Confessions of a Gym Owner

While the past two years have been a challenge for most of us, the pandemic provided a much-needed opportunity for people to slow down and take a deeper look at their lives.

The pandemic also led to an abundance of life coaches and coaching programs promising to help guide people through this challenging time and work through some big life changes.

When a friend mentioned an upcoming retreat a few weeks ago, I was on the fence as to whether I would benefit from something like this. After months of being bombarded on social media with advertisements for coaching programs and life coaches, I was really turned off to the idea of this type of thing.

I knew the people organizing the event, so I shifted my mindset and decided to embrace the experience and be present in the moment. The retreat I attended was designed to encourage and inspire participants to create a vision and find the courage to step into the work that brings joy and fulfillment.

A common theme that came up for our group is the feeling that we’ve dedicated so much of our lives to our careers and families that we’ve lost touch with ourselves along the way.

I spent some time in the corporate world. I had the big cushy job with all the perks and the benefits and the salary. While it seemed like the perfect job from the outside, that was one of the unhappiest times of my life.

I decided to quit my corporate job and took a part-time position coaching kids. I went back to school for my Masters. I started taking better care of myself. I started connecting more with friends. I started doing things that brought me joy. I stared feeling happier and more fulfilled. And it was scary as hell! It was terrifying to leap into the unknown!

I’ve always felt a pull towards coaching. My degree put me on a path towards coaching in a college setting. My dream was to coach strength and conditioning for college athletes. I knew how much my own performance improved with a high-quality strength program and I wanted to share that with others.

My plan didn’t pan out as I’d hoped, and my path shifted towards coaching CrossFit athletes. I wanted to help CrossFitters improve their performance in competitions.

In the past few years, my path has shifted yet again, and I’m now focused on helping people improve their health through fitness and nutrition.

While it’s thrilling to coach someone to lift a weight that they never thought they’d be able to or nail a new movement, I get so much more excited when a client tells me about their doctor’s check-up, when they tell me their blood pressure when down and they’re finally able to get off their meds, when they feel better than they did in their 20’s.

It’s so much more rewarding when my client tells me that they were finally able to keep up with their grandkids, or when they were able to hike the Appalachian Trail with a pack that weighs as much as the weight they’ve lost.

While the path hasn’t always been clear, the calling to help others improve their lives has always been there. Yes, I’ve felt lost at points along the way. Yes, I was led in many different directions. At times, I felt like an imposter, pretending to fit the role because that’s what I thought I needed to do.

This weekend helped reaffirm that I’m on the right path, that I’m in a space where I’m able to lead with authenticity and feel a genuine love for what I do.

It’s not easy to do the work and it won’t happen overnight. It’s scary to take the first step, not knowing if it will pan out or if you will fail. The answers won’t always be clear and sometimes you’ll get it wrong.

The more that I can check in with myself and really listen to what fulfills me, the more clarity I get on where I’m going, how to get there and who I can help along the way.

Are you just a passenger on your journey or are you leading the way?

-Coach Karen

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