Rich with abilities, accomplished businessperson, autism advocate, Jimmy Clare uses mentoring and coaching well, and grabs opportunities as they appear.
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About the Show
Welcome to Health Hats, learning on the journey toward best health. I am Danny van Leeuwen, a two-legged, old, cisgender, white man with privilege, living in a food oasis, who can afford many hats and knows a little about a lot of healthcare and a lot about very little. Most people wear hats one at a time, but I wear them all at once. We will listen and learn about what it takes to adjust to life’s realities in the awesome circus of healthcare. Let’s make some sense of all this.
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When I meet new people who follow my podcast, whether I know them or not, my heart warms, and my chest swells with pride, humility, and connection. These past weeks my aunt told me she listens to them all, the daughter of an old friend said she’s been listening for years, and Jimmy Clare reached out to me on LinkedIn asking me to interview him. How did you find me? ‘Oh, I’ve been listening for a long time.’ I’m honored. Usually, I ask people to record a chat with me. Seldom do I receive a cold call. My first reactions are equally intrigue and disinterest. Scoops of ice cream and chopped liver- both familiar but don’t mix well.
Introducing Jimmy Clare and Crazy Fitness Guy
Since I’d never met or heard of Jimmy when he messaged me, I started following him on LinkedIn and scheduled a call. When we first chatted, I couldn’t feel a connection until he started telling me about being in college and his business, Crazy Fitness Guy. We scheduled a call. I like to hear and share a diverse set of people’s stories about following their passion and building a business, especially young people. Note that now that I’m seasoned (old), almost everyone is young. Jimmy’s charm and challenge are managing life on the autism spectrum. He’s —+matter of fact, straight ahead, and persistent. Let meet Jimmy Clare.
Health Hats: Jimmy welcome? Thanks for joining me. I appreciate it.
Jimmy Clare: Thanks for having me.
Health Hats: How do you usually introduce yourself in a social situation?
Jimmy Clare: I just tell people I’m a motivational speaker, autism advocate, and I’m an author and founder of Crazy Fitness Guy.
Health Hats: Crazy Fitness Guy. I like it. And what’s the significance of Crazy Fitness Guy as a handle.
Jimmy Clare: The significance is basically; I help motivate people to live a healthy lifestyle.
Health Hats: You’re not like trying to make any statement about your level of craziness.
Jimmy Clare: I’m only part crazy.
Health Hats: A little crazy as a spice.
Jimmy Clare: Yeah, variety’s the spice of life.
Health Hats: What led you to establish a business, Crazy Fitness Guy?
Jimmy Clare: I wanted to continue practicing my writing skills after my first writing class in college. I didn’t know how to write an essay at all. My very first essay wrote in college looked like a treasure map with so many errors on it. My professor corrected everything. He was like, it’s not terrible, but I was like, oh, you’re just beating around the bush, just say it sucks.
Health Hats: You were taking a class and writing. So, then leap from writing to – I don’t know whether I want to know about Crazy Fitness Guy or starting a business. Pick one.
Starting and managing a business
Jimmy Clare: I started it back in 2017 because I wanted to show a consistency of showing up every single week and practice my writing. I didn’t really want to write a Word document every single day. That’s only going to get boring. You don’t tend to do stuff over and over again if it’s boring. I knew that if I wanted people to keep coming back to my website, I have to keep showing up.
Health Hats: Okay. So, who’s your audience?
Jimmy Clare: My audience is basically for people who are on the spectrum, the autism spectrum, and those who are not on the autism spectrum. I try to cater to both, which is sometimes hard to do.
Health Hats: But there has to be more than just whether they’re on the autism spectrum or not. Maybe that they’re on the spectrum or not on the spectrum, and they’re trying to build good habits for their health?
Jimmy Clare: Yep.
Health Hats: What was your experience building habits for your health, for yourself?
Jimmy Clare: That came when I got bullied for being nearly overweight. I was at 175 pounds before I started living a healthier life. And so, I lost weight with P90X, a workout program where you do over 90 straight days, only getting one day off from it. After the first week of doing that with my dad, I was pretty much crawling up the stairs because I didn’t know I had muscles there.
Health Hats: So, that was your quest to build some physical activity habits?
Jimmy Clare: And it helped me build confidence to stand up to the bullies. I felt great after that, and I was like, is there a way to do this every day where I can feel good and stay on the six-week schedule. Even if I come across a workout program that says we only recommend five days a week. Then I make it six days a week. I don’t like odd numbers.
Health Hats: I have a routine that I do that’s every other day. And it’s about 45-minutes stretching, balance, strengthening, a little upper body, a little lower body. But I like the every other day habit because it always feels good to have a day off.
Jimmy Clare: Exactly.
Health Hats: That works for me. So, how do people get you? You have a website, and that’s your home base? How do people find you or meet up with you?
Jimmy Clare: So, they go to my website. You can find me pretty much everywhere on social media. Just either typing Crazy Fitness Guy or just type in Jimmy Clare. I show up on the first page for both.
Health Hats: Okay. I’ve seen you on LinkedIn, and you seem to have something pretty regular on LinkedIn. You’re saying that you do something similar for Twitter and Instagram or whatever.
Health Hats: When you are talking about developing habits for better health that involves making some decisions, whether they’re health decisions, medical decisions, or lifestyle decisions, how do you guide people or advise people as they’re making those decisions for healthy living?
Jimmy Clare: I always tell people on my blog post or if I’m talking to someone to always consult your doctor first. And I always say you got to find out something that works for you. What works for me might not work for you. I like working out six days a week. You like working out every other day. I just do it because I know it helps me keep my autism meltdowns a bare minimum because I just feel great after I work out.
Health Hats: It’s not just for your physical wellbeing; it’s for your mood wellbeing, too.
Jimmy Clare: Yep.
Health Hats: That makes sense. My issues are with mobility. I’m a two-cane or electric wheelchair guy. I try to get 3,500 steps a day. That helps not just my physical self, but as you’re saying, with my mood, I don’t feel right if I don’t get out and move around. I spent so much time sitting at the computer anyway.
Jimmy Clare: My mom kind of jokes with me the days when you don’t work out, you look like the Incredible Hulk. Except I don’t turn green, and I don’t have super big, huge muscles.
Making decisions with health team
Health Hats: Okay. So, part of being healthy and having healthy habits is having a team. And a team can be professional people, whether they’re professional clinicians, doctors, nurses, whatever, professional physical therapists, or workout coaches. And then there’s the team of family and friends. So, what’s your team?
Jimmy Clare: I see a lot of specialty doctors. I cut down on some of them because I don’t need them anymore, but I have a team of professional doctors. Like I see one for a physical, I have one for my ears because I had nine surgeries on my right ear—one too many. And I also have one for I have one for my hearing as well. That would go along with ears too, but there are two different kinds of doctors,
Health Hats: Like an otolaryngologist versus somebody who deals with your hearing.
Jimmy Clare: Yeah. And then I saw a dentist, and I saw a physical therapist, but that’s a long story. And then I stopped seeing him because of something with my old insurance.
Health Hats: I see. So how do you make decisions together with your team members?
Jimmy Clare: How I make decisions like what’s in my best interest? I’m just going to throw a random example. I hope it doesn’t happen, but when I was getting my ninth ear surgery, I was talking to my ear doctor, and we were scheduled; my mom was setting it up and helping me set up a way where we were going to get them all done in one day. I had two moles removed. I had six wisdom teeth pulled and, of course, the ninth ear of surgery all at once. My doctor talked to the other doctors, the other two doctors were in and out, and I was still under. My dad had just to be a smart ass and comes into the room where I was just waking up. I may get to go home after this. He said, ready to go home? I was like, shut up.
Health Hats: Are there times where you get recommendations from people on your team that doesn’t make sense to you and you decide, no, I don’t think I’m going to do that?
Jimmy Clare: I don’t think I have run into that point yet. My primary doctor for physicals, like as I was waiting. I was supposed to get a flu shot. When I saw him, but I said, can I wait until after I finished just a school semester? I had some bad luck with the flu shot in the past, or I’m not saying it gave me the flu, but it gave me some symptoms of it. And so, then I was like, oh, I can’t go to class like this. And I could barely get out of bed because I was tired, sneezy, and wheezy.
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A businessperson with abilities
Health Hats: So, how have your unique set of abilities helped you set up a business?
Jimmy Clare: I like to think of it that I see stuff a little bit differently, which I do. Maybe companies that already exist for me, I’m not going to name any names, of course, but some companies that just don’t have really good customer service. Sometimes I don’t like how they just say we’ll get back to you eventually. Can you give me a timeframe? Can you give me maybe 24 to 72 hours? For me when somebody contacts me through my website, I have a page that takes them to a page that says all I get back to you with 24 to 72 hours.
Health Hats: I see. Great. So, you feel like customer service has been a feature of your business.
Jimmy Clare: Yeah. And even if I don’t answer right away through email, if somebody messages me through Facebook, I answer it as long as it’s not spam.
Health Hats: What influenced you in the direction you’ve set up this business and motivational speaking?
Jimmy Clare: What motivated me was just, I don’t feel like people were listening. I just don’t feel like sometimes when I was growing up, people were listening in my life. Not saying any of my family members or anything, they were listening, but just some maybe grownups, or now I’m a grownup.
Health Hats: You felt dismissed or not heard?
Jimmy Clare: Yeah. And I felt people weren’t listening, and then I also felt like when I heard when I was going to college, right before I started college, I had people who are also advocates for the autism community that colleges do not provide that much support for people on the spectrum or extra challenges. And I was like, Man, if I could only change this, I would love to be able to. I could be the new face in the autism community that could provide this change because it hasn’t worked yet for those other people. Maybe somebody needs a fresh perspective, fresh eyes, fresh everything.
Health Hats: So, you’re saying that there weren’t coaches and mentors for you that appreciated you?
Jimmy Clare: I’m still in college. Sometimes, people in the college could make it a little bit easier to get the accommodations that I need and make the process much simpler.
Health Hats: Okay. One of the things that you can provide is helping other people make their way in those maybe less than friendly situations.
Jimmy Clare: Yeah. Like for instance, some colleges have an office on campus they call the disability center. I honestly don’t like the word disability because it is negative. Plus, if somebody was in a wheelchair for life as the person’s disabled and I thought, they’re disabled in their legs, but they’re still able to do many other things.
Health Hats: Yes. I appreciate that—thinking about building on the strength of your abilities. As opposed to focusing on the weaknesses of your disabilities. It’s certainly more uplifting.
Jimmy Clare: Yeah. And I also got one other thing to say about sure. I was reading this one, a Twitter post by this by one of these autism communities. I’m not going to name any names, but they just shine a big negative light on autism. They had so many statistics, and a long list of this person won’t be somebody that is born with autism and is not going to do A, B, C, D, E, F, G, all the way to Z. I’m like, that’s literally what the doctors told me when I was growing up. You can’t do this; you can’t do that. Really? I love the positivity, people.
Health Hats: Yes. So, you’re still in college. At what point are you in your education?
Jimmy Clare: I lost track a little bit because I jumped around five different majors. Okay. I had a choice to see if what I liked and what I didn’t like. And even then, it was annoying to my parents. I was like; Jimmy’s got to pick something. Gosh, I didn’t know there was a time limit.
Health Hats: Before I got a bachelor’s degree, I had 190 credits. Then I wanted to get a master’s degree. So, I had to get a bachelor’s. At the time, I was living in West Virginia, and I went for a regent’s degree with certain requirements. I had all of those requirements, but I needed 11 credits in the State of West Virginia. I ended up getting them mostly in music because I was, you can see my horn here; I was playing music. I finally got the bachelor’s degree. Because my nursing was an associate degree. Then I got a Regent’s bachelor’s degree and went on for my master’s in public health. I appreciate that there are so many opportunities to learn and sometimes it’s hard to line that all up with a degree in something specific. Are you at the point now where you see the light at the end of the tunnel of going to school? Or are you like, school’s pretty good and I’ll just keep doing it?
Jimmy Clare: I’m getting closer to my bachelor’s degree. Actually, no, my associate’s degree. Then I want to get my bachelor’s degree at another college and continue. Because I know if I stop, I don’t think I’m going to continue. It took me three years after high school to go to college because I was not very fond about my high school.
Advice for others
Health Hats: So, what kind of advice do you give to other aspiring businesspeople you come in contact with?
Jimmy Clare: I always tell them to never give up. I also tell them to have some kind of a mentor. My sensei in karate and all the other people who teach have been mentors to me in karate and outside of karate. My sensei likes to tell people that he is the real-life Yoda from Star Wars. The scary part is that I’ve been around him for a long time. Even on my best days, I’m giving my parents advice and motivation and everything. I’m like, okay, I feel like I’m a young Yoda.
Health Hats: Oh, there you go.
Jimmy Clare: I’ve been around my sensei a long time.
Health Hats: You’re paying it forward. He was a good mentor for you. You said, don’t give up, and find a mentor. What other advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs that you come across?
Jimmy Clare: I would also say don’t listen to the naysayers because the reason they say you can’t do something, or you can’t do this is that’s their own mindset. I got so many opportunities by doing what I do. I got featured in Times Square in New York City. And I bet you, all the naysayers can’t say that.
15 minutes of fame
Health Hats: What does that mean? You were featured in. New York Times Square New York City?
Jimmy Clare: There was this company doing this campaign for people who can’t see each other because of this pandemic and people are missing each other, so they wanted to do shout-outs. And I don’t know every single part of the detail, because I’m not part of that company, but they were doing this campaign just to get shout-outs to people’s loved ones and family members. One of my podcasting friends, I would also consider her a mentor and also a friend, she told me about this campaign. Jimmy, you should get your name out there and do this and get your message out there. And I was like, what do I have to lose? Two weeks ago, the company messaged me with a link to it and said, you’ve been featured. Holy crud, I thought what’s the chances of them picking me?
Health Hats: Send me a link to the photo. That’d be great.
Impact of COVID
Health Hats: How has COVID impacted your schooling and your business development?
Jimmy Clare: For the schooling, everything is online which is kind of good and not good. I missed the discussions in class a little bit. I feel like sometimes everything is just read off of a PowerPoint slide. I can read. We could have open discussions in class, and we can read the PowerPoint on our own.
Health Hats: And you could do that online. That’s all a teaching skill.
Jimmy Clare: But for my business, it’s going to sound a little bit messed up, but I believe that I had the COVID to thank to get my name out there. I went from pretty much the last page of Google to the second page of Google. Now my name’s up on the very top of Google. I thank you, COVID. If you did something that’s useful, the only thing that’s useful.
Health Hats: Jimmy, what should we be talking about that we’re not,
Jimmy Clare: I don’t have an answer to that. Wow. I’m speechless.
Health Hats: Oh, I’m happy to put you in that situation. Does that happen often?
Jimmy Clare: No, I don’t think so.
Health Hats: Okay. You seem like a very fluent and social fellow. Is there anything you’d like to ask me?
Jimmy Clare: I’ve got one question. How many years have you been podcasting?
Health Hats: About two and a half years? I just published number 112. Before that, I did about four and a half years of weekly blogging. So, almost seven years. I think I’m on 430 something all told. It’s been wonderful. I am part of an international podcasting community. It’s so rich. Actually, there are not that many people that I connect within the podcasting world that are healthcare-focused. They’re involved in all sorts of different things. I learn a lot from people who are sharing their lived experience and their expertise in different areas. They’re from all over the world. It’s a rich community and I’ve made some solid friends in it. It’s very creative. I can use so many different skills. Starting with the blog posts learning about a website and learning about getting the word out and how to tell a story. Then when I got into podcasting, it’s audio skills. Now I’m expanding into video skills with what’s the story I’m trying to tell and who’s the audience? It’s been rich, very rich.
Jimmy Clare: I definitely can relate to that. The person I told you about who told me about that campaign. She is writing one of her, I think maybe her 21st book. She’s creating this book about autism. She reached out to me and asked me if I wanted to be part of a book collaboration. She’s going to feature me in a section of her book. And it was like, holy moly.
Health Hats: Oh, good, good.
Jimmy Clare: I think I’m getting one of my articles is going to be published in an autism parenting magazine.
Health Hats: A parenting magazine?
Jimmy Clare: Yes. Autism parenting. I was like, wow, I can’t believe it. I meet so many amazing people and they want to put me in their book.
Health Hats: Wow. It’s great. It must feel good. Which is nice. You can always use that.
Jimmy Clare: Definitely.
Health Hats: Life is tough enough. Thanks for taking the time. I really appreciate it.
Jimmy Clare: And thanks for having me.
Rich with abilities, well-spoken, engaging, an accomplished businessperson, prolific content creator, Jimmy knows how to use mentoring and coaching and grab opportunities as they appear. I mostly spend my time with people older, from their 30’s on up (except my grandsons, of course). It’s good for my soul to meet younger people, like Jimmy, who are our future.