389. Haiti Trip: A Game-Changer for Life
Brendan floated through college, not too interested in applying himself completely to academics. After graduation, he worked as a trainer in a gym and let life happen, still floating along. But when he was 24, a client he was training at the gym told him about his many trips to Haiti. It sounded interesting, and when the man invited Brendan to join him on his next trip, he said yes. What he would see and experience there would reshape his life forever.
Brendan Ridings graduated from Southern Illinois University–Carbondale with a Bachelor of Science degree focusing on human nutrition and dietetics. Brendan went on to attain his corrective exercise specialty from The National Academy of Sports Medicine. Brendan began to expand beyond the fitness world to help fund the organization named PLAT, a school in Haiti, invented Posture PT back support, and recently partnered with the Make in India initiative to develop and implement advanced wound care for underprivileged populations.
How Did You Start Using Your Talents?
As Brendan began using his corrective exercise specialty with clients at the gym, he noticed many of them returning day after day, even though he had worked with them on their physical issues. “They would come with poor posture related to injuries or chronic pain. So, I created something by hand to help them sit better. I took a foam roller that I used to roll up my legs to loosen them up. I cut it in half lengthwise and stuck it behind my back. It was perfect! That became the basis for my product, Posture PT (for “personal trainer”). Originally, I had no intention of turning it into a consumer product. It was just developed for the clients that I was working with every single day.”
The Most Impactful Turning Point?
“At age 24, I started to realize how much I didn’t know about living, and I began looking for a mentor. I was training a guy one day, and he was talking about his experiences on his multiple trips to Haiti. I was intrigued by what he was saying, and I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’d really love to experience that.’ He came up to me soon after that conversation and said, ‘Would you like to go with us? We’ll pay for your trip.’ That trip changed my empathy and my ability to have compassion for others. It also made me look deep inside and ask myself what I had been doing with my life. That was definitely the biggest game-changer for me.”
The Most Powerful Lessons Learned?
“I came home from Haiti and quit my job. It was an easy, salaried job and I had become very comfortable. I quit, because it was causing complacency, and I started pursuing something that would challenge me every single day. That eventually led me to this entrepreneurial path. For me, it’s not just about making money or working for myself. It’s also about the constant challenge to be my best, to face difficult situations, because that’s the only way to grow. And ultimately that’s what I wanted after seeing all those things in Haiti. I realized I had a lot of growing to do.
Steps to Success from Brendan Ridings
1. Work hard every day to improve who you are. Become the best person you can be.
2. If you see something in your world that troubles or inspires you, find a way to do something about it. Take action. You can bring change.
3. Learn how to maintain balance in your life and how to step away from your work.
On His Bookshelf
The Southwest Airlines Way, by Jody Hoffer Gittell
Top Tools on His Browser
Meetup: When you go to a new city where you don’t know anyone, use your smart phone or computer to go to MeetUp.com and go to a Meetup location to make connections with like-minded people.
Connecting With Brendan Ridings
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