I want to share a few things from years ago with you. I promise it will all make sense when you get to the end of this. (Warning: I talk a lot. And this is something that is very emotional for me, so this is very lengthy. I promise it gets good and has a happy ending.)
The summer I was 17, I was invited by a few of my guy friends to go swimming. I agreed, assuming we were going to the river or somewhere we’d been before. But not this time. We went somewhere that was way out in the middle of nowhere – To this day, I have no earthly idea where it was or how to get there. I only went that one time because……… when we got there, we had to walk a pretty good distance thru the woods (I grew up in the Redwoods of Northern California), next thing you know we approach a cliff. I watch as they all toss throw their belongings over the cliff and everything drops straight down, all the way to the rocky bottom. All I am thinking is “What did I get myself into coming out here?” Next I hear “Come on.” I, still staring at all the stuff laying on the ground a million miles down, say “WHERE?” And that’s when they all proceed to point to the edge of ANOTHER cliff. That’s when they proceed to inform me that there is only 2 ways to get down there. One, jump off the cliff into the water (the option they chose). Two, climb down the same cliff they dropped their bags off of, using this old knotted rope to hold on to as you climb down, hoping not to fall and break something.
Can you guess which option I took?
I was so terrified & paralyzed with fear at the thought of jumping off that cliff into the unknown – because really, how did I know that the water was deep enough or that I would land right without killing or paralyzing myself? So as they all hooped and hollered and jumped off the cliff and arrived at our destination in a few short-fun-balls-out-adrenaline-junkie-seconds – I sat there and contemplated my options. No matter what, I could not seem to make myself jump off that cliff. I knew that I didn’t want to sit up top all by myself and wait for them. So I decided to take “the safe route”, I chose that old knotted rope as my safety net. Once I finally made it down to the bottom (what seemed like an hour later), I composed myself and then realized OH SHIT! I have to climb back up this bitch! And with all my stuff this time! FACK! So needless to say I never accepted an invite to go swimming with them again!
My Dad was self-employed most of my life. What I remember is: the stress of being the “Boss”, the expenses of the overhead, long hours worked, not being able to afford or find good employees and the list goes on and at the end of the day a really tired, grouchy, unhappy Dad.
I remember the sacrifices that were made by my Dad so that my Mom didn’t have to work and could stay home and be a Mom, something she had dreamed about probably since she was 5.
I remember the struggles that our family endured. I remember when times were tough. I remember going to the grocery store with my mom, with a calculator, adding up each item & having to put things back because we just couldn’t afford it this trip. I remember my grandfather taking me school clothes shopping. I remember my dad sinking into depression and being very angry around this time.
In life, things happen to us. You could put 10 people in the same exact situation and each person will respond differently. That’s the beauty of this thing called life. We are all wired differently. We all think, feel and act differently. There are all types of people in the world. That’s what makes the world go round.
Because of what I remember, witnessed and experienced growing up, coupled with having no college education, no real skill, no real talent, as a young adult, I pretty much self-consciously committed to always being an employee. Because it was safe. It spared me of the stress & pain that I associated with being a business owner.
Pretty much all of my decisions, I’ve made as young adult up until present has been based on “what’s safe”, what would be the least painful, what would be the least humiliating in case of failure.
I’ve made so many different bad decisions, that I lost count because I never thought anything out. It was a combination based on lack of knowledge, trying to please others, age, selfishnesses, impulse and just sheer stupidity. Sadly, in my early 20’s I made a lot of the same mistakes more than once. Luckily, I woke up. I decided to change my thinking, change my actions, therefore change my life. I quit blaming others. Quit being the victim. Quit being my own worst enemy. I took charge of myself, no longer acting out & being controlled by my emotions, or dictated by my past. I went from a path of self-destruction to a path of self-discovery, renewal and growth. The person who hated change, decided that change was the only thing that could make life better. As I meditated on my past failures & poor choices and what led up to those events, I saw patterns of behavior that I quickly identified & decided to learn from them.
All of this was well and fine, but then I became consumed with making sure that EVERY decision I made was well researched, educated and again, the key factor was “safe”. If anyone were to ask me about any decision I’ve made over the past 6-7 years I’d be able to give you ever detailed reason as to why I made that decision because I put so much thought into it. And now looking back on some of the decisions I’ve made, all the factors that I worried about, never ended up happening.
I have found that I have made less mistakes since I started operating this way. But I stopped following my heart. I really wasn’t able to enjoy life in general to the fullest because I was so consumed of failing, making another bad decision, jeopardizing my family’s future. I’ve been living in a constant state of worry. I think and rethink everything over a hundred times, going over each scenario, trying to weigh out every detail. And when it comes down to it, you really never know how things will turn out.
I finally realized you only live once (Side note YOLO does NOT mean you get a free ticket to live irresponsibly or selfishly) . I realized all of my worrying, was robbing my JOY and was making me an unpleasant person to be around because I was so stressed over things that may or may not happen.
You MUST find your WHY in life. This is your PURPOSE for living, breathing, existing, getting up every morning, what fuels every decision you make, and makes you get up every time you get knocked down and fall flat on your face. It must be so powerful it makes you CRY. It MUST be so DEEP SEEDED that you can feel it in your heart and down to your core. If it isn’t specific & isn’t meaningful, then at the first sight of distraction, obstacle you will lose focus and fall of course. If you don’t focus on what drives you, you will be led by raw emotion, not by what you really want.
For 31 years, I had NO goals, NO ambitions, NO dreams.
When Ryan & I started dating in 2006, I remember telling him things like: “I will NEVER leave the country; I don’t want to own a house, it’s too much responsibility; I don’t like to travel and be out of my comfort zone.; I don’t want to try ____ because I might get hurt.” (Thank goodness he was patient with me) I had NO why. My main objective was to simply, get thru each day as painless as possible.
Fast forward to the end of January 2012 – On a chance happening, call it fate, I stumbled upon this person via Facebook. Totally uncharacteristically of me, I sent her a friend request. I reached out to her. At this point in time, I was sick & tired of being sick & tired. I felt lost. Our marriage was on the rocks, not because we didn’t love one another, but because we really had no common goals, and were still two pretty broken individuals. Something needed to change. I simply wanted to just feel good about myself. The alcohol wasn’t helping. So I decided to try something totally new. I turned to fitness. The whole course of our marriage, life and future changed unbeknownst to me on January 28, 2012, when I purchased P90X and Shakeology thru a stranger, Becky (after I tried to bail on the purchase, not once, but TWICE, because I just assumed I’d fail AGAIN!). Anyone who knows me or has been following me, knows how much that one decision has impacted my whole life and the changes that have taken place.
Throughout the past 19 months, I’ve evolved into a person that I don’t even recognize, but someone I am proud all because of ONE single decision that didn’t seem very monumental at the time, which was made on a blind leap of faith.
Most importantly I found my WHY. Dissected down it is simply this: “I want to be a MOM!”
The thought of my kids never HAVING to ride the bus home, never having to rush out of Rebel’s classroom in the morning when he’s crying and my heart is breaking in two all because “Mommy can’t be late to work.”, never missing a field trip (I’ve never been on any field trip with my children and Haylie is in 8th grade now), never snarling at my family as soon as I walk in the door because I am exhausted and had a shitty day at work, never having to leave my kids home alone when their sick because I don’t have anymore vacation time, never having to rely on anyone else to take my kids to their Doctors appointments, never having to ask anyone’s permission to switch my lunch time just so that I can go to one of my kids school events, MAKES ME CRY. It is such an emotional topic for me. I swore, I wouldn’t be like my Mom and stay at home and struggle financially, but then realize I am missing out on a lot. And I don’t want to.
Like one of my favorite coaches, Alli Upham said – sometimes you have to JUMP & build your wings on the way down!
Simply put: Change requires taking a leap of faith.
So today I grew some balls. Stepped out of my comfort zone. And for the first time JUMPED. And followed my heart.
My hands were shaking and I felt like I was going to throw up as I sent this email to my boss at 10:00 a.m. this morning, after debating this decision for months & months.
“In my 32 years of life, I’ve made many impulsive decisions that I am not proud of. I’ve been thru more than most people who are twice my age, mostly by my own doing. But no regrets because I‘ve learned from all of my mistakes & poor decisions. However, it’s shaped me into a person who over thinks EVERYTHING and always plays on the safe side of the street.
I have thought long and hard about this decision for about 6 months, more so in the past 2 weeks since we first discussed the possibility of me pursuing a full-time career in fitness. I never had intentions of staying in Brenham or working in Brenham until retirement, but I didn’t really have a concrete plan in place. But about 6 months ago I committed to what I am doing as coach – I stopped viewing it as just a “hobby”. I realized I was making a difference & for the first time in my life, I felt like I could change the world & be someone, not just that girl who left home at age 15 with only the clothes on her back, with no college education, no family & no dreams. I started seeing life and myself differently. I started setting goals and dreaming, which was a foreign concept to me – something I’d NEVER done. I set a goal to continue working up until my 2 year coach anniversary in February 2014 because that seemed “safe” and “realistic”, but after thinking really long and hard & discussing all of this in great detail the past weeks and last night with my husband. I realize more than ever that I cannot keep up with having my head in one place and my heart in another for an additional 6 months.
I appreciate everything YOU, your dad and Bob and this agency has done for me. As an employer, VDR has been the best company that I’ve ever worked for. I have enjoyed getting to know you over the past 2 years, despite our different upbringing, lifestyle and interests, I truly consider you as a friend. I will always speak highly of you and what VDR, as a company have done for me as an employee and I truly appreciate your taking me on 2 years ago and the opportunity you gave me. However, the environment here, (NOT you, VDR or ALL the staff) has become very draining because of bitterness coupled with negativity & I do not think I can handle it for another 6 months.
So… I am going to take your advice: follow my heart and remind myself of what you said, “You don’t have to be great to leap.”
Plus, you’re right, life is too short to waste it being unhappy. I already wasted the first 25 years lost, bitter & unhappy. I certainly do not want to waste anymore of what I have left of this life, especially when it’s negatively affected others, especially the ones I love most. I come home from work unhappy & greet the people who are dearest to my heart with snarls & exhaustion.
So long story short, (bet you thought I’d never get to the end of this, huh?) I would like to give my resignation, terminating my employment at VDR effective Friday, November 1st – which should provide an adequate time frame to find a replacement for my position, give me enough time to get a few financial affairs tied up before I leave, and give me a chance to finish some of the upcoming renewals & things that I have been working on.
Again, I thank you for everything. And also, thank you for giving me a nudge to take a chance to be & do something greater than anyone had ever given me credit for, including myself. Also, thank you for your kindness & patience with me.”
I had all these signs around me and all these people telling me for months to LEAP. But I was scared. Today I kicked fear in the face!
So today I share with you the decision I’ve made to leave my safety-net. I have been working for someone since I was 14 years old. Today, September 6, 2013, I made the decision & set a date to leave corporate America, and follow my heart and do something I feel so passionate about which gives me purpose and most importantly allows me for the first time in 14 years of being a Mother – I get to be a Mom.
Effective, November 1st at 4:30 p.m. I will officially be a Full-Time Beachbody Coach.
I am scared shitless because I’ve never done anything like this before. But I have to remind myself. I will not fail. I will make mistakes. I will learn thru trial and error. But I will NEVER give up. And to me the only way to fail is to give up!
I invite you watch my spread my wings and fly. And also you are more than welcome to come help me burn all my ugly black cardigans because I will never have to cover my tattoos up at this “job”.
Thank you to those who have remained by my side this whole time, supporting me, even if “Beachbody or Shakeology or Fitness wasn’t for them”. And I count my blessings because of all the strangers from across the world, who over the past 19 months have become my best friends & biggest support system. It’s been shocking to me to see people who were close to me, who cast me aside once I started making positive changes, yet strangers from across the nation are my biggest support system.
I am so thankful that I took this chance. I am so thankful that Becky, Kristina, Manda, Jenny, Joanne believed in me, pushed me & have never left my side. And more than anything I am thankful that my husband has supported me all the way and never stopped pushing me to fly, without him I’d truly be nothing.
The moral of the story is: Don’t be scared to try new things. Don’t ever underestimate the power of a small decision that seems insignificant at the time. Set goals and put a date on them, but never be afraid to adjust the dates. Don’t be scared to JUMP & SPREAD YOUR WINGS AND FLY.