Like most career-motivated women in corporate America, I am busy. Extremely busy. Too busy to cook dinner, too busy to devote daily quality time with my husband, too busy to exercise longer than 20 minutes, and too busy to reserve any time for ME. Read a book? Are you serious? When? When I graduated from college, I had one thing on my mind, which was to acquire a well-paying job with benefits in an office with great window views, and work my way into the corner spot. I have devoted a combined 65,000 hours in meetings, typing emails, answering phone calls, and taking notes, all of which to make a good impression. It wasn’t until 2 years ago that my mentality, and my goals for my life, changed.
In May of 2010, my husband was working more hours than he wasn’t, and we hardly saw each other. Dinners consisted of Bertolli pasta, frozen lasagna, carryout, and hot dogs. Soon enough, we started to give up our commitment to church and sleep in a few more hours on the weekend. We became more and more sedentary, and more attracted to easy meal choices. On Mother’s Day that year, we each hopped on the scale at my parents’ house where we discovered we weighed the most we had ever weighed. The feeling was more than discouraging. It was the truth. It hurt. It created a panic inside of me. I was becoming the person I never thought I would become.
Around that same time, a neighbor of mine introduced me to a local fitness celebrity. She was a TurboKick instructor here in my area and had a large following. Meeting her was like meeting someone on an entirely new level. She had it together. She was fit, always smiling, organized, never complaining, and you could tell, admired by her 3 kids and husband. I started to think, “What is it that she has that I don’t have?”
Being around her and her friends left me feeling happy, energized, positive. Clearly, all of these people had it together, but how? One day, I decided that if this many people could be happy and successful, I could, too. I actually wrote on a piece of corporate stationery: Why NOT me? and pinned it to my home office bulletin board.
I joined Team Beachbody that spring as an Independent Beachbody Coach, under this woman’s leadership. To be honest with you, I knew very little about the company, and in the beginning, I felt embarrassed to represent it with my newfound love for poor nutrition and lack of exercise. My husband and I committed to drinking Shakeology every day as a meal replacement (the shakes are all-natural superfood, vitamin-enriched protein shakes), and doing P90X for exercise. It was intended to be something to help us get back in shape and feel better. Looking back, making that decision is now easily one of the best decisions I have ever made.
After 90 days, I had lost the weight I needed to lose, along with 13% body fat. My husband had lost 28 pounds himself. We started scheduling time in our weekly planner for meal planning and grocery shopping, replacing white bread with whole grain, and chips/snack cakes with fresh fruit. Still working 40 hours per week, I knew I was too busy for anything more than just a side gig with Beachbody, so I committed to one hour per week to tune in to our team call. After a few weeks, this inner fire started to burn inside of me, and I just couldn’t stop talking about these things that had changed my life. My one hour per week turned in to 30 minutes per day. My drive to and from work now incorporated listening to personal development audio. My time spent chatting with neighbors in the driveway turned to deepening my relationships with these neighbors, and friends.
The moment my life changed for the better was in the fall of 2010. My mother was in town visiting, and we were doing what we do best: shopping. For the previous 26 years, we had shopped together, yet separately. I went to my “young, chic” stores, as she called them, and she went to department stores. We would meet up for coffee or a sandwich in between shops. But on this particular day, things changed. On this day, a Saturday in the middle of October, my mother and I had this conversation:
Mom: That’s a cute top.
Mom: Where did you get it?
Me: I think Banana Republic.
Mom: Do you think I could wear their stuff? You know, now that I’ve lost weight, I’m down several sizes. (smiles) I just threw away several old outfits that are just too big!
Me: Well, I think it’s time we find out.
That afternoon, we spent hours together, trying on clothes, laughing, and simply feeling good. My mother was down 47 pounds, and she was feeling good. In that moment, I remember thinking, “THIS has been worth my time and effort. THIS has truly made a difference.”
As you can guess, I started spending more time doing the things I wanted to do: deepening friendships, hiking with my dog, devoting time to my church, and sharing positive energy. I saw ample reward in my business, both emotionally and financially. I was unhappy in my day job, yet I still held on to my dream of becoming a corner office businesswoman. I started applying to other companies, and in an interview with a young media company, the woman interviewing me asked about the Beachbody ditty I had included in my resume. Apparently, I must have exuded crazy passion, because at the end of my answer, she responded with, “So why not do that for a living? What’s keeping you from pursuing your dream?” That was exactly what I needed to hear. My dream was no longer to fill the corner spot. My dream was to live a healthy, fulfilling life. To prepare for my family’s future. To simply be where I am.
Through personal development, I have become someone who is now honest with myself. I don’t make excuses. I’m never too busy. I surround myself with positive people. Through this, I have found much happiness. What I speak of is not rocket science. It’s not something that only certain people are lucky enough to experience. It is something that YOU have to make happen for yourself.
In the coming few years, I hope to have a family of my own. One that I can spend time with, and one for which I can lead a healthy example. Just last Monday, I gave my two weeks’ notice at my full-time job. Why? Because it’s time for me to live out my passion. It’s time for me to simply be me. I didn’t get to this position without effort, without changes in my schedule, and without disrupting my former status quo.
My challenge for you: get uncomfortable. Seek the truth in your life. Ask yourself, “Why NOT me?” As Ralph Waldo Emerson states, “The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be.” So go be that person. What a true blessing.
Jenny Swisher is an Independent Team Beachbody Coach. Check her out on social media: