I remember a couple of years ago when my mother was all hot to trot about a show called “The New Normal.” It was a show I somehow never got into, which is surprising because my girl Nene Leakes was in it, but I got to thinking the other day about the concept behind it. The show was based on the family dynamic of a wealthy gay couple who want to have a child, so they move the surrogate mother and her daughter into the home. Thus, a new “normal” regarding a family lifestyle is born.
Last week was the first week of what I like to refer to as my new normal. No, I didn’t do anything like the characters on the show did, but I did make a lifestyle change that once seemed impossible. I left the career that I dedicated fifteen years of my life to. It still is crazy to think that I was able to make it happen.
Let’s talk about my “old” normal. I started working in the higher education field when I was eighteen years old, starting at the bottom of the totem pool in my college’s admissions office. After graduation I fell into an opportunity that made me a department director at the age of twenty-one. I was young, clueless, but eager to learn and make a positive impact. After about a year I made the decision to take a great opportunity in an Admissions department at a college in Pittsburgh, which led to me an even better opportunity, and then another, including providing me with the opportunity to open a brand new campus and obtain various management roles. To say I loved my job was an understatement; I greatly enjoyed meeting with individuals who needed a change in their life and had goals of doing more.
However, as much as I loved the ability I had to help people gain a new career, there were things that I absolutely had grown to hate. I hated that over the years people were seen as dollar signs instead of people. I hated that I worked alongside people and under managers who threw integrity in the trash and lied to pad their bottom dollar. Most importantly, I had grown to hate the hours and expectations. I have always been a hard worker, but working 50+ hours a week was not something I liked. Being forced to work on holidays instead of spending those moments with my family was not something I liked. Getting the third degree if I was sick and had to take some time off was not something I liked. So I made the decision to take a huge pay cut and return to the department where it all started: Career Services.
I remember a conversation with the Campus President soon after I started my new role in Career Services where we discussed my career goals with the company. During the conversation I had told her that this would be the final school I would work for. I would either choose to remain working for the college and move up within it, or I would leave it and pursue something else. She laughed and said, “that’s what everyone says. This is a great company. You won’t leave.”
Two years after that conversation I came to a crossroads in my life. Not only had my personal life fallen apart, but I had met a new level of frustration with my career. I hated driving to work every single day to feel under appreciated. I hated that my performance was based on things that were beyond my control. I hated that I felt I was one of only a select handful of individuals who cared about the students and their success. And I hated that the combination of a miserable job and a hot mess personal life had led to me gaining 60 pounds. Sunday nights I had such extreme anxiety about driving to a place that I felt was literally sucking the life out of me that I often could not sleep or had anxiety attacks.
So my “old” normal life went a little something like this:
Get up. Go to work. Grab some kind of fast food on the way. Put on a brave face and take on the day. Grab fast food for lunch. Leave work. Grab fast food for dinner. Stop and grab liquor. Go home. Eat fast food. Make White Russian after White Russian. Watch reality tv. Eventually pass out. Get up and start the cycle again.
It was awful.
Around this time was when I made the decision to get started with Beachbody. I’ve talked about it numerous times before, I truly believe that buying that little challenge pack and joining an online challenge group saved my life. I started the end of August and completed the challenge November 1st, losing 47.5 pounds during that 10 week program, while modifying my eating and giving up drinking completely. More importantly, I learned about this little thing called “coaching”, and I fell in love with it.
Shortly after I completed my challenge group, I attended my first online team call led by some chick named Brittany who I had never heard of in my life. I remember her talking about how she had retired from nursing thanks to her income from coaching and the freedom it had brought to her life. Something about that call lit a fire inside me that made me want the same thing. I heard Brittany talk about the same things that I was struggling with……working long hours, being away from family, feeling under appreciated…..I knew deep down I could make this work for me, too. After all, the one thing I knew was that I was incredibly passionate about coaching the products and opportunities through Beachbody. I had seen first hand how they could transform someone’s life because MY LIFE had been transformed, and I wanted to help as many people as possible feel the satisfaction and triumph like I had felt when I realized I had taken control of not only my health, but my life.
I knew going full time with Beachbody would not happen overnight. I knew it would take hard work, consistency, and patience. I knew that there would be ups and downs, but I knew that it would be worth it.
For almost two years I worked my higher ed job in misery, anxious every day to come home to work on my business and growth. My doctor had me take anxiety medication so I could handle my job and the ridiculous management there. After 8 or 9 hours at the daytime job, I would come home and get to cracking at my to do list. Some nights I wouldn’t have much time to dedicate to my business, other nights I would put in some long hours. I never complained. I never felt like I was doing “work”. I had fallen in love with this opportunity and wanted to spend more time doing it.
There were times when I sacrificed activities or events because I knew I needed to get work done for my challenge groups. There were days I did not want to workout but did it because I needed to hold myself accountable and be an example to my challengers. There were days people I “thought” were my friends badmouthed me and made fun of this “stupid Beachbody thing” on Facebook posts and in messages. There were days I got defriended. No one ever said being an entrepreneur would be easy, especially not when so many people have misconceptions about multi level marketing companies. I knew that eventually it would be worth it, and all of the hard work would pay off.
On September 18th, I packed the last of my cubicle up and officially said goodbye to higher education.
I had done it.
I had fired my boss and officially become my own one. That thought I had two years prior….the one that Brittany, now a dear friend and mentor, had gotten me to think about…..it had left the dream category and had become a reality.
Last Monday was Day 1 of my “New Normal.” Look at how different my daily routine is from that “Old Normal.”
Sleep In. Wake Up Rested and Refreshed. Make a healthy breakfast. Work for a few hours (depending on what else I have going on). Workout. Make breakfast for Kyle. Walk the dogs. Take some selfies. Clean. Spend time with Kyle. Work a few more hours. Chat with my team. Give away prizes. Brainstorm fun and creative groups and concepts.Go to bed when I want. Wake up and repeat.
With the wedding only a few days away, my days have had a lot more packed into them like running errands, making phone calls, and organizing events. It’s been so nice to not have to worry about whether or not I can get everything done on a lunch break. Yesterday I woke up with a nasty headache; I didn’t have to think twice about whether or not I should call off work…..I just slept a little later, woke up and felt better.
My driving force this entire time has been my family, not just Kyle, but my parents and immediate family, too. I didn’t want to have to structure my visits around one day on a weekend here and there. I wanted to be more present in their lives and be able to be there when they need me. With Kyle working a nontraditional schedule, I wanted to be home when he was home so we could have meals together and do the things we love. Life is so short….I wanted to spend my time with those I love while also doing something I love….and I wanted to truly live life.
I never in a million years thought this is where I would be at the age of 34. The possibilities that lay in front of me are endless. It is amazing how you see life when a passion and career come together. I still get to help people, just in a different capacity, only now I get to say whether or not I want to wear pants to work, if I want to wear makeup, and what time I want to work.
The greatest lesson I have learned through all of this: Life is too short to spend 40 hours of your week doing something that is harming you more than hurting you. Unhappy with where you are? Do some soul searching. Find something that will make you happy. Then come up with a plan to get you there. Be realistic: Most times this change is not something that can happen overnight. Actually, if something can transform your life overnight you might want to be a little skeptical about it. Good things take time, energy, and an investment in your self and belief in yourself. For me, it took almost two years. I kept my eye on the goal and was determined to make it happen. You can, too.
Maybe you want to do what I do. Maybe you want to own a pet rescue. Maybe you just want to write. MAKE IT HAPPEN! Trust the dots will connect. Follow your heart. Do Great Work. And never, ever give up on your dream.
Now go watch this and get some goosebumps…..