AUSTIN (KXAN) — An Austin man who struggled with bullying in school is now helping lift others. Education experts say most bullying victims don’t report it.
“I got relentlessly bullied through high school, it was never physical, but verbal, just, you know, tore me to pieces, and I could never figure out what I was doing wrong. And I realized as I got older, I wasn’t doing anything wrong, I was just an easy target. I think people mistook my kindness for weakness,” Josh Job said about his time in high school.
He went silent during those dark times.
“I just started to keep my head down. I didn’t go to a lot of the social functions, because I knew if I went, I was going to just get teased,” Job said about his high school experience. For four years, his life consisted of school, sports and home.
Now, he is using his experience to unite strangers, including the first Austin Fit Fest, a festival that brought athletes from a variety of sports together. The festival featured arm wrestling, Olympic weightlifting, MMA fighters, and a strongman competition, which involved a fire truck pull. Job is already working for next year’s festival.
“We just really wanted to do something that brought the entire fitness community together, you know, bringing in different demographics of sports,” Job explained.
Getting to this place started with bullying.
“Where I’m at, now, I have a position to uplift those people that might have been in the same position as I was,” Job said.
Part of his daily routine is cultivating a community of strangers lifting each other up. He created Austin Fitness Community, an Instagram account with more than 14,000 followers. He shares their transformation journey from beginners to men and women finding their passion for sport.
“What I am trying to do is give everyone a day in recognition. I don’t say no to anybody. You know, I don’t care if they’re overweight, skinny, they don’t pump iron. Maybe they run… they have different views. Everyone has a place with [an] awesome fitness community,“ Job said. “The best feeling is just lifting someone up, who might otherwise always feel down. The friends I did have were amazing people. They saw my potential to do something and always encouraged me.”
Job also has a podcast where he shares the adversity other people have overcome, including a Texas man who is now a successful bodybuilder after a crash left him paralyzed. Nick Scott shares his journey of how he didn’t allow his injury to hold him back.
“I think that that’s a perfect example of what health and wellness and just being in that fitness realm can offer. You know, it can open new doors and find out what you’re capable of through putting yourself through some sort of stress,” Job said.
Job said having a community in your corner can help you find the light during dark times.
“If you have a large group of people that come together, and they uplift one another, and they can support someone and be there for someone, it can change so many things,” Job said.