This week’s guest is a very old friend of the Warrior’s Way, Joel Portman, a graduate of Warrior Week 17 and Warrior Week 41. Together, Coach Sam and Joel share a very special story that includes tragedy, obstacles, miracles, and angels.

Parable #1: Uncovering Lies

  • Joel’s first encounter with Warrior was a video where Garrett looked straight into the camera and asked, “Why do you lie?” It was a ‘deer in the headlights’ moment for Joel which activated a sense of awareness of his unspoken lies. This pivotal encounter led him to attend Warrior Week #17.
  • Joel had been lying inside of his relationships which was hurting the people he genuinely loved. This was uncovered during Warrior Week and Garrett helped him discover the lie under the lie under the lie: Joel is afraid to get close to someone.

What lies have you recently uncovered? What has changed?

Parable #2: Going All In

  • At the time of entering Warrior #17, Joel was involved in two relationships: one actual relationship and another that he let people believe he was in, even though he wasn’t. After Warrior, he was able to clean that up, make a commitment to go all in with his actual relationship which caused it to flourish. And then the unexpected suddenly happened.
  • Before this time, a woman with whom he had been in a relationship passed away from brain cancer. As she neared the end of her life and was in an unconscious state, Joel was able to experience some divine moments with her, filled with a lot of emotions, some regrets, and commitments which he has since kept.

Describe a pivotal moment in your life.

Parable #3: Obstacles & Tragedy

  • Years passed, things started falling apart, and Joel found himself knocking at the doors of Warrior Week 41. The pain that was uncovered was the guilt Joel felt about not going all in sooner than he did with the one who passed away suddenly. He eventually came to a place where he felt like she went home and he was still here to finish the work they had started.
  • Joel has encountered and felt her presence numerous times, which has turned him into an entirely different man than he was during Warrior Week 17, and the man who continues to evolve through obstacles and tragedy.

What keeps you going in the face of obstacles and tragedy?

Parable #4: Hannah

  • Years ago, when Joel and his former wife began having children, their two daughters were born with cystic fibrosis. The girls were treated and taken care of, and everyone was very optimistic about their future. Somewhere down the road, due to the nature of the disease, the possibility of a lung transplant loomed in the future.
  • Fast forward to the Fall of 2018. Joel’s daughter, Hannah, is in the hospital awaiting treatment and her husband texts Joel out of the blue informing him that things have suddenly gone south and that if he wants to say his last good-bye’s, he’s got to come immediately.

What do you do when you’re faced with unexpected news?

Parable #5: Miracles & Angels

  • Hannah was stabilized and put into a medical coma. As Joel was having a conversation with her, he saw a tear form in the corner of her eye and was so happy they had made a connection. But when her oxygen levels started to go down, it became an “oh shit” moment as the alarms went off and doctors scrambled to get her stable.
  • Through a series of determining factors, Hannah was placed at the top of the list for a lung transplant, something that had been on Joel’s radar since her childhood. But time was of the essence and what they needed now, more than ever, were some miracles.

Describe the moments when you have experienced miracles and angels.

Parables from the Pit:

“When you feel chosen, certainty kicks in and your mission becomes very clear; your logic goes away and your emotion cannot fight it.”

Sam Falsafi

“Make your spouse and children feel special. Skip the books, skip the to-do list and have a heart-to-heart using your language.”

-Joel Portman



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