Who is Travis Daigle?

University of Washington Tacoma – Grit City Mondays

As a small child I dealt with physical/sexual abuse from a close family friend. As I got older I struggled with obesity and endured years of teasing/bullying because of it.  At my heaviest, I was 17 years old and I weighed 305 lbs.  At that point, I had been trying to lose weight for 7 years and hadn’t been able to make any real progress. But that year (2000) I was finally able  to make some changes in my diet and I lost 80 lbs in 8 months:

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2000 – 2014

The things that I learned about persistence and problem solving through the process of weight loss, would come in handy many times over later in life.

In August of 2000 I went off to college at The University of Houston.  I majored in Electrical Engineering.  Of course, academically, it was tough, but It was just as difficult to navigate the social landscape of college. I never had close friends growing up and understanding friendship/romance would be a huge learning curve for me.  Without being fully aware of it, I took the mental skills I learned through struggling with obesity and applied them to this new academic and social challenge.  Eventually, I graduated in 2005 with honors in Electrical Engineering.

I began working as an engineer 3 months after graduation.  Life was supposed to be better.  I bought a new car (with a loan) and I had a girlfriend for the first time in my life (23 years old).  However, I hated the work I was doing and after experiencing significant depression and a period of suicidal ideation, I quit.

My life fell apart… At least, that’s what it felt like:

  • I surrendered the car for repossession.  This, on top of student loans and eventual credit card default – I was $60,000 in debt and receiving regular calls from debt collectors
  • The relationship with my girlfriend exploded – Admittedly, I was too emotionally unstable and immature. I still had so much to learn about the dynamics of healthy human relationships
  • I was at odds with virtually everyone in my life and eventually found myself alone in a dark apartment in Houston – The electricity had been cut off and I was being evicted for failure to pay rent

It was a massively disorienting time in my life.  Many of the ideas I had about a successful life were being completely upended.  What was I going to do next?  I tried being a personal trainer for a short period of time but I needed more time to generate a client base and a sustainable income.   The calls I was receiving from debt collectors made me very aware that I didn’t have time.  Briefly, I tried working as an engineer at another major company in Houston.  It was terrible.  I quit after 3 weeks.  The office/computer work was something I couldn’t tolerate any longer.  I wanted to do something physically and mentally challenging. I wanted to do something I found meaningful and I needed money as well…

After research and a lot of contemplation, I joined the US Army in August of 2007 with the hopes of becoming a Special Forces Soldier (AKA – Green Beret).  I payed off my debts in the same 3 years it took me to get through one of the Military’s most notoriously difficult training pipelines.  Eventually, I served as a Special Forces Medic in Afghanistan…

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Afghanistan Feb 2011 – Feb 2012

When I left the military in 2012 I began working as a personal trainer with the hopes that I might help others experience the transformation in their bodies that I had experienced as a young man. In the time that I spent working with people on their health I began to realize that much of my own success with weight loss and other difficult challenges, came from resilience developed through practicing certain problem-solving skills:

Resilience The ability to engage with complex problems and grow mentally and emotionally stronger as a result; The capacity to acknowledge and engage with difficult truths and maintain mental and emotional stability.

Problem-Solving SkillsCultivating Personal Responsibility, Creating and Maintaining a Vision, Understanding and Updating My Story

Through writing and speaking, I help my audience understand how these skills develop resilience and how they can be deployed against any problem.

Solve Problems. Build Resilience.

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