Hey, I’m Martin…
I’m an Author, Coach, Speaker and the CFO (Chief Flying Officer) at When PIGGs Fly and I’m on a mission to help you believe In the Power of Possible in the pursuit of your dreams. For fun I fly airplanes, lift weights and occasionally wear a speedo on stage.
THANK YOU, MOM
Yeah, I know! That last part about the Speedo probably threw ya, right? Well, let me explain. In January of 2018 I entered a bodybuilding competition at the age of 54 to honor my Mom, who was also my best friend and the person who restarted my weightlifting journey when she gave me a gym membership for my 48th birthday.
In February of 2016 we were living together when she died tragically and unexpectedly from a pulmonary embolism. From the moment she called out to me to the time I got to her was maybe ten seconds, but she was already unconscious. She took three quick breaths and died in my arms. And in those ten seconds I lost my mom, my creative muse and my best friend.
After her death I wrapped myself in a virtually impenetrable cocoon of grief. On the outside it would’ve been difficult for the people who didn’t know me to understand just how much pain I was really in. Ironically at the time, I was great at helping other people with their pain, even though I was a wreck on the inside.
Instinctively, I knew I needed to do something ginormous to shake me out of my morass. That’s why I chose the bodybuilding competition and dedicated my training to Mom. I hired a coach and pushed my body way past what I believed I was capable of enduring. In eleven months of contest prep I lost 31 pounds, 24% of my body fat and eight inches on my waist.
On stage the night of the competition when then emcee asked me who my biggest influence in life was, I had the opportunity to share the story of losing my mom with the audience and I could feel the healing begin to take place.
YES I CAN FLY!
Whether I’m flying airplanes, training for a bodybuilding competition or helping people claim the freedom to live the life they want to live, what drives me is passion. I simply won’t spend my time and energy on anything I’m not passionate about. And that combination of passion and purpose came together for the first time in 2002 in the cockpit of an airplane.
I’d wanted to fly for awhile when my friend, Alan, offered to take me up for a flight one Friday evening. Standing among a group of pilots, one of them suggested that we fly from our Baltimore airport to Reading, Pennsylvania for dinner and I thought to myself, “Is that something we can really do?” Thirty minutes later five planes were airborne bound for Reading.
Flying toward the setting sun at 4500 feet I couldn’t believe I was actually in an airplane. And I still remember the moment Alan asked, “Would you like to take control of the plane?” I was speechless. I couldn’t believe that he would actually allow me to fly the plane by myself. And when I put my hands on the yoke for the first time I immediately discovered a passion that would eventually change my life forever.
The following morning I returned to the airport to sign up for flight lessons. And since that first trip to Reading, flying has become my greatest passion in life and the impetus for me to help people make the transition from the life they’re expected to live to the life they want to live; a life that is aligned with their core beliefs, greatest passion, unique gifts and a vision for making the world better because they were here.
ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE
Okay, so maybe you’re curious how flying and my work are connected. That’s a fair question and I have two answers. When I earned my pilot’s license and developed the ability to fly an airplane to 10,000 feet and bring it safely back to earth, I realized that if I could do that I could do anything. And being open to all possibilities is what led me to the work I do now.
The second answer is that flying has given me a completely different perspective on life and the world. When I’m in the cockpit I’m literally and figuratively observing the world from 10,000 feet. Flying across the country above pastures, skyscrapers and cars passing each other on endless stretches of road, I witness both the structure in life and experience a freedom from it.
The urge to be free is innate in all of us. Watch any toddler struggling to escape her parent’s arms. Even without the ability to form words we understand that she wants to be free. But as adults we must reclaim the freedom we’ve hidden from family, friends and society because we were expected to fit in. And for the last twenty years I’ve flown the most direct route to freedom, which is to use your greatest passion as the guide for finding and living your purpose in life.