Have you ever had one of those moments when you find yourself staring blankly into space, looking back on your journey up until now? You ask yourself, "How did I get here?" while going through the list of jobs you worked, places you visited, people you encountered, and all the other experiences.
I often do that. Sometimes, it's fun to follow the cause and effect chain. On the other hand, it can also send you down a dark rabbit hole. So, explore carefully. But, what's truly amazing is noticing how things make sense in the end.
We all know the expression, "It all happens for a reason." For full transparency, it was an expression that drove me nuts. I had an inexplicably strong dislike towards it. I saw it as a lame excuse to accept a situation that was out of my control. And, as person of Jewish faith, it's a concept that's part of my belief system, yet it was a challenge to accept it. However, over the years, as I worked on strengthening my resilience, my retrospective understanding of why things happened and the way they played out allowed me to slowly embrace the saying.
As a matter of fact, I recently thought about it while I was coaching my client, Mandy, on the treadmill. (By the way, for confidentiality purposes, I've altered my client's identity for this story.)
Did you know I used to be a coach at an Orange Theory Fitness studio? Yes, it's true.
I coached at a couple of locations, owned by the same franchisors, from 2018 to 2019. I worked with some awesome coaches and got to coach some amazing people. However, I was miserable on multiple occasions because I felt I wasn't appreciated, mainly at my primary studio. Among the amazing members, a few were outright rude to me because because I either missed a few seconds on the treadmill cues, the playlist I selected, among hundreds, wasn't their cup of tea, or the music wasn't over 100 decibels. I also vividly remember there was a one-star public member review that called for me to be replaced because I followed the brand's pre-workout protocols, didn't skip corners on instructions, and was coaching my heart out, you know, just being me. That one review made me feel like I was worthless. So, suffice it to say, I was happy when I parted ways with the company. It wasn't for me and that's okay. Looking back, I had to go through that period. I did learn a lot from the experience as a coach, including how to give one heart pumping treadmill workout.
So, as Mandy was getting started on the treadmill, I used the knowledge and the coaching cues I picked up at Orange Theory Fitness to coach her through her treadmill workout. If she had a WaterRower, I would've used my OTF knowledge, as well. And, it just clicked that that moment in life served a purpose. It served as a building block in what I do and who I am. If I were to refer to my life as a painting, it was a brush stroke in the grand masterpiece.
My 10 years as a Business Systems Analyst, working for two different organizations, were instrumental in refining my critical thinking skills. I would receive requests to change or add new features to an application or system. It would be the "solution". But, a big part of my role was to question the requester and define the business problem we needed to solve and how the process should behave in the end. Often, the solution implemented wasn't their "solution". Until you understand what the problem is, what you believe is the solution may not truly be the best solution, or even the solution at all.
This concept can be applied to pretty much any life situation. Thinking this way can save you money when you're contemplating a big purchase. Is what you're considering buying a must-have or a nice-to-have?
In the case of fitness coaching, many want the 6-pack abs to instantly appear. Clients would tell me they only want to work abs, do a bunch of crunches. Now, what kind of coach would I be if I provided their "solution". I was hired for my knowledge and my ability to design, through various assessments, the best strategies to reach their toning goals. The actual problem could be nutrition, sleep, or hormone imbalance.
What if the situation was a missed experience rather than a lived one?
[...] the one thing I knew was in my control was to focus on what was in my control: my mindset.
Not too long ago, back in March 2022, I was given an opportunity of a lifetime to train with my mentor, Eric The Trainer, Hollywood Physique Expert, in Hawaii for a special project. Unfortunately, I had to turn it down because I faced logistical obstacles that were out of my control. I was frustrated. However, the one thing I knew was in my control was to focus on what was in my control: my mindset. I made myself understand that if I'm good enough to be considered for such an opportunity, there'll be others chances down the road. It's important to keep moving forward to find the doors that will open wide for you. These stories from periods in my life demonstrate how favourable, or unfavourable, experiences can contribute to the most amazing current version of you. You currently may be in a job, a college major, an event, or a season of life you wish could be different. You definitely have the power to change your situation but, in a lot of cases, it may not be easy. The good news, though, is that you have the ability to tap into your resilience and respond. Ask yourself, "How can I make the most out of my situation?" and use the experience as part of your growth journey, until you can move on to the next chapter, if you want to.
Life will always present challenges that seem insurmountable. They may even prevent you from seizing an opportunity of a lifetime. But, as difficult as it may feel, you simply have to trust that it’s all part of a greater picture. So, keep on working on you, your business, your brand, your education, and your relationships, because if one door is not totally within reach, believe that another one will be ready for you to open, really soon. Everything happens for a good reason.