Nicodemus Christopher is a wellness performance coach who uses his methodology to help some of the best athletes in the world reach peak performance, such as Michael Porter Jr., the starting forward for the NBA’s Denver Nuggets. He is also the author of Out of Order: Unleashing The Power of Journaling to Draw You Out of Chaos and Into Fulfillment.
Nicodemus shares with me his experience as a wellness performance coach and how he helps those bring order to the chaos in their lives while prioritizing order and peace in his own life too.
[Sign up here for our newsletter to read more stories like these from our Real Stories from Real People section]
1AND1: How did your journey as a wellness performance coach begin? Did you always want to do it, or did you stumble into it?
Nicodemus: I always wanted to do something in or adjacent to this field. Before stepping into the NBA, I was in the collegiate space working at colleges such as the University of Tennessee, the University of California at Berkeley, Purdue, and Mizzou. Although the experience was great, the scope of practice for performance is very small. It was one-dimensional, and when you’re an athletic performance coach, strength and conditioning coach, or whatever the title might be, you’re encouraged to only focus on their physical well-being. Still, I wanted to invest in their mental well-being, too, because the way I see it, there are seven areas or dimensions of well-being that affect performance.
If you’re only addressing one of them, then you’re doing a disservice to the young athlete, the entrepreneur, or whoever it is that you are working with.
1AND1: What factors do you see in athletes that they might struggle with?
Nicodemus: I’ve spent so much time with athletes at various levels; we’re with each other all day. And in these moments, they begin to open up to me organically. I found myself spending so much time with these guys and answering so many questions about life. Whether it’s that one of their family members is asking for money, they’ve broken up with their girlfriend, they’re not playing well, etc. There’s so much that goes on in their lives daily, and it’s a blessing to help these guys. There was some pressure because I had to make sure I was equipped to have these conversations, but over time I began to understand that I didn’t need to be equipped to do everything. I’m able to lay the foundation, and whatever area I don’t have the competency to handle, I’ll outsource to someone else who can.
1AND1: Did you feel like you got the support you now give these athletes?
Nicodemus: I had a very close inner circle with my mother and father growing up. I had a very tight-knit family group, but outside of the family, I didn’t get what I am hoping to provide for these young men. Fast forward to now in my own life, and I have a son who will be three years old soon. And I’m hoping to pour into his life and give him what was missing in my life.
Growing up, I didn’t realize the insecurities that were being developed due to traumatic experiences. I had to take the necessary steps to practice self-examination and begin working on them. As I’ve gotten older and have been helping others, I now have a more open or unique perspective on how to approach these insecurities and work through them. Journaling has become important to me because it’s helped me process my thoughts, emotions, feelings and face the chaos.
There are a lot of emotions that we all struggle to deal with, and a lot of them are repressed. We are often unaware that these emotions have taken residence in our unconscious mind. And although these emotions or thoughts may not be top of mind, we should look within ourselves, draw on them, deal with them, examine them, and replace them with healthier thoughts and emotions.
And that’s why I enjoy bringing order, where I can to other people’s lives. It bothers me when I see disorder or dysfunction, so if I can do something to help, I will.
1AND1: What has journaling taught you? How has it opened you up as a person?
View this post on Instagram
Nicodemus: I’ve seen firsthand in my life and in the lives of those that I’ve worked with the negative effects of chaos. For me, journaling has brought me more structure amid the chaos. I started journaling, and since reaping the benefits, it’s been a non-negotiable habit in my life. As an introvert, I tend to hold things in and move on. Journaling has been my release valve, escape, therapy, and more. I have to admit, when I started journaling, I held back and did not pour 100% of my thoughts into it or share my honest feelings. Over time, I became more introspective, practiced self-examination, and did the work necessary to address the lingering impact of traumatic events that were unresolved and repressed. It didn’t happen overnight, but I’ve had some of my biggest breakthroughs in journaling.
I’ve used journaling to write my vision and make it plain, track progress, identify unique abilities or frustrations, and so much more. It remains a medium that helps bring order to my life. I draw on the experiences captured in my journaling to do more for others. The unique frustrations that I’ve faced play a huge role in why I’ve dedicated my life to helping other people gain the control necessary to find peace and attain well-being. I’m providing for others what I had hoped for and longed for someone to provide for me.
1AND1: Did you think that your journaling would turn into you writing a book and sharing it with the world?
Nicodemus: It was about 3 years ago when I came to the realization that my mind is for me, but my gift is for the world. In today’s society, we have it out of order (no pun intended). We get on social media and give unrestricted access to our minds, but we hold onto our gifts and use them for self-serving purposes.
When I became a father, it gave me such boldness. He’s given me the courage to step out, and he impacts me in a special way. With him as a constant reminder to do more, I’ve been able to step out of my comfort zone more. It made me think,” How dare I not share these gifts with others or a message with someone else who might be dealing with something similar?”
Little did I know that my love for journaling would lead me to publish Out of Order: Unleashing the Power of Journaling to Draw You Out of Chaos and Into Fulfillment. I never knew publishing a book would be a vehicle for sharing my gift. If I’m being honest, this was a scary process, but I frequently reminded myself that my gift was my service to the world, and I had to share it. Full transparency, as a 36-year-old Black man with dreads, I don’t know how I will be perceived, and there’s this thought that people will judge me and not pick up the book for the wrong reasons. In my daily life, I function behind the scenes, but doing what makes me necessary on this planet pushed me to conquer the fear or anxiety of doing something out of the norm and publish this guided journal.
1AND1: How do you want to keep showing up for yourself and leaving your comfort zone?
Nicodemus: I’m at the phase in my life where I’m chasing those visions or things in my life that scare me. I’ve been thinking more about the impact that’s on the other side rather than what the negatives are or could be.
Whether through my job as a performance coach or through my writing, I know I have been placed here to help people become the best versions of themselves. I will spend every day doing that and obsessing over how to do it best. I have come to the realization that If I don’t do the work that I was placed here uniquely to do, then I will be robbing the world and myself of opportunities that are waiting for me.