Wherever you choose to go, go there with all your heart.

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

The Dash

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

Fitting in Fitness

I have heard it all before and, to be honest, at times I have been guilty of this myself. Excuses. I’m too busy. I’m too tired. I forgot my shoes. I can’t workout today, but I will do it tomorrow.

Guess what, all these excuses grant you an exemption from what you need to do. But your health, fitness level, and well being will not take care of themselves. In fact, they will get worse. It becomes increasingly more difficult to make improvements and see results the longer you put it off.

Even though I work in the fitness industry, I have had my battles with my own health and fitness. Recent events made me more aware of the importance of “today.” I lost my aunt a few weeks ago, unexpectantly. Two of my close friends have parents that are currently battling a cruel and unfair disease. Another friend of mine was diagnosed with Rumethroid Arthritis in her early 30’s. Watching people become inept to complete certain tasks, enjoy simple pleasures, and be physically as they once were makes one more conscious of what they are capable of doing today.

We can all set aside 30 minutes of the day to incorporate exercise into our lives and you don’t need a gym to achieve this. You can do this in your own home, outdoors, with your kids or with your significant other. Don’t be afraid to get creative with exercise. For example, two weeks ago I was packing my suitcase to attend my family’s annual vacation. As I was packing, I pulled out my workout shorts and looked down at my TRX. I reached down to put it in my suitcase and something stopped me. I thought to myself, “I need to get my workout in while I am gone, but this is family trip and due to recent events I should really focus on spending time with them.” That’s when I decided to be creative with my workout.

Instead of doing a typical routine I decided to revert back to my childhood and have fun. I was going to play on this vacation. I splashed around the pool with my little cousins, treaded water and played Marco-polo. I incorporated interval training and worked on my agility while playing lazer tag and running from roller coaster to roller coaster with my family. I engaged my upper body while challenging my loved ones to skee-ball, air hockey and a big screen version of Fruit Ninja. I engaged my core and strengthened my lower body while honing my snow skiing skills and skate boarding talents on Alpine Racer and Top Skater. And I strengthened my soul by laughing a lot!

Now this may not seem like much of a workout, but I was able to get my heart rate up, I kept my body moving and when I returned from vacation I felt refreshed. It was easy to keep my previous momentum going! Plus, creating new memories brought my family closer. Bottom line, I found a way to get it done. You never know what may happen tomorrow, but right now is always here.

No more excuses. It’s up to you to make it happen. JUST. DO. IT.

It’s OK to be SELF-ish

Imagine you are sitting on an airplane, about to take off, and the flight attendant comes on the loud speaker to give the emergency evacuation procedures. He or she gets to the part about oxygen masks and states that you should put on your oxygen mask first before helping a child or anyone next to you. I always had a hard time understanding this, if my child was sitting right next to me I would do anything in my power to assure that my little one was safe.

I am sure many of us feel the same way. In life we want to help others, care for others, and we strive to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. I am sure we all have our selfish traits as well. It is okay; we are all-human and can’t be perfect all of the time. But I think we all need to take time to reflect on what are selfish behaviors (judging people, being greedy with our belongings, advancing in our lives while sabotaging other people’s opportunities) and realize there comes a time when we actually benefit from being SELF-ish.

Most likely if you are reading this you do not exude any of the negative traits I have listed above. I have been working hard over the last few years to only allow positive and supportive people in my inner circle. It’s a SELF-ish feat that I am quite proud of. However, what has become extremely apparent within the last year is that I haven’t taken enough time to really be SELF-ish. My work involves constantly giving to others and motivating them to live a balanced and healthy life, however, somehow I lost the ability to maintain it myself. Being healthy is about your mind, body and spirit and for me, all three of those components were taking a beating.

In the past year have fallen ill more than the normal person should, I have had surgery and medical complications, I’ve partied a little too hard, withdrew from friend at times, felt extreme anxiety which affected my ability to function as I normally would. I have lost sleep, cried a lot, and stressed out my friends and family all because I was putting massive amounts of stress on myself. I would judge my actions and myself if things did not go perfectly.

Even with these lows and the self-sabotaging behaviors I was inflicting onto myself, I have had a lot of amazing experiences within the last year. I attended incredible work conferences, participated in a mentorship program that inspired a shift in my life, I became a god mother, I moved into a beautiful new apartment, I landed my first print ad, I made some amazing new friends, I quit my job, and my new business is already thriving and I haven’t even officially “launched” yet.

All these things, moments, experiences made me feel alive and whole. I was doing something for myself that would enhance my life or career, but the feeling only lasted momentarily because I wasn’t taking enough “me” time to reflect on these things so I can carry the energy with me once the moment passed. I wasn’t participating in enough activities that would inspire and enhance my higher self on a weekly basis to keep me happy.

We will always have ups and downs, that is just life, but I wanted to seek more balance for myself so that way I can really help others. I have a team of people that I now talk to on a weekly basis that are helping me gain balance. It hasn’t been an easy process, and I am sure I will still struggle but I am ready to put on my oxygen first to help others. My spiritual guide told me yesterday that I am right where I am supposed to be. If I start to feel the negative or self-sabotaging thoughts come on, “don’t judge – just feel the moment and trust.”

Take moment to think about your life. Do you feel stressed, irritated, how is your sleep? Are you scheduling enough time in your week to be SELF-ish?
One of the important lessons I have learned in the last month, and that I often preach but had trouble listening to myself, is the importance of starting small with goals. Pick one or two things that you can incorporate into your week that will make you happy or help you relax. It can be as simple as taking a bubble bath, going for a walk with a friend, or reading a cheesy novel. Some people work well with visualizations that remind them to relax and breathe. Play around with what will work for you and see how your life shifts. Make the time, put it in your calendar if you need to.

My calendar & SELF-ish time for July: Take TRX classes 2/week, and dedicate Sunday nights to writing out the 5 things I want to accomplish in that week. And when I have a moment where I start to feel down or anxious, I am going to look at my 212* bracelet and realize I am right where I need to be and I am a least one degree better than I was yesterday.

“At 211 degrees, water is hot. At 212 degrees, it boils. It’s that extra degree that can power a locomotive…or take your life results far beyond your expectations. By taking ownership of this fundamental principle, focusing on a clearly-defined goal, maintaining an unstoppable attitude, committing to take action, and persevering, you’ll see life-altering, positive results. The message of 212° The Extra Degree is clear: It’s your life: You are responsible for your results. It’s time to turn up the heat!”

What does your dash represent?

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.

The Dash

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

If you want to soar with the eagles, stop hanging out with the turkeys

Recently I was having dinner with a good friend and we found ourselves talking about life, our goals, dreams and other girly topics that most women tend to converse over when dinning with close friend. During our conversation, she then pulled out a pen from her purse, grabbed a napkin, and said, “Let’s write out your goals.”   She began writing a way as I spoke of my dreams and aspirations until we had the napkin covered front to back. As we finished with the napkin she informed me that she was going to type up this list, and that I would be responsible for handing it the people in my life that I am the closest to. “These are the people that will help you get what it is you want.”

We have all set goals from time to time in our life. Some we have achieved and others we have not. I want you to take a moment and think about a time when you did not accomplish a goal. Who did you tell about your goals? What were there reactions? Were there certain people you were afraid to share your goals with?

Think about the people you choose to surround yourself with and think about their behavior.

Are they happy?

Do they inspire you?

Are they positive?

Do they lift your spirits?

Are they successful?

Are they living the life of their dreams?

Do you look up to them?

Do you help make each other better?

Did you answer NO to any of these questions?

Sometimes we are unsuccessful because there is a greater lesson to be learned before we reach what it is we are striving for. Other times it can happen because people that are not supportive of our endeavors surround us. They can be self righteous, all knowing, negative, greedy and condescending. When you said you wanted to lose weight, they were the ones that two days later wanted go out for drinks and comfort food. When you said you wanted to learn to speak Spanish, instead of signing up for that Thursday night class, they wanted you to go out on the town those nights to help them find the man of their dreams. When you want to spend a beautiful day hiking in Marin, they try and convince you to get a mani/pedi. Now take a minute to think about some of the goals these people said they were going to accomplish. Did they do it? Probably not. These people are the types to make excuse, lack determination, are unhappy with their career, their loved ones, they may even complain about their friends, or try to tell you what it is you should be doing.

The past few months have made launching my own business a high priority. I have told many people in my life about my vision for Motivated Fitness and my career moving forward. I have received a tremendous amount of support, feedback, and encouragement from people I have a high regard for. Every single one of theses people that have always shown confidence in me has had a positive impact on my life.   When I think about these people, they have qualities I admire, they are fun to be around, they are happy, successful, and optimistic.   They help me become a better version of “me,” and guide and encourage me as I take one step closer to living achieving the goals I envision.

Identify the people in your life that will take the time to write your goals down on a napkin and hold you accountable for what you are capable of achieving!

“Keep away from the people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great. -Mark Twain

 

Be well,

Tiffany

 

Love your Ego…it’s there for a reason.

 

This past weekend I had the opportunity to attend a workshop on The Art of Coaching. I attended the workshop with the intention and the goal of coming out a better coach and motivator. I was determined to be able to find a better way to express my knowledge, my passion, and inspire people to lead a healthier and more “fit” lifestyle by the end of the weekend. But what I quickly learned, that was my ego talking.

“The spirit seeks the journey, the ego seeks the destination.”

My whole life I have been focused on the destination. I am a goal setter. I like goals, maybe a little too much. Even after my collegiate sports career, I have found myself setting weird goals through out the day. They make me feel like I have a purpose. I even set small silly goals, like ” Can I get all my errands done in two hours?” Oh, and you would think I am nuts if I were to describe the victory I feel when I achieved something as miniscule and ridiculous as that. Well, that my friends is my ego. I never considered myself to be an egotistical person. I am calm. Inviting. I try to be accepting of all people, but what I realized this weekend is that we all have egos. The ego yearns for a sense of control, it wants gratifications, it is who we think we are, but it can suppress who we really are. The ego manifests itself differently depending on the individual. For me, I tend to set a goal, put my nose to the grindstone and not look up until I achieve it.

I have set a lot of goals in my life. I was determined to play college basketball ….check. Compete in a fitness competition….check! Sign with a talent agent, run a half marathon, climb to the top of Mt. Kilimanjaro….check, check, and check! I have set many goals and have failed, but I have accomplished a lot of great things in my time. And regardless if I fell short of the goal or achieved it, I was faced with many set backs and obstacles. At the time I thought it was because I took my eye off the goal, I wasn’t focused, but I realize now that it was my spirits (insert your higher power here) way of telling me to step back and take a breath. I realized this weekend I have to be aware of this to ensure that my clients do not become too focused on the final outcome. Sure we all want to lose weight, tone up, eat right, but that doesn’t mean we can’t take the time to truly enjoy some of the “set backs” in life.

By the end of this past weekend I learned a lot about myself, why I am destined to be in the field that I am in, and that I am willing to accept my ego and acknowledge my spirit. I walked into the weekend with my ego telling me I was going to come out a better coach to each client, I walked out with my spirit saying it’s going to be journey and I am going to learn more about myself from each relationship I develop, weather it be clients, friends, or family. And I hope you learn from me as well.

We all have goals, we all have our own journeys, and I am looking forward to sharing it with you!

Be well,

Tiffany