“True strength is found in vulnerability” – Marina Khonina of Team Totem, Precision Nutrition January Class of 2015
On my last conference call with my coach from Precision Nutrition, I was asked what my “theme” was going to be for 2016. The New Year brings about a ton of slogans, some of which I am sure you all are familiar with. “New Year, New You” comes to mind, or “New Year, New Beginnings” seems to be just as popular as well. I got to thinking about what my own personal theme would be for 2016 on my call, and the more and more I think about what my answer was to my coach, the more and more it resonates with me. I’m hoping that you may resonate with this sentiment as well. But first, some personal perspective.
2014 will go down as one of the toughest years of my life. I moved to a new neighborhood dead broke from being laid off from my previous job, nervous beyond all belief about how I was going to pay the bills. My only hope in making ends meet came from a major kick in the butt from a friend of mine. I can remember our conversation at Harris Grill like it was yesterday. “What the hell are you so worried about? You just got your kettlebell certifications! You’ve waited so long to start training people and to start living your dream. Just do it and don’t think twice about it! You can figure out the details later. I believe in you!” At first I thought my friend was crazy until I gave the idea a second thought. “My God!” I thought, “She’s right! I have to trust my gut! At least I have a tiny bit of support here.”
That tiny little bit of support from a very trusted friend would lead me to growing a fitness business from scratch. There was zero funding, 100% hustling, and within a year and a half we had a solid client base at Primal Fitness Pittsburgh. I was able to travel to more certifications than I could have imaged to attend, met some of the nations top fitness professionals in my niche (some of whom I now have the privilege and honor of having as trusted friends), and I even landed my first book deal with a publishing company here in Pittsburgh. I know this all sounds incredible and amazing, but none of these opportunities came to me with ease. There were a lot of extremely hard decisions that were made that would test my patience (and sometimes my sanity) in order to make all these things a reality.
“What expenses do I pay down now to grow business evenly in 6 months?”
“How many staff members do I need right now”
or the harder ones. . .
“Do I sacrifice my sleep for now in order to have a more sustainable life later?”
“Do I pay rent or buy food this week?”
I could have let the fear of failure stop me back then, but the words of my friend kept me at peace and kept me moving forward. “Just do it and don’t think twice about it! I believe in you!”
2015 was the year and a half mark of our business here on the North Shore. While things were up to speed on the business end after all the hard work, every last little thing that could have possibly gone wrong in my own personal life was going wrong. Shit was hitting the fan in ways I couldn’t even imagine. It was like I was in a boxing ring getting punch after punch after punch, still fighting but delirious, wondering if my total knock out was coming. . .or worse, was the knock out inevitable? I seemed to have adapted to my work stress quite well. I knew that there was an inherent risk of being a self-sufficient entrepreneur, and I understood that risk. What I didn’t understand how to handle were risks and threats to my personal life. For me, that was a whole new emotional roller coaster to ride, and I got on that ride kicking and screaming for dear life.
Then came the months of October -November of 2015. Worst. . . Months. . . EVER!
I wish that was an exaggeration. I can assure you that it is not.
Life was hard. . .too hard during this time.
I have never sank so low in my life.
But I decided to do something. . . the same thing, actually. . .that I did way back in the day when I was overwhelmed with the idea of starting my own business when I was dead broke.
I reached out for help when I knew I desperately needed it.
There something to be said about being overwhelmed beyond reason, and at the risk of sounding less than self-sufficient (dare I even say “weak”) , allow me to admit that there comes a time when things are so overwhelming that you cannot (nor should you) continue walking on your path alone. I have said this before, but it’s worth saying again. This idea of “you can do anything if you have enough self will and will power” is utter bullshit. To be frank, there are times when your own strength just isn’t enough to pull yourself up from the ground. Life is pretty damn hard folks, and it will strike you with more and more challenges when you least expect it. It’s during those times of difficulties, times of hardships, and times when traumatic events occur that reaching out for a support network is crucial, if not VITAL to your very livelihood and success.
For me, I had to hire coaches to pave a path for my personal development. I had to call my friends regularly for uplifting conversations and words of encouragement. I had to hand off my workout logs to my training partners to hold me accountable to stay on my game. I had to wake up at 7 am for a prompt 9 am start time for sprints on Sunday mornings with my accountability guru (I did this sometimes against my own will, but I dare not upset my training partner. She is tough!). I had to get a planner, I had to set alarms, and I had to surround myself with people every . . .single. . . day who could pull me up when I no longer could do the same for myself. It’s been a very tough trail with rough terrain, but I am finally seeing the changes I wanted to see in my personal life. I’m becoming that ultra fit person, that resilient person. Unstoppable because of the army behind me.
I found my tribe.
When my coach asked me what my “theme” was for 2016, I gave her a description of an “authentic tribe”. The very word “authentic” means genuine, real, supported by unquestionable evidence. “Tribe”means people united by ancestry, traditions, or even a group of similarly authentic, like-minded people. I know I’m supported by the evidence of my past having overcome some truly hard circumstances, but what I find truly genuine about those experiences are the people I met along the way that held similar beliefs, values, and goals that could keep me moving when I wanted to do was stop all together.
A friend of mine said something recently that really struck a chord with me. “True strength is found in vulnerability.” My God, there is so much truth to that sentiment! It can be a scary thing to be open, raw, and vulnerable. I wonder sometimes if there is a misguided notion of “toughness” looming about our culture. If by being “tough” we are to stuff our own emotions down our throats in an effort to prove our strength, well. . .are we really as strong as we think? Why is it that we feel as though we must prove to others that we are strong by how well (or how well we think) we hide what’s bugging us? What’s truly “tough” is to share your hardships, to speak up about the challenges you’re facing, and to ask for help when you need it. By doing so, we are kicking fear in the face! Though we may fear being viewed as weaker individuals for expressing our vulnerabilities, what’s great is that we will find more support, more strength, when we have more pillars holding us up when we feel our weakest. When you have a tribe of people cheering you on, believing in you when your personal challenges seem too impossible to overcome, you find the strength within you to overcome the obstacles no matter what.
What is your theme for 2016?
What goals do you want to accomplish?
What dream do you want to make a reality for yourself?
Most importantly. . .
Who will you surround yourself with to make your dreams a reality?
Do it! I believe in you !
Here’s to a powerful new year!
Master your instincts!
Janelle Pica is a certified RKC II and SFG I kettlebell instructor and Ground Force Method Instructor. She focuses her attention on hybrid programs that involve demanding strength training meshed with fluid, functional movements. Janelle has studied under some of the top level fitness instructors in her industry and has competed in competitions such as the Iron Maiden Challenge. Janelle has been featured on major websites such as eattoperform.com, Robbwolf.com and balancedbites.com.