The moment I knew I had to do something different was when I looked in the mirror and acknowledged I was tired beyond my years. I knew somewhere inside I was actually happy, healthy and youthful but my body was telling a very different story because I was still "filling the void" with food.
Right then and there I took courage and promised myself I would set down the emotional baggage I had been accustomed to carrying around for everyone else, and start appreciating myself a little more.
When you keep a promise to yourself, you build trust within yourself to do anything else you put your mind to. I stopped all the people-pleasing I had been taught to do my whole life and instead started practicing a healthy dose of self-worth.
It was never my intention to work so hard at making others happy but I learned it when I was young and it's all I knew. However, I also realized that I wasn't born that way and all I really needed to do is get back to my "roots" of who I was born to be.
In 2009, at the brink of homelessness I began looking for a job after 15 years as a stay-at-home mom and no degree to fall back on, that could have meaning and purpose outside of a much needed paycheck.
I like to refer to myself as an accidentalpreneur because my career found me. I was looking for a job, yes, but my purpose found me in fitness. By nature, I am a people promoter. I can see the gifts and talents of others and I want nothing more than to show them their true greatness, which is typically their blind spot. In fitness, I came to the conclusion that all humans just want to have more "fun" in their lives. Meaning, they want to reduce their stress and live with confidence. It's "fun" to know your worth and love being who you are.
The biggest lesson I learned about people and their views about their physical appearance is that they had lost to some degree, (or never really had an understanding for) a strong belief in their value which lead to over eating, procrastination and stress management. All of which, I was determined to get to the bottom of for myself so I could teach it to others. This brought a HUGE sense of urgency and purpose to me.
My wake-up call came 5 kids into my first marriage, in a dressing room. I was there to buy bigger pants because mine were too tight to even breathe. That's when I took an honest look at all the areas of my body that were begging me to pay attention to the emotional stress I was storing year after year between my neck and my knees.
I realized the necessary transformation I had to make started on the inside first. I had always thought my outer world and everyone in it was what I needed to manage and control in order to find my sense of self. I thought if I could work hard enough to make others like me because I was being what they needed me to be, their happiness was a reflection of my good-enoughness. But the only true way to find happiness was to be authentically me first and let go of how others around me reacted. It became less and less important to receive approval from others and acutely more important to stay in alignment with myself.
Just staying focused on my higher purpose for self-care (my kids needed my example) I lost 8 dress sizes in 6 months letting go of the emotional struggle that wasn't mine to hold in the first place. This transformation was the catalyst to give me confidence to face upcoming challenges I could never have dreamed up.
Another pivotal turning point in my journey happened when I attended a mastermind retreat with my mentor, Todd Durkin. This in-person event was chock-full of ROCKSTAR fitness entrepreneurs! I allowed myself to feel intimidated by diminishing my value to the group because I was old, I was ill, I was late to find my career, I wasn't as smart or well-educated, I had no degree following my title, etc. Not healthy, not helpful.
I had a confession to make to the group and I felt nauseous at the thought of coming clean about my lack of health (full-blown adrenal fatigue) and current state of emotional overwhelm. Everyone else would be reporting on the businesses they had been building, the value they were delivering and the revenue streams they were creating. I, however, would be reporting that I was in the middle of a family crisis and on a personal journey to discover my value apart from who I was to everyone else.
I was the last person in the room to stand at the opening event and share my "30 seconds of greatness" with the whole group. When I stood, I thought I was going to pass out! Who was I to be there among such ambitious and driven people? Shaking from head to toe, sweating profusely and seeing spots in front of my eyes, I quickly stated, "I'm just taking some time to care for myself and learn more about who I am and what I want. I have always been something to everyone else but I've never just been me. I'm on a journey to discover who that is."
Sometimes when you're determined to "clear the crap" from your life, you move a hill of poo just to discover the mountain behind it. Once I transformed my body, I found a career. At the beginning of LOVING my career, my health crashed. After rehabbing my gut, I discovered grief was a lingering factor in my life. I needed to address my perceived losses from my childhood and unravel the untruths I had made a habit of telling myself.
I was conditioned to believe I was unlovable by parents who were doing their level best to manage their own senses of worthlessness. No matter how hard I would try, (and, believe me--I tried hard), I could never get the love I needed. The only form of "love" I knew didn't include healthy boundaries--people pleasing a.k.a. codependency.
Love is not something that is earned. It is something that you are. Love is not something you get. It is something you give. Love is the condition under which were are born: you are loved. You have always been loved. And you cannot change it...but, it's not for lack of trying. We compare ourselves. We un-belong ourselves. We minimize ourselves. We disallow ourselves to receive the love and approval we earnestly seek.
Not everyone wants to "change" their beliefs about their love-ability but when you become uavailable to feel small, emotionally manipulated or indecisive about what was within your power to change, nothing will stop you.
I sat down with the greatest urge to run from the room. What followed was the LAST thing I expected but THE most profound turning point for my emotional freedom bar none. The room erupted into applause! Todd stood and thanked everyone for their good reports but announced that his Mastermind was created for authentic sharing and support and the weekend ahead was to be dedicated to being as open and authentic as I had been.
Not once did I consider the possibility that being publicly open and vulnerable with a group I held in such high regard would release me from a compulsive and relentless effort to negate my value. In that very moment of validation I realized that it was necessary for me to accept and acknowledge my worth if I was every going to do anything besides play small. Playing small serves no one.
I had to start giving myself the benefit of the doubt in all things. I started telling myself I was right on time. I was no longer "behind schedule" and that I was never going to have it all figured out. "Figuring it out" is what a journey is made of and there's no end to our personal exploration, discovery and growth. We are adding to it all the time.
We are not a series of highlight reels without the down times, challenges and contrast to encourage us to ask for more peace, ease and lining up with our dreams.
We are not here to hide or avoid our misinterpretations of greatness. We are here to own them outright. Nothing less than a full acceptance and ownership of all that we have been created to be will be satisfying.
We all have the personal power to live authentically true to our unique creation but sometimes we need to be shown the way and supported until we can understand and envision it for ourselves!
I am 8 years married to the love of my life and together we have a total of 8 grown kids plus 10 grandkids and 2 grandpups!
We love to camp, play disc golf and ride our tandem mountain bike together. As an avid learner, I enjoy reading and becoming inspired by the human experience—how people think, develop, and triumph over challenges! I love to witness people amazing themselves with their wit, creativity, resiliency and determination to be the best version of themselves!
My most pronounced belief is that we are here to fulfill the measure of our creation and experience peace, joy and happiness on the highest levels possible!
Once I was in a place to begin looking for a partner who could compliment the person I had become, I made a 3 page-single space-no punctuation running list of attributes, characteristics and values I wanted in a spouse. I included things like: he would expect the best in me, I would have to run to keep up, his smile would be my favorite thing, he would be youthful and active, he would be a little mischievous and funny, etc. However, I did NOT include things like, "he would love me deeply or tell me I'm pretty, etc. because it's not your partner's job to love you or instill confidence in you. That's our job alone.
I did the work of showing up to the table prepared with my own self-love and confidence in hand and I attracted the man of my dreams. Low and behold, there he was on Match.com, smiling, in a suit and as handsome as I pictured he'd be. By day three he had checked off all the boxes and he felt like "home" to me.
When we become the same type of love we seek, life MUST deliver a mirror image of that love. We are an energetic match to all that we observe in our current reality including the people we associate with. The good news is that we can also create a new reality for ourselves when we learn that loving ourselves completely will be the most important work we ever do to bring happiness and more love into our lives.