A few weekends ago I celebrated my birthday. I had the luxury of celebrating with old friends and making new friends. The weekend was off to a great start and I couldn’t be happier with the direction my life was heading and felt that everything was also coming together for those around me. Friends were getting married, others were getting engaged, one found the place of her dreams then to find that she also won a home makeover, and my college buddies were making a film which I was able to be a part of. For myself and all those around me, life was good.
For the past three months I have been able to focus solely on my business and although I wake up at 4:30am most mornings my spirit is much higher, knowing that I am following my heart and love what I do. Each week I am getting closer and closer to my career goals and I know that the life and the business I have been dreaming about is that much closer to coming to fruition. I am proud of myself for taking a leap of faith and walking away from my 9-5 job.
But no matter how old you get, how much confidence you have, how sure you are of your dreams, there are always people there that will try to bring you down. As my birthday weekend came to an end I was told by some loved ones that I am not where I am supposed to be in life for someone my age. “You should have this together by now. Why don’t you give it up and get a “real job.” Please, can someone tell me what is a “real job?” And who are they to decide where I am supposed to be in my life, what possessions I should own, or what my personal life should look like at this moment in time?
I take a lot of pride in what I do. I motivate and inspire people to push themselves beyond what they perceive possible and educate them while doing so. It is a job, it is hard work, and I love it. To these loved ones, I should be working in a place where the paycheck is consistent, I should clock in and out at designated times, and I should answer to a boss and not be my own boss. I understand that this is how the majority of our country operates and that is perfectly fine. All those positions need to be filled, and the people in those positions work extremely hard to provide a valuable service to our everyday lives, however that is not how I operate.
I need flexibility and the ability to be creative. I thrive off of developing new programs, finding new ways to bring fitness into peoples daily lives and I need to interact with people on a daily basis. That is what makes me tick. That is what helps me get up at 4:30 in the morning instead of hitting the snooze button.
I truly believe that at this very moment I am right where I am supposed to be. I will not let anyone doubt me or deter me from what I have set out to accomplish. Any obstacle that stands in my way is there for a reason. It’s a challenge that I need to overcome to truly appreciate what lies ahead. I believe in my vision and I will not give up. I am determined to make it happen.
Yesterday we lost a legend, an innovator, and someone who changed how the world would function. He did not let any one bring him down or challenge his dreams or visions. He stuck to his guns and made it happen.
”Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary. – Steve Jobs
I read of a man who stood to speak at the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on his Tombstone – from the beginning – to the end.
He noted that first came the date of his birth and spoke of the following date with tears,
but he said that what mattered most of all was the dash between the years.
For that dash represents all the time that he spent alive on earth –
and now, only those who loved him know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own, the cars – the house – the cash.
What matters is how we live and love and how we spend our dash.
So think about this long and hard – are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left, that can still be rearranged.
If we could just slow down enough to consider what’s true and real –
and always try to understand the way other people feel.
And be less quick to anger and show appreciation more –
and love the people in our lives, like we’ve never loved before.
If we treat each other with respect and more often wear a smile,
remembering that this special dash might only last a little while.
So when your eulogy is read,
with your life actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say –
about how you spent your dash.
– Linda Ellis
Monday August 9, 2010
I just returned from the IDEA World Fitness Convention and here I am, back in the grind. As I entered work I was greeted with an angry member whose trainer did not show up for their first workout, complaints that our ab roller is missing, 27 voice-mails and over 250 e-mails. On top of that, I had 3 meetings today and two of them had absolutely nothing to do with my department or me. My high from this weekend has started to fade.
This weekend brought back feelings I haven’t felt in a long time. For the first time in over two years, I was surrounded by people just like me. Everyone was enthusiastic and passionate about the fitness industry. In that environment I felt like myself again. These past two years I have been engulfed in a different world, although I still work in the fitness industry, teaching people about health and fitness is not the main priority in my position. I spend my days following UC guidelines and adapting our program to match the medical center. This is not what I signed up for, and after this weekend I realize that things need to change.
All of the presenters and the people I met were incredible. Everyone truly loves what they do. I was particularly inspired by Todd Durkin’s, “Growing your Business Despite a Challenging Economy”. Going into it I thought I would find ways to “fix” the issues we have been having at UCSF, but instead I learned the importance of following your dreams, living the life you have always envisioned, and being the best ME that I could be. That session made me feel like I could accomplish anything.
After this weekend I am making a promise to myself, as of July 1, 2011, I will no longer be the Fitness Manager at UCSF and I will be running my own Health and Wellness business.
It’s 11pm on April 15th, 2011…
I am lying in the emergency room of Sharp Memorial Hospital waiting to be taken to the operating room. I am suffering from severe bleeding due to complications from a previous surgery, and after the doctors in the ER tried two different procedures to stop the bleeding, they deemed surgery necessary. Now, by no means do I think I am dying, however lying in the ER in the middle of the night, 500 miles away from home and my doctor, I can’t help but think about what my life has become and where I want it to go. I keep thinking about the poem Todd Durkin read to us yesterday, “The Dash”.
The dash refers to the line that appears between the years of your first year on earth and the last year on earth. It is not where you begin or end that is important, it is what you do in between that time. I began to think about my life, what I wanted to get out of it, what my purpose here on earth is. Was I living the way I wanted to live? Do I wake up each morning and live life to the fullest? If my life were to end today, would I be happy with my dash?
It has been almost a year since I attended the IDEA conference and made a vow to myself that I was going to change my life. I realized that there is no time like the present because you never know what could happen tomorrow.
I encourage you to take a good look at you life and ask yourself what you would like your dash to represent. Take time to think about the people you surround yourself with, do they make you a better person, or do they suck the energy out of you? Are you working towards your life long goals? I also encourage you to seek out people that are successful in your field or that live a life that you admire. Ask them how they got there, what makes them tick, the lessons they learned along the way. You may be surprised by the support you receive from them. They, much like you, looked up to someone as well and they would be happy to return the favor.
As the mentorship weekend wrapped up, Todd looked at all of us and said one thing. “Go out there and make me proud.” That is what I intend to do. On Tuesday, April 26th I told my boss that I will be stepping down from my management position as of July 1st. That was just step one. I can’t wait until I see Todd and the rest of the Fitness Quest 10 crew at IDEA this year and I share with them all that I have accomplished since leaving them in April.