How to Make Scary Decisions

Alternatively titled: Take a Deep Breath, It’s All Going to be OKAY. I promise. Pinkie promise.

I did something scary this past weekend.

Scary, exciting, and bittersweet.

I quit my job as a Group Fitness Instructor.

Like, quit quit. Donezos. Bye bye. Arrivederci, mama!

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My national Group Fitness Certification was set to expire on July 31st, and instead of doing all the online quizzes necessary to re-certify, I just…

…didn’t.

Now, let me pop a little disclaimer in here:

I have nothing against the group fitness industry. I think group fitness people are awesome, fun, positive, and wonderful! And I have been SO thankful for my time at the YMCA and LifeTime Fitness!

Thankful, because I learned a few things about myself:

  1. I’m an introvert, with social anxiety.
  2. Introverts with social anxiety have a hard time standing in front of a room of people, especially as “me” instead of a character in a show (totally different ball game than theater!).
  3. I love the fitness industry – but that particular niche isn’t very rewarding for me! It leaves me feeling drained, and not in the good way – in the “Okay, I’m going to crawl in a hole and recover for the rest of the day” way.

And then, Jolie’s like:

MjAxMi1jNTg2MjI1YWI5YjNkOGVmIt’s just one of those things, where I thought about quitting for literally MONTHS. I ended up taking the avoidance route – dropping a class here and there, hoping that maybe nobody would notice if I disappeared from the schedule entirely.

But, guess what?

This coaching thing came along. And I thought, “Hey. That sounds like something an introvert with social anxiety could do!” (you know, because it’s computer-based).

And as it turns out… it IS something an introvert with social anxiety can do!

It’s something an introvert with social anxiety can do WELL!

My first week as a coach, I matched my group fitness income (roughly $65).

It grew from there, and last weekend while making this decision, I checked my bank account and realized:

I have more than TRIPLED my group fitness income with coaching.

All that driving around town, wrestling a screaming Jolie into her car seat, walking away from a bawling Jolie to teach my class, re-wrestling that same screaming Jolie BACK into her car seat to go home… THAT, 6+ times per week, and I TRIPLED that income by working an hour a day from my LAPTOP?!

Okay.

Hold the phone here.

WHY DIDN’T SOMEONE TELL ME ABOUT COACHING SOONER?!

So, long story short, the group fitness chapter of my life is over, and I’m okay with it.

I’m thankful for it, and I’m thankful that I have chosen to say “No” to a good thing, in order to have more time to say “Yes” to better things.

Because I truly believe there aren’t bad decisions and good decisions – there are decisions made with love and confidence, and decisions made with fear and regret – and it’s a CHOICE, PEOPLE.

I heard the best quote yesterday, while listening to a speech by my CEO, Carl Daikeler:

When racecar drivers are learning how to go around a tight bend, their trainers tell them one thing: Look at the ROAD, not the wall. If you look at the wall, you’ll hit the wall. If you look at the road, you’ll stick to it.

There are people in this world who live in fear and regret, and it’s not because they just suck at making decisions.

It’s not like decisions are forks in the road, and one leads to a grassy field of dancing flower children while the other leads to a dark forest of angry pitchfork babies.

People live in fear and regret because they are looking at the wall instead of the road! As they make a decision, they’re thinking “But what if I fail? But what if I end up missing this? But what if someday I regret this?”

And guess what? They do. Because that’s where their focus is.

So let it be known:

I feel confident in my decision. I KNOW that everything will be okay, because I will choose to see the positives and seek them out. I create my reality, and I know that now, I have more time for family dinners, creativity, movie nights, and relaxation.

Now, enough about me: let’s talk about YOU.

What decision are you struggling with? Are you stuck in a dead-end job, seeking MORE? Are you in a relationship that just doesn’t feel right? Are you on the fence about coaching, but scared to take the leap?

Here are 3 tips to help you make Hairy, Scary Decisions:

  1. Sit in a quiet, comfortable spot (but don’t fall asleep!). Imagine yourself having said “no” to whatever it is you’re thinking about. How do you feel? Are you relieved? Do you feel expanded, or contracted? Do you have a pit in your stomach? Now, imagine yourself saying “yes.” Same thing here – how the heck do you feel? Bold? Brave? Scared-but-in-a-good-way? Quick tip: Choose the one that makes you feel expanded, brave, scared-in-a-good-way. That’s always the right decision – not because the other decision is BAD (I don’t really believe in “good decisions vs. bad decisions”), but because this decision is outside your comfort zone – AND LIFE STARTS OUTSIDE YOUR COMFORT ZONE.
  2. Instead of thinking about what you’re saying “no” to, think about what that “no” would allow you to say “yes” to. So, let’s say you’re trying to decide about the relationship you’re in. It’s SCARY AS BUTTS to say “no,” and walk away into the unknown, alone. But think of all the “yes” this would open up to float into your life! The RIGHT person! They’re not going to find you if you’re stuck in a negative, soul-sucking relationship. I can guarantee you that! Say no to good, in order to say YES to BEST. Sit down. Make a list of all the things you could spend your time on, instead of doing that thing you don’t really want to be doing. Then, when you say “no” to that thing, ACTUALLY DO THOSE THINGS. (This is key!)
  3. Calm down. Remember: Decisions aren’t split into “good” and “bad.” Ultimately, whatever choice you make will be fine, as long as you move into it confidently, with a positive mindset. So, you want to stay at your current job even though it’s maybe not “100% ideal?”? Awesome! I’m proud of you! You rock! Or, you want to quit your job and find a new one? Awesome! I’m proud of you! You rock!

Now, remember: decision-making is all. about. your. mindset.

So whatever you decide – frame it this way:

“I’m going to do this thing, it’s going to be great, and I’m going to MAKE it work for me,”

instead of this way:

“Um, I thiiiiiiink I’m going to do this thing, and I’m super unsure about it, and I don’t know if it’s right for me, maybe I’ll just dip my toes in, ummm…”

I promise you, the universe will thank you for being bold, brave, and true to yourself.

Friendly reminder: This is your life. You only get one. Whatever you do – do it with kindness, love, and self-respect.

Love,

kelsieesther

*Disclaimer that I’m required to include: Beachbody doesn’t guarantee any level of success or income: it’s all about how hard you work! ❤

 

3 Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Week

Are you having a sh*tty week? It’s okay, me too. It’s normal. No, you’re not crazy. Yes, your boss is total bonkers. No, you shouldn’t quit and move to Zambia.

Guys, I’m not going to lie…

It’s been a rough week for me.

I’m one of those people who, when faced with something hard (i.e. my husband going to basic training and then officer training and being gone for FIVE MONTHS), I’m all: “Omg it’s totally going to be fine. It’s going to be GREAT! I’m going to focus on ME! Everything is going to be TOTALLY TOTALLY FINE I KNOW IT!”

Then, about two weeks later, I’m all: “Everything sucks. Why does everything suck? Oh yeah, because I minimized my feelings instead of actually FEELING THEM.”

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So this week, I’ve been hit by a freaking TIDAL WAVE TSUNAMI of emotions.
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Up until now, I’ve been “keeping busy” (i.e. doing a bunch of crazy stuff like reorganizing our storage closet, making random time-consuming crafts, and basically anything that doesn’t involve sitting still and listening to my own thoughts).

But, lemme tell ya.

That just doesn’t work.

My body is FED UP with it. My body’s all: “Hey girl. I’m gonna give you stomach cramps, acne, and headaches UNTIL YOU LEARN TO HANDLE YOUR SH*T LIKE AN ADULT.”

So, fine… fine. Here I am.

Today has been better, because I have done these three things.

3 Ways to Brighten Up a Dark Week

#1: Cry.

Just cry. Cry like a baby. Cry like Kim Kardashian realizing her diamond earrings fell off the yacht and into the ocean. Cry like Kanye would cry if Kanye were trapped in a room with no mirrors. CRY, PEOPLE. JUST LET IT OUT. I promise, you’ll feel much better.

Funny-Baby-Crying-Face-Image

#2: Journal.

Or blog… if that’s your style. Doesn’t matter if it’s personal or if you’re going to share it. Maybe you just want to tweet 1,000 really sad tweets and then delete them all. WHATEVER. The important thing is getting those negative thoughts out of your head and onto paper (or, you know, the internet). BUT WAIT THIS IS IMPORTANT: Finish off with a list of 5 things you’re grateful for. And yes, Earth, Wind, & Fire can count as three things even if you’re just talking about the band.

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#3: Do something for somebody else.

Get out of your own head, you selfish sack of beanbag beans! (Just kidding, but actually that’s a compliment because EVERYBODY LOVES BEANBAG CHAIRS). What I’m saying here is – it feels good to help others. Write somebody a letter. Take a selfie, print it out, write a sonnet on the back, and send it to somebody you barely know. Plant a tree. Adopt a kitten. Surprise your loved one with a latte or maybe jump out from behind a tree to show your affection? On second thought, don’t do that. Colson did that to me once and I almost accidentally-murdered him.

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Don’t do this either, for the record. 😉

NOW GET OUT THERE AND TURN A CRAPPY WEEK INTO A GOOD ONE, because frankly, life is too dang short to be mumbly and mehhhhhh.

🙂

Have a GREAT weekend, lovelies!

kelsieesther

A Fierce Flourishing

Are you in a period of transformation?

Are you feeling yourself reaching a summit, where you’ll have to decide how to adjust and move forward?

Don’t worry.

This morning, a speaker came to my MOPS (Mothers of PreSchoolers) group.

She was one of those gorgeous humans who seems to have the type of wisdom that only comes from – for lack of a better phrase – walking through hell.

She was tall, unassuming, and carried a bible decorated with bright strips of patterned tape.

I wasn’t sure what she was there to talk to us about. Usually we get a “sneak preview” of our meeting via Facebook, but I didn’t know what lesson today held.

I’ll be honest – I didn’t want to be there.

After a rushed morning, I was sitting there like a kid in Sunday school class, antsy, thinking, “Okay, lady. Go ahead and just give me the Spark Notes because I’m ready to go home and take a nap.”

She started speaking. She was clearly natural in front of a room of people, which I learned throughout her talk must be from years of teaching.

She began by bringing up our theme for the year: “A Fierce Flourishing,” (which I am obsessed with, by the way). She read it, and declared,

I am FLOURISHING. But I can only say that today because of the power of transition. Change, transformation, metamorphosis – whatever you want to call it – it’s incredibly difficult, but it’s necessary.

She continued by telling us the story of her adult life.

She told the story of her marriage, the birth of her four children, the journey her career has taken her on, the move from their home of 12 years to a new home, and finally, how depression, anxiety, and panic attacks have played into that massive transition.

She also told us about the many tragedies she’s gone through:

  • As a child, she experienced sexual abuse, which she began therapy for last year.
  • Her and her husband’s first house was destroyed two weeks after moving in, by a tornado.
  • She lost her second child after her water broke during her second trimester.
  • She and her husband have both dealt with the sudden loss of close family members.
  • Last year, she dealt with approximately 7 months of chronic, untreatable migraines, which led to depression, anxiety, and panic attacks.

She described last year (particularly those 7 months of therapy, migraines, and home-switching) as “a great valley.”

She wanted to escape. She wanted it to end. She wanted her old life back.

But, with a smile, she said:

I am so thankful for that valley, because I climbed my way up, and now I’m standing on top of a mountain. And I know that without that dark time, I wouldn’t be where I am today, standing on the other side, thankful for everything I have and everything I am.

This brave woman took steps, of course, to bring her to where she is today.

She visited with a doctor and began taking medication to bring her depression, anxiety, and panic attacks under control.

She began looking for beauty in small places – smelling the grass on a short walk, finding inspiration in a book, snuggling with her children.

She learned how to lean on her family, asking for help even when it feels selfish – allowing her husband to cook dinner even though it might mean “eating hot dogs instead of chicken cordon bleu” (her words, not mine! 😉 )

And finally, something that stuck with me – she learned how to step back. For a period of time, she said “no” to social engagements. She explained to her friends: “Hey, I’m just not in a great place right now – I need to pull back for a while,” and the ones that mattered, understood. She turned inward, and did what she described as “re-identifying.”

The thing is, we’re all going through changes and transitions – every minute of every day, things are always changing. That’s the nature of the world, isn’t it? It just keeps on turning and churning and doesn’t stop to give us time to figure things out.

It’s our job to “re-identify” every step of the way. Remain flexible, adjust, and keep moving forward.

We need to find our place in a constantly shifting reality.

Let me tell you something:

This idea struck a chord with me.

I’ve been struggling with something lately. I haven’t been able to put a name to it until today, and guess what? It’s this very same thing:

Re-Indentification.

In the past few months, I’ve put a huge emphasis on self-exploration and mindfulness, and I’ve come to a few conclusions about my current self that have really surprised me:

  • I’m not as extroverted as I thought I was,
  • I have a tendency toward anxiety and depression, and
  • I don’t enjoy teaching group fitness 100% of the time (probably because of #1).

This week, teaching 6 group fitness classes (and full-time mom-ing) has pushed me to a summit of exhaustion where I’m heavily feeling the need to re-identify and figure out: How am I feeling? What adjustments do I need to make? What will my day-to-day look like, going forward?

Right now, I’m re-identifying myself as an “army wife,” getting used to my husband being gone, even though I know it’s not forever. It’s for a season, and I want to make the most of it.

I’m re-identifying myself as a fitness instructor, asking myself the hard questions: do I teach because I enjoy teaching… or because I’ve been told my whole life how “outgoing” I am and how good I would be at it?

I’m re-identifying myself as a creator, recognizing that when I’m making something (be it a blog post, wall art, or baby mobile), I feel centered and calm, like I can speak to the world without actually having to say anything.

I don’t know yet where my transition will take me – odds are, I just need to step back a little and leave a bit more “wiggle room” in my day-to-day. I’m not too worried – things could be worse, and I’m thankful for these small struggles because I know they’re leading me closer to the person I’m made to be.

Transition is hard.

But it’s necessary.

Are you in a period of transformation?

Are you feeling yourself reaching a summit, where you’ll have to decide how to adjust and move forward?

Don’t worry.

Soon enough, you’ll be standing on top of your mountain, screaming, “I AM FLOURISHING!”

2015-08-27.MOPS 5x7 Design Gift

kelsieesther