Scott Redler: 4 Life Lessons to Get You Through the Bad Times


One year ago today, I was laying on my belly, staring at the floor… and wondering if I’d ever walk again.

But let’s rewind the story a bit.

I’ve been a competitive racer since I was 30, finishing over 50 triathlons and marathons, including two Ironman events.

I’ve also coached runners and raised money for the Steven M. Perez foundation, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the American Cancer Society, and the R. Baby Foundation.

I keep all the mementos in my man cave:

Steven Perez was my best friend since we were roommates at SUNY Albany.

In 2007, he was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia.

Steven’s doctors did all they could to treat him, and our circle of family and friends pitched in to help.

But after 6 weeks fighting the toughest battle on Earth, Steven passed away.

I was horribly depressed, and only one thing seemed to help: exercise.

So to raise money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and the newly-formed Steven M. Perez Foundation, I completed my first Ironman triathlon.

That’s when I really became a serious endurance athlete. I'd been racing for years, but finishing an Ironman was a whole new level for me.

Unfortunately, my success came with a price.

Years of serious training and racing took a big toll on my body.

I had a lot of wear & tear, and I never really recovered from it.

And throughout 2015, it was obvious that something was very wrong with me.

My left leg was atrophying, and it would go numb if I stood for too long.

My back was killing me.

I had a hard time getting out of my chair, and I was barely sleeping.

And I looked horrible.

I was pale and losing weight, and I was shorter because of my shrinking leg.

At Thanksgiving, a doctor friend was pumping me with injections just so I could stand up to cook!

I spent 3 months in physical therapy, but deep down, I knew it was nothing more than a band-aid.

I was wasting my time because I was afraid to face the music.

But I couldn't take any more of those scared looks from my wife and son.

Even our dog Cadence knew something was wrong!

So I finally came to my senses and just gave up.

I visited Dr. Mitchell Reiter, a New Jersey-based orthopedic surgeon and spine specialist.

Dr. Reiter diagnosed me with a sequestered spinal disc, which was putting tremendous pressure on my spinal canal.

I was quickly scheduled for a Laminectomy operation to fix the problem.

And that’s how I found myself laying on my belly, staring at the floor… and wondering if I’d ever walk again.

Now, I'll admit I was being a little melodramatic.

Laminectomies have a pretty high success rate.

And I trusted my doctor.

But when times are tough, it’s hard to stop thinking about every little thing that can go wrong.

The surgery was a success, and I began my recovery.

It wasn’t easy.

I could barely get up for days. My wife was carrying me around the house!

And my friends moved the Christmas tree up to my bedroom so I could see it without going on a never-ending journey to the living room.

I took 2 weeks off work.

I never had that much time off before, and being away from my trading screens made me stir crazy.

By the time I returned to work, I was 20 pounds lighter and my face was the color of skim milk.

My own videographer didn’t recognize me, even though we’d been working together every day for over a year!

But as much as my body changed, my mind changed even more.

I began appreciating the little things.

Forget the Ironman — suddenly, just getting through a stretching session was a big deal!

Being pain free felt better than any medal I ever won!

And I may never do another triathlon again.

But you know what?

I just ran alongside my son Chace as he finished his first 5K!

He took home the gold, and I'll never forget crossing the finish line with him.

There are 4 simple, but valuable lessons to be learned here:

1) The Darkest Hour Is Just Before the Dawn

Those last few moments before my surgery were some of the darkest I’ve ever been through.

And you know what?

That was the bottom. Things only got better.

2) Your Goals Should Change When Life Throws You Curveballs

I used to think I’d be a high-level competitive racer forever.

That may no longer be realistic, and I’m okay with that.

I love coaching, and I’m more than happy to run smaller races until I get a better idea of my long-term prognosis.

I don't have to be “elite,” whatever that means. I just want to be the best I can be.

3) You Probably Have More Support Than You Think

My family stepped up for me in ways you can't imagine:

That's Celena, Chace, and our dog Cadence.

I would not have made it back without all three of them!

My parents were great too, always checking up on me to make sure I was doing okay.

Aren't they cool?

And it feels silly now, but I was really worried subscribers would be ticked off while I was gone!

But you were awesome — I received hundreds of supportive Tweets and emails, many of which included your personal stories of dealing with your own health problems.

And not a single Redler All-Access subscriber cancelled due to my absence!

That showed me that we are all part of a powerful global community.

Here are some of our friends from Ukraine:

(I'm in the front with the pink socks!)

So just reach out when you need a hand. Odds are, people will there to help, and they'll be happy to do so.

4) It’s Okay to Want to Give Up… Just Don’t

We all go through rough times.

Some have it worse than others, but we all have our own problems.

It’s okay to be scared, and it’s okay to want to run away.

But keep on fighting.

Nelson Mandela once said: “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.”

The next time you’re upset, give yourself a few minutes to wallow and feel sorry for yourself… and then start moving.

Small steps lead to firmer ground. And once you feel the road, you'll get more traction.

So just do one simple thing that can put you back on the right track.

If you want to lose weight, take a walk around the corner.

If you want a new job, spend 10 minutes updating your resume.

Then, take another step.

And another.

And another.

If you need some outside inspiration, watch this video:

Maybe it's a little hokey… but there's a reason it has 49 million views.