Today marks exactly two years since I made a seemingly small decision that has changed everything in my life. I decided to join an online challenge group to begin working on my health and fitness, and to learn how to start my own business as a coach at the same time. I had no idea if this would be for me, and was fairly certain it would not be, but I was desperate. I didn’t get to be picky anymore. You see, I was struggling without even realizing it. I was aware my family was struggling financially from poor decisions in the past coupled with our decision for me to stay home with our son, but I wasn’t really aware of the toll neglecting my own needs had been taking. Since I became a mom about 18 months prior, I had stopped doing nearly everything that made me ME, everything I loved, to care for this precious baby. Becoming a parent pretty much takes over your life and it’s the most amazing thing in the world, but it’s also the hardest thing in the world and it’s easy to lose ourselves in it. That’s exactly what I did. And I thought it was a good thing, I thought I was just being an amazing and selfless parent the way my mom had been. It took about two weeks after I started working out and eating better again for me to realize all that I had been missing and the way it was effecting my whole family without me knowing it. I suddenly had more energy every day for my tasks and to play with my son, I wasn’t as tired and cranky by the time my husband got home, I had confidence again, improved intimacy with my husband as I started to feel better in my own skin again, purpose (thanks to coaching), an excitement to simply be alive (because no matter how much you love being a stay-at-home-mom, the days can easily blur together), more patience with my son and I was able to give him the best of me every day now that I was filling my own cup again. It was crazy that I had all but forgotten how good I was capable of feeling every day, and how much I needed it.

More importantly, learning how to actually honor a commitment, to finish what I started without quitting like I always had in the past, was something that completely changed the trajectory of life. I believe God was nudging me to this so I would learn how to stop quitting every time something got hard, so I would learn what it looked liked to stop viewing every obstacle as a reason I wasn’t meant to be doing something and instead as an opportunity to become more faithful and resilient. He knew I would need to learn that to fulfill the work he had for me. He knew I would need that to stop surviving and to start thriving in my business and in my life.

Coaching others to make the same changes I had, and not just working on my own health and fitness, was something different altogether. Signing up to become a coach was something I was 100% unsure, something I assumed was a sales job and therefore not for me, something I didn’t think I would be very good at and something I was very skeptical of, mostly from a faith perspective. I thought the company would be full of fake people with bleach blond hair and fake boobs, people too busy glorifying themselves to glorify God. I chatted on the phone with my coach upon signing up and made it very clear that if those things turned out to be true, that I would be quitting. She seemed confident that I would be pleasantly surprised but I wasn’t so sure. I had been wrestling with the idea of coaching for 4 months before I signed up. I didn’t think it was for me but it stayed on my heart. I kept praying about it and I felt God nudging me to do it. I was super torn BUT I was so tired of being so indecisive about everything, so tired of being broke, so tired of being tired everyday, and so tired of playing small. A lot sounded good about coaching, a lot I wasn’t sure of, but I was tired of holding back out of fear. I needed to step out of my comfort zone more and I needed to start exercising my faith. I realized that I always said I had faith in God and faith in myself but I never actually exerted it. I needed to take the leap, and even if coaching wasn’t for me, at least I could say I tried. But old habits die hard so even though I felt called to step out on faith, if I’m being totally honest, what pushed me over the edge to do it was the 100% money back guarantee! I loved knowing that if I didn’t love the shake, if I didn’t like what I saw in the coach training, and if the whole challenge group thing wasn’t for me, that I could simply send it all back for a full refund and cross Beachbody off the list. Well, as you can tell, that’s not exactly what happened. But before I jump to that, it would help to know a little of the background story…

I’ve always been into fitness, even as a kid. I put on my bathing suit and tights with socks I cut to look like leg warmers and followed along to the at-home videos of Jane Fonda and Denise Austin. When I grew up, I wanted to do what they did, among many other things like becoming an author, a veterinarian, and a marine biologist. But that passion for fitness stuck with me. I designed fitness profiles for my parents to help them get into shape, I taped myself making my own at-home workouts, and when I went to college I wound up ordering books to get my certification as a group fitness instructor. I loved spinning and totally wanted to teach it! I could just see myself up there with the little mic, loud music, inspiring people to push harder. Well that never happened either, but I did find my way to a hot yoga studio, fell in love with the practice and all the ways it helped me grow as a person, and became a certified hot yoga instructor. I loved teaching others how to take better care of themselves, how to push themselves in the direction of greatness, how to change their thoughts and realize that the only limits that existed were the ones in their own minds. My class was heavy  on the inspiration and helped me realize that I still wanted to be an author, still wanted to inspire the world, still wanted to work in the fitness arena. I remember thinking that maybe I would become an entrepeneur and open up my own hot yoga studio. Or maybe I would become a Holy Yoga instructor and do that. I had no idea how close I was getting to finding my dream job.

But just as I was starting to figure it all out, my world came crashing down. I found out I was unexpectedly pregnant. I wasn’t married. I didn’t have a career and was simply teaching about 8 hot yoga classes a week. I had no health insurance. I was with a newer boyfriend I didn’t know I would ever marry. I was a mess, and so SO ashamed of myself and my decisions. I had no idea how everything would ever be okay again. After my son was born I was so happy and in love with being a mom but we were struggling financially. My husband worked around the clock, we had no one to watch the baby for me to work and couldn’t afford childcare, I really wanted to be home with him but needed something to help us get out of debt and save for our first house, and I just didn’t see how our current situation would ever change. I had always had it altogether, always did everything “right” (yep, little Miss Goody Two Shoes here) and liked to be in control. But suddenly I wasn’t anymore. I had botched everything up, made a bunch of bad choices, got off track in many ways since my mom died, and I just couldn’t see the way out. I couldn’t see how I would ever find the career I had always dreamed of, the sense of purpose I longed for apart from being a mom or how we would ever get to a better place financially. So I got on my knees, cried out to God for help, repented of my sin and surrendered my life to Jesus. I will never forget that day. The day I fell apart completely, the day I came to the end own strength, the day God had been waiting for so he could begin to take over and begin to work it all together according to his great purpose for my life, a purpose that far exceeded any expectation I had. So, on this two-year anniversary of one of the biggest decisions of my life, I would like to share what coaching has done for me and brought into my life:

God placed the dreams I have always had of writing, sharing my journey, inspiring others, and working in fitness in my heart, and I believe he led me to coaching for many reasons. And although my journey as a coach has been incredibly challenging in many ways, I can honestly say that there isn’t one area of my life that it hasn’t positively effected. Most importantly, it has deepened my relationship with my Savior. It has given me a training ground, a place to put everything I learn into practice, from humility to selflessness to grace. I have gone at this business the right way, the wrong way, and everything in between as I tried to attain success the world’s way and then more God’s way. I have attracted some of the right people, a bunch of the wrong people, at the beginning I slipped into coming off salesy when that was the last thing I wanted. I have pushed some people away because I was too bossy and controlling (something that has always been a weakness of mine), I have worked too hard at times struggling to force my own success instead of trusting God with it, I have missed many goals I set and attained others, I have often kept my time with God as the priority and other times I haven’t. I have lost so much peace comparing myself to others, stressing over the number of likes I got, felt defeated more times than I can count, and have often wanted to quit. But all of that has kept me at the feet of Jesus more than I have ever been, diving into his word and Christian books on related topics to hear from him and ask for his guidance. I have prayed for wisdom more than I ever have and have learned so much about his character, what he wants for me and all of us, how to pray over my goals and coaches and business more than anything else, and I am constantly feeling convicted of words or actions that didn’t line up with his teachings and then get to practice doing it differently. I have never before had so much of an opportunity to exercise loving others, extending grace, trusting God, practicing patience, accepting his timing and resting instead of always pushing more and more. I can honestly say that this business forces me to exercise my faith in him every single day, and just like muscles, exercising anything is the only way for it to grow stronger.

I have always bought self-help books by the dozen (just ask my sisters, it’s something they have always loved making fun of me for)! I have always been very reflective, always looking to improve on my weaknesses and live more fully alive. Whenever I have walked through tough life experiences, like my mom’s death and struggling with an eating disorder, I have always gotten myself into counseling and bought books to help me work through it all. One of my favorite things about Beachbody is that we are constantly encouraged to fill our minds with positive content and life-changing principles, not because there’s anything wrong with who we are but because we all have things we can improve on. And when we improve on those things, our lives become better. There’s a quote I love that says, “You will either step forward into growth or step back into safety.” There is so much truth in that statement. Life begins, as true faith begins, at the end of our comfort zones. Just as God had to bring me to the end of myself before I could begin to walk with him, we have to come to the end of our comfort zones before we can begin to truly live. Reading or listening to personal development is a vital behavior for us coaches, something that we practice daily. I have been able to take dead time I was previously using to simply clean, drive or shave to add my personal development to. As a result of doing that, I have learned so much about my worth, letting go of perfection, improving how I communicate with others, how to be a better leader, what grace is all about, how to become more productive, how to stop comparing myself to others, viewing everything that has happened in my life as happening FOR me instead of TO me, and so much else that has made me a better and stronger person than I was when I entered the business. For that alone, I am forever grateful.

To build a successful coaching business, it is imperative to constantly reach out to others and build relationships. I have gotten to know so many amazing people as a result of this, and have found everything from new photographers we have used to a small group God was putting together to doulas and midwives to new doctors and friends. I have been so blessed to get to know so many women in my challenge groups, women who I needed as much as they needed me. It’s not easy being cooped up in the house as a stay at home mom but as a result of reaching out to so many other moms and women on social media, I became part of several moms groups, a new small group, have found awesome family events and activities, and set up so many awesome playdates. I met one woman who gifted us a free $2,000 playset for our kids and even delivered it, another who dropped off tons of toys and clothes for my son Caleb, another who let us use her Panama City condo for free for a week vacation when we needed one the most but couldn’t afford it, and so many other similar stories of generosity. When I started coaching I was new to Georgia and didn’t know anyone. Coaching helped me form so many awesome friendships and I can honestly say that all of my current best friends are Beachbody coaches. I still can’t believe I almost didn’t sign up because I thought this business would be full of fake, salesy people, when in reality I have found it to be full of the most inspiring, uplifting and faithful women I have ever met. I love logging onto Facebook every morning and seeing SO much positivity, especially at a time when people are busy being so negative. I am constantly surrounded by coaches sharing awesome content, women who message me to tell me how awesome I am and how much they are encouraged by me, challengers crushing their goals and changing their lives before my very eyes every day, and I receive gifts and recognition from my coach, my company and my own coaches all the time. I have never met so many people eager to uplift others, share and do good in my life, except for at my church.

Although an obvious benefit of being a health and fitness coach is having improved health myself, I can’t downplay the importance of that. Our health is what makes everything else we do possible. If we don’t have that, it’s like we have nothing. Ask anyone who has had a diagnosis, stroke or serious health issue and they will tell you just that. I lost my mom to breast cancer when I was 17 and it was the hardest thing I had ever been though. Still is. My mom never exercised regularly, didn’t eat super healthy until after she was diagnosed and she didn’t really practice much self-care because she was so busy caring for everyone else. Once I became a mom, I saw firsthand how easy it is to let that happen. I knew I needed to do things differently so that I could fulfill God’s purposes for my life and be here for my family as long as possible. I’ve gotten into the best shape of my life with Beachbody programs all from the comfort of my own home while my son slept or played, started to eat healthier than I ever have, experienced more energy, improved mood and so many other things. But even more importantly, I have inspired my own family to get healthier with me. My husband has started to eat healthier and drink Shakeology regularly, my son loves to workout with me, I’ve had an incredibly healthy and fit pregnancy, and it’s priceless knowing that the health of my entire family has been improved because of this decision.

I feel like I’m one of those people who has been searching for my purpose since I was born. I had a strong conviction since I was a little kid that I was meant to do something big with my life, but I never knew what that thing was. And I spent a long, long time trying to figure it out by obsessively thinking about it, worrying about it, and buying books I thought would help me figure it out. Then, of course, I started praying about it. And although my answer didn’t come overnight, and I’m certain I haven’t come close to fulfilling God’s plans for me, when I stopped trying to hard to find it and took a leap of faith in the direction I felt God nudging me, I found more purpose than I have ever felt outside of being a mother. Every day I am blessed to receive Facebook comments, messages, e-mails and texts from people telling me how much the things I share mean to them, how much I have inspired them to get healthy again or start exercising and eating better, thanking me for helping them lose weight and feel so much happier every day again, and to actually start believing in themselves. It is the best feeling in the world. People are constantly encouraging me and thanking me for just being ME, and that is one amazing feeling. I feel such a sense of purpose helping others build their own businesses and improve their finances too. But the most purpose I have felt by far, has come from the people who have told me that that my posts have inspired them to give God a second chance (I mean, WOW!!!) and to start going to church again. To God be all the glory for that, and I am so humbled that he selected an imperfect, weak, fearful, overcommunicative person like me to work through to do his mighty work.  I feel like I was born to coach others to overcome their fears and start exercising not just their bodies but also their faith in God and themselves, but I might never have realized that if I didn’t take this leap.

Although I have always known I was meant to do something great, which might sound a little cocky, I have also never believed in myself. I question myself and pretty much everything all the time, I’m nearly incapable of making a decision because I constantly second guess myself, I need to know EVERYTHING and have always wanted to feel like I’m in control (something I still work on letting go of every day), I haven’t done most of the things I wanted to in my life out of fear that I wouldn’t be good enough and before joining my first challenge group and starting a coaching business I quit everything I started. Except school, thank God! 🙂 I have always struggled to trust myself, to believe in myself and to stop doubting myself. When I joined my first challenge group and started Insanity, I was petrified. I had no idea if I could do it, but I was determined to try. And somewhere along the way, I developed self-discipline. I started to believe in myself again. I felt stronger every day and I became unwilling to let anything stand in my way. A seemingly small thing like a 60 day workout program was enough to teach me, to train me, how to start changing my thoughts, which changed everything else in my life. God used that first program, and many more, to teach me self-discipline, to remind me how important it is to take care of the body he gifted to me, to realize that obstacles aren’t proof he doesn’t have this for me anymore than they are a reason to quit anything since we will always have trouble in this world,  and to teach me how to believe in myself again HE is within me and because if I truly believe that, then I have NOTHING to doubt. Through him, I can do all things.

Financially, it has already done eons more than I ever expected when I signed up. My goal was to make $400 a month. I was so excited to be able to have a little money of my own again to spend guilt-free and to finally start saving with. In a little over three months I already hit that goal and I remember thinking, “Wow, if this happened that fast, what could actually be possible!?” By about 9 months, I was a Diamond coach already, within the top 2% of the company, and making about $1,000 a month. We became a debt-free family at that time, which we had already been working toward but my business helped us get there that much faster. Then in a little over a year since my sign-up, we bought our first house. Yes, we had to take out a mortgage, but at least we were able to afford it! God was teaching me to let go of my tight grip on our finances and to trust him. This house was just out of reach for us but we felt him calling us to it for reason we did not yet know, and my coaching business is what bridged the gap for us financially. Without it, we wouldn’t be here today.  About one month ago we registered for a FREE trip to the Mexican Riviera for next spring, which will be the honeymoon we never got because we couldn’t afford it. I cannot tell you how hard I have worked for this or how much it means to us. We haven’t had a break alone together since our first son was born, with the exception of one two-night stay here in Atlanta. Then last month, less than two years from taking the leap, my husband was able to leave his full-time job as a restaurant manager to take another job in the industry that would pay him less but allow him to be home with our family on nights and weekends, something we have never had. I did nearly everything alone and with the recent birth of our second baby, we were very worried about how I would juggle it all without my husband around. God’s timing was perfect, as usual, and my hubby worked his last week at the restaurant the week after sweet Joshua was born. Our whole family has been so much happier already but it almost didn’t happen. Without my coaching business, we couldn’t have afforded for my husband to make this change. In between all that, there were so many little milestones that were huge for me, from being able to buy a cup of coffee with my own money for the first time in years, to being able to purchase little gifts for my husband and son with my OWN money instead of his at birthdays and holidays, to buying my own laptop for work and getting my husband a brand new Cub Cadet lawnmower. He looked like a kid in a candy shop that day. I’ll never forget it, just like I’ll never forget the day my husband came home from the restaurant for the very last time.

It’s crazy for me to think of the gravity that seemingly small decision to try coaching has had for myself, my husband, my boys, my coaches, and so many women and men that I have been able to help, touch, or inspire along the way. As I sat here pondering all the things coaching has brought to my life, I can see so clearly how God has used this one vehicle to answer SO many of my prayers. And it’s crazy that everything that almost stopped me from trying this wound up to be further from the truth than I could’ve ever thought. Instead of fake, self-centered people, I have discovered so many amazing women and formed countless wonderful friendships. Instead of a business centered on glorifying the body, I have found more people glorifying God with their businesses than I ever expected and a company centered on truly helping people, not just selling them something. Instead of something that might take me further from my faith, I have found a deeper, more personal connection with God than I have ever had and a business that reminds me many times DAILY how much I need him and his help. But what if I would’ve said no? What if I would’ve continued to live in fear and listen to the voice of fear over faith? So on this two-year anniversary of a small decision I almost said no to, I hope all the time I spent writing this encourages just ONE person to go for whatever it is they have been pondering going for, because you just never know what hangs in the balance. Of course I wouldn’t just jump without doing any research, reaching out to those who have already done what you are about to do, talking over it with your family, and praying over it like crazy, but if after a little time and all that you still feel it on your heart, then trust that voice and take the leap. Because yes, you might fall, but you very well might just fly! <3

Oh and if, by chance, you’ve been following my coaching journey and thinking this might be for you too, if you’re wanting some more information or to set up a time to chat with me about whether or not you might be a good fit for Team FitWithFaith, please click below, fill out the short questionnaire, and I’ll get back to you soon! Xo.

 

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