Meeting a Mentor

It’s not every day that you get to run into someone who has inspired you to strive to be the best you can be.

That’s just what happened the weekend before last in Missoula, Montana.

Amber and I were in town visiting Amber’s parents, and after riding our bikes down to the Missoula Farmer’s Market Saturday morning with her family, we spent an hour or so exploring what the market had to offer.

Eventually, we decided we would head toward downtown Missoula to visit Fact and Fiction, a local bookstore.

As we exited the market I spotted a guy who was entering the market that looked oddly familiar, but I couldn’t place him right away.

Then, it hit me who it was; none other than Nate Green, who I’ve mentioned in my blog posts before on multiple occasions and have been telling people about for years.

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Nate is an author, blogger, and writes a regular newsletter, and his business is about helping everyday people improve their lives. From fitness, to improved focus, to living a better life in general, Nate writes about it all. He’s also been featured in major publications such as The Los Angeles Times, Men’s Health, Precision Nutrition, and The 4-Hour Work Week.

I first discovered Nate’s work late in my freshman year of college at The Bookie, WSU’s main on-campus bookstore. At the time, I had just started to lose weight pretty much for the first time in my life. Throughout my childhood my weight followed a pretty steady upward trend. By the summer after I graduated high school and was set to enter my freshman year at WSU, I weighed 242 pounds, the heaviest I’d been in my life.

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By the time I discovered Nate’s book Built for Show I had lost 10 or 15 pounds, mostly just because for the first time in my life I had to walk a considerable distance to class each day, traversing Pullman’s infamous hills. I had also just started going to the WSU recreation center, albeit I had no idea what I was doing. I would more or less just go jump on an elliptical for 20-30 minutes, mess around in the machine circuit area for a  little bit, then go home.

Not only that, but I still had no idea how to eat healthy. I was eating less, which was a great first step, however my steady diet of iceberg lettuce salads, lean cuisine TV dinners, top ramen, and microwaveable burritos were not giving me much nutritional value.

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Built for Show was an incredible guide for me at this stage in my life. Not only did it provide a detailed, easy-to-implement 3-day per week lifting regimen, as well as detailed instructions on how to do each exercise, but it also provided a fairly extensive nutrition guide as well, laid out in a simple way that a beginner could understand.

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My second and third years of college are when I really dove into Built for Show full on, and the weight began to fall off while muscle started to show up. Granted, I could have made even more progress had I laid off the booze a bit more, ordered less pizza, and thrown out the top ramen. Nonetheless, over those first two and a half years of college or so I lost a total of 75 pounds, one of my greatest personal achievements, and developed a much healthier physical and mental relationship with my body.

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Since then I’ve continued following Nate’s work and reading his monthly newsletter.  Recently, I reached out to Nate via email and told him I was a fan and a bit about how his work has helped me, as well as telling him about my blog, and my aspirations as a writer. He replied promptly and told me he would follow my blog, and to keep working toward my goals. Now, I know that a guy like Nate is a busy person, and I doubted as how he would regularly read my work, but I appreciated him following my blog nonetheless, as well as the kind words. That in itself was enough to give me a little extra motivation to keep working at my craft.

Fast forward back to last weekend.

After walking by each other and exchanging awkward “I know you but I can’t place you” eye contact, I turned to Amber and said, “See that guy that just walked by? That was Nate Green.”

“Seriously?!”

“Yeah, I knew he lived here. Didn’t expect to actually run into him though.”

“Let’s go talk to him!”

We backtracked through the crowd and spotted him grabbing some coffee. As we approached he turned and saw us and instantly pointed at me, “I knew I recognized you!”

After reminding him of my name, he blew my mind by telling me how much he’s enjoyed reading my blog and my writing. He even went on to tell me that when he reads my blog he feels like I’m talking to him personally, which was a huge compliment for me, since that’s the goal of anyone writing a blog or a newsletter who is trying to gain a readership following.

I obviously told him how much I enjoy reading his newsletter as well.

We told him we were headed downtown to Fact and Fiction, and he asked if he could join us so we could chat for a bit, and to kill time while he waited for his wife, Rochelle (I seriously hope I got her name right).

As we walked to the bookstore we talked about different things, from Nate’s next project, to my blog, to Bernie Sanders, to the town of Missoula. I was quite nervous at first, but hanging out with Nate seemed strangely like hanging out with a friend that I’d known for some time, and his easy-going nature put me at ease.

We got to the bookstore and Nate showed me some books that he had enjoyed, and to my surprise, ended up buying two books for me. One by Pete Fromm about a winter he spent in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness of northern Idaho, named Indian Creek Chronicles. The other being Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn, a beginner’s guide for practicing day-to-day mindfulness and living a more fulfilling and focused life.

After hanging out for a while and leaving the bookstore, Nate was off to find Rochelle. Of course, not before hugging both Amber and I and taking a picture with me.

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It was a pretty incredible experience, adding to the slightly mystical aura of Missoula. As Amber’s Mom, Rayna said it, “Every time you guys come to Missoula you meet someone inspiring.” And she was right. First it was Bernie Sanders earlier this year, now it was running into one of my biggest mentors and having the opportunity to just hang out and chat.

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Again, I implore all of you to follow Nate’s blog and soak up the wisdom he has to impart. Have a great week everyone!

7 thoughts on “Meeting a Mentor

  1. Hey! This somehow landed in my FB feed and I had to comment.

    I have a very similar story. So similar it’s creepy. Nate was also a “mentor” of sorts to me. He’s had a significant impact on my headspace. Then when meeting a friend in Portland at a pub one summer, he says “Do you mind if my friend Nate joins us?”

    And guess who shows up?

    It was a fantastic evening. Every once in a very great while, we get to meet people who are such forces of nature they totally disrupt the orbit of our lives. They kick us to a higher state. I’ve been lucky to have met four such people. Nate was one.

    Your story made me smile and I’m pleased I got to read about it.

    Like

    • Kent, I’m glad you enjoyed the story, thanks for reading and commenting!

      That’s an incredible story too, one of those one-in-a-million instances. And you encapsulated it perfectly, people that can kick you into a higher state can play a huge role in our lives without even knowing it. The thing that struck me about Nate is his desire to give back to people. I’ve read in his blogs where he gives ode to his mentors, and then (without bragging about it after the fact) he goes and tries to do the same for other people, out of a true desire to help others be the best they can be. I hope I can give back to someone in the future the way Nate has given back to all the people he’s helped.

      Cheers!

      Like

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