I have always believed that our fears are our greatest compass. Yet, I have not always wanted to accept that little nugget of truth. I am not talking about that life or death fear. I am talking about the fear in our minds that wants to keep us safe in what we are comfortable with. That little voice that speaks the words, “You are not good enough for that. You could never do that. What are people going to say? What are people going to think?? I am going to look foolish. I am foolish for believing that I could.”
Those words and the myriad of other self-deprecating things we say to ourselves are what is holding us back from living our happiest life. Because let me tell you, you deserve to be happy. When you are happy, I am happy. When I am happy, my husband is happy. When my husband is happy, his co-workers are happy. When his co-workers are happy, their families are happy. And it just keeps spreading. We have been taught to believe that we do not have that much power, but we do because one spark ignites another spark. And when all the sparks light-up, we are unstoppable. I want to share a story with you which is the whole purpose of these two paragraphs.
I teach two types of cycle classes now. It took me five years of overcoming fear to find one of my greatest passions. I never dreamt of being a cycle instructor and most importantly, I never believed that I could be. I’ve worked at a few gyms and cycle always intrigued me but I never had the courage to go to a class. I would watch from the floor, super intimidated by it. Everyone in class looked like they knew what they were doing and I felt like there was no place for a new person like me. For weeks I watched and then I jumped in and decided to try it out. It wasn’t as scary but I still wasn’t sold so I tried different instructors until I found one that I just loved. I was no pro. I am sure that my form was pretty bad and I was always gasping for air but my teacher made it fun and that made me want to keep coming back.
Then we moved to Colorado and I fell fifty steps backward in my fitness. Any weight I had lost, I gained back. Once we joined a gym it took me TWO years to have the courage to take up cycling again. I remember loving it in Virginia but I was once again intimidated and scared. I was afraid of judgement, I was afraid that I would hate the instructors (because I loved my VA instructor so much) and most importantly I was afraid to look foolish. So I kept walking past every single class.
Then one day, similar to before, I decided to give it a try. I took several classes until I found an instructor I loved. In fact, I found 2 and for 2 years I went to their classes religiously. Then one week, both of them announced they had tumors that needed to be operated on and were going to be unable to teach for a while. I panicked. The brave side of me said, “You have enough experience, you could teach.” The fearful more dominant side of me said, “Are you crazy? You’re no athlete! You never have been. Do you remember track? Yeah you SUCKED at track! Only certain people are born to be instructors and you are NOT one of them. You have no muscle tonality, you can’t be up there teaching – what are people going to think?” And on. Every ugly, mean and cruel thought you could think of came through my mind. But something interesting happened. A seed was already budding in my heart and no matter how nasty I was to myself, it weathered every single statement.
One day, a training for one of the programs I love became available. I looked at Adam and said, “I think I am going to do this training.”
He replied, “You should.”
“No, I can’t. What are people going to think? I am no fitness instructor. What do I know about this anyway?? No, I am not going to do it.” and I put down my phone.
Adam looked at me straight in the eye and said, “D*** it just sign up already! You are more than capable and what is the worst that can happen? You get a new certification?”
In that moment, I found my greatest passion in one of the things I was most afraid of doing.
I learned so much from this experience and I want to share these lessons with you:
You are capable of so much more than your limiting thoughts believe
Sit with that for a moment. Allow whatever arguments or objections you have to flow by. Let it out and then circle back to this statement.
You HAVE to push yourself beyond everything that you thought possible
It may take time, and a period of nurturing and self care but in the end, it’s the only way to grow, move forward and heal.
You have to look at your fears with a magnifying glass
Are your fears telling you something more about your life? Are they a compass for something you are avoiding or perhaps a path that you didn’t know was even possible for you? What do you have to gain by dragging your feet?
You have to try new things in order to discover treasure. Sometimes, the treasure is there, you just have to dig around in the dirt (mud or muck) for a while before you find it. If it were easy to find, it wouldn’t be called treasure.
Everyone starts as a novice at everything
Everyone begins as a novice. Through practice and time invested they get better. People are born with certain attributes that may make certain tasks easier to accomplish, but nonetheless practice and time is what makes someone excel at the task/activity at hand.
Sometimes you discover treasure later on in life, embrace it instead of throwing it away
Your life is not over until it is over and by that I mean dead. We’ve been trained to believe that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks but that is the biggest load of crap that has ever been dished out. And, as insightful and kind as I want to be with my words, I also want them to jostle you as you read this. It is true and if you have ever believed that, you are lying to yourself and being unkind to yourself. So BE KIND to yourself because remember, that spark spreads. Embrace that no matter your age, it is never too late to learn, pursue a dream or push the boundaries of what you thought possible.
One day, I will write a blog about how I manifested my Chihuahua. But until that blog comes, I will sum it up with this. I was 100% clear on the kind of dog I wanted, what she would look like and how I would find her. One and a half years later, the exact dog I dreamt of came to me in almost the exact manner I wished for her to come to me. This is perhaps one of the few times in my life that I have been truly clear about what I wanted, and it came to pass.
Get clear about what you want. Write it out. Address your inner demons. If you cannot clearly see a path with what you are doing, perhaps it’s time to pursue a new path.
I quit my full-time job to be an artist full-time but I could never see the path clearly. I even worked with a coach for 6 months. I got clear about a lot of things but not my art. I would justify the fogginess with, “I will go where it takes me.” Guess what? It has taken me in circles, back and forth, back again, sideways and at one point my little boat capsized. So I realized that maybe if I could not clearly see the path that maybe it should just be a byproduct of my life experiences. What I mean by that is create art from my life experiences and emotions, such as I did when I struggled to quit my full-time job.
I am very clear with my cycling. I see a room filled with people, I see my friends coming to class, I see gyms pursuing me, I see people telling me their stories of how cycling changed their lives. Same with my Rodan and Fields business. I see myself reaching Level V Circle and I see myself mentoring and coaching people to live the life they want to live and be their own life creators (meaning they decide what to do with their lives and not have to make decisions based on the job they work).
And lastly, explore. If you reflect on your life as it is right now and you haven’t been able to see a clear path or define a clear path, then you must go out and explore. Be patient. Give things several tries before ruling them out because, as I said, that treasure may be just around the corner.
I never ever in a million years believed that I could be a fitness professional. But now, I believe more than ever that I am the perfect advocate for change. I was a normal woman, who was overweight and unhealthy who didn’t believe in herself. I am no longer that woman. At any given point in time, you can steer your ship in a new direction. You CAN change your life at any point in time and it is never too late. Let me repeat that one more time. It is never too late. Go find your greatest passion in the thing you are most afraid of.