How I Turned Getting Kicked In The Teeth By Life Into An Opportunity
I have always been around health and fitness. I can still remember by Mother doing Jane Fonda’s audiotapes on the floor when I was in preschool. Jane and my Mom advanced to VHS and I joined her “going for the burn’ in the 1980s. In high school, college and graduate school in the 90s, I knew all about fat-free and step aerobics. The 2000s brought me to Spinning, mp3 players and ultimately Weight Watchers before my wedding. Once my daughter was born in the mid-2000s, I became a Spin teacher, and eventually, a Yoga, Pilates, and Barre teacher to keep busy and to rationalize my expensive workout clothes habit, well to attempt to rationalize ?
My life hit the skids in August of 2015, big time. I won’t get into specifics today, but one day soon. However, the lesson is that when my “perfect” life went into the ditch on my 40th birthday (talk about adding insult to injury) I went a la Beyonce and turned lemons into Lemonade.
It didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen. Looking back, I am not sure how I got through it all, other than taking it one day at a time and making my kids and I the top priority. I took good care of myself as much as I could physically. Tried to get decent sleep, journaled, lots and lots of therapy, kept working out and eventually I had strung together a good day and once I had the first good day, the second one was much easier, and my day three I was on a roll!
I had been quietly mulling over what to do next in my life when the unwanted deep dive happened. I had done the be super obsessed with your kids when they are babies thing, the volunteer at school and try not to go crazy with all the unpaid work thing, the fixate on the house and be constantly redoing parts of it thing, the shop until you drop thing, and the ladies who lunch and are secretly miserable thing. None of these things fed me emotionally. Not until I asked myself what I really wanted. Actually, a therapist asked me and nothing came to mind. I was angry with myself for not having an answer other than for the chaos to stop.
I gave myself a few days to get over the initial shock of my inability to answer the simple truth of “what did I want”? I knew what I didn’t want, more of the same. Feeling like I was just an extension of my children, my husband or even our pets. Who was I? What did I want?? It wasn’t until I truly asked myself the question, not in a superficial way but at my core, what did I want??
For years, I had been on the email list of the largest Nutrition school in the world. After I figured out I wanted to do something just for me, I applied for a health coaching program. I was applying late and the class had already started. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with it, other than I have always liked learning about health and wellness, I needed something all my own and it gave my structure. I loved learning about different dietary philosophies and what exactly the problem is with our food supply. As the weeks rolled by and I gained more confidence and knowledge, I knew what I wanted. I wanted to be a health coach. I wanted to encourage other so to live their life to the fullest. Not to be the skinniest or the hottest Mom at the club this summer, but to look at their entire being. I wanted to help, I wanted to encourage others to get healthy, and I wanted to be back in the world in a meaningful and lucrative way.
At the half-way point of the year-long program, students are allowed to start seeing clients. I wasn’t ready. So I gave myself a deadline and then I started contacting friends, clients from teaching and fellow health-minded folks. Would they be willing to be my guinea pig? Free of charge, I just needed their commitment and willingness. Most of my first clients came on after New Years, which is always a great time to be offering assistance with getting back on track with one’s health. I learned a lot from my first batch of clients. The majority of my lessons came from things that didn’t go well, such as over scheduling myself or overwhelming clients with too many specific areas to work on one week. I began to get referrals from the first group, word of mouth was spreading!
I have never been a huge self-promoter, in fact, I despise it. In fitness, I was often required to audition for 10 minutes while 5 or so people who aren’t taking your class stare at you, I rarely did well under these circumstances. However, give me a real class for 45 minutes and I would knock it out of the park. I have to be an advocate and cheerleader for myself now. This does not come naturally for me, but I have to fake it until I make it.
I have been given even more amazing opportunities over the last couple of months, but for now, I want to focus on how I turned a rocky time of life into what I had been wanting for years but never dared to dream. I didn’t have a magic wand, or a time machine, just the belief that I could figure it out if I listened to myself and was willing to be slightly uncomfortable short term to be content long term. As a stay at home Mom, I rarely challenged myself. It was safer that way. I have learned the hard way that the only path to a better life is in doing the work and, for me, it was asking the tough questions and having the unshakable belief that I would figure it out and that the universe wants me to succeed.