My fellow entrepreneur, Alison Cardy invited me to participate in her “Career Grease Blog Tour” in celebration of her new book Career Grease: How to Get Unstuck and Pivot Your Career. Her book is available for free on Amazon for this week only. Click here to get your copy and read stories about how (and why) real people move through obstacles to successfully make career changes. This blog tour is a series that pulls back the curtain on what it really takes to move through a career change.
It’s hard to believe almost 15 years have passed since I moved from Toronto, Canada to Arlington, Virginia. It’s even more difficult to believe that BbG Fitness and The Total Wellness Challenge are where they are today…especially since I didn’t have any kind of plan when I started out!
Back in 2002, the one thing I knew was that I needed a second career, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. I’d gone through a personal crisis and made the important decision that it was time to leave my alcoholic, unemployed husband and move back to the states with my three children. Once I made up my mind it was go time…I negotiated the sale of our house and arranged for a moving company, two things I had absolutely no experience with! With the help of my best friend I found a rental in Arlington.
I’d been a full-time mom for 16 years so had no idea what I could do. I only knew my former career as a retail buyer was not an option because I still had 3 kids to raise on my own. I considered being a personal assistant or something similar. I diligently sent out my resume, which I discovered was mostly viewed online and apparently mostly ignored!
Personally I was happier than I’d been in a long time and was enjoying my newfound freedom. I’d always exercised and eaten well so that helped with my feeling of wellbeing, but I still had that nagging uncertainty about how I would earn a living. I tried not to panic.
As I continued to ponder my next move, my pal Karen Bate – college roommate, sorority sister and best friend — suggested I think about a career of fitness. “You’ve always loved to exercise” she reminded me, and told me she’d just read that we should do what we love and the job will follow. Right about that time, one of my brothers-in-law told me about a personal training seminar at Sport and Health Club in downtown DC. What the heck? I had absolutely nothing to lose so I signed up.
At the seminar, I met the owners of a local company called The Sergeants Program. (I was the one who kept raising her hand when the presenter asked for volunteers). They invited me to join their Instructor Training Program to see if I had what it took to be a “Sergeant.” I found out later that these guys were secretly laughing and very much doubted I’d make it through the grueling 10-week, 5 a.m. 5-day-a-week schedule. I got myself promoted to Sergeant (most of our group did not) and eventually led my own class every day at 5:30 am at Tuckahoe Elementary School. Thank you TSP for getting me started!
A few people learned I was a trainer and began asking if I’d train them privately. I always agreed (I was hungry!) but also suggested they invite a friend or two to join them. I’d discovered the dynamics of group fitness were much more fun than one-to-one training. I also discovered that forming a connection with my clients was almost as important as the actual exercise.
I started a small group with Karen and a few other ladies in our beloved Madison Manor neighborhood in 2003…and the rest is history. BbG grew from there, and today we offer more than 20 classes each week at eight different locations!
Recently I participated in an Arlington Women Entrepreneurs Accountability/Mastermind Group and achieved my goal of expanding my online 30-day Total Wellness Challenge to people outside the local BbG circle. I launched my first program with participants from all around the country in February 2016.
I feel truly blessed that I have found a career that I am enormously passionate about. My job every day is to help people get fit and to educate them about leading healthier, more balanced and fulfilling lives. This keeps me motivated and feeling appreciated: two things I believe are essential for personal happiness and wellbeing.
If you would like to hear other perspectives on career change, hop aboard the “Career Grease Blog Tour“. Be sure to read Alison Cardy’s post from yesterday and stay tuned for Caroline Greene’s post tomorrow!