To say Michigan native Evan Cloyd is unique would be an understatement. To say that uniqueness has made him successful would be a statement of fact. Still in his early twenties, Evan has turned interests in magic, professional wrestling, video editing and public speaking into successful careers in all four fields.
Through his “Disturb Reality” channel on YouTube, Evan is a legitimate internet celebrity, and he has compiled nearly one million subscribers that anxiously await his detailed explanations of how to perform high-level magic tricks and illusions. All of these videos are presented online with precise edits and colorful graphics produced by Evan himself.
As an independent pro wrestler, Evan has incorporated his abilities at prestidigitation into his performances, and he further demonstrates his video editing skills as the video editor and graphic designer for “Championship Wrestling From Hollywood,” a wrestling program that tapes in Los Angeles and airs in syndication throughout the country.
Evan managed to package his magical talents and experiences into “Rise Above,” an interactive motivational speech that he has delivered internationally at schools and corporate events to rave reviews. And, if you are an athlete, and you ever sit in as Evan explains to students how to overcome obstacles in their lives and turn their interests into successful careers, here are five things you would be likely to learn that could help your athletic aspirations.
1. You should turn negatives into positives.
Let’s face it; bad things happen to all of us at one point or another. For many people, the sadness and pain caused by an unfortunate event serves as an excuse to engage in self-destructive behaviors. When Evan was faced with a painful breakup that might have tempted him to turn to drugs or alcohol, he used the negativity from that experience to fuel his new workout habit. Not only did it improve his overall health, but Evan’s improved physique made him a better and more marketable wrestler.
“When I finished 180 days of P90X, I lost 35 pounds and I was looking super good,” Evan explained. “I had just gotten off a back injury where I had to undergo physical therapy after a big fall that I took during a wrestling match. So, I had to take a break from wrestling. After 180 days, I got back in the wrestling ring with a new look. My back was strong, and my conditioning was better than the people I was wrestling against, so turning to fitness was an outlet for my pain that helped me in other ways.”
2. You should use your abilities to open doors.
Many young athletes have goals that involve showcasing their abilities in prime time and earning big bucks in the process. Unfortunately, very few are gifted and fortunate enough to realize this dream as a professional athlete. However, as Evan’s career path demonstrates, if you cultivate a skill that employers find valuable alongside your athletic endeavor, it will be easier to land a job that is in some way attached to the sport you love.
“If I could only do one thing all day every day for the rest of my life, it would be wrestling,” Evan said. “But I asked myself how I could make it so that everything I do relates to the big goal. Magic was just a hobby I could do and practice while I wasn’t wrestling, and video editing was what I always figured I would end up doing. The ultimate career goal has been to get signed by the WWE, or another top wrestling promotion, and to be an influential person with the company and make a difference. But, if that doesn’t work, I know for certain I’ll be working within the pro wrestling industry as a video editor, or in some other capacity thanks to the skills I’ve picked up.”
3. You should take risks and seize opportunities.
In order to get the most out your abilities, sometimes a change of scenery and a stretching of comfort zones is required. For example, downhill skiers need to find steeper and steeper mountains in order to improve, and not every town is blessed to be at the base of a mountain. In Evan’s case, he realized that he’d need to make a drastic move away from his lifelong home if he was going to elevate his skills to the heights he hoped they would reach.
“In 2011, I made a trip to California with a friend of mine, and we met up with some other YouTube personalities,” Evan said. “They were making a full-time living off of their YouTube channels in Santa Monica on 5th Street, which is five blocks away from Santa Monica Beach. I was like, ‘Wow… this is possible. There are people that are making it on their YouTube success.’ As soon as I saw that, that’s when I started to take the channel very seriously, and just like that, I decided to move out to Southern California to work with those guys.”
4. Recognize you’re better at more than you think.
When young athletes are learning skills and information related to sports, like fundamentals of nutrition and fitness, they are actually acquiring skills that transfer to other careers like coaching, personal training, physical therapy and dietetics. While Evan was honing his craft as a street magician and developing his promotional skills as a professional wrestler, he never imagined that he was actually crafting abilities that would one day serve him well when he became a motivational speaker. But, when his uncle asked him to give a magic-themed motivational speech to a classroom of middle school kids, Evan learned his hobbies had prepared him for the gig.
“The first time, I went in without a script, and I just improvised the entire thing and I felt really good about it,” Evan said. “It went so well that my mom wanted me to come to her school and do something similar, so I wrote a 50-minute speech that incorporated magic, and it was the most interactive motivational speech they’d ever seen. It was timed out perfectly and it went over very well. I incorporated kids into the magic tricks and asked them what they wanted to be when they grew up, and I tried to help them cultivate their interests into that career choice.”
5. Help others whenever you can.
As athletes progress, they have countless opportunities to share their knowledge with those that know less. Sometimes this is in the form of coaching, but on most occasions, it’s in the form of simple hints or tips given to younger (or sometimes older) athletes in need of advice or corrections in form. Likewise, Evan remembers when he was a kid being bullied, or a child spending money he couldn’t afford to spend on an overpriced magic trick, and he takes advantage of every opportunity he can find to encourage children that need the help that he wished he’d received.
“When I started my YouTube channel, it was really just a way for me to practice my video editing and to teach magic to other kids for free,” Evan admitted. “That was before you could even make money on YouTube, and some of these kids would spend 30 dollars on a magic DVD just to learn one trick. And with my ‘Rise Above’ speech, I just wanted to help the next generation of imaginative kids and promote an anything-can-be-done mentality. I want them to be able to stick to something they’re interested in and be successful at it without being worried about someone else’s opinions about them.”
The Meijer State Games of Michigan is a multi-sport, Olympic-style event(s) that welcome athletes regardless of age or ability level. The Games embody the values of participation, sportsmanship and healthy living.