew??)
  • And now – two years later – is no longer obese after shedding over 50 pounds (!!) through dieting and working out and completely transforming her lifestyle (as well as her confidence and self-image)
  • Is in the process of changing careers to help other women feel more confident and go after their Big Dreams too
  • Has paid off 100% OF HER DEBT and is now finally saving money!
  • And lastly, of course, is still very much training to be the next great American Ninja Warrior ;)

And you know she’s going to do it too! We both joked that it doesn’t even matter if she trips and falls on national television because she’s already won BIG TIME and everything else is just extra, haha…

But man, what a journey! I’m all riled up over here! It’s just SO cool to see someone on the path they were meant to be on, knowing that for the rest of their lives they’re going to be a-okay after finally finding their true purpose. We should all be so lucky to find our calling like that! And I’m sure she never would have even guessed it either, going back just two years ago…

But you know what?? It took just ONE STEP once she got that inkling of desire, and step by step afterwards she slowly made that progress and connected the dots as she went. Not unlike the journeys of almost every other single successful person we all know as well! Ain’t nobody makes it “overnight!”

Reminds me of that part from the We Bought A Zoo movie actually:

“Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”

So so right… And can be applied to all areas of our life too – taking that first step in an interview, taking that first step in asking out the hot nerd sitting next to us, taking that first step in investing and not freaking out that all our money will disappear because OMG THE STOCK MARKET IS CRASHING!!!, you name it.

It all begins with a first step, and from there you’re on to the races. (Or you fail miserably and make an ass out of yourself, but that just means you were on the wrong path to begin with! Remember that resume of failures we posted about earlier? It’s all a part of the game! What matters is that we keep our eyes open for *newer* paths and continue giving them a shot.)

And actually, this Ninja journey is pretty similar to my own blogging one too. Maybe not as extreme (I was never in tons of debt or depressed or anything), but I certainly wasn’t on a clear path in either career or finances. I was just going with the flow trying things out here and there, until one day – BAM! The idea of starting a blog came to mind, and I mustered up the energy to get it going to see where it led… And well, we all know how it went from there ;)

I actually just put together the highs and lows of my “story” here if you’re interested in seeing it (in pure bullet-point glory!), but the point is, you never know where this stuff will take you until you put yourself out there.

If you’ve been teetering on the brink of something right now and just haven’t had the courage to pull the trigger, I urge you to please do so today!! Whether it’s relating to your finances, or career, lifestyle, dreams, relationships, family – just go for it!

You deserve it to yourself, and you’ll never regret going after what you want even if you never attain it in the end. It just takes a few seconds of bravery and then it’s out there in the world!

Make it happen! And if it helps, turn on some American Ninja Warrior in the background to help get you pumped up! Haha… I’ll admit I was pretty dubious hearing those words first come out of her mouth, but it was an encounter that’s left me much happier and hopeful today, and you have to take your inspiration where you can get it ;)

Life is full of potential for each of us out there, but if you don’t go after it that’s all it’ll ever be! And not taking advantage of your potential is one of the worst disservices you can do for yourself.

PS: As soon as her blog comes out, or she makes it onto the show, I’ll be sure to come back and update y’all… Unless she catches me talking about her first and puts the ninja moves on me, haha… (*goes to hit “publish” real quick before getting caught!*)

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  1. Lily @ The Frugal Gene February 7, 2018 at 6:02 AM

    That’s so inspiring J$! Wonderful that your friend had so many accomplishments, in just 2 years nonetheless.

    I love American Ninja Warriors!! But it’s because it gives me girl boners. Everytime a cute guy comes on and start leaping and salmon jumping. Hmmmm <3

    1. J. Money February 7, 2018 at 6:32 AM

      Oh jeez, haha…

  2. FullTimeFinance February 7, 2018 at 7:39 AM

    Very inspiring story. The key really is to just start and develop your confidence . Visualize your success and your chances of succeeding go up infinitely

    1. Cubert February 9, 2018 at 7:01 AM

      Agree, FTF. Starting is the hardest part, followed by forming a habit. After that it’s just time and repetition. Not unlike writing!

  3. Ms. Frugal Asian Finance February 7, 2018 at 7:51 AM

    What an inspiring story! Who knows we would meet someone so cool at a random place like a coffee shop!

    I do think your new friend has a great story to tell which will serve as a strong foundation for her new blog. Fear can be debilitating yet motivational at the same time!

      1. J. Money February 7, 2018 at 2:23 PM

        Starring that one to watch tonight in place of my daily Ted Talks – thanks :)

  4. Apathy Ends February 7, 2018 at 8:00 AM

    You pick up all sorts of inspirational nuggets working in public places!

    Awesome to see someone putting themselves out there and going straight to the source of someone who inspires them.

    1. J. Money February 7, 2018 at 2:24 PM

      Oh yeah – you should see my list of “overheards” by now too, haha… I usually blog about them every few months, but it’s been a while and they’re adding up! :)

  5. Chris @ Duke of Dollars February 7, 2018 at 8:00 AM

    Wonderful story and an awesome show lol!

    It is so true that a lot of times in life you just need something small to push you to start, then once you do, its GO TIME!

  6. Ms99to1percent February 7, 2018 at 8:29 AM

    Great inspiring story. Gotta check out that show and book.

  7. Dads Dollars Debts February 7, 2018 at 8:48 AM

    The show is quite motivating. they do a good.job with the back stories, etc. Awesome that it motivated her to do all of this and talk to you about it!

    1. J. Money February 7, 2018 at 2:26 PM

      For real… I’ve only watched a few episodes, but I’m always glued to ’em once I stumble across them.

  8. Rocky February 7, 2018 at 8:48 AM

    I have never been that productive when watching TV haha. This is an incredible story and really speaks to how it could be anything that sparks something inside of you to reach your goals. I know you are protecting her identity but if you see her on the show you better give us a wink or something.

    1. J. Money February 7, 2018 at 2:26 PM


  9. fin$avvy panda @ finsavvypanda.com February 7, 2018 at 9:20 AM

    Hey J! Very inspiring story. It is these types of stories that keep your audience motivated and all pumped up to be the next NINJA WARRIOR!!! Wooo!!

    I sometimes find that when you’re at your lowest point, it can’t get any worse so you can only go up from there. What goes down HAS to come back up (like crashing stock markets)

    Btw, it takes 20 years for an overnight success.

    1. J. Money February 7, 2018 at 2:27 PM

      That’s what I hear, haha…

  10. Sean @ Frugal Money Man February 7, 2018 at 10:22 AM

    “Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” I have never seen that movie, but I haven’t read a greater quote than that in awhile. Ideas are nothing without action, and although it is ALWAYS scary to make that initial jump, just being insanely courageous in a small moment can lead to something great!

    Thanks for sharing that story!

  11. Joe February 7, 2018 at 10:22 AM

    That’s awesome. Nice job!
    You just need to take that first step and keep going. Most people don’t even start.
    What’s the worse that can happen? You’ll be a little embarrassed, but who cares? Hope to see her on the show someday.

  12. Chris @ Mindful Explorer February 7, 2018 at 10:27 AM

    Love it when these inspired posts come together from you in a flurry of words. They are often some of my favorite posts on your blog. Thanks for sharing this J and inspiring that individual yet again a second time in their life hopefully.

    1. J. Money February 7, 2018 at 2:29 PM

      Thanks man!! Glad my enthusiasm came through with it – I pretty much just word vomited it all out there, haha… (And I do see her in the coffee shop every now and then, so hopefully I hear updates over time!)

  13. Ty Roberts February 7, 2018 at 10:40 AM

    Stories like this always re-energize me. Love a good turnaround story and will be looking for an update on this ninja warrior’s.

  14. Menard Solve February 7, 2018 at 10:47 AM

    I once appeared on national television. Alaxan Gladiators was the Philippine version of the American Gladiators. I was in my early 20s and kinda buff so I was encouraged by people to audition. When I got selected, I was immediately thrown on the platform to “fight” one of the seasoned stuntmen on the show who ended up toying with me with his pugil stick. It kinda changed my life in a way because it destroyed my confidence (at least temporarily).

    1. J. Money February 7, 2018 at 2:42 PM

      Oh wow!! What an experience though – that show used to be #1 for years here in the States! I loved watching it… Are you glad you went on or no?

      1. Menard Solve February 7, 2018 at 9:18 PM

        I regretted it initially because I sort of humiliated myself. But 25 years later, I’m glad I did. It was a once in a lifetime experience. There’s no chance I could be on national television now unless I do something incredibly awesome (or stupid).

        1. J. Money February 8, 2018 at 12:49 PM

          Yeah dude, was hoping you’d say that :) Just the fact you got ON to a show like that is incredible – no one I know in life has been able to pull that off cuz none of us are jacked! haha… So you should def. feel proud on that alone :)

  15. Wise Money Tips February 7, 2018 at 10:55 AM

    Very inspiring. It does indeed pay to explore different opportunities. You never know where they might lead. The same concept can apply to career, social life, etc.

  16. The Lady February 7, 2018 at 3:55 PM

    Straight up inspirational sh!t right there. And here I sit on my lunch break, chomping a salad and reading a personal finance blog. Two things I wouldn’t have imagined myself doing 7 months ago. Life’s little twists can become tides of change.

    1. J. Money February 8, 2018 at 12:50 PM

      Yes they can!! And I’m glad the current took you over here with us! :)

  17. Krystal @ Simple Finance Mom February 7, 2018 at 4:36 PM

    OMG! That’s amazing! So inspiring. I love when people finally get what they were created to do on this earth. It is the most rewarding thing to find your voice and to use it to help others on their journeys. Kudos to her! And to you!!

  18. Frankie February 8, 2018 at 3:11 AM

    Awesome story – always seems to be the little decisions and moments in life that can make the big things happen. And what bigger thing can you do than spread that little seed of inspiration to others, just like she’s doing with her story and helping others achieve the same thing.

  19. J at Their Money Goals February 8, 2018 at 5:44 AM

    What an awesome story! It’s so true that we’ll never know what we can accomplish if we don’t take that first step to try. Sure we may fail at times, but I think the biggest failure is never trying at all.

    Thanks for sharing!

  20. taylor February 8, 2018 at 12:44 PM

    I dragged my bridesmaids to one of these gyms for my bachelorette party and we had SO MUCH FUN! But I cannot explain the level of pain we were in the next day. They should warn people: do not mix ninja warrior training with tons of booze :)

    1. J. Money February 8, 2018 at 12:51 PM

      Haha yes – I don’t even have to try that to believe you :)

  21. Heather February 8, 2018 at 5:18 PM

    What an amazing story. Best of luck to her!!

  22. Elle February 13, 2018 at 8:08 PM

    I’ve read “You Are A Badass at Making Money” and it changed my perspective on a lot of things.

    Incredible read. I can understand how it inspired her to take action and live out her dreams.

  23. ZJ Thorne February 19, 2018 at 12:35 PM

    That’s awesome! I didn’t know about Ninja Gyms. It seems like it would be a lite version of Krav Maga, which I’m also interested in, but those gyms are so expensive.

    One bold step and then not running away is also the story of my business. And 3.5 years later I’m still here.

    1. J. Money February 19, 2018 at 1:52 PM

      Love to hear that :)

      It should be turned into a bumper sticker or something, haha… “I took a bold step and didn’t run away!”