Friday, October 11, 2013

And now what?

If you've ever had something, anything, that put a kink in your plans for the "what's next" in your life, then you may understand what has been going on with me.  As I've said in previous blog entries, I'd been really looking forward to competing this Fall.  Well, with a hysterectomy just six weeks behind me and the laryngoscopy with biopsy just two days behind me, it's obvious that there has been a change of plans.  I'd also been hoping to finally have my NASM CPT certification (I'm a certified personal trainer, but I really want this next one).  I was convinced that I would have all kinds of time and focus to study and prepare for the exam; however, with the body recovering and an active house of kids and school activities, I'm not so sure I will have that certification as quickly as I wanted to.  I also thought that, in just about three and a half weeks, I would be seeing my oldest son graduate from USMC boot camp.  Well, administrative headaches have put that off for him (which means he is experiencing what it is like to make big plans and have things out of your control make you take a big step back--waiting game).  With the many unexpected things in life, I'm learning what it really means to not give up.

As a personal trainer and life coach, I have had countless individuals hire me for various goals and then allow life's difficult challenges completely derail them.  Sure, many of my clients reach and even exceed their goals.  But I would be a liar if I did not mention that there are those who back away from their dreams for physique transformation, better health, better time management skills, improved communication in their relationships, or more consistency in their parenting.  I do not believe that this is because they do not have what it takes to overcome; as a matter of fact, I am convinced that everyone who has ever hired me has what it takes.  The tough thing is getting people to believe that they are worth it and that the challenges that are sure to be encountered are worth overcoming.

See, when it became apparent that taking a step back from my competition and professional goals was a necessity while taking care of my long-term health, there was a sense of urgency.  With so much going on at the time, I initially just ran on auto-pilot, not even thinking about what I was about to experience emotionally.  It really hit me the first time that I returned to work just a couple of weeks ago.  Deep inside, I really wanted to get that first workout in.  But just a light workload of training very few clients and being on my feet was just all that I could safely handle.  Then, starting the first few safe workouts meant lifting less and with less intensity.  With a very reduced appetite, my strength had been temporarily but significantly reduced.  To many, this may not seem like a big deal.  But to someone who is a natural bodybuilding figure competitor with big aspirations, this was a bit demoralizing. 

Admitting how discouraged I felt was something I really did not want to do.  Fear set in that perhaps I needed to put my dreams aside and just find a way to create new ones.  Do you know what fixed that?  Time to think!  Just two days ago, I had the laryngoscopy with biopsy to remove a cyst which left me very hoarse and at times with absolutely no voice whatsoever (especially in the evenings).  Not realizing how serious this could become permitted me to put it off until I faced the truth that I must deal with it.  The greatest benefit has probably been the many hours left to my thoughts and silent prayers.

I've got another couple of days (today and tomorrow) with no talking.  What most don't realize is that a great deal of my day is actually just talking to others about their workouts and then sitting in silence by myself planning workouts or planning what my kids or husband need me to do at home.  An exclusive focus on husband, kids, work, and errands that must be done made me start to forget the value of having my own aspirations.  Not being able to give all of me to them while recovering from the hysterectomy made me feel so guilty.  So, I spent weeks thinking of all the things I needed to do to make things better for everyone but me.  Now, sitting in silence while everyone is pretty much good to go, while I have very few clients (starting over again), and while being banned from talking has done wonders for me.

This is probably the most amount of time I've been able to think and pray in my life.  One thing I prayed is this, "Lord, please remove the desire to compete if you want me to focus on something else."  Immediately, the thought (perhaps from my Lord) came to me, "Why on Earth should you not want to compete?  You've been a source of motivation and inspiration every time you took on the journey to the stage?  Your kids love it, your husband loves it, your clients love it, and your friends love it when you come back with life insights.  Don't quit!  You have so much to offer and so much to gain!"  Then the thoughts filled with doubt, "Well, with weeks of not lifting, do you think you really could make up for the lost time?  What about that crappy diet?  You can hardly stomach food and you can't even swallow solid food."  But then the seeds of doubt are killed by more positive thoughts like this, "Quit that negativity.  It's really only been a short period of time and your metabolism is responding great to all it has been through.  In a few days, you'll be back in the saddle.  You are strong and there is no reason to think negatively."  I can feel the spiritual warfare of the mind and am loving that doubt and fear are being killed by believing in myself again.  My God is an awesome God and He will help me overcome my personal battle with doubt.

Admitting that I struggle with this can be tough.  There are some who may feel that I am being too "open" with this.  Well, if you are that person, you can know this. I will be honest!  With so many who trust me with their health, with personal goals, with the battle of believing in themselves, I want them to know that I struggle to and that I understand what it is like to battle the demons of discouragement, derailment, and self-doubt.  I want them to know that I know what it is like to sabotage myself because I did not believe in myself. 

And now I am putting it out there.  I will compete in 2014!  I will step on stage and smash my personal best!  There are big differences this time.  This time, I will have taken care of my health first.  This time, I will not wait until I'm near the end of a competition prep and feeling depleted to admit that it is tough from the very beginning.  I will do as one of my favorite bodybuilders, Ryan Doris, says, "Grind it Out."  When I want to quit, when I doubt that I have what it takes to overcome and win, when others tell me that I am just not cut out for this, I will get back to the grind and outwork.  I'm putting it all out there now. 

I know it'll be a feat finishing up my college degree, getting the NASM certification that I want, continuing to be the best mom/wife I know how to be, rebuilding my personal training business, and getting stage ready...  But it can be done!  It can be done without compromising my priorities! 

I believe that I have what it takes to compete in the Spring/Summer of 2014.  I must wait until November to really get into stage-prep readiness.  I will not allow myself to be discouraged by the "Well, my delts are too small," "My glutes are not tight enough," "My symmetry may not be on point."  NO!  I'm going to outwork every single day.  Whether it is in recovery or in work!  With Team Norton, my family, and the most awesome group of encouraging friends a woman could hope for, there's no reason that I cannot win!  Let's roll...

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