“I’ve realised that who I am, how I operate and how I present myself can give other people a lot of hope.”
My journey has had so many steps. I’m sure many people can relate to how everything builds on what you’ve accomplished already.
I started out in a small town in West Virginia as an athlete from a young age. I went to college on a scholarship for track and field. I graduated and had a lot of trouble finding a job, so I went back to school to pursue a nursing degree where I would have safety and job security. Then in between my first and second year, I got laid off from a job that I was working so I could afford nursing school.
So I was looking for a way to make ends meet, and my boyfriend at the time had moved down to Charlotte, North Carolina, and he mentioned that a gym owner that he talked to was looking for female personal trainers. I wasn’t a certified trainer at the time, but I thought I could give this a go, I could study, get the qualification and use my athletic background to help people for what I thought would just be the summer.
So I moved down about four hours south. And as you could probably guess, I never went back to nursing school, I just fell in love with fitness and the process of helping someone in the same way that I had been helped my whole life as an athlete. Now I can see how powerful it is, as a coach or trainer, to help someone change their life in that way.
We faced a whole bunch of adversity, I lost my younger brother, and then we had an unfortunate event where we were victims of an armed robbery, and I was actually shot. And in those moments, when someone passes away close to you, you want to make sure that what they meant to you and their life’s legacy doesn’t just stop. You reflect on your own life and ask, ‘Am I making a big enough impact?’ That’s when I realised I’m not, I wasn’t really making something that I would be proud to leave as a legacy. I was busy, but not necessarily super ambitious. I was maxed out on time – as a personal trainer, you only have so many hours in the day that you can utilise for other people.
“As terrible as those things were, they made me appreciate who I actually am and my full potential self.”
So that’s when we took it to the digital platform and tried YouTube and honestly tried a bunch of digital programmes for a while that didn’t do well. We just kept learning and kept trying to see what worked and what people wanted. Eventually we ended up with the daily workout video on YouTube, which was something that people could follow and expect and trust day by day.
That’s how we got to where we are now. That’s expanded into a membership community, a clothing line, having employees now which is a whole new world. But I think it all came from being an athlete and trying to figure out how to contribute and make a legacy, then facing a lot of adversity, which challenged me to dig a little bit deeper into what I really wanted to do as far as leaving an impact.
I’m definitely someone who thinks every opportunity that’s presented to you is presented for a reason. You can maximise on it or you can let it pass by, so the adversity shaped me into thinking bigger of myself and thinking ‘This isn’t full potential you, you might be busy, you might be technically successful as a personal trainer, but there’s something inside of you that’s saying this is not it for me.’
I think you have to chase that, I think you have to follow that and just try to keep figuring it out. So as terrible as those things were, they made me appreciate who I actually am and my full potential self.
It’s definitely not easy. I think we all as humans have a fear of failing, we have a fear of people seeing us try something which doesn’t go as well as we had hoped, or people being right when they doubt us. That was it for me – there was a lot of, not quite spite in my operations, but wanting to prove to people that fitness could be a career, not just a hobby.
I wanted to prove to them and to myself that I wasn’t just living out my track and field career as long as I could. I wanted to prove to myself that this thing that I had pushed so hard for people to believe in me for could work. And also thinking, if I fail, the worst that could happen is I’m still where I’m at right now. And then I’d just try something else. I knew what it was like to come from not having a ton of extra money, so I knew if I failed, it wouldn’t be too bad. But I also just didn’t want to stay where I was anymore.
We’re also scared of not knowing what the next step is, which can oftentimes actually be a really good thing, because you can create that for yourself.
It forces you to innovate, to think outside the box a bit. There’s no blueprint for what I’m doing right now. YouTube is becoming more and more popular as a career, but as far as taking a channel, making daily workout programmes and having things branch off of it to where the channel actually fuels your business, there’s not one common way to where you’re like, ‘Okay, here’s my next step. This is what I do now that I’ve reached this milestone.’ You have the ability to create your own. So that really challenged me to grow as a businesswoman as well.
I think looking back, they all make me stressed out. But the favourite risk I took was retiring my husband Dustin to join me full time and create this business together.
He was working in accounting at the time, and I knew his full potential was not something that he was able to express because of his full time job.
I wanted him to be able to experience creating and growing a business every day because I knew he’d be good at it, but also I just wanted to see what his creations could do to help people all over the world. He left his job right after my brother passed away, when I had that moment of reflection – where I knew if this was my last day, I wouldn’t be happy with what I had created in my life.
It was hard at first, he was leaving a full time job with benefits and a salary to become freelance or self employed, whatever you want to call it. For a couple years we really struggled, but we just kept not giving up on each other, not giving up on this mission to make fitness accessible to the world. So I believe with my whole heart, that was the best risk we took, just diving in full heartedly and saying, ‘We both want this, let’s struggle for a while, let’s have a lot of trouble making ends meet, just to explore and grind it out and make sure that we put all of our heart into this, that we give it all we have.’
I think it would have been a situation where I would have just kept trying to figure it out. I don’t come from any sort of business education, my degree was actually in child development.
I think everything I’ve learned has been something that you can learn online now. You can learn anything – you can go on YouTube and watch videos, you can buy seminars, and just get inspiration from other people.
I wholeheartedly believe in the idea that your limits are set by you. If you let them stop you they will, but also you can let them challenge you to grow and take that next step.
For me it’s like ‘Okay, I’m not super business savvy, so I’ll watch business videos on YouTube every day just trying to learn about finance, about growing a team, scaling a business’ All the information you need is accessible if you just want to learn, if you’re just willing to put in the work, instead of saying, ‘I can’t do it, because I don’t know how.’
Just figure out how – I think knowing something is not essential for taking that next step. You just need to know that you want to learn and know where you want to go. Then you just need to be willing to put in the work to get there. I think that that’s what sport instilled in me, an attitude of ‘I’m not the best right now. But I know if I work hard, I can definitely improve.’ And that’s the same in business.
Living life to the fullest to me means never compromising on your happiness, never becoming complacent and just settling for your previous best. I’ve always found that every time I have to face adversity I’ve figured out, ‘Oh, I’m actually stronger than I thought I was.’ So living life to the fullest just means not being stagnant.
“I think a lot of people have trouble just knowing what makes them happy, so figuring that out is a journey in itself.”
Knowing if I have a feeling in my gut that my full potential isn’t being reached yet, I’ve got to figure out how to get there. It starts with my own happiness, knowing that I’m operating from a place of, ‘I’m doing this to better myself or to better others,’ and never stopping when it gets hard, never saying this is why I can’t do it, this is too tough.
Not depending on anyone to make it happen for me as well. Truly digging deep and saying, ‘I want this because it’ll make me feel proud, or it’ll make me feel happy.’ I think a lot of people have trouble just knowing what makes them happy, so figuring that out is a journey in itself. Don’t give up until you find that fulfilment in life, it’s one of the best feelings – knowing you’re contributing to your own happiness, and maybe to the happiness of others as well. Until you find what makes you happy, keep looking for it.
I think we as humans are naturally programmed to go for comfort, to go for ease of journey. I also think it’s generational, too. It’s what our parents and our grandparents advise – a successful job to the three generations before me was anything with benefits. Anything that was nine to five, that’s success to them, and so that’s what we hear.
That’s what we’re offered, as kids coming out of high school and going to college or university. That’s what we’re told – here’s a steady job option, here’s a career. We’re offered that constantly, and any alternative voices are not heard often enough. But now hopefully that’s changing.
When I was coming out of college in high school, I was just like, ‘Well, this is just what people do.’ This is the safe bet, this is what traditionally has worked for people to support their families. I could just go in, get my salary, work nine to five, and then that’s life for me.
But I realised that wasn’t going to fulfil me personally. Nursing was just something where if I went into it full time for the rest of my life, I just don’t know that it would have me waking up excited, waking up like ‘Yeah, I can’t wait to take on this day.’ It would be more like, ‘I gotta get through another day, ‘which I don’t want to feel.
That’s a tough one. I think it all comes down to how you are putting the message out of what you want to offer. There’s always going to be a higher standard that you could hold yourself to – one of perfection or of always being the best, which does motivate me for sure. I’m a little competitive and I think that helps me show up.
But the pressure I think to be perfect was something I luckily dropped early on in workouts. When I first started the channel. I was watching other YouTube fitness channels and just thinking ‘Wow, these women look like they just stepped out of a photoshoot at the end of their workout.’ I was like ‘I don’t think I look like that at the end of my workout.’ I was trying to be someone that I wasn’t – being an athlete, you definitely don’t look the same at the end of your workout as you do when you start.
So when I dropped the idea of trying to measure up to other people or trying to be something that I really wasn’t genuinely, and I allowed myself to say ‘Oh, I’m I’m worn out this is tough.How are you guys feeling?’ Or tripping over my mat or dropping a dumbbell or something. I just let myself be real, be Sydney. That’s when I think people really started to connect with me and trust me, because I wasn’t just doing it for myself and for me to look a certain way, I was genuinely in it for the both of us. You’re getting value out of this workout, and I’m doing it right along with you. Real time, no cuts, no edits, no breaks that you don’t have. So I think that allowed me to release that pressure, as far as showing up on camera every day.
A lot of times pressure is just driven from expectations that we think people have of us. And I think if you’re doing it to please other people, you’re definitely in it for the wrong reasons. So just make sure it’s serving the audience that you want to serve number one, and it’s serving your happiness number two, and outside of that, stay competitive, stay driven, stay unafraid to actually just go for something that maybe doesn’t make sense to a most people but you, if it’s your passion, if it’s what you want to follow.
I’m learning now to put a little pressure on myself actually, in terms of business growth, just pushing myself to be more business savvy, to be thinking about how to scale the business, to be thinking about things like warehousing and distribution and employers on the daily when I have free time.
So pressure can be good and bad. It can push you to be a little bit better and more competitive, to stay on your toes and continue to challenge yourself. But if it’s taking you to a place of unhappiness or comparison, that’s probably too far.
I think winning is something determined by the individual. Winning a day for me is a day where I feel like I’ve given all that I could to the company. Winning the day on the YouTube side of things is just showing up to a great programmed workout that I feel is going to really help a lot of people continue to fall in love with fitness.
“I don’t think the days where you don’t absolutely crush it are failures.”
Then making sure that we’re sticking true to the mission of happy, healthy, strong, and of making fitness accessible to everyone. Having a day where I’m really proud of the effort that I put in, not that it was perfect, but knowing I did my best, knowing I’m learning from myself and I’m happy with the process I’m following, proud of what I’ve done and excited about where the future can take us.
Yeah, for sure. That’s what I’m talking about when I say I’m learning from myself – I’m 26 weeks pregnant right now. So I’m also dealing with being a little bit more tired on some days, but some days I’m really rocking so I take advantage of those days.
But I don’t think the days where you don’t absolutely crush it are failures. I think sometimes that’s your body saying, ‘Rest of your brain, rest and digest just calm down for a second and then refuel and tackle it again tomorrow.’ I think coming from a place where some days you’re tired, some days you feel great with your fitness, it applies to life as well. You just show up on both of those days and you do your best. You always learn from the days where in a workout and in life, you don’t feel your best, you feel maybe lethargic or dehydrated or you didn’t eat enough. You learn from that and you readjust tomorrow.
I have a friend – Jennifer van Barneveld who’s the president of Strong Fitness magazine, and she said something great to me the other day when we were talking: ‘Correct and continue.’ Those days where you’re unmotivated or not eating enough, or eating too much or on the business you don’t have energy, just correct that. Figure out what you need to do to not let that happen tomorrow, and then continue. Making sure that’s not a pattern, but not being too hard on yourself when it does happen.
So I think they’re heightened for all of us because everyone looks like they’re crushing it on social. You don’t see a lot of people saying ‘I just didn’t do enough today. I didn’t have a great day. I messed up in these ways.’ But I think the true place of happiness is finding balance with your competitiveness, and also making sure you’re maintaining the happiness for the person that’s operating all these things. If you’re unhappy with yourself, it’s just going to spew out everywhere – it’s going to reflect in how you treat your friends, your family, your co-workers, your employees, it’s going to reflect in your passion, when it starts to dwindle.
And you’ll think, ‘Why don’t I even like this anymore, I’m not even happy anymore.’ It’s because you’re not taking care of the person who’s actually operating this passion.
I really believe that our dreams and our goals and our passions are inside of us, because we’re the ones that are supposed to make them happen. But you personally can’t make anything happen if you’re operating from a place of doing things to try and measure up to someone, or doing things to try and be perfect or to impress people, or just working so hard that you forget about taking care of the person that’s making it all happen.
You’ve got to be doing things that truly bring value back to you, instead of just pouring, pouring, pouring until you think ‘I’m empty, I’m burnt out, I’m depleted. And I can’t go on anymore.’ There’s got to be rest days, there’s got to be days where you do things that just make you happy, that maybe have no correlation to the business. Maybe they have no impact on your goals or your dreams. But you just like painting, for example.
You have to do those things to refuel, in order to be able to operate at your max capacity. And operating at max capacity doesn’t mean burning out, it doesn’t mean 7 days a week, 24 hours a day. It means when you are working, you’re working the best that you personally can. And I believe that comes from doing things throughout the week that make you genuinely happy.
Being fit and healthy I think starts the foundation of everything that beneficially comes to your life, whether that’s a career or relationships. Even just your own relationship with yourself starts with you having the energy to show up for work, or you having the happiness or the strength to be able to go out and do things with your friends – go for a hike, go to the pool, go to the beach. I think it all starts with you having a foundation of like ‘I’m happy and I’m healthy. I don’t feel low energy. I don’t feel sick. I don’t feel super unhappy mentally either.’
And feeling strong translates over into life as well. Being willing to take risks, being willing to do things that make you uncomfortable, being able to do things like going for a hike with your friends. So I think it’s the foundation of you just living a life that genuinely makes you happy – being able to do things that you want to do, not having to think twice about, ‘Do I even have the energy to do anything that makes me happy today?’ I think it all starts with just taking care of yourself so that your mind and your body can operate at max capacity.
Yeah, I think so, it’s not ingenuine. I’m just really grateful to be alive, number one. That’s something we don’t all think about. I was a victim of gun violence in 2018, so it could have been all over for me. I lost my brother in 2017, and I know he would be so full of life if he were here.
So I just try not to take that for granted. There are so many things I want to accomplish that I know can be done just by me showing up and putting in the work. And that’s a blessing in itself. That’s something that a lot of people don’t have the opportunity to do, or they don’t think that way yet. Maybe I can be an example to someone that just needs a little bit of hope in their day.
I didn’t start this journey with financial loans or a ton of help as far as money goes. I just really struggled for a long time and worked as hard as I could. And I hope that demonstration can help other people also find what makes them happy, while also being grateful for the opportunity to be able to do that. Sometimes we just need someone to show us that it’s possible.
So I think I serve a bigger purpose every day, which helps me stay grateful and stay humble. I’m just honoured to be in a position where I’m helping someone make their life a little bit better each day. That truly brings me happiness.
Don’t expect it to be easy. Don’t expect a lot of support or understanding in the beginning. A lot of people are going to not get it. They’re going to doubt you, they’re going to say ‘This isn’t safe. This is risky. You don’t know what you’re doing. How are you going to do that?’ You probably won’t be able to explain it yet, because it’s a lot of figuring out along the way.
“Make sure you’re providing valuable content, you’re helping people and keep elaborating on what is working.”
But the biggest piece of advice is to not quit when you face a roadblock or a failure, or you face something that doesn’t work out how you anticipated. Look at what’s working and keep elaborating on that. Look at what isn’t working, and make some shifts for that. But just be unwavering in your faith to not give up on something that truly brings you joy, whether that’s helping students across the world learn art digitally, or it’s something like fitness, or it’s a digital platform where you’re helping other people.
Make sure you’re providing valuable content, you’re helping people and keep elaborating on what is working. We looked at so much data and so many numbers, we still do, on what’s actually serving people. I think a lot of people operate from a place of, ‘This is a really great product, so everyone should like it.’ And a lot of times your audience will tell you what they like and what they don’t really care for. So listen to the people that you’re trying to serve.
Don’t think you have to have a ton of money or a ton of fancy equipment to get started. You film everything on a cell phone at this point. Start basic, start consistent, make sure you don’t make a promise to be here five days a week, and then you only show up on a couple because you were tired or busy; be consistent. That will really help you evaluate the data of what’s working and how you can grow in your delivery as well.
Yeah, I think getting momentum is hard, but it drives you to remember all the progress that you’ve made so far. It also makes you realise that if you’re growing and you’re progressing, you’ve got nothing but potential to continue doing so.
We dove so much into spreadsheets and analytics in the beginning of our YouTube channel to find what was working and what wasn’t working. And a lot of what I thought people would like they just weren’t really resonating with, so we would switch from offering random five minute workouts at random points in the day, to consistent full length workouts where people knew, ‘Ok, this is a channel I can show up for, I’m going to get a full workout and not just five minutes of abs, I’m can trust this girl because she’s going to show up at 5am eastern consistently.’
So there’s a lot of learning, and I think learning as you go builds the momentum of ‘Alright, this is working, awesome. This isn’t working, perfect, we can let go of that. Why is it not working though, let’s make sure we remember that.’ Just learning from myself drives me.
I also think in terms of motivation and momentum, a lot of times we wait for it to come pick us up and get us moving. But it’s actually given to us when we start moving. When we start reading and we start analysing and we start producing or creating, then the motivation comes. So don’t wait for it to start, just start and then wait for it to push you.
Yeah, for sure. I think everyone has parts they don’t like – they don’t want to be diving into spreadsheets or on Zoom calls with overseas manufacturers late at night. They don’t want to be running through emails when there’s like 100 of them to get through.
But it’s the tedious, behind the scenes work that keeps the engine running. It’s not all going to be glamorous, there’s no way for it to all be without someone taking care of the back end. But these small things don’t bother me as much because it’s all for a purpose. I know the impact we’re making with everything that we’re doing.
You know the saying, ‘If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life.’ I don’t think that’s necessarily true, you will still work, but it will be worth it to you, it won’t lead you to start resenting everything. It’ll be like, ‘This has to happen in order for me to love what I do, and to do something that serves other people.’
I see a lot of people in the fitness industry who want immediate results. People who say, ‘I’ve been working out for two weeks and I don’t see three pant size drops,’ or ‘I don’t see massive biceps’ or whatever it might be. Trusting the process is something that I feel like I almost say way too much, but changing your body or your strength or your lifestyle is such a process. There’s a lot of boring in that, there’s a lot of just staying consistent, just staying doing the things that don’t seem super sexy to you, like eating the meals that you prepared at lunch.
I think that’s where people fall by the wayside, they’re like, ‘If I’m on a fitness journey, this should all be Instagram worthy meals, it should be sweaty selfies every day.’ And it’s not all about the appeal of it. They don’t trust the process once it becomes boring, once consistency becomes the goal.
Or they want results so quickly that they want to do something different. They’re like ‘This isn’t working, I’m gonna switch.’ And so they never establish consistency, they don’t trust the process that they’re putting themselves through. So two weeks in, they start something different, they start cutting carbs out. Then two weeks later, they realise they can’t do that, so they add a lot of carbs back in. And their weight just ebbs and flows, keeping them at a consistent maintenance when they want to lose or gain weight.
Consistency is more impactful on your journey than intensity. That means you have to trust the process, you have to do the same thing for a while. And it works, the process works.
But we want some thrill, we want some excitement in it. So I think trusting the process is understanding that it’s not always going to be something very exciting and new every single day, it’s just about showing up and staying consistent with what you know is going to get you there. Especially long after the mood has passed, long after you established the goal that you have for yourself.
So stay consistent, don’t overcomplicate it, and just trust that this journey is one that when you do implement the work, it will bring you the results that you want.
Again, I think knowing and understanding your data is really important. For example when I was being complacent with my business, I was at the point where I was maxed out in time doing personal training, I couldn’t take on any more clients, so my business couldn’t scale anymore. I was working 60 to 80 hours a week, but my rate was so low and I had so many clients that all my time was gone, but I wasn’t growing in terms of being more comfortable with paying rent or bills.
I was at a point where I was capped, I couldn’t just say, ‘Hey, everyone, I’m going to increase all of your rates right now,’ because I probably would have dropped some clients. And I couldn’t afford that at that time. But looking back now I needed to afford it.
For the complacency with fitness, I think it also comes down to being honest with yourself. Knowing, for example, if you are going hard throughout the week, your workouts are great, your nutrition is great, but the weekend comes and it’s a totally different story, and that cycle is repeating, then you need to change something. That’s something to where the data is going to show you you’re not making any progress.
And if you are doing everything right, your weekends are great nutrition and movement wise, and things are staying the same, then it’s an easy fix – maybe you just need to switch up the amount you’re eating, maybe you need to move a little bit more, maybe you need to work on sleep, your stress, whatever it might be. But that data is going to show you, say if you’re consistently tracking your calories, you’re going to be able to see on the weekends you’re eating three times more than what you are throughout the week, which keeps you at your maintenance number. So the data tells you ‘This is where you can improve.’
When it comes to going too hard, your fitness routines have to be sustainable for you. If you’re going so hard that you can’t maintain it for four to six weeks, not without difficulty, of course, but if you’re getting tired, and you’re feeling lightheaded and you’re losing weight so quickly that you’re losing muscle, the intensity of your approach isn’t necessary for progress. Maybe just a little bit less intensity and focus on the consistency of it, we have the most trouble with consistency.
So not doing something that makes you feel like ‘I can’t do this for a while,’ because you want results fast, and you want to be extreme. And you’re like, ‘I’m just gonna take a 700 calorie deficit, whatever, I’ll get through it,’ you won’t get through it. You’ll come to the point where you want to binge over the weekend, you want to go crazy because you just want to feel different than you feel with that extreme calorie deficit in the week.
It’s got to be something that you can maintain and form into a lifestyle so that any results that you do achieve, you can also maintain instead of having to live really intensely to keep any progress that you’ve made.
Yeah, I would say so. It’s hard for me because I get it, I’m not someone that’s like, ‘Oh, don’t worry, it’ll come, it’s not hard to wait for it.’ It’s hard. It is hard to stay consistent for a while. It’s hard to wait for something that you’re working so hard on every day.
But I would say as humans in general, we’re impatient with things and we want immediate results. We get that now and with Amazon and social media, everything is just immediate gratification. That’s training us to think we can get most things that we want within a couple of days. But on the fitness and nutrition side it’s like ‘Well, that’s not exactly how changing your body composition works.’ Training that mindset is part of my job and I understand it, but patience and consistency is just everything. If you’re trying to change a physical body, it’s not just something that you can do quickly.
I try to make sure that I’m providing value on social media. And I challenge myself to not consume so much, but to create as much as I can. As a business owner who is on a digital platform, I do a lot of consumption of ‘What is everyone else doing? What are they wearing? Where did they get that? How did they do that?’ So for me, I have to make sure that I’m not consuming so much that it taints what I’m doing and how I’m presenting my message.
But it also just wastes a lot of my time, which could be better spent bringing value to someone else’s life. If I’m just sitting here looking at what everyone else is doing, then I’m not serving the people that are following me and hoping for helpful content for me. As a business owner who is on a digital platform, I think we really do have to monitor how much we’re consuming.
So I challenge people to create more than they consume, to create your own happiness, to do something that makes you happy outside of just looking at what’s making everyone else happy. Create or do something with friends – painting, seeing art, anything that you’re good at or that brings you joy.
On social media we just watch people so much, and then we somehow switch that into viewing ourselves in a way that is less than those people. It’s a really weird mind warp that we put ourselves in, but watching other people live life is definitely not living your own life. So live a life that brings you joy, and makes you feel like you’re creating something for your own benefit.
I would say so. I think I’ve found a lot more value in living a life that brings me happiness, so others can see that it’s possible. I’ve always been pretty optimistic, but now I’ve realised that who I am and how I operate, how I present myself can also give other people a lot of hope.
So I try to put both sides. Not just showing ‘Hey, I’ve reached another milestone. Hey, I’m celebrating this. Hey, this is going really good for me. Hey, I feel good in this outfit.’ But also, Hey, I was really tired today. I did a workout and I’m exhausted, but I feel better now’ or showing I’m getting through losing my brother, and that it’s possible to get through losing someone and move forward with your life.
Showing both sides of the story is I think really important for anyone who has a personality on social media. Life isn’t great all the time, but resilience is one of my biggest superpowers, so I want to show people that you can be grateful for what you do have, and for the strength that you gained from getting through these challenges.
I think the victim mentality can keep you very trapped. It’s something that I see a lot in my parents from losing my brother, which is understandable, it’s the biggest heartbreak you can imagine. But they stay in that place, and I see how it affects them.
So I try to lead by example, not operating from a place of like, ‘This bad thing happened to me, therefore that’s what my life is now,’ but instead recognising that a bad thing did happen, but knowing that it doesn’t have to define your life, it can be something that you move forward with, and say, ‘I still have a chance at life, I still have a life, I still have the opportunity to make myself happy.’
Not every day is great. But keeping that victim mentality can affect how you show up for other people, it can affect the opportunities that you step into. If you’re not open to things, you can stay complacent in a lot of ways – relationships, jobs, opportunities, goals, dreams, growth. So I’ve always tried to just snap out of it.
But I still let myself have days where I feel very sad about losing my brother, where I’ll do something that makes me feel close to him. But don’t get caught up in something like, ‘I’m sad, everyone’s going to suffer with me.’ Feel what you need to feel, but don’t stay in that place.
“I think everyone needs a mentor that just believes in them”
I’ve had different role models in different phases of life. Coming from an athletic background, I’ve had all my coaches. I’ve had business mentors that are on social media or things like that, that I feel are really savvy with growing businesses. So I think we find who we need at that time.
But just having people that believe in you, I think is one of the biggest things. It’s also important to recognise when people don’t, and to get rid of them in that way, not having them be the person that you seek out for advice, or approval, or encouragement. Instead seek out the ones that do believe in you.
I also think we can almost wait for permission to do things if we have a mentor, and having someone tell you ‘This is your next step’ can limit your exploration of other options that might work. I’m cautiously optimistic about mentors, sometimes we put them in a superior place to where we feel like we can’t make moves on our own, or we only want to do things how someone else has, which might not be the best way for you to do things.
But I think everyone needs a mentor that just believes in them, who has that belief that you can figure this out, you can do this if you just keep trying. Having that confidence, that courage funnelled into you will help you get stronger, take those risks and be more open to what could happen or what you could do next.
That’s hard to say, but I think it’s important to know that there’s not really a timeline to this. Some people are in their 50s and finally figuring out what makes them happy. There’s no pressure to figure it out fast. We’re all going through different phases in our life, and our priorities will be different in each phase.
A lot of it is probably your background – one person might have a ton of people in their family that are business savvy, or they have a lot of people that believe in them, or a lot of people that don’t. So to say that you’re more successful if you figure it out early, I don’t think is necessarily true. I didn’t figure out what I wanted to do until my mid twenties, and I had to work from a place where a lot of people didn’t believe in me, they were really critical of me. Some people might not be in a place where they can handle that at that point in their life.
Maybe it’s luck. Maybe it’s where you come from, but just know that there’s no pressure to achieve anything on a certain timeline. My mom is graduating nursing school now and she’s in her 50s.
Just make sure that you prioritise the things that you need to, and from there ask yourself,’Okay, I’ve got this other stuff handled, now what’s going to make me happy? How can I figure that out?’
Trust your gut, I think it can tell you a lot about where you want to go and where you should be. Maybe you can figure it all out now or maybe it’s going to take a little bit of time until you do.
But no matter where we are, all of us are just on this quest for happiness in life, and having achieved more doesn’t mean you’re any happier. I think all of us are right where we should be right now.
I can’t say that I have, but I can say that I see it a lot. A lot of people wait for this weight loss goal to say ‘I’ll be happy when I get to that weight,’ or ‘I can press this much on the bench press,’ or, ‘I can do this much for my squats’ or whatever it might be. But I think a lot of life is the journey to the next goal – your entire life is filled with little glimmers of achieving a goal, but the whole journey is getting to your next goal.
So I try to coach people to understand that life is the journey to the next goal, and if you wait until you achieve it to be proud or to be happier or to be satisfied, you’re constantly going to be waiting for happiness.
You’re going to be waiting to be proud of yourself, when the person that started the pursuit of this goal is someone to be proud of, because they recognised that they wanted something more for themselves. So you’ve got to be happy here, you’ve got to be happy along the way, when you’re seeing a little bit of progress. You’ve got to be happy when that progress dips, because you know progress is coming soon. And you’ve got to be happy when you do get to that goal, celebrate it, so it can motivate you to get to the next goal.
Don’t wait for goal achievement to bring you joy. If that’s the place that you’re in, then I think putting little things in throughout the week that make you happy is so important, as well as doing things that bring you joy outside of the pursuit of your goal. That can also really help keep you on track to get there.
It’s easy to want to delay all gratification until we feel like our goal’s been fully achieved. We think celebrating too early would make our drive a little bit less intense. But I believe in celebrating the little milestones too, and not celebrating in a way that gets you further away from your goal. Say you have a weight loss goal – you want to lose twenty pounds and you lost two this week, go buy yourself a new sports bra, go buy yourself some socks that feel good in your workout next week.
I think those little things keep you going, but we don’t celebrate them because we don’t want to look silly. If you’re like ‘I have twenty pounds to lose and I’ve lost two, I’m going to celebrate’ people might say, ‘Why you’re not there yet.’ But it’s just important to stay on the journey because twenty pounds isn’t lost quickly, it’s lost one pound at a time.
So you’ve got to be proud of the effort that you put in to lose pound one, just like pound fifteen or pound seventeen, because they’re going to take the same amount of effort and the same amount of consistency to lose. Being proud of the person that’s putting in all this work is really important to stay consistent enough to get to that goal.
My advice for young people is to not neglect your happiness in the pursuit of your goals. And of course your journey won’t always be happy, but you’re so much stronger than you think.
Create more than you consume. Be conscious of what you’re creating in your life. Are you creating an environment in your head or in your immediate surroundings that’s toxic and judgmental, that puts you in a place of feeling inferior to people that you are idolising on social? Be conscious of how much you’re consuming other people’s lives instead of creating your own.
Expect as a young person to be doubted. Expect people to not understand if you’re doing something outside of the norm. But don’t cave in to people not understanding your goals or doubting your goals, if it truly means something to you. And in the pursuit of those goals, continue to learn, continue to create things that make you happy and learn what is serving you, and what is not.
Don’t put the pressure of perfection on yourself. Your goals aren’t achieved through perfection, they’re achieved through persistence. So remember, you’re stronger than you think. Stay persistent and believe in your ability to get through things when other people don’t understand, or when they doubt you. A lot of the time that can push you to do even more.