Last weekend, I saw a fascinating documentary online. And I want to share the story of the man who is the subject of that documentary. The story of a man named Mark.
Mark has achieved a great deal of notoriety from his work in his chosen profession. He’s been working in his career for more than 30 years and he’s made quite a healthy living doing what he does.
Our friend is a genial good old boy from Houston, Texas. He enjoys motorcycles, whiskey, and country music. He’s a big fan of the University of Texas Longhorns. His large physical frame carries a commanding presence, and he is well-respected in his field and among his peers.
Mark is only 55 years old – in most fields, he’d be in the prime of his career. But with the abuse that he’s put his physical body through over the course of his career, nobody knows how much longer he’ll be able to do what he loves so much.
Perhaps I should let the cat out of the bag? Mark is best known by another name…professional wrestling icon The Undertaker.
Mark Calaway is The Undertaker. He has performed his iconic character in rings all over the world and in front of millions of people on TV.
The Undertaker is an iconic figure in pro wrestling.
One of the biggest highlights of The Undertaker’s career was a 20-0 record he carried into WrestleMania 30 in 2014. And yes, I know wrestling is pre-determined, but this streak made the WWE and Mark Calaway a fortune.
At WrestleMania 30, The Undertaker had a match with Brock Lesnar. While most pro wrestlers can legitimately kick anyone’s teeth down their throat, Brock Lesnar may be the most legitimate teeth kicker going today. He’s a former WWE champion, a former UFC Heavyweight champion, and an NCAA wrestling champion. He’s the most legit bada$$ in recent WWE history.
I needed to say recent WWE history lest I get haunted by the spirit of Bruno Sammartino.
Early in The Undertaker’s match with Lesnar in 2014, he took a serious blow to the head and received a concussion. While The Undertaker was set to lose that match in 2014, he barely remembered any of it. After the match, he was rushed to the hospital where he was met by Lesnar and WWE Chairman Vince McMahon. The latter was quite surprising as WrestleMania is not only WWE’s biggest show of the year but was being watched by 80 thousand people in the stadium and millions more on TV.
Let’s flash forward to WrestleMania 31 in San Francisco. While The Undertaker’s undefeated streak was gone, he’s still a huge attraction for the biggest show of the year.
He took on Bray Wyatt who at the time played a sinister cult leader character. And while the match was pretty good – ‘Taker got his win back – there was something that the fans in the stadium and watching on TV didn’t see.
When one gets set to perform in front of a full football stadium, one has to get right. Your mind, body, and spirit have to be right. You’ve got to be in character. And you’ve got to have a dance partner you can trust.
Before Taker came out for his match, he had a serious crisis of confidence. Can he still perform at the level that the fans expect of him? Can he fight through the pain his body feels to give the fans in the stadium and on TV the show they deserve?
Before The Undertaker came out, WWE superstar (and son-in-law of Vince McMahon) Triple H was seen kneeling in front of his long-time on-screen rival and off-screen friend and giving him a pep talk.
“Remember who the f*** you are! Remember who the f*** you are!”
These stories about The Undertaker come from a brilliant new WWE Network documentary called The Last Ride. The first episode – and I’m sure the entire five-part series – will be like a love letter to the Gen X wrestling fan.
This entire exchange on the documentary got me thinking about the big picture of the human race and how we’ve forgotten who the f*** we are. This pandemic, the fear, the anxiety, and the panic that has set in over the course of the past few months has completely disconnected us from who the f*** we are.
We’ve forgotten how great we are.
And I won’t stand for it anymore.
Since January, here’s been my life:
- I got let go from what I thought was my dream job.
- After I got fired, I had a strong inclination to end it all by jumping in front of the 3:15 train to Grand Central.
- I got kicked out of where I was living right before the pandemic really took off.
- I’ve been living in a hotel room for the past 2+ months.
- I got hired for a full-time job.
- My new employer put a hiring freeze on all new hires.
- I got back into the job market and got nowhere.
- I was offered my new full-time job which is set to begin full time as soon as Best Buy is open for business again.
- And while I am working with the company, it’s half-time.
- The state of Connecticut is giving me a hard time on my unemployment – even though my work was cut because of the pandemic. Getting a human on the line is…well…something.
- I’m dealing with the worst depression I’ve felt in many, many years.
- I’m back in therapy – a much-needed but terrifying and exhausting process.
- I picked up a new coaching client. My first such pick up in over a year.
Over the past five months, I’ve simply forgotten who I am. I’ve gotten disconnected from my truth. And I had to be shaken to be awakened.
But as soon as I remember who I am, I remember “Wow! I really AM unstoppable.” And I haven’t done this alone. I have had numerous people in my world remind me who I am. From my therapist, to coaching colleagues, to my friends, I’ve had people reminding me of who I am.
There’s a greatness within me that has not and will not die. And I feel more driven and more inclined to push forward and share my greatness on a bigger loudspeaker.
After every client session, I assign practices. Simple little assignments that continue the work we did during the session.
For you, dear readers, I have a practice for you. This is a writing exercise and I’d love for you to share it with me.
Ask yourself a question – who am I? But…these are answers you’re not allowed to give.
- Your name.
- What you do for a living.
- Your spouse or significant other’s name.
- Your kids names.
For example – I never introduce myself by saying “I’m Ryan Hall.” Because I’m not. My NAME is Ryan Hall, but I am so much more than my name.
Think about this and reach out to me.
Because humans are simple creatures. When we remember who the f*** we are, there’s no limit to what we can do. Be ye Mark Calaway, Ryan Hall, or you.
Take a deep breath and remember who the f*** you are!