It took longer than the typical college student, but, I was working three jobs and paying all my own bills. I finished that degree and I made sure the person who unintentionally issued the challenge was well aware that I not only completed my degree, I was also accepted into a PhD program. I didn't finish the PhD, I walked away from the program with a Master's degree (in Molecular Biology and Cell Pathogenesis) and that was big turning point in how I viewed myself.
I considered myself a failure for not completing the doctorate. I felt that way even though I knew getting a PhD was not the correct career path for my life. I felt as though I had backed down from the challenge. Fast forward thirteen years. I was stepping into my AIM2 and I had my eyes focused on going to the next level of being a Les Mills Instructor. I had laser point focus on my goal.
But I didn't reach that goal. I didn't get anywhere close to the goal. I was told to go back and keep working. Keep learning and, when I was ready, try again. That was a huge obstacle and I felt like a huge failure. It felt like a big, huge, ugly, failing of me and my abilities.
But, it wasn't. It was a gift. It was a chance for me to go toe-to-toe with my heart and my dreams and see if it all was worth fighting for. And, it has been the best fight ever.
It has been almost a year since that weekend where I cried, I laughed and I made some true, life-long friends. It has taken a year to really begin to process all that happened and was presented - and I'm still working on all of it. It's a life-long journey, so I don't expect to ever really finish. There is a word that is used often in the training, and the word is: shift. I didn't get what it meant over that weekend. I mean, I did in the literal sense, but I didn't GET it. I didn't get it over the next six months, either. In retrospect, I was working on understanding it, but it hadn't really sunk in. When I had a Groundworks training with Meghan we had the chance to talk. I started to realize my approach to being an Instructor had changed. The shift was beginning. I still had a ways to go, though. Meghan did a huge part in helping me feel more confident, and that was a boost I really needed.
What has created the biggest change? BodyCombat training - this process has completely changed how I view almost everything. It was the final piece of the puzzle that has helped me see the beauty of the forest by looking at every single tree and leaf and vein on the leaf. This is a journey (thank you Monika!) and one to be enjoyed. The obstacles are what give me a chance to pause and reassess and reconsider what it is I truly want. I was able to accept that this process of improving and changing and sharing is never-ending. When Jake (my trainer) and Mandy (another amazing BodyCombat instructor) shared with me a different times that BodyCombat takes years to be comfortable, authentic and technically solid - I had to decide if that is really something I could commit to. And I did, I decided I wanted to be part of this never ending process of improving and getting more authentic and achieving better technique and then better coaching. Receiving the news that I had passed my video assessment and was an official Combat instructor was one of the most rewarding moments of my life. But, and this is truly significant, for the first time I don't see the certification as an end point.
It is a starting point.