This one is for the masses. So feel free to skip to the section that best relates to you. I will be going over several experiences with the clients I have personally worked with. Of course no names will be said to protect their privacy.

I am truly honored to have had as many experiences as I do, because I believe a true coach not only teaches, but they learn as well, and I have learned so much from my own journey and from other’s journey as well. The human spirit is a very powerful thing when all the pieces are put together correctly.

I hope if you are looking for your greatness, or just need to be uplifted these stories will inspire you to make your day better, or even just think about what you need to do to get you life moving in the direction you would like.

What do you do when life laughs at you

I know we have all had a time in are life where we think to ourselves, is this really happening right now? Life has a way of testing us in the worse possible moments. I still remember the feeling I had when my biological dad left. Questions went through my head like, did I do something wrong, was I not good enough, and what could I have done better?

I was blessed to have a man come into my life who took on the role of father and dad. He proved to me that blood was not necessary everything, but the actions people do is what makes you someone to be worth knowing. He was a man who stood up for me until I had the strength to stand up for myself.

I felt like a somebody again, and I knew I was worth being loved. One of the best things he did for me was faced me into the mirror, and he told me “no matter what you do in this world is because you chose it, just remember there are consequences to every decision you make”. I really took that to heart, realizing that I was the true creator of my own reality.

Through the years I have had the opportunity to build my strength up. Doing my best to get better and stronger with each year. The best part about it all, is that my strength can help other people see their own. I realized the better I do the better they want to do for me and for themselves.

So to this day I continue to move in the direction of greatness for me and for those who want the same out of their life. I have been given the humble experience to meet so many people who had their own personal pain and using it as strength to lead to their success. What a ride it has been, and now I can use their experiences to help you on your journey as well. If you have doubts, fears, or just imperfect circumstances, that’s ok, because the greatness is always within you!

The sad moment

This woman was such an amazing client of mine. She had a heart of gold and was a very bright woman as well. She was a psychologist. Paid to diagnose and help other’s with their problems, and she was very good at it too.

I have always been interested in psychology, and when I spoke with her we would have the most fascinating conversations. We ended up getting to know each other very well through the years.

I remember asking her if she got into psychology to figure out how to deal with her own personal problems? She just looked at me and tear began to run down her face. She tried to control it, but that only made her cry more. We hugged and she began to calm down.

I remember telling her that it was ok, and that she was an amazing person, who had some of the most beautiful qualities a person can have. I also told her that it is ok to not have it all figured out and together. Just keep being the kind person that you are, and if you ever need to cry that it is ok to do so. You have strengths and weaknesses, just like everyone, and beauty comes from knowing they are there. Not hiding from them.

The cool thing is are relationship became stronger after that. There is nothing better than someone seeing you for what you are and not casting judgment, but instead seeing the beautiful diamond for what it is. It really is cool when a person can truly feel completely comfortable around you, because when that happens they are willing to bet on you to take them where they need to go.

She took a bet on me and did such amazing things from that experience. The best take away I could give anyone from this is find people you can trust. So that you can be your whole self around them. I honestly appreciate that she had enough strength to cry in front of me. I know it was hard for her to do, but she felt she needed to do it, and she felt better for doing it.

Find those who will love you unconditionally, it is one of the best feelings you can get.

The beaten down

I had on particular client who was a real sweet heart. Just listening to hear you could just tell that she was a very nice person. When I started training her, and getting to know her better I notice one big thing about her.

She was sweet, but she just had absolutely no belief in herself. It was hard to see such a nice person have no self value. I believe everyone has value, and great value at that. So when I would see her I would do my best to bring her up and make her believe in herself.

It was awesome when it would happen! I would feel the biggest shift in her energy, and she would be so happy after leaving. The only issue was every time she would come back to train, it was like starting all over from square one. I could not figure out what it was.

Eventually she would start telling me about her husband, and to say the least he was very verbally abusive to her. The things he would say was downright cruel. It was honestly hard for me to even hear.

Now I cannot say if the way I handled it is the right or the wrong way, it was my way though. I told her that she is a worthy person, and that she should stand up knowing that she is a worthy person. Some might say divorce him, but I do not feel it is my place to tell people such things, unless they really want my opinion on the matter.

I hate to say, it never got better for her. At least with the time I was training with her, which was about 2 years. I would just do my best to bring her back up, and he husbands would do his best to bring her back down.

I think it is important to note that we do have a say in are own power. She had options and she chose to stay in the situation that she was in. Sometimes people can be in a situation so long that they completely forget that they have options in the first place.

For those reading this right now I want you to know that there are indeed options. Who do you want to surround yourself with? Those who believe in you and your dreams, or those who want to beat you down mentally and feel less than. The choice to change is never easy in a situation like this, but I want you to remember there are choices you can make. I hope you make the choice that makes you happy. I feel everyone deserves to be happy.

The know it all

Yep we all know the know it all. That person who is absolutely sure about everything that comes out of their mouth. This was not one of my clients (I refuse to train know it all’s), but it was someone I used to train with.

Me and him got into the ring to do some light sparring. I was getting the better of him and he told me if this was a real fight he would just take me down. I told him I had wrestled for over 15 years and that would be a difficult task for him to do. He said if I get a hold of your leg you are going down.

The beautiful thing about the know it all is they are so sure of themselves. I hate to say it but I do find it a bit entertaining. Anyway I told him to be my guest and we will add take downs to the sparring. He went in for a shot and feel flat on his butt. He got up and said “you feel like a brick wall”.

I laughed and again reminded him I wrestled for over 15 years. Unfortunately not a whole lot changed. He still felt he knew everything there was to know, except boxing and wrestling haha. He never sparred or wrestled after that either.

I tell this story to remind people to be humble. You can be good in some things, and bad in other’s. The only way you get good at things is trying them over and over again. You will make mistakes and that is ok. You will only get better the more that you do it.

An arrogant know it all has an ego that is too big to make mistakes though. They do their best to only stay within areas that they know, and avoid things they are not good at. Which is not the best strategy if you are looking to improve in life. Go after your greatness, and be humble in your journey.

The perfectionist

Here was another client of mine who was a great person to be around. She had amazing energy and was very fun-loving. The big issue she had been extreme perfectionism. She had to do everything perfect. It was crazy to see.

When I say everything, I mean everything. Worked 3 jobs, solid diet, workout regularly, and a wife, with kids, and she would try to put more on her plate. So not only did she have a lot on her plate she needed it to be done correctly all the time.

I felt like this was going to be a recipe for disaster, but unfortunately a perfectionist will usually only see that until something goes wrong. Well finally did. Everything fell apart

She developed an eating disorder, could not work the same, and was unable to tend to her husband, and kids as well. The main problem with being a perfectionist is if they cannot do it perfect, they will decide not to do it at all. It is hard to watch such a sweet person take a turn like that.

Eventually things did change up though, and she started to put things into more perspective. Now it did take some time. When you are used to being a perfectionist undoing that can be quite difficult, because that is what you are used to.

Just know that if you are that way, there are people who can help you with that, and change the way you work through things. Sometimes perfectionist do not think they have a problem, but it can cause a serious mess when something bad happens in your life though. Just essentially giving you something to think about.

The angry one

Think of someone you know that has anger issues and times that by 10. This was one of the angriest people that I have met. I really was not a fan of his at first.

So he comes to the gym and ending up sparring a friend of mine. He beat the crap out of my friend to. I actually jumped in and stopped it. I told him that you are supposed to be sparring and that was not cool. He apologized about it, but I was pretty heated by the whole thing. I could tell that he wanted to hurt my friend and I am not about that.

So the next day I see the guy again, and I asked him if he wanted to spar? He said yes he would spar me (I was not looking to seek revenge on him just a side note haha). So we start sparring, and he does the same thing again. He starts swinging for the fences. I was a professional fighter at the time, so he essentially just set himself up to get countered. So I threw a couple of counters at him and blooded his nose up pretty good.

I told him that he was way to angry and he needed to calm down, and that he would never beat a pro fighter with that kind of rage. The words that came out of his mouth I did not expect at all. He said it is kind of hard to not be angry when you have a dad and brother on drugs, and an abused mom!

My jaw dropped after he said that. I told him I was sorry with what he was going through, and that I hope his situation gets better. I also told him that he should probably see a therapist for these issues, and that they could probably help him work through some of his problems.

This story actually still touches my heart to this day. He ended up taking my advice, and we actually became really good friends. His mom moved away from his dad, and I am unsure what happened to the brother. He even reached out to me to thank me for the advice that I gave him. He said many people knew about my anger, but I was the only one who told him that he should probably get some help.

I am glad that I did, and I am happy that there was a great story to show for it as well. So for those who are so angry it feels like it is taking your life over, get help, you will be thankful that you did.

The failure

This was honestly the hardest client that I have had. He was a person who had a very low self-esteem, and did not believe that he was worthy of success. I tried and I tried, and no matter what I could not convince him of his capabilities. On top of that he would half-ass the routine and strategies I would give him for success. It felt like an impossible situation.

One time he even came to the gym and said I made him feel worse about himself. I asked him “what is it that I am doing to make you feel this way?”. He told me “every time I speak to him it makes him feel like he is capable of doing things, and then when I get home I realize I can do nothing”. I told him that it was his limiting beliefs that made him feel incapable of doing things.

He was a real struggle to deal with, and after almost 3 years I ended up firing him as a client. He said he was paying me though. My reply was not anymore, but that I wished him the best and hope that he would find his success. I felt like he was using me as his crutch, and honestly that is not healthy for either party. So I made the hard decision.

He actually came back a few years later though. He said he was ready to return and take things more serious this time around. I told him that he had to prove he was ready, so I quizzed him and asked him what he learned while being away. One of the most important things he said was learning to take responsibility, and also surrounding himself with positive inspiring people.

I liked what he said and figured might as well give him a shot and see where he is at. I must say he is in a much better place now. He is striving for his goals and actually putting in a real effort this time around. It feels me with joy knowing that someone with such a failure like mentality can make such a radical change.

I always say that people will treat you the way you allow them to treat you. If you hold them to certain standards they will either rise to those standards, or you will part ways from each other. It took him some time but he eventually rose to the occasion and realized he could do better than what he was at first.

The drug addict

This is a client that I have been working with for a little over 3 months. The drug that he is addicted to is one of the most addictive Meth. It was a challenge that I was excited to take on to say the least. You may ask why would you want to take such a difficult task on?

Well my reasoning is I know how deadly that drug can be and I have seen many lives ruined because of it. So if I could help even just one person overcome it, it is absolutely worth giving a try.

The first thing I noticed when I began training him was all the excuses he would make. I do believe when a person gets used to a certain lifestyle especially a negative one, they can give reasons to why they are in the spot that they are in. It can sound quite scary to take responsibility for the bad things that happen in your life, but the sooner responsibility is taken the sooner you can do something about it.

There is always a way to get help one way or another, and the realization of that will move an individual into what do I do to make this better, instead of this is not fair.

I have been around long enough to realize life is not necessarily fair, but as individuals we have the ability to overcome unfairness if we choose to.

There is a very negative stigma to drug addiction as well, and I think that is unfair. Everyone makes mistakes, and it is impossible to pinpoint why one mistake is more dramatic than another. My client is a person trying to do his best just like anyone else.

With that said I always empathize, but do not necessary justify one’s action. To empathize is understand that they have an issue and you will love them no matter what. Justifying means oh well that’s just the way they are. You can be anything you want to be in this world. Of course, it will take energy moving into a direction you may not used to moving in to elicit change, but the option is still there.

With the 3 months I have been training him, he has been doing very well. One thing that specifically started moving him in the right direction is a many things. I believe in him, I told him to build momentum to be the best him that he can be, and we have been training both his mind and his body. Most importantly he is taking it day by day.

If you are reading this and have a possible drug addiction that you want to overcome, please get help from a source that can help you get past it. I believe in you and I know that you can do it with the right support system. It may be hard at first, but it will be more than worth it.

The one who lost 100 lbs

This is one of my favorite stories. I am glad that I could have been a part of it. I meet a woman at the gas station, and we became very good friends. Asking on another about each other’s family and getting to know each other for about a year.

One day she complained about how badly her knees and back would bother her, and I decided to make a difficult decision. I told her in the nicest way that I could that if she lost some weight it would probably help with her knees and back. She gave me a hug, because she could tell it was not something I wanted to say, but I felt it was important to say. I told her that I would help her in her journey if she was interested. She agreed to see what she could do.

I am so happy to tell you she has been nothing but successful. She listened to everything that I told her, and ended up losing over 100 lbs in about 11 months. Goes to show how far a person can go when they go all in on themselves.

She is happy and healthy, and know she has a new glow to her because she found a way to put it all together. It is crazy thinking about it, but it all started with having an honest conversation and genuinely wanting the very best for her. I think that is the most important lesson of all. I feel it is important to be honest with people. Just make sure to come from a loving place. You never know how far a person will go until you really believe in them.

So if you ever need to believe in your capability, use her as an example of what you can be.

The Excuse maker

Just like all of my clients I loved her dearly, but her issue that everything she could not do was because of something out of her control. Overtime I would come up with a plan or solution, she would find a reason why it would not work.

She pretty much maintained where she was at. The sad thing is she did not realize that it was her creating all of this. The mind is a very powerful thing, and it will work the way you allow it to.

If you constantly think of why things are not your fault. Your mind will create reasons why it isn’t and you will continue on the path you are on. The reverse is also true. If you take responsibility, you empower yourself to get the things you need in life. During difficult times you will find a way to succeed, and open up to the creative possibility that you will make things work one way or another.

Her case was a tough one to watch. I love to see other’s succeed, but the guide cannot make them successful. Only they have the power to do that.

So if you can take anything away from this one it would be to create the reality that you want. Take responsibility of your life, and ask yourself. Are you were you want to be?

The Anxious Lady

Here was a woman that may have been the most anxious person that I have trained. She would actually have panic attacks in the middle of training. I am happy to say though that she has made amazing strides with her anxiety though.

I told her that anxiety can become a very intense and scary thing, and the more we thing about it or try to calm down the worse it gets.

With anxiety the goal is not to stop something, but to focus on something that you can control. One way to do this is by focusing in on your breathing, and saying to yourself I am going to control what I can control.

This technique has worked wonders for her. Anything that is new does take practice, but if you suffer from anxiety give it a try and see how it works for you.

The Mom

First off congratulations to all the moms out there. Being a mom can be one of the most rewarding yet difficult things in the world to do. We I saw my wife crying after giving birth to my son it was truly a joyous moment. That and the love and affection she shows him is a true honor to witness.

I have trained a lot of moms in my time, and the most hardest things for most of them is they cannot quite eat or exercise the fat off as easy as they used to. It only makes sense too. A woman’s body goes through so many changes during the pregnancy process. So to expect it to bounce back right away is not generally feasible.

Can it happen? It certainly can. The question is how hard and smart are you willing to work at it, and also if it is even worth it to you. Like I said being a mom can be very difficult your decisions are no longer just about you or your husband. You have a little one in the house that needs to be tended to as well. So vanity may take a back sit.

Now for me I believe having a healthy happy life is more important than maintaining an extremely low body fat percentage. To each their own though. Some people thing having an extremely lean body is the most important thing to have.

I will say however if you are going to stay there and have a child do it for yourself, and not because a magazine or media outlet shames you to look thinner. That was one problem I always had with training new moms. They would look at magazines thinking that’s the way a mom who takes care of herself should look. The truth of the matter is the women who poses for those magazines do not even look that way. They actually diet to get ready for the shoot. They put on make up, get oiled up, and have a photographer take pictures at there best angle.

I say this because it angers me when a mom beats herself up thinking she can do better. When I train a mom who looks absolutely amazing, and she fells she needed to do more. I get it, it can be hard not to compare yourself to things you see often. Just realize though the people in the picture cannot even maintain that look consistently.

Be a proud and healthy mom. Yes to exercise, and yes to eating right, but don’t change everything about yourself so you can put up a vanity image. It will be tough for you and tough on your beautiful child.

The Cancer Survivor

I could only imagine how scary it can be to hear that you have cancer. That is what a friend of mine found out and he was extremely young too. The chemo was an absolute nightmare for him too. You get hit with radiation and hope your body survives longer than the cancer. A truly terrifying thing to witness. I am just happy that he was able to get through that difficult process that he had.

Nothing changes a person like a near death experience. His attitude toward life did an entire 360. He really saw the bigger picture of things, and has lived life to the fullest!

When something is so closely taken from you it can empower you to do some of the most amazing things. He took a difficult situation and built strength from it. For anyone suffering from cancer know that you are in my prayers and I hope the very best for you. Please find strength to continue to move forward from my friends story.

Why All The Stories

I tell these stories because of the many trials and tribulations attributed with them. Some may have turned out better than other’s to you. The truth is I think anyone is capable of being a winner in their life. Even if one has felt like a failure all of their life that is ok, because you can always choose to change and build new habits.

These stories are to remind people that we are all human, and we each do our best with the circumstances we have been given. Have faith in yourself and take the actions in your life to do what is important to you. Much love everyone!





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Comments (14)

  1. Tim Bennett


    Hello Clifford,

    I used to be the angry man.

    I shouted at everyone. No one wanted to be with me. my relationships were terrible. I was unhappy.

    I was angry my father left when I was 4

    Angry that my mother re-married.

    I was angry at the man who tried to replace my father.

    This lasted for years.

    I was in Manila and I wanted to ‘inspire’ my staff to work more efficiently so I enrolled them to a personal development training program.

    however, the trainers would not enroll them until I had finished the training myself. They insisted that I would not understand my staff if I did not do it and my staff would all want to leave.

    In the interest of my company, and against my better judgement, I went to what I thought was going to be a waste of time training program.

    Why did I need training? I knew what I was doing?

    Well my life changed.

    Over the next year I lost my anger…

    My relationships grew…

    My business blossomed…

    I became happier…

    I met the most wonderful girl (and we are still together)

    How different my life is now. Thanks to some people who took the time with me.

    I will always be grateful to them.

    There is indeed greatness inside each one of us, just waiting to be unleashed!

    Thank you for your wonderful post!


    • Clifford Starks


      Tim I am so happy to hear how far you have come

      This is truly a powerful story that will influence many others to take the same path

      You are absolutely right greatness is in each individual and when they achieve it they have wonderful stories like 

      Yours to share with the world. I am glad you found your greatness!

  2. Babsie Wagner


    I really enjoyed reading your stories, and I related to the one about the woman in the abusive relationship.  I, too, found myself in an abusive relationship, and the strange part is that I was always so verbal about other women’s bad choices and relationships, judging them for staying in bad ones.  I didn’t factor love into it.  The love I had for him, however, was finally overtaken by the love I had for myself and for God.  It was God who really gave me the strength to get out of the relationship.  Anyway, I love your site and this article!  Bravo!

    • Clifford Starks


      Hi Babsie, I am so happy you got out of the bad spot you were in. It can be quite difficult when it is with someone you love, and god willing you made the appropriate decision that needed to be made. Now you also have a story that can help others find the strength and courage to do what you did! God bless you 🙂

  3. Mark Baker


    Wow – what an epic post. I enjoyed reading all the stories but the line that speaks loudest to me is, ‘Even if one has felt like a failure all of their life that is ok, because you can always choose to change and build new habits.’ That is so true and inspiring. 

    I think what we often forget is that we are here to learn and transcend our challenges, not complain that life is unfair or that we have somehow got a rough deal. 

    As per the title of your post – the greatness is within. Whatever challenges and life lessons come our way, they come as a call to us to rise and chip away at whatever it is until we find the greatness within ourselves. 

    Great post! Thanks for encouraging each of us to keep going till we find our greatness. 


    • Clifford Starks


      Thank you Mark, I appreciate your comment. I love what you said, and I always say make opportunities out of your obstacles. You really got what my blog stands for, and that makes me feel blessed! Hope 2019 is treating you well!

  4. Steve


    Thank you for sharing these stories! I’m sure everyone out there can relate to at least one of them and can find the encouragement they need to write their own success story. It is wonderfully motivating to hear that others have experienced and overcome huge trials in their lives to bring themselves to a better place, both physically and mentally. Thanks again!

    • Clifford Starks


      Thanks Steve, I am glad you liked them. I appreciate your comment and I hope 2019 is treating you well!

  5. enrique vanegas


    Thank you Clifford for sharing ¨The Greatness within-You are a Diamond¨. Reading through your different stories I kept thinking what can I conclude? And these are my thoughts about what you wrote. The path of greatness is available to us all, it doesn´t matter who you are, what is important is who do you want to be. Most people seem to let the world kill their dreams,  and turn them into average individuals, get out of this mentality and stop looking at life seeing obstacles, see opportunity, see success, see yourself as victorious, envision yourself achieving your goals  and becoming the person it takes to go from where you are now to where you want to be.

    Become the person you want to be, reach for greater heights  and push the boundaries, you will never grow if you don´t strive for more than the average, don´t be the same as everyone else, be different, believe in yourself, you truly have greatness within you.

    The awakening of the greatness within  us begins with the first step. 

    • Clifford Starks


      Love it Enrique, dream big and take action! You are absolutey right the first step is the start of ones momentum to do big things! When people read these stories I want them to say, yes I can and I want them to act on the can! I appreciate your comment and I hope 2019 is treating you well!!

  6. Wesley


    Thank you so much for sharing about you and you clients. I know how it feels to have a father not being around and also a father that was there to show me how to be a man when the first one could not. When I read you story, I can only imagine how that felt. No situations are the same but I was reminded that we are never alone in this world, there is always someone who will understand the situations that others go through and when that person is there, people can finally be so comfortable being themselves that others feel comfortable around them. 

    I love that you talk about the details of what happens during your meetings with your clients. I felt like with each person talked about, I could envision seeing that situation.

    The anxiety video was amazing! I have a few friends that struggle with anxiety and the video gave me great insight on how to handle it.  You were able to “control what you could control in the moment” by realizing that you can’t control what happens but you can control you actions, your reactions, and you mindset and take deep breathes to come back to the present moment. 

    • Clifford Starks


      Hi Wesley, I appreciate your comment friend. Yes I do my best to relate to as many people as possible, and put them and listen deeply. There is great strength in people and I feel others stories can help realize that and bring it out. I hope that 2019 is treating you well friend!

  7. Reply

    ​Wow! I love your stories and the way you interact with people. Through our lives we meet many people and what you say is true. Every decision has a consequence so we can never blame another person for our situation. I was in two abusive marriages until I was 38, then I decided that was enough. It takes time and effort to stand alone but as we continue to walk it out and take responsibility people come alongside us and help us through the journey of life. Then we can use these experiences to help others just as you have done. Well done for your writing and well done for the person you have become. Truly a light shining for many people to see and to follow.​​.

    • Reply

      Thank you Sylvia, what a beautiful message you sent. I am so happy to hear that you have found your strength to get past those difficult times. I also appreciate the kind words. Thank you for your comment and have a blessed day 🙂

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