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Family Fitness & Following Your Dreams

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Getting a little personal with you all today…and talking about something that is very important to me–my family. In addition to my mom, dad and step-dad, I have 3 half-brothers who I have been very close with all of my life. I was 9 when the oldest of the 3 boys was born, and we have always had a great relationship, mostly due to my spending summers and vacations with my dad and his family and getting to do a lot of babysitting early on :) and I also think I was just one of those odd teenagers who liked to hang out with little kids?? Anyway, as they are all grown up now and in their late teens and early 20s, they each have come into their own regarding their athletic and physical pursuits.  All three were certified as Metabolic Effect Trainers when they were in their early teens and grew up around parents who played basketball, worked out and stayed active.  As an older sibling, as I am sure many of you can relate, it is a proud thing! I am constantly impressed with them. Connor is a high school basketball star, Brandon is a scholarship dancer at University of Arizona and Danny is a certified trainer, and owner of a company called College Body, where college kids can learn about how to stay fit, while also living the college lifestyle.

The boys when they were little, first day of school

Many of you might know that my brother Danny came to live with Jade and I this past summer while he was on break from college at Oklahoma State. We put him to work, teaching ME classes, personal training at the ME studio and even helping out with administrative stuff for ME. Needless to say, he was absolutely immersed in the Fat Loss Lifestyle and became a true fitness professional, while also starting College Body while he was here. When it came time for him to head back to school, he made the decision to stay with us and continue to work in fitness, develop College Body and apply to school here in NC. Needless to say, we were thrilled (though we never pressured him) and love having him around (I get to have more family here and Jade gets to have someone he can act like he’s 20 with :)).

Dan and I this past summer

Basically the main point in sharing this story is to bring up the idea of following your passion and pursuing your dreams. I know it can be a cliche topic, but to me, there is nothing more important. The funny thing is that inspiration and passion are found in places you are least likely to think they would. Danny had been at college for 2 years and told me at the beginning of the summer that he was unsure of what he was good at or even what he liked (which are the traditional questions Career Services will ask students in order to help them figure out what vocation to pursue). Whereas many of his friends were on the “pre-med track” or the “accounting track” etc, which left him feeling bad for not really knowing. My personal opinion is that no 18-year-old should really know what they want to do forever, when things change so drastically after college.

This old idea of having to fit yourself into a career “box” is really crazy, when you consider most people are miserable at their jobs. However, many college-aged kids feel a lot of pressure to know exactly what they want to do for the rest of their lives at 18: “I am going to be a lawyer, doctor, accountant, fill-in-the-blank”–knowing what I know now, no 18-year old should be declaring their lifetime vocation at that age. But with pressure from parents, society and peers, it is difficult to resist. Unfortunately sometimes the pressure to have a clear path clouds the fact that they may or may not even like that field or line of work.

The old days of getting a job out of college and working at the same place, doing the same thing for 40 years is an impossibility now. Today, many 35 year olds will have had close to 10 different jobs by that time and will have worked in many areas that have nothing to do with their college major. The way the working world is now, with the internet and the age of information, you literally get to create your own career, your very own unique job. How cool! Who wouldn’t be excited about that!? Even at traditional workplaces now, you can have more flexible hours and work with your superiors to find ways to adapt the job to your personal preferences and skills–therefore increasing happiness.

And doesn’t it all come back to happiness, really? It’s ironic that I am writing on this topic today because recently I did an interview for a woman who works in the business school at Wake Forest Univ, who was researching personal job fulfillment in a variety of vocations. I was surprised (but not really) when she told me that a majority of people are miserable at their jobs, even people who initially had gotten into their line of work out of the love of it, like physicians. Isn’t life too short to be miserable at work? This is such a hard line to walk because we need to make that $$$! :) And I realize that circumstances being the way they are with the economy, etc, that many are out of work, and happiness at your job may be a luxury at this point. But for those who are able to do it, are able to create their ideal job, follow their dreams, whether that is as a musician or a teacher or a plumber, shouldn’t we give it a try??  Yes, it can be risky or scary, but isn’t the alternative of not trying even scarier??

I remember when I graduated college, a friend of the family told me, “Do what you love because if you do, you will become an expert in it, and there is always money to be made for experts.” It is literally that simple. If you love it, you will breathe, eat it, live it and it can simultaneously be the most fulfilling thing on a personal level and also make you a living.

Anyway, sorry to get on my high horse today, but thinking about Danny, Brandon and Connor all being at that age where they get to choose where they go from here has got me all riled up about this “doing what you love” thing. I know some may see it as idealistic or naive, but honestly if you don’t at least start from a place of idealism, then there seems little hope for being happy and fulfilled in your job. For me and Jade, our life is our work, it’s our love, it’s our fun (I think we are a little extreme, or as my mom describes us, “intense” :)) but that’s just fine with me. I would do what I do right now for free.

No take-homes today, just a little discussion, sharing and food for thought. I would love to hear from you all–if you could go back and do things differently, would you? What would you tell your 20-year old self about work life? How can you balance the need to make money and do something you are passionate about? Is it possible? What is your experience? I will share my personal journey next week! ox Jill

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