Getting back to the basics  

This year has been challenging for me in several ways: huge career changes, personal relationship rollercoaster and a massive stall in my fitness progression.

Although navigating the first two has been challenging, it’s the fitness component of my life that normally helps me manage and be successful in all areas of my life – and I’ve been pretty silent about it as of late. Back at the beginning of February I took these photos showing the progression I was making over the past few months while working with a trainer and nailing my eating plan:

insta photo progress

February 2015

Just days after I took those shots, I injured my back quite badly. I went from working out daily and feeling incredibly strong.. to constant excruciating lower back pain.

After visits to several doctors and medical professionals, I had X-Rays and an MRI done to find out exactly what was going on. The MRI scan showed I had damaged both disks between L4 & L5 to the point that disk material was protruding.

If you don’t know much about this type of injury, there is no ‘healing’ from it per se. The disk material is rubbing up against the nerves running up and down my spine, causing shooting pain down my leg and lower back. The pain comes and goes in waves. Sometimes, if I move enough in the morning and throughout the day and don’t stack my spine the pain is bearable.. If I don’t move much and I’m under a lot of stress, it’s beyond manageable.

This part of your body isn’t able to regenerate, thus leaving you with either rehab or surgery. Surgery isn’t an option for me because the injury is not that bad and frankly I’m too young to have my entire back compromised by opening it up to make repairs to the disks.

Up until now, I’ve been taking it easy by waking or doing light cardio and a lot of upper back, shoulders and arms – nothing heavy loaded unless I’m seated and there’s no pressure on my lower back.

What now?

As a trainer at Element Athletic, I’m fortunate to be able to still instruct and lead sessions (thank god, otherwise this injury would be even more difficult for me to manage). Being in the gym and watching other people progress gives me joy and boosts my mood. I’m so proud of the progress the members are making and grateful to bare witness to it everyday.

With this new change, I need my fitness levels back up now, more than ever. So as I struggled to determine how I was possibly going to afford to do rehab, Element Athletic’s newest trainer, Steve Ballard: the Booty Engineer, came to me offering to help repair me through training instead of physio. It couldn’t have been at a better time – talk about manifesting!

Steve is a certified power lifting coach who, before I was injured, was really looking forward to working with. Now, months later (and me still being injured), Steve has offered to take me on.

The training

Thus far, we’ve had two sessions and I haven’t been this pain-free in months. I’ll explain more about what we’re doing along the way, but essentially we are working on re-training my movement patterns in order to re-teach my body to fire with my abs, core and glutes before my back.

More to come!

 

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Why I quit my job to jump into the unknown

Three weeks ago I quit my job.

I left my full-time, well-respected, comfortable, coveted, Vancouver PR agency account manager position without a new job lined up.

If you’re reading this right now and are thinking:

“WHAT, WHY?! She’s crazy, I’d kill for that job.” – please see response A

If you are thinking:

“Hell yeah! Good for you!” – please see response B

Response A

You’re right, I am a bit crazy. I’m also a bit irrational (as in, I don’t put up with irrational crap just to make others happy), sometimes overly optimistic (I’d rather look forward to the future than have the energy sucked out of me dwelling on the past) – and always passionate about what I’m doing (passion creates energy, which then inspires others to take action).

Response B

Thank you! As confusing and scary this new adventure is, I’m staying true to my values and even though I don’t have it all figured out, trusting that the universe will provide what I’m looking for along the way.

The real reason I quit my job

Every morning when I wake up, I think about what my day has in store. I go through my mental to-do list, think about how much time I have before I actually have to be somewhere, and determine whether or not I can fit in a workout. Generally, I have things to look forward and people to be accountable to, so getting out of bed is effortless – almost exciting even.

Recently, I woke up one morning and realized I couldn’t remember the last time I felt excited to get out of bed. After laying there for a few minutes, I realized I actually couldn’t recall what that felt like anymore. I knew at that moment, I needed a change and I knew it had to start with my work*.

*One important thing about me is that I’m a pretty passionate person. When I get excited about something, I’m told I radiate energy. I love that feeling. When I’m in something, I’m 100% in – I didn’t feel like that about my work anymore, which meant it was time to get out.

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The next day I walked into my boss’ office and gave my two weeks notice.

I immediately felt relief. Relief that I no longer had to deal with the internal struggle that was my loyalty to my job and the fact that it was holding me back from reaching my fullest potential.

Now what?

I have big dreams. I’m not sure what exactly I’m capable of, but I know that every time I’ve applied myself and put all my energy in one direction, I’ve never failed to thrive and prosper. I’ve registered my business as a PR and Comms consultant (yes, I’m open for work!), have a short term plan (to get as much experience and work with as many incredibly talented people as possible) and a long term plan (TBA, can’t give away all the good stuff in one post!) – and most importantly, to feel inspired and excited about getting out of bed again.

I’d be lying if I didn’t admit that last week I felt anxious, nauseous, alone and scared… but this week I’ve put those useless emotions behind me and focused on my support system and the opportunities in front of me.

I don’t know everything about this next chapter, but here’s what I know for sure:

1. I’m going to trust my gut. It sounds really cheesy, unjustified and unprovable (yes, that is a word) but your body tells you more than you might realize. Think about that feeling when you see a $20 bill that an elderly lady just dropped at the cash register and you watch a middle-aged man pick it up and put it in his pocket. You are conflicted because you know you should rat on the man, but he’s an adult. He knows right from wrong. What will he say, what will he do? Most importantly: What does your stomach feel like? Whenever I feel THAT feeling, I know whatever situation I’m in, it’s wrong and I need to get out or change it. This is a tried and tested philosophy that never fails.

2. I’m not going to under-value myself. This is one of the hardest obstacles any entrepreneur has to face. When you’re starting out on your own it’s a natural tendency to think ‘once I get enough experience and do a good job, clients will see how valuable I am and pay me more’… that’s like saying you’ll tip your pizza deliverer more every time they do a good job in delivering your pizza. You won’t. People want to save money. They won’t give you more unless you set your value and ask for it.

3. I will not stop learning. I’ve realized a lot about myself thus far in my career, and if there’s one thing I know for sure – I thrive in the unknown. It’s definitely a strength of mine which I’ve learned to leverage in both personal and professional ways. The day you stop learning is the day you die. I’ve got a lot more days to live which means bring on the new experiences!

4. I will not stop caring (aka I give a shit). Some call it perfectionism, I call it integrity. When I’m in something, I’m 100% in it. I see no point in pretending or pressuring yourself to do something or be someone you aren’t. That conflicting feeling is what generates self-doubt, insecurity and the feeling of being ‘stuck’ which I’m sure everyone can relate to. I care too much about things in general to become numb to my surroundings.

5. I’m going to be open to any and all opportunities. In my experience, the best experiences, the most growing and the biggest learnings have come when I’ve opened up my life to possibility. If you’re ever unsure or indecisive about the opportunity at hand, refer to #1 on this list.

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. . . . In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness.” – Henry D. Thoreau

Call to action:

1. If any of this sounds familiar, I suggest you check out the podcast Where There’s Smoke.

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I’ve listened to many podcasts and read many books, and the topics and stories pulled together by host Brett Gajda are BANG ON. From success, courage, visualization, accountability, happiness and so many more – it helped me so much to hear these ideas and realize I am capable of achieving anything I dream of – and I’m no different than any of you.

2. If you’re reading this right now and can relate to anything I said above, please feel free to reach out to me. Tweet, email, comment, send positive vibes – however you feel comfortable, I’d love to hear from you and chat about what you’re passionate about and what you’re going to do about it.

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