Last week, I had the absolute honor of sitting down and chatting with Anthony Trucks. I have heard Anthony speak live twice; most recently at High Performance Academy back in September. He shared his story from a different angle than he had previously and it was so impactful that I knew I just wanted to share. If you want to jump straight to the podcast, click here.
#everystorymatters and when I interview people, I love highlighting not only the successes and the milestones that have been achieved, but the path and the struggles it took to get there. That’s really why I wanted to interview Anthony. To show people that the journey to success is not an easy, straight path. It’s messy and it takes tremendous perseverance and a strong mindset to push through the hardest times. Which is exactly what Anthony has had to do.
Anthony Trucks is a self proclaimed “foster kid turned NFL athlete turned serial entrepreneur.”. He is a married father of 3, appeared on an American Ninja Warrior, is a former NFL player, business owner, international speaker and corporate business consultant.
But none of those things define who Anthony is. He does things because of the way his mindset operates, and the reason he operates the way he does is because of his upbringing and his childhood.
Anthony’s first memory of life?
Being given to foster care by his mom. Feeling like he wasn’t good enough, feeling scared and lost and wondering why it was happening. Being placed into homes where he was beaten and starved and tortured...all before the age of 6.
At the age of 6, Anthony was placed into a foster home that is his family to this day. But even then, things weren’t amazing. His mother loved him, but things were still not great in the family with his foster dad. Over the years, he just tried to hang in there. “I literally just focused on staying alive. Just trying to get by. There was no way you could reach for anything good because things are so bad, you’re just trying to stay alive in those moments.”
Over the years, things started to get better. But as it got better, it got scarier for Anthony because he knew that in the foster system, he could be picked up and placed somewhere else without any warning. He was afraid to enjoy and embrace it all because he was afraid it would be taken away.
He was finally adopted by his foster family when he was 14 years old. “At 14, I stood in front of a judge and I looked at my biological mom, and I had to look in her eyes and tell her that I didn’t want her to be my mother anymore. And when I cut that tie, I got free.” Anthony’s biological mother had “parental rights” meaning she could say what he could and couldn’t do. So when those ties were cut, Anthony started something he had always wanted to do - play football. It gave him the first feelings of self-worth and defining who he was and what he could be.
The problem was, as Anthony puts it, he “sucked” at football. He had this thing he loved that he just couldn’t do, so he gave it up. The inner dialogue began in his head “you know what, you’re a foster kid. You’re not going to do much. You’re not supposed to do anything great”. This story played in his head until one day at the age of 15.
“I was 15 years old, I was in English class with my hoodie over my head, and I’m half asleep and two girls were talking and she says ‘the reason I’m so bad is because I’m in foster care’. And I thought, “wow....that’s not a good sounding statement”; but that’s what I was telling myself. I remember going home, and I remember thinking “how do I want my life to go? Do I want to be 30 and look back and be like, well the reason I’m a criminal or not successful or have no family is because I’m a foster kid? Do I want to have to keep reliving this story?
I remember looking at the mirror, dead in my own eyes and I said “you’re going to be great”. It was just that single decision.”
And his life changed from that moment.
So many people feel stuck in their stories. It’s never too late to change the dialogue in your head. You are in the driver’s seat of your life and at any time you can make the decision to change the trajectory of your life. Anthony had every reason to not be successful in this life; but in that moment, he made a conscious choice to not go that way.
In our interview, Anthony described how as humans, we like to be right. So when we make a statement, we do everything we can to then make that statement right. So if you say “nah I’m not smart enough to do that”, so for example, a test comes up, you don’t study, you don’t do well and you’re like “See? I told you I wasn’t smart enough.”
Can you relate to that in your life anywhere?
If you say you’re not capable, not smart enough, you don’t deserve greatness….then you’re going to do things, sometimes unconsciously, that’s going to make those statements correct. You have to step back and write yourself a new story. And then figure out how to live your life differently in order to make that story the right one, instead of the story you’ve been telling yourself.
When Anthony made that decision that he was going to change the story of his life, he had no idea what he was going to be great at. He just knew that he was going to put in the effort and trust in himself that he would figure it out.
You have to put in incredible amounts of effort before you’ll know if you’re going to be successful. That’s the one thing that is missed in so many people’s lives. They want to make sure they are going to be successful before they put all of their effort into it.
But here’s the thing. At the end of the day, “there’s no guarantee that you’ll win or be successful, but I can guarantee that you aren’t going to win if you don’t give everything.”
Anthony used that same mentality in his life. He put in lots of effort and become great at football and continued doing that same thing with everything in his life; tremendous effort in order to be successful. He got a college football scholarship and played for 3 years, he went on to play in the NFL until an injury caused him to stop playing. He opened and closed multiple gyms, consults businesses, coaches and travels the world speaking. All because of that one moment where he realized that there’s more to his life.
In 2015, life changed for Anthony once again. He sat in a hospital room with his mom and dad and grandma. His mother had been suffering from Multiple Sclerosis and “watching the heart rate monitors slowly decline, we knew it was coming, but in that moment it goes so slow. And you start looking at those numbers and thinking “this is it”. And I watched her take her last breath as I held her hand. This is life. It is that finite. And in that moment I had this really deep reflection. What is life about? What are we supposed to be doing? What does my life mean?”
We don’t have time to waste in this life.
Anthony spoke about the preciousness of life in a way I had never thought of it before. He said, “She passed away at 47. I’m 33 now. Think about how fast your life has gone until now. For me, I feel like high school was last year. If my mom passed at that age, I could be here for less time than I’ve already been here.”
I could be here on this earth for less time than I have already been here.
Anthony’s mission today is to impact those who impact, which is all of us. We all have someone looking up to us in some way; we all impact someone around us in some way. We are all someone to someone else.
Anthony’s company is called Trust Your Hustle and he teaches people how to go from that place of just barely surviving to thriving in all aspects of life. In his “thriv3” program, he coaches people through three stages: See, Sacrifice and Sustain.
The first step is seeing your life from a different perspective. See what is holding you down or holding you back. Clarity is always step one. Then it’s about gaining clarity in terms of what you want to achieve.
The next step, once you see things more clearly, is sacrifice. “You have to give up who you are for who you want to become.” Now that you see what you want, you have to step back and determine what you can give up in order to get there. Or, what have you been giving up that you shouldn’t have been? Stop sacrificing the good stuff - like your health and your relationships. Start sacrificing the bad stuff - your comfort zone, your ego, wasted time. When you can start making those sacrifices and those changes, you can create the life you’re looking for. It’s not impossible; it’s tactical, you just have to put stuff in place to get it done. One step forward is better than nothing at all. It comes down to the actions we take.
Finally, how to sustain those habits and disciplines for the level you have achieved but also for the new levels you want to hit. This includes creating the “dream team” of people around you, maintaining your health and your perspective on your life and your future. Go to www.trustyourhustle.com to take the quiz to find out what your thrive type is and what it means.
Life has an amazing plan for us. But we mess it up. We step in our own way. We hide from or shun away or don’t pursue opportunities when they come up.
Here’s the thing. This is not new information and this isn’t anything you haven’t heard before. The problem is that if you’re not in a great place, then you haven’t done anything with the information you’ve been hearing. When are you going to stop with the excuses and when are you going to stop being okay with being okay?
People are always looking for their why, for their purpose and their life’s passion work. But it doesn’t have to be that. You just have to find something that’s going to get you up in the morning. As Brendon burchard says, the piano of purpose isn’t just going to fall onto your head one day.
Start making shifts and making different choices.
Anthony describes finding his purpose as being like a road you have to walk. You have to get up and start walking this road, but at the end of the road is your purpose. But you won’t reach the purpose if you don’t chase some passions along the way. You chase your passions and you fall into your purpose. Anthony chased a lot of passions on his journey, and along the way, he figured out his purpose. But it never would have happened had he not trusted himself and followed his gut to go after the things that were presented to him.
In chasing your passions, Anthony described two different kind of people - “heart” and “head” people.
Heart people want it and they know they can do it, but they fault when the rubber hits the road. They want to operate in a place of sustained, high motivation. But it doesn’t happen. And then they make great excuses, knowing everyday that they are cutting themselves short. Head people just want to know. They want to know before they step in if it’s going to work out. But the problem is that you don’t know unless you take that step, so you just have to go.
You’re stuck where you’are at now because you don’t have the tools. And those tools are life experiences along the way. Approach each step and each problem with that mentality - “okay. I don’t know what I need right now, but I’m going to figure it out and get the tools I need to move to the next level.” You rise up and you have less and less setbacks. A little success leads to trust in yourself that you can figure it out.
I ended the interview by asking Anthony what he would go back and tell himself as a young child. He told a story that I think we can all relate to on some level. He used to be really bad in school. In the 4th grade,the principal made him a deal that he would get candy bars for each week that he wasn’t bad in school. At the end of the year, he didn’t earn one candy bar.
He realized, now, that he was so bad as a child because he was seeking attention. He wanted attention from his real mom, his foster parents, his teachers, any outside attention. So he caused havoc.
What would he tell a young Anthony?
“You don’t need anyone to look at you. Just look at yourself. Enjoy your life.”
#everystorymatters and this is a good one.
You can listen to the full episode over on my podcast.
Or watch the interview over on my Youtube channel.