Hi there, my name is Jason Podollan and I want to share my story with you.
At My Grade 7 graduation banquet, all students provided a personal photo and were asked to attach a thought cloud of what we wanted to be when we grew up. I chose, “When I grow up I’m going to play and perform in the NHL.”
I’m sure countless young boys across the globe have similar goals. However, when looking back on my statement, now with young boys of my own, I am struck by the addition many 12-year olds would leave out - I chose to include “and perform”. For me, getting to the NHL wasn’t going to be enough.
I was drafted 31 st overall by the Florida Panthers, led the Spokane Chiefs as the #1 ranked team in the CHL, and had won a gold medal for Canada at the World Junior Championships. Then on November 29 th, 1996, at the tender age of 20, I suited up for the Panthers and played in my first NHL game. Everything looked aligned for a long and gratifying NHL career.
But I was never able to fulfill the rest of the script. My NHL career spanned 41 games with 4 different teams over 6 six pro seasons in North America. I was never able to “perform” in the NHL and for a long time I felt like I failed.
Looking back, now as a father and coach, my failure turned out to be one of life’s greatest gifts.
It taught me humility. It taught me perspective. It taught me accountability and about opportunity.
I didn’t know it at the time, but my assumed failure to reach my full potential as a hockey player, provided a powerful gift – the insight and ability to coach others to reach theirs.
I left hockey at 30 years old. Lots of players have problems transitioning out of the sport. They have an identity crisis. They don’t know what to do. They lose their routines and lifestyle. The bright lights of professional hockey get turned off and they are left alone with themselves sitting in the dark. I never had this problem – maybe because I never felt I was only a hockey player.
My difficulty transitioning came much later.
Sarah and I met in an airport and a whirlwind movie romance followed. She lived in LA and I was in Vernon, so our “dates” would be meeting in places like Seattle, Austin, Hawaii, Las Vegas and London. It was a sexy and adventurous time and we fell in love and got married.
Fast forward six years and we have 3 young boys. I’m closing in on 40, working a high stress corporate job I hate, my health is deteriorating rapidly, and our marriage is dead.
I’m lost and resentful.
My life had flatlined. It had become monotonous and boring and sexless. I was living with a roommate instead of a partner and as unhappy I was with my relationship, I was even unhappier with myself. I had lost my curiosity and passion for life.
I lost who I was. I didn’t know how to be a father, a husband, and a “man” at the same time. I was doing everything to please everyone else and it wasn’t working for anyone.
Then I made a decision to reclaim ownership of my life. I stopped pointing fingers and took responsibility for my happiness. I went to work on Jason.
This letter is the testimonial of my journey. Through dedication, honesty and grit, I was able to forge an authentic relationship with myself. I did what I said, and I said what I did. I put integrity as the first foundational block to stand on and I went from there.
My deep dive into health, fitness, mindset and relationships turned my life around. Sarah and I are more connected than ever. I am the example I want to be for my boys and our bonds are strong. Our family is a unit. We challenge each other, and we pick each other up when we fall.
We are growing togethering.
I am happy. We are happy.
My personal journey to rediscover myself and optimize my health turned out to be the greatest gift I could offer to those I loved. Self-improvement is anything but selfish.
As I shared my story, I found I wasn’t alone. There were countless others who wanted to make changes. Men and women who wanted to be better examples for their kids. Others who were looking to optimize their energy and their health. Others who wanted to step into their greatness and I knew I was meant to help.
I am here to support your greatness – whatever that means for you. There is a superhero waiting.