Saturday, September 21, 2013

It's not about how hard you can hit. It's about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.


“Change is inevitable. Growth is optional.”
John C. Maxwell

During 2005 and 2008 I encountered as many or more changes to my life than all previous years combined. I returned to school and moved from an hourly employee to a supervisory position and then changed schools. I was divorced and moved into my own apartment for the first time in my life. It was time to really learn who I was and try to determine what my purpose was for being here. I came to realize that I had never been on my own before in my life. I did not get it then but I realize now that; things that excite you while scaring the hell out of you are the things you need to go after. If you get to a fork in the road take it, if you go the wrong way you turn around and take the right one. If you just stop until you are sure which way is correct, it might be too late. For the longest time I would not do anything until I knew the outcome. I am getting better at finding out along the way what I can do and what is worth taking risks on. I plan to expand on this from now on, going forward on the words of Mahatma Gandhi and “live like you were to die tomorrow but learn like you were to live forever.”  

I had found a purpose and direction while attending Maplewoods Community College; I was going to be a sign language interpreter. Until I was one week away from having my last final of my prerequisite classes completed and found out that since the director retired they were not going to accept any new students that fall. This caused a slight tailspin and I was forced once again to step back and regroup. Then one day out driving around listening to music where I did my best thinking it came to me. Considering the weight I lost and armed with some knowledge of basic nutrition, weight control and exercise, I wanted to focus on helping people reach and live a better quality of life. I spent the next sixteen months earning a degree and becoming a certified personal trainer. This is where I met one of the most influential people in my new life that started out as an instructor and became one of my best and most trusted friends and confidants. I was determined to expand on what I had been able to learn on my own and use my new found knowledge to change lives.  You may have noticed that I refer to the extra weight as “the weight” not my weight, just like I was taught to not take ownership of the high blood pressure. If you take ownership of something you make it personal and part of you, not a situation needing to be dealt with. Once it becomes part of you even if it is hurting you, it makes it harder to deal with and part with.

I was finally moving in a positive direction and felt like I was on track with what was supposed to be happening at this time. I was working fifty plus hours at a full time job and going to school and working out every night of the week. I got to school early if I could to study or work on assignments, if I was going to miss a class I would go in and make it up before I ever missed it. My instructor liked to kid me about that. I was finally the one in class that people could come to for help with work or studying. My workout knowledge and routines were expanding but there was still something missing. I absolutely hated cardio and thought it was a waste of time. There were weights to be lifted and I had twenty and thirty year old students in my class to keep up with. I was determined that none of them would beat me during our assessments that we did every six weeks, which included a bench press and push up test. I let everyone in the class go before me and I would do at least as much as the best performance. Looking back now I know it was not just my new found confidence and strength it was the ego making an appearance. I was not arrogant about it but I was so determined not to be beaten but realized that the end goal was out of focus. Eventually the hard work and determination paid off with me earning the Director’s Award at graduation with my family and a few friends in attendance. After more diligent or some would say obsessive studying I passed my ACE personal trainer certification exam. It was one of the hardest exams I have ever taken. At this time I had completed my internship at the YMCA and was offered a part time job which I accepted in February of 2008. In October of 2008 I made the decision to give notice at the company I had worked for since 1988 and take a shot at making fitness a career. So, on December 31st I left and for the next year and a half I waded through the politics of the YMCA, I was asked to return to my old company and keep fitness a part time endeavor for now.   

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