Recently I had the amazing opportunity to sit down and chat with Yano Anaya who played the bully sidekick in A Christmas Story (my favorite Christmas movie of all time), to ask about the Facebook community he started.
It’s called A Christmas Story Family. And it’s rapidly closing in on 10,000 members strong! It’s a place where true fans of the movie can talk, share items added to their collections, reminisce, and just be themselves 365 days a year! It also incorporates members of the cast and includes a VIP group where you can actually talk with the cast members!
I asked Yano to tell me the whole story about how it began and this is what he had to say:
"I was a struggling business owner; I was a fitness coach. I had a vision of a sinking ship with anchors pulling it down rapidly. It was quickly filling with water and losing every bit of oxygen left in the air pockets of the boat. This thought ran through my mind every day; it’s how I felt. That nagging sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach… I was desperate to come up for air.
The need for a solution was more apparent than ever, but I was hesitant to reach out for help. I did great for a few years on my own until I hired a “business coach.” I was burning the midnight oil night after night, looking for a viable lifeline on my own; I couldn’t repeat the same mistake. It was tough trying to save a business, maintain a healthy marriage and home, take care of myself, and learn something new that could potentially save me.
I realized I needed to do something quickly; it was starting to take a toll on my marriage. In a desperate attempt to magically fix everything, I did what I never thought I would do again... I hired another business coach. What the hell was I thinking?
I’m a glutton for punishment… I guess.
I really didn’t want to go down this route again, but my marriage depended on it. I had to right my wrongs and do this right. This new business coach had an entirely different approach and instantly knew where my bottlenecks were and where my previous coach went wrong.
I know what you’re thinking… it sounds like we’re headed towards a happy ending, and I wish, but it couldn’t be further from the truth of my reality.
My new business coach taught me that I was trying to make a business model work that wasn’t right for me. I wasn’t a gym owner where people pay rent to use the equipment on their own; essentially the Airbnb of fitness equipment. He said that I was a Body Transformation Expert who delivered an outcome, essentially the natural, noninvasive version of a liposuction doctor. Damn! For years I was going about it the wrong way and competing with the wrong market.
Well, here’s why the story doesn’t get better… at least just yet, and I end up at the bottom of the ocean swimming with the fish. Of course, not literally silly; it’s just how I felt.
We were way too late! This new approach required a reinvention of myself and my business, but I was simply out of time. I had to file for bankruptcy, and I lost the most beautiful and amazing woman in the world… my best friend… my everything. This whole ordeal finally took a toll on my marriage. I felt crushed. I failed as a business owner, I failed as a husband, and I died as a man.
Look, don’t take pity on me… wipe that tear away… and put a smile on that gorgeous face of yours.
I was wrong!
I still lost everything, but my feelings were wrong. I wasn’t a failure. God was preparing me for this moment in time, and I am grateful for every bit of my journey. I didn’t let my circumstances get the best of me. I meditated, worked out, and listened to motivating music like Beyonce’s and Jay Z's song “Ape Shit.”
So, this afternoon three years ago, I got a call from my new business coach…
RING, RING, RING!
BUSINESS COACH: Bro! How the f*** are you not going to tell me that you’re Grover Dill from A Christmas Story after us working closely together for over 6 months? Is it true?
ME: Hahaha! Yes.
BUSINESS COACH: Dude! I feel like I don’t know you anymore? First… Fudge you for not telling me... and second, I’m a huge fan.
ME: Of A Christmas Story?
BUSINESS COACH: Yes! Look, I have an idea. Have you ever engaged with the fans?
ME: Yes, at events.
BUSINESS COACH: No. I mean, have you really engaged with the fans and stayed in touch all year.
BUSINESS COACH: I have an idea!
Long story short, A Christmas Story Family was born. I realized that my dream of helping people and being there for others wasn’t gone; the avenue just changed. In fact, it didn’t change at all; it just wasn’t explored in this manner before. I had a new breath of fresh air. So I put my blinders on, put “Ape Shit” on replay by Beyonce and Jay Z, and got shit done!"
Well, that motivating moment Yano had is now living proof, almost approaching 10k members (at the time this blog was written), and has even made noise in Ohio, getting the attention of the House of Representatives. Cleveland, Ohio, holds 38 years of history with the production of A Christmas Story. It’s where some of the ACS movie was filmed and Ralphie's house is located!
This iconic American Classic Christmas Movie holds the distinct privilege of being named one of the most significant Christmas movies ever filmed, so much so that the Smithsonian gave the cast members the esteemed designation of being "Legends!". This film now sits in history for all to enjoy forever.
Here’s where things get really interesting… There has been some talk among the House of Representatives about doing something special, something unheard of, something that will blow your mind, and something that will officially mark this movie into the history of all Americans for generations to come.
I can not wait to tell you all about it! So make sure to stay tuned. Keep reading our emails and blogs and we will tell you all about it soon!
In the meantime, make sure to join our free A Christmas Story Giveaway contest where you can win major awards. We’re giving away over $50,000 in prizes.