Vacations are meant to recharge us. We plan a specific time away, with specific people to relax, rest, and have a little fun. Most of us allow one or two weeks annually to escape our obligations for what we actually want and need daily - peace and harmony. So, we plan, pack, and set off for reprieve all the while knowing our life and all of its chaos will be there waiting when we return with a sunburned nose and sand in our luggage. We want a life we love, but we live a life we tolerate instead
Why is it that we believe we cannot have peace and harmony as part of our everyday lives? Moreover, when did we decide we deserve less than that? We grabbed this belief because someone handed it to us. Like a massive boulder, we assumed we had to hold on to it. We complain about how heavy it is to our co-workers as we book our flights for vacation twice a year. We have never considered trading it in for a better way or even questioned why we grabbed it in the first place! We have believed the old lie, and we have built our lives in support of it. I wanted something different, and I set out to create it since no one else knew how - not even Google.
Two years ago, when I became a professional coach, I set a huge goal for myself, which at the time seemed completely and utterly out of reach. The goal: to create a life I didn't need a vacation from, a life where I didn't feel like escaping everything and everyone.
At that time, I was in a very abusive relationship, and around me, all I could see was toxic drama and disappointment. I had no idea how to change it, and each day was more painful than the last. I was drowning and the boulder I was carrying made it impossible to float. Part of the reason I became a coach was my passion for helping others create a life they love. Isn't it always true what they say, "the mechanic's car is usually broken down!" My life was screaming for a significant change, and this vision became my inspiration.
I have helped many people change their lives for the better. I had become a certified yoga teacher, learned quantum healing techniques, and had even gathered quite a long list of students and clients - all creating a life they loved, with my guidance and support. It would make perfect sense that the Universe would require me to do this for my own experience, and I was ready.
However, life on the inside for me was hitting rock bottom. I didn't shy away from this at all; in fact, I often shared my painful experiences in my teachings. It wasn't that I lived a double life as much as I had to master this lesson for myself to become crucially aligned in my work. My personal life would need a deep detox and total overhaul for my life's purpose to reach its fullest potential. Now, I show others how to create a life they love, including the masterful integration of their personal and professional lives.
My personal life would need a deep detox and total overhaul for my life's purpose to reach its fullest potential.
I left my abusive marriage. I started over and put into place firm boundaries regarding whom and what I allowed into my new creation. Ultimately, this also meant ending a very toxic relationship with my mother, as well. As a mother of two children myself, I became resolute in my decisions regarding how we spent our time at home. For me, creating a life I loved included the following new guidelines and boundaries:
•Toxic people out - even relatives if necessary
•Less doing and more being
•Create fun (and functional) spiritual practices
•Guard your vision with fortitude
•Filter what doesn't fit your vision
•Let go of your old life - completely
•Trade victimhood for victory (and accountability) in every area
Creating a life you love sounds flowery, but taking action is anything but an easy process. There have been plenty of nights I have cried myself to sleep shedding the layers of my old self and coming to terms with the fact I had created a life I hated before I could create one I loved. Rebuilding my personal life and maintaining professional integrity (while being a single mother of two!) has been incredibly humbling, painful, and downright draining. So, why do I recommend it?
Because the alternative is far worse, and mere existence is a choice. A choice I would no longer tolerate. A life of peace and harmony was what I wanted and moreover what my children and I deserved. Through very specific choices, I chose to create a life I didn't need to vacate. It's glorious, and even the bumps in the road are far less treacherous.
My personal space is my sanctuary. My life is quite simple and drama-free. I am happier than I have ever been before. I don't 'need' a vacation from life because as my own life became more aligned with my professional mission, opportunities came rushing in to match this frequency. Now, I travel often (to incredible places) co-leading retreats and personal growth trainings to help others create this for themselves. Loving, empowering, and honest people surround me. I no longer feel any desire to escape, and I can honestly say - this is living. By embracing and claiming what I wanted, and doing the work, I changed everything.
Do not wait to claim what you want. Tell yourself the truth and see who stands next to you as you pursue it with all your heart. Those are your people, love them, thank them. As I look back, the only thing I question was why I didn't do it sooner. However, my answer to that is simple, each lesson had its unique timeline, and only when I had graduated one, I became prepared for the next. Divine timing and truth brought me to one hell of a fork in the road, and as the poem goes, I took the path less traveled, which has made all the difference. Living a life you truly love isn't out of reach unless you keep choosing to live a life you tolerate. Choose wisely.
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Sometimes it takes falling to rock bottom in order to be built back up again. I learned this many years ago when the life I'd carefully built for myself and my family suddenly changed. But in those times, you learn to lean on those who love you – a friend, family member or someone who can relate to what you've been through. I was lucky enough to have two incredible women help me through one of my lowest moments. They taught me to love myself and inspired me to pass on their lessons each day.
In 2010, I was a wife, a mother of 3, and had filtered in and out of jobs depending on what my family needed from me. At different points in my career, I've worked in the corporate world, been a stay-at-home mom, and even started my own daycare center. Fitness has always been a part of my life, but at that point being a mom was my main priority. Then, life threw a curveball. My husband and I separated, leading to a very difficult divorce.
These were difficult times. I lost myself in the uncertainty of my future and the stress that comes with a divorce and found myself battling anorexia. Over a matter of months, I lost 40 lbs. and felt surrounded by darkness. I was no longer participating in my health and all efforts to stay active came to a halt. I didn't want to leave my home, I didn't' want to talk to people, and I really did not want to see men. Seeing my struggles, first my sister and then a friend, approached me and invited me to visit the gym.
After months of avoiding it, my sister started taking me to the gym right before closing when it wasn't too busy. We started slow, on the elliptical or the treadmill. This routine got me out of the house and slowly we worked to regain my strength and my self-esteem. When my sister moved away, my good friend and personal trainer started working out with me one-on-one early in the morning, taking time out of her busy schedule to keep me on track toward living a healthy life once again. Even when I didn't want to leave the house, she would encourage me to push myself and I knew I didn't want to let her down. She helped me every step of the way. My sister and my friend brought fitness back into my everyday routine. They saved my life.
I began to rely on fitness, as well as faith, to help me feel like myself again. My friend has since moved away, but, these two women made me feel loved, confident and strong with their empowerment and commitment to me. They made such an incredible impact on me; I knew I needed to pay it forward. I wanted to have the same impact on women in my community. I started by doing little things, like running with a woman who just had a baby to keep her inspired and let her know she's not alone. I made sure not to skip my regular runs, just in case there was a woman watching who needed the inspiration to keep going. These small steps of paying it forward helped me find purpose and belonging. This gave me a new mentality that put me on a path to the opportunity of a lifetime – opening a women's only kickboxing gym, 30 Minute Hit.
About four years ago, I was officially an empty nester. It was time to get myself out of the house too and find what I was truly passionate about, which is easier said than done. Sitting behind a desk, in a cubicle, simply didn't cut it. It was hard to go from an active and chaotic schedule to a very slow paced, uneventful work week. I felt sluggish. Even when I moved to another company where I got to plan events and travel, it was enjoyable, but not fulfilling. I wanted to be a source of comfort to those struggling, as my sister and dear friend had been to me. I wanted to impact others in a way that couldn't be done from behind a desk.
When I heard about 30 Minute Hit, I was nervous to take the leap. But the more I learned about the concept, the more I knew it was the perfect fit for me. Opening my own gym where women can come to let go of their struggles, rely on one another and meet new people is the best way for me to pass on the lessons I learned during my darkest times.
Kickboxing is empowering in itself. Add to it a high energy, female-only environment, and you have yourself a powerhouse! The 30 Minute Hit concept is franchised all over North America, acting as a source of release for women who are just trying to get through their day. I see women of all ages come into my gym, kick the heck out of a punching bag and leave with a smile on their face, often times alongside a new friend. 30 Minute Hit offers a convenient schedule for all women, from busy moms to working women, to students and senior citizens. A schedule-free model allows members to come in whenever they have a free half hour to dedicate to themselves. Offering certified training in kickboxing and a safe environment to let go, 30 Minute Hit is the place for women empowerment and personal growth.
Through my journey, I have learned that everyone is going through something – everyone is on their own path. My motivating factor is knowing that I can touch people's lives everyday just by creating the space for encouragement and community. It's so easy to show people you care. That's the type of environment my team, clients and myself have worked hard to create at our 30 Minute Hit location.
Fitness saved my life. If it weren't for the empowering women who stepped up and brought fitness back into my life, I wouldn't be standing – in the door of my own business – today. The perfect example of women empowering women – the foundation to invincibility.