Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Actions Speak picture “everyone is fighting their own battles that you know nothing about”

I am writing this blog today as part of the healing process I am still going through some 2 years after the event. The impact this particular event had on my confidence and trust was massive. I want to share my experience so I can finally let it go.

2014 was the most challenging year I have ever had and I truly thought I had been cursed. I was tested time and time again. People were telling me what I wanted to hear – promising incredible opportunities that never eventuated. I invested my time, energy and finances into what I believed would lead me to bigger successes. It turns out actions definitely do speak louder than words.

When I wanted to expand my business to the corporate market, I was put in contact with a Life Coach who had her own successful business in the Wellness industry, with similar interests to mine. We connected and I was super excited to be offered the opportunity to expand my business by working with her, helping at corporate events with fitness sessions and seminars, and being the representative for my area to build my profile. This would allow me to promote my own business and build a new clientele.

The opportunity she was offering also included assisting with writing articles for a very popular Australian fitness and health magazine, and the potential to be part of the retreats she offered in Hawaii. At the time I was blown away at how exciting this all sounded, and how it was exactly what I had wanted to offer with my own business. She would become a mentor to me and support me with business advice, and empower me to operate my own successful business.

“Empower me”……..those were the exact words she used. This experience was anything but empowering!

I invested my entire tax return plus borrowed money to secure my “commitment fee” to what she promised. At the time I certainly wasn’t in a strong financial position, so I was putting all of my trust into this opportunity, thinking it would reward me later. Looking back I guess I was naïve and should have really listened to my intuition that this was too good to be true.

It was only a matter of months before I started to realize that the business of this life coach was not at all what she made it out to be. I was paying monthly fees for support that I never received. I was promised new contacts that I never got. One of the major corporate clients she had an affiliation with in my local area was now not interested. I was being reassured that I was being supported by her “wellness family” when in fact I had nothing to show for my commitment to it.

As my finances disappeared so did my self-confidence and trust. I began to doubt myself and my ability to be successful. I was now in a position where I had no choice but to get financial assistance from the government to help me survive. I hadn’t needed this kind of support since I left high school and wasn’t yet in the workforce. I struggled with my pride. I felt that I had failed and was embarrassed to admit that I needed help. Being on government support did not lift my spirits. I was having to apply for jobs that I did not want. It made no sense to me to have to apply for jobs that I had no interest in, just to get financial support. I wanted financial assistance to support me whilst I built my own business, but unfortunately there is very little help for those who are self-employed.

I was in tears explaining to the life coach that I could not pay the monthly fees and felt she was not delivering what she had promised. I never heard from her again……..she cut off all contact with me. She was done with me. Wow, to think that someone from the Wellness industry could have the ability to take everything from me and not even care! I had basically invested my money into her business and not my own. Instead of developing my own business, I had helped improve her business.

I was at my lowest point and was slipping into depression. I had invested thousands of dollars which I had now lost. I had nothing to show for this investment.

The remainder of 2014 was no better for me. I tried to keep positive that everything happens for a reason, and that this was just a test in my strength of character. But after more than 12 months of continuously being thrown curveballs, I was finding it hard to keep my head held high.

Fast forward to today, and I am still in the process of dealing with that depression and becoming the confident woman I used to be. At least now I can look back on these experiences and see with clarity the important lessons I have learnt:

  1. I do not need to pay someone to make my business successful. I have the ability to do this by myself.
  2. Be open to opportunities without being attached to the outcome.
  3. If something does not work out as planned, let it go. Trust that there is a reason for this, and that something better is on its way.
  4. Remember those people who were actually there for me when I was at my lowest. The friends and family who supported me and believed in me.
  5. It’s ok to ask for help and admit that I am not always as strong as I make out to be.
  6. Listen to my intuition and trust that it is always right.
  7. Learn from the “failures” to become stronger and more determined.
  8. Understand that not everyone I meet will be honest. People have their own agendas.
  9. Remember that actions always speak louder than words!
  10. Always look after myself first!

 

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Coming Full Circle (Part 2)

gallery vitality 7Once I was content with having worked at the best hotels and spas on the Australian island resorts, I turned my attention to opportunities abroad. I finally left years of the island lifestyle to pursue work in the beautiful Cotswolds region of the UK, working at a spa at an old manor where the treatment rooms were once horse stables! Then onto an unforgettable stint in the remote wilderness of Vancouver Island in Canada, working at a spa located on the rocky cliffs overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.

These experiences were just getting better and better, and I realised that I was in fact living my dream – to work and travel at the same time. The more places I travelled to, the more I learnt about other places and spas. Before I knew it, my list kept getting longer and longer. To this day, that has not changed! And this excites me!

I have a strong belief that everything does happen for a reason, and to trust that the Universe has plans for us that are far greater than what we could ever imagine! So, as it turned out, the Universe did have other plans for me. Plans that still continue to evolve.

Just when my career in the spa industry was getting more exciting and the opportunities kept flowing, I was to encounter a massive curve ball. I got burnt out. Big time. I injured my back so severely that I could not move or dress myself. The most debilitating and excruciating pain I have ever experienced. I was now physically and emotionally burnt out. The years of always giving, giving, giving, and rarely receiving, had finally taken their toll. I had battled skin conditions such as dermatitis from being a therapist, and the obvious muscular aches and pains, but nothing as serious as spinal degeneration. The constant repetitive actions of being a therapist had damaged my L5 and S1 vertebrae. I could not massage. I could not perform any spa treatments at all. I could not sit. I could not stand.

How ironic, working in the Wellness industry, helping people understand the importance of taking care of themselves by being fit and healthy, when in fact, I was not taking care of myself!

So after this wake-up call and much soul searching, the next progression in my career was to become involved in the management side of the spa industry and be exposed to the operational aspect of running a successful business. My background as spa therapist was essential for this, and over a period of 6 years I took a step back from being a hands-on therapist. My role now was to operate Spas, train and manage teams of therapists by implementing all of the skills I had learnt over the years. These were perhaps the most challenging and rewarding years of my spa career, and ultimately set me up with the knowledge to operate my own small business today.

Taking a break from being a hands-on therapist also ignited a new passion for me – fitness. I had always led an active lifestyle and had an interest in fitness, but now I was starting to think that I would like to become qualified as a Personal Trainer, and incorporate this new skill with my current spa background, to offer guests a complete package of Wellness services. I could focus on a holistic approach to helping people achieve their Ultimate Lifestyle.

And this was to be the start of yet another amazing chapter! I became a qualified Personal Trainer and for 12 months managed a hectic lifestyle of training clients at the gym before working my full time job as Spa Supervisor, then train more clients after work. I was putting in 14-15 hour days, 7 days a week, and did this for a year! But I did it because I loved what I was doing! Eventually I made a very hard decision to leave the security of my full time spa job to focus on operating my own small business. I was at the stage where I knew that everything I had learnt over the years could be implemented into my own business to build my own dream, instead of being hired to help someone else build theirs!

Like any journey, the road was not straight. It had obstacles. There were hill climbs and vertical drops. The road curved and bent and was full of pot holes. Sometimes the road was busy with traffic and sometimes I was travelling solo. There were signs everywhere “CAUTION”, “REDUCE SPEED”, “GIVE WAY”, “STOP”, “GO”, “ROUNDABOUT AHEAD”, “EXIT”, “ONE WAY”…….

Fast forward to today and I am still travelling on that same road. Aware of the warning signs but keeping focused on my destination.

Because I want to be the best version of myself that I can be, I am always open to new opportunities that I can learn from. Opportunities that challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone. Opportunities that allow me to travel and share my love of fitness and health. I’ve recently returned from the wonderful experience of working and living in the Maldives, where once again my passion for what I do was re-confirmed.

I love how life flows in unexpected ways. This is what excites me – not knowing what will happen next, but trusting that I am on the right path for right now.

Writing this blog has made me so proud of what I have achieved so far. It has brought back wonderful memories and reminds me of how far I have come on my journey. I urge you to try it – write a story of your life so far. I guarantee it will be filled with incredible chapters. But just like my story, your story will also be full of blank pages that are yet to be written……..