This article isn't about how I became a personal trainer. It is about change. We are all faced with moments of realization. We can choose to act or we can continue blotting out our intolerable situation.
I quit my job because I did not like it.
Every day I drove home thinking “This is it. I can't do this anymore”.
Every morning I’d think “It’s not that bad. Just be positive...show up on time and smile.” Fear and sloth propelled self-delusion. Doing something different took energy, work, and thought. Investments I was unwilling to make.
By 10 AM I was falling asleep at my desk. It was not lack of sleep; it was sheer boredom. I hated what my life had become.
I did not hate everything about my job. I was a marketer for a company that sold IT to the government. Government contracting lent me a host of acquaintances and an inherent understanding of current affairs; useful in casual conversation. Working in IT exposed me to up-to-date technologies and free equipment from time to time. I found moments of the work interesting enough, marketing was creative and had to do with people. I felt I was compensated fairly and had steadily trajected upward those 8 years. However, the better I got at my job the more dissatisfaction I felt in the outcome. Every time I used a sport idiom, uttered well known acronyms, every time I nailed a presentation- it felt empty and meaningless.
I was familiar with that feeling.
Four years prior I lived every day thinking tomorrow would be different. I waited for a sign; a catalyst that never came. Every morning I awoke with renewed hope that that day would be different and every night I went to sleep knowing it would not. On and on and on and on and on….
Until I stopped drinking. Alcohol had been a huge part of my life. In fact, everything revolved around it. All my energy went to balancing the scale from shit show to shit show. I was in a constant state of makeup. Make up for embarrassing escapades, absent events, burned relationships. I did not know who I would be if that was taken away. What would be left? I did not think I could stop drinking, not possible. With some help, I did. I’m here to report I did not evaporate. That hope sprouted an open mindedness to what else was possible.
I started to look at other areas of my life. I put a hard stop on the wedding plans and the 6 year toxic relationship I had fostered. I had lots of reasons to keep up the jig. We had a vacation planned, I had a dress, we had the paperwork for the venue and vendors all ready to go. And that ring....
I changed my whole life. For the first time I felt safe alone with myself. I was free. It was a cascade.
What happened to those dreams of the Peace Corps? That steadfast resolve to never have a desk job? The determination not to end up like my parents? Worked to death, stressed, on the edge, giving everything to a organization to be harassed, abused, or laid off?
Naturally, I went to India. Two weeks with Habitat for Humanity. Surely service to others was the answer! Nope. I came back to the same. Habitat was a whim. I signed up and was off three months later, It was an interesting experience but I did not have any inclination why I was there. I had no purpose. It was a shallow pool.
I asked for a raise. I got it. I changed jobs. More money. I moved. I moved again. I started, ended, picked back up a relationship. No change.
All the while, I found solace in the gym. I found something I liked. The seed for personal training started about two years ago. I was a gym rat. People started asking me if I was a trainer. “Who me?” Maybe they just wanted the new hire commission… but I was intrigued.
I wanted to up and quit immediately. I consulted with loved ones, friends, working personal trainers. I interviewed at two commercial gyms. At every interval in the interview process I thought “This is it. They know I am a fraud and they are going to tell me no.” Each step was a yes. Terrified, I declined both of them. I was not sure personal training was for me but I knew I had a passion and that what I was currently doing was not working.
I prepared. I made a start. I pared down my finances, I went back to school, I saved as much money as I could. I also applied to countless jobs, tried to join the marines, and looked into overseas service. Every time I went down another rabbit hole or a change in directions it was recommended I sit on my hands. To wait. Begrudgingly, I did.
One year later, I had set up my life so that a drastic change and risk was...less risky. I researched, consulted, and planned. I journalled, I prayed, I tested the waters. I never felt truly ready. What about my 401(k)? My health insurance? This was not a good time. If not now then when? One thousand voices of self doubt rang in my head.
I had to piss or get off the pot. So I did. I quit. It was, indeed, really scary. Then it just was.
If I make you nervous, you might need to jump. But not all at once. Most of the things I am the most grateful for I did slowly. Even the end of that relationship started with a ‘break’ that lasted 3 months. The best advice I got was to start. Just do it. Put things in your life, make the decision to go in that direction and stay focused. Then just see what happens. Doors will open if you support the channel.
Everything in my life is a vote. A vote for what I want more of or less of. There is no good time. No perfect day to start. Things take time and more will be revealed but there is always a way to begin. You don't have to change everything all at once but you can pick a direction for your sails.
Sometimes I am still scared. But I don't regret it. Not one iota. Everyday I feel truly grateful for the opportunity. I was talking to someone over lunch and they were speaking of their aspirations. They asked me what I wanted to do. It was really nice to say ‘this is it’.