Wednesday 14th November will be significant for me as it marks my last day of teaching my exercise rehab groups. Letting go now hasn’t been easy, and there have been many moments over the last 6+ years when I have seriously thought about walking away……..but have then changed my mind.
The problem is that I enjoy my work and love my clients.
Not only that, but I don’t have anything lined up or a concrete plan of what comes next.
So why stop now I hear you ask?
The truth is that I know that my mission in life is to reach a much bigger audience with my message of how to overcome medical adversity and thrive when living with a long-term health condition.
I have also had to accept that my own health and energy levels do not allow me to bring the commitment I should into my business. I feel like I have been going through the motions for quite some time.
Mid-year I did some deep self-reflection and finally admitted that I was accepting less of myself than I was capable of in both my business and personal life.
I know that I am destined to be and do so much more.
The painful truth is also that my business has never made money, and in fact has been a giant financial hole into which I have poured a significant amount of foolish money. It would have closed a long time ago were it not for the unfailing support of many family and friends who supported me to see my vision through.
Never give up
It is hard not to see this as quitting, with all its negative connotations, rather than simply letting go of something which is no longer allowing me to be my best.
My nature has always been to push through and never give up. The optimist in me always thinks that things are going to get better if I just hold on a little longer.
Economists call this sunk cost fallacy – when the more we invest in something, the harder it becomes to stop, even in the face of plenty of evidence that this is the logical choice.
I have certainly been guilty of that one!
That self-awareness also helped me to see that I was allowing myself to be mediocre. I am no longer being mentally stretched, and worse still have fallen into a pattern of going through the motions.
My life is neither great nor terrible, but I don’t want my next five years, one year or even one month to amount to just getting by. I haven’t fought to survive the life challenges I have, only to sit back and rest on my laurels. Familiarity equals comfort but can also result in complacency.
My goal is always to lead by example, and that includes being open about when things need to change and why. It is not easy to acknowledge that I have been letting myself down, but I know that I must address these issues if I am to learn and grow.
Are there areas of your life where you know you are accepting mediocrity or not living up to your fullest potential? What is holding you back from making a change? What could be the ‘cost’ if you don’t?
This decision has been doubly hard because I haven’t only been making a financial investment, but an emotional one. There is a lot of ‘me’ tied up in the running of my business.
Letting go of something predominantly bad is easy, but it is not so straight forward when emotions are at play.
Despite my tough exterior, I am a very emotional person and put up with quite a lot to avoid letting other people down. I am a people pleaser and it is easy for me to prioritise others, even if that comes at the expense of my own happiness.
This is the biggest reason I have gone on as long as I have – fear of letting others down – my Mum and friends who have invested financially, my fitpro colleagues who have nurtured and supported my education, the medical professionals who have sent me client referrals, and of course my clients who continually tell me how much they value what I do.
It is impossible for me not to realise that I am having a positive impact in so many people’s lives. My actions have a much bigger impact.
Yet the more I thought things through, the more I realised that I was letting myself down with my refusal to change course.
To help my process, I drew up a list of positives and negatives from stopping or continuing, and this really helped me to see the truth of my situation.
Letting go is the only way for me to move forwards and give myself the energy and space to flourish.
A big aspect of my character demands that I am always challenging myself, learning new things, setting goals and pushing my boundaries.
Having a BHAG
Striving towards a BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goal) is what makes me tick.
I made a real commitment to myself when I was in hospital last year that I would do whatever I had to, so I could get back to my business and clients. I even think that motivation was a positive factor in my survival when the odds were not in my favour.
Then having partially recovered, and just as I was about to return to work, I lost my studio when my landlord asked me to leave due to the rent arrears which had built up.
I would certainly have had a legitimate reason to quit, but even then, I refused to consider letting go.
Morgan’s, a neighbouring gym stepped in and gave me and my clients a lovely space to call home, and we have been very happy there for the last 15 months.
That said, the loss of my studio cut off so many options which I had been working towards, and with it much of my passion and excitement. I have rebuilt my health, but not to the level it was before, thus I have been forced to accept that I no longer have the energy to take on another lease to make those plans come true.
I am reminded of the Alexander Graham Bell quote, here in its entirety; “When one door closes, another door opens; but we so often look so long and so regretfully upon the closed door, that we do not see the ones which open for us.”
Those doors may not be obvious to me right now, but I am a complete believer that everything will be ok.
Letting go is the only cure
So yes, in 10 days’ time, the classes will stop. I am going to take a break to go and visit one of my best friends in Florida and will hopefully return with a clear plan for exactly what comes next.
Merlin Fitness will undoubtedly continue under a new guise. I have already spent time over the last four months growing my new Upbeat Warrior Facebook group, and by early 2019 will have a podcast, a new website, some online courses and other exciting offerings to serve that community.
The method of delivery may be changing, but my core mission and values have not. If anything, my passion for helping people living with long term health conditions, particularly in the areas of lifestyle, fitness and mindset is getting even stronger.
It is both exciting and terrifying all at the same time. Even now have moments when I wonder if I am doing the right thing, but acknowledge that if I am not at least a little scared, then I am not challenging myself enough.
I much hope that many of you stay with me on this journey (the unsubscribe link is at the bottom if you don’t want to), as there are exciting times ahead. I am going to continue to put out my monthly email and blog posts, and my ability to connect you not only to me, but also each other if you want, is going to increase.
The only thing I know for sure is that I am not letting go of the friendships which my classes and business have formed.
Your Upbeat friend,