Seven years ago, I had a pivotal breakthrough in my life. Earlier that year I had been in a serious car accident that basically stopped me in my tracks. Due to the accident, I was bed-ridden for a few months while suffering chronic back, neck and leg pain. I had healed somewhat, although still in pain, I was able to walk and function. Normally well known for being gregarious, having a loud boisterous laugh and always smiling, my essence had become almost unrecognizable. I had been hiding away from others and avoiding social contact because I was just not myself. To top that off, I was working in a career I didn’t like. I was going in the wrong direction and I knew I wasn’t being my authentic self, even though I wasn’t sure what my “authentic self” would look like.
In hindsight, the accident was a wonderful gift to make me stop and reassess my life. After the accident, I received massage therapy to aid in my recovery. This inspired me to become a massage therapist and get a formal education in natural medicine. After attending school for a few months, I still felt pain and depression and knew I had to take my goals one step further. I heard about a contest at my local athletic club, the Body Transformation Contest. This was the perfect opportunity for me to set a goal to become strong and healthy in 3 months time. I believed I could win this contest but I also knew I needed to make a plan.
The first thing I did was hire a personal trainer. This was not because I did not know what I was doing, in fact I had been a gym member, aerobics instructor, sports enthusiast and personal trainer myself for many years. I could have easily rationalized not spending the money for a trainer (something we really could not afford at the time) telling myself I could get the information from a book or online. This may be true, but I knew I needed more than just information, I needed accountability and support!
Part of the reason I knew I needed that support was that I already was a full time student, with a ridiculous workload and busy taking final exams. Add this to studying massage therapy and you can see I was using a lot of physical and mental work. I needed someone besides my inner voice to literally stand by me and give me the tools I needed to make a breakthrough. I was also battling depression and fatigue and chronic pain. I knew if I got back in top physical condition all of that could be resolved, but the road there would be long, steep, and full of pot holes.
Training for the contest was one of the hardest things I ever had to do. I was on a special diet, where I had to keep track of every morsel of food that went into my mouth and the time of day it was eaten. This was a vast change from the leisurely, nightly snacking on cookies and wine that I ‘rewarded’ myself with after long hours of studying! I was required to turn in the food journal to my trainer weekly. There were weigh-ins daily and an extremely rigorous workout schedule. I would have to be at the gym at 5 am, so I could make it before school.
Some days I would suffer dizziness followed by lactic acid build-up in my muscles causing extreme pain. My muscles were weak from the accident so I would suffer several spasms as they were awakening to daily activity. I was extremely sore and exhausted for the first 2 months and I was unable to rest because massage school required a massive amount of homework and hands on work with clients. It was hard, no doubt about it.
However, as the months passed, I began to enjoy the challenge. My metabolism kicked into overdrive and the diet became second nature. I was blessed with a sudden surge of energy and I had never felt better.
When the time came to announce the winner- I no longer cared about the money. I was so proud of how far I had come, I would have been genuinely happy if another contestant would have won. I was competing in the first age group ages 18-29 and guess what? I was 29 and there were over 500 people competing, the majority of them in the 18-20 age range. I won’t lie, there was a part of me that thought I would not win first place. However, I put all of my doubts aside and gave it my all. I was feeling so good of this regardless of the results, though the results were good. I won!
My life was forever changed. I chose to walk down that fork in the road to a completely new direction in my life. I sometimes think of what life would have been like if I would not have gotten into the accident, if I would have not decided to hire the personal trainer and take on the challenge.
Winning the money from the contest paid for my personal trainer and put a little extra cash in my pocket, but the lessons I learned from the experience and the direction it sent me in are priceless. I continue to use what I learned from my mentor and trainer to help others who want support to accomplish their goals.
Below are just a few lessons I learned that I apply to all of my major goals in life:
When you are excited about going into a new direction, go with it. Do your best to live in the present moment and keep your enthusiasm alive. Take action! Sign up for that class, buy that book, seek out a mentor- do whatever you need to do to get closer to the direction of accomplishing your goal and don’t wait! If you over-think the situation or do too much research you are likely to become overwhelmed and stop in your tracks.
When you are excited about a new direction for yourself or idea you may feel compelled to yell it from the rooftops, not so fast. The more people you tell, the more likely you may be met with good-intentioned criticism. This might take the wind right out of your sails. Do search for one good mentor that you can trust for guidance and support, usually this is someone you seek out, not someone you already know (chances are if you are in a low point in your life, the people you have attracted up to this point may be the ‘misery loves company’ folks- not too inspiring!)
“Don’t tell people your problems, half of them don’t want to hear it and the other half think you deserve it.” --Rita Davenport
With the exception of your trusted coach or mentor, don’t get too caught up in sharing the struggles you are experiencing either. While you are going toward the direction of your goal, try to stay positive and focus on the prize. Focus on how you will feel when you have attained your goal and let this sustain you.
Many times we cannot see the forest through the trees and we don’t know how close we actually are! Realize this too will pass, and every day, minute, hour, you try you are getting closer to your goal.
It is a process! Always continue to recess your life and apply what you have learned. Keep gaining that momentum. You may find you need occasional ‘tune-ups’ that is okay, we all do! You don’t have to be perfect, after all, even accidents are gifts!
2009 Copyright by Angie Goodloe
You can connect with Angie in our AuthenticTimes Community!
Share your genuine smile with those you meet this week.
the person on the street,
the postal carrier,
and the one you forget to smile to the most.