Are you willing to do what it takes to start a business?

Many people say they want to work for themselves, have no boss, call the shots and live a life of freedom. But working for yourself is anything but that. You will work harder for yourself than you will for anyone else. You will show up earlier, stay later and worry more about every little details. You even might grow to the point where you have staff and now are responsible for the food they put on the table for their family and for whether or not they can pay their rent.

Owning a business is a heavy burden but obviously worth it since so many still traverse this path. After leaving my businesses in 2010 which we eventually lost completely less than 2 years later I went back to the safety of a job. I wanted nothing more than a solid pay cheque and the security of knowing I could pay my bills. This was an incredibly challenging time of my life. Everything I had built was gone and I had to start all over. It took many many years to regain my footing because after 2 years of working I once again found myself faced with having nothing. Heartbroken and exhausted I realized no job can give you security, it’s your confidence in your ability to stand on your own two feet that gives you that. So once again I set out to work for myself. Freedom Fitness Coaching was officially established in 2014 but the year prior to that I had already begun building a training business one client at a time. I faced the task head on and I was willing to go anywhere at any time to work with anyone I could. I went from the east end of toronto to the west end taking in home clients, clients in a pretentious private club, and clients in a small club near my home.

Building a business means taking a risk, putting yourself out there and being willing to do whatever it takes to get that business off the ground. One summer day while I had my son for the weekend I dragged him into a small club near my home to meet with the owner/manager. I asked him if he would allow me to work for free to do orientation assessments with new members for the opportunity to possibly sell them on personal training. Guess what he said? Of course he said yes. No one was providing this service in his club and I was willing to do it for free. It was all win for him and free lead generation for me. All I needed was for someone to put the people in front of me and I would do the rest. Despite this my client roster grew slowly and I still couldn’t put all my eggs in one basket. I maintained my in-home training and private club clientele and crazy work schedule but was now completely self sufficient. I didn’t report to one boss I reported to many. My clients, club managers, government as I now had to regularly submit my own taxes, I was in no way free but I was in control of my day and my duties.

The time I spent building my training business was exhausting but the most gratifying of my career. Looking back now I see it was not about the money, it was about the people that came into my life and the disciplines I learned in how to service those people. During those very dark and uncertain years I was gifted with people who not only helped pay my bills but who lifted me up when I needed it the most. I honed my skills as a trainer during that time and was grateful every single day for the clients who trusted me. I built friendships and relationships with people who are still in my life today. I want to take this opportunity to thank every single person who allowed me into their lives and into their hearts. You carried me through the worst and because of you I am able to stand here today whole, happy and healthy. When you build a business you just never know how that business will actually build you.

LETTING GO

Getting Real means coming to terms with and accepting your truth. It means seeing your life in all its imperfect glory as a gift given to you for one reason only, and that reason is growth. It means recognizing all the ways in which you have created your own existence and honoring every choice you ever made. It is about owning what you have created, the good and the bad, the triumphs and the failures, but also all the mediocre moments in between. Getting real is about realizing that most moments are just mediocrity carrying the potential to be extravagant depending on your chosen perspective. To be real means being proud of your accomplishments with humility and without arrogance. It is accepting your mistakes with complete acknowledgement that no one else is to blame for anything that has gone wrong in your life. Be real and be honest with yourself and those around you. Admit your faults, say you’re sorry, own your shortcomings, and make an effort to be better next time. Accept your weaknesses as a part of who you currently are without shame or remorse. Being real is having the courage to be weak with no apologies and no excuses.

Getting real means fully opening your heart to love, even to those who have hurt you, and forgiving them for their shortcomings knowing that it’s only from their own pain that one human being can ever willingly hurt another. Wanting to stand firm on the ground of your own reality means simply understanding who you are and why you think, feel and act the way you do. Getting real is about accepting your circumstances with a sense of peace that this very moment is here because you need it and it will disappear when you no longer do. It is not about chasing constant change or improvement. It is about loving yourself with a curious mind hungry and willing to understand the complexities of your makeup. It is about seeing life through the eyes of the child you once were and reconnecting with all the things that once motivated and inspired that child. It is about thinking for yourself without faltering beneath the impact of another’s perspective. It is ultimately about being willing to stand at the top of that mountain alone drinking in the view that only you created. Because nobody sees what you see and no one can share your reality and that’s okay.

As Published in Defyeneurs January 2018 www.defyeneurs.com/gettingreal

TODAY I WILL HAVE FAITH

In our grandest vision and our smallest thought lies the gift of potential.

The clay that can be molded as we please and remolded at will; the wind that either carries us towards or carries us away from that which we most desire in life.

We can choose to drift at will in whichever direction the soft breezes or the swift gails dare to take us, or we can anchor our feet and stay focused on where we wish to go.

Today I will stay the course, no matter how challenging, no matter how forceful the wind for I know that failure lies only in giving up on that which you still firmly desire.

Today I will have faith when appearances try desperately to convince me my efforts are futile. I will have faith that all power lies within the dreamer; I will have faith in the energy that is me.

Today I will have faith that everything I read in the books is true, I really am extraordinary.

Today I will have faith in the people in my life, in the teachers the Universe has gifted me with and I will learn, oh how I will learn.

I will have faith in the struggles I encounter for I see them as opportunities to test my resilience.

I will have faith in my ability to bend when the wind becomes so strong I can hardly breathe because I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, at the moment when I feel I cannot hang on one more second something miraculous will happen.

The powerful forces that once tried to push me off track will suddenly change direction and move in behind me. With the same intensity I was resisted, I will be propelled.

Like majestic sails on open water all I must do now to gain momentum is spread my wings and fly.

What is Wellness?

The term Wellness is now widely used by practitioners of many kinds whether it is in health, fitness, nutrition or therapy. Its meaning can be defined in many ways depending on who you talk to or what you believe. A complex definition as explained by Dr Halburt Dunnn MD in the 1950’s is “an integrated method of functioning which is oriented toward maximizing the potential of which the individual is capable. It requires that the individual maintain a continuum of balance and purposeful direction within the environment where he is functioning. Wellness is a direction in progress toward an ever-higher potential of functioning”

A more simplified meaning is one that dates back at least as far as the Ancient Greeks where it is described as “the state which combines health and happiness.” Therefore, the pursuit of all which makes you healthy and happy will result in Wellness.

You can describe Wellness in therapeutic and scientific terms or you can describe it using trendy new age terms.  Regardless of how you choose to think about, Wellness is ultimately the integration of health, peace, strength, clarity, and balance in all areas of life creating a state of homeostasis and overall well-being.

We are living beings born to grow. The first part of our lives we are very busy doing just this without even thinking about it. Our bodies are growing and we are learning at arguably the fastest rate that we will over the course of our lifetime. Everything is new and failure is accepted as simply a part of the process. As infants we stand up, we take a step, we fall down, maybe we get hurt, we get over it, and we try again. We never contemplate that we wouldn’t. Wellness is a direction in progress toward an ever-higher potential of functioning. We are hardwired to walk in this direction, until we consciously or unconsciously decide to stop.

If we are lucky we are born healthy, happy and well. Our bodies grow and develop as nature simply takes its course. But at some point further growth and development becomes a choice. What we must consider is this; whether we are going to put effort into our physical bodies to help it continue to grow and strengthen our foundation, which naturally weakens as we age. The same applies to our mental and emotional development. We are born unrestrained, at peace and full of love, however, life often delivers challenges that burden us and make us unhappy for a moment, and sometimes longer. In our youth we are resilient and programmed to reach higher, stand taller, dream bigger, and become more. Eventually we arrive at the pinnacle of our potential and accomplish that which we believed we could. With our initial goals behind us we are then faced with an important decision. Are we going to put effort into our mental, emotional and spiritual bodies to help it continue to grow?

Wellness is the state which combines health and happiness. To achieve it you must pursue it, but you must also allow for it. Allowance is gratitude for all you are currently blessed with, recognizing your current state of physical and emotional wellness. It is accepting it as your starting point, setting your sights on that which you must acquire to improve your current state. It requires you to break free of the mindset that you can live forever on an eroding foundation and ultimately get busy getting better.

Put a plan into action.  Let go of what is dragging you down such as poor eating habits, or unhealthy lifestyle choices; toxic people or a cluttered mind, including all the excuses as to why you are better off with them than without. Use professionals to help you change your overall outlook so that you don’t  just temporarily replace bad habits if working through the process on your own.  A belief is just a thought you keep thinking. If you believe there is nowhere left to go to improve your current state of health and happiness then you are right. But if you believe the best is yet to come and Wellness is possible in all that it encompasses, then you are right as well.

Yours in health and happiness,

Sheila

Today I Am Grateful

Today I will live in gratitude for I am all that I need to be.

All that I need to have has been given unto me and I am grateful.

I am grateful for the air that I breathe, for the clouds in the sky that move continuously and are metaphors for our hopes and our struggles.

“Do not hold on too tightly” an angel once said “for you can’t stop the movement of life.”

Simply watch in wonder as the drifting clouds change right before your eyes.
And in those clouds you can always choose the images you wish to see and be grateful they have been shown to you.

Today I am grateful for my angels because they are always there when I need them.

I am grateful for the day I learned that it’s okay to need them.

I am grateful for my heart that beats at a precise rhythm meant just for me.

I am grateful for every tree, every spring bloom and every summer flower as it turns its face to the sun.

Today I am grateful for the ability to choose differently knowing it will have a direct affect on the life I am living.

I am grateful for hearing the words “if you want to be a more loving person, act more loving.”

I am grateful I’ve become more loving.

I am grateful for my past and for my ability to see that where I come from is not where I’m going.

I am grateful for the tears I have cried as I suffered my own personal agony because in the process I cleansed the need to live in agony. I purged the hurts brought unto me by the decisions of others which I had no control over and I forgave.

I am grateful for the freedom to forgive.

I am grateful for you as you read this passage because by listening, you give me a voice.

I am grateful for any word that makes you feel something.

I am grateful for your gratitude for it changes the vibration of the world I live in and the world my children live in and it brings us all one step closer to becoming a cluster of stars big enough to have an impact; to creating a light so bright it cannot be shut off and for your position among those stars I am most grateful.

I am grateful for the reality that exists beneath my eyes when I close them and dream.

I am grateful that what I see is real, more real than anything that exists with my eyes open because in my mind I choose.

I am grateful for a Universe that supports every desire, every dream, and every gift I discover within myself and for showing me the way when my vision becomes clouded.

In every act of faith and gratitude a child is reborn within me and I become giddy with excitement for what’s in store.

I am blessed, I am loved, I am special, I am beautiful and kind and precious and gifted beyond my wildest dreams.

Today I will turn my face to the sun like a summer flower instinctively knowing what it needs to grow and I will marvel at the power of gratitude and I will be grateful for that too.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,

Sheila

Where Is Your Sanctuary?

A mind fueled by chaos is never at rest. Do you seek busyness? Do you struggle to relax? I mean really relax? Can you easily go to that place of calmness where your entire body just melts into your surroundings fully present with where you are? Can you be quiet and without distraction or stimulation for any length of time?

Constant activity has become a habit. Our phone is never beyond arms reach, the TV is always on, we eat mindlessly, we drink mindlessly and we speak mindlessly because we have forgotten what to do with silence. We are perpetually thinking, planning, wondering, and worrying.

Peace of mind is a state of being that should come without effort. Forcing yourself into the Now is difficult. Trying to think of nothing only makes you think of everything. But there are some things in our day and in our life that immediately drop us into that blissful place of simply being. Burying your face in the smell of a new baby, the warmth of a long embrace from someone you love, the smell of a good meal when you walk through the door, the sound of your child laughing or breathing while they sleep beside you.

To try to be in the moment is hard, but to let the moment sweep you away is easy. Do you know what those moments are for you? Would you recognize them if they came to you? Right here and now take a moment to reflect on the times in your life when chaos easily disappeared and nothing but peace remained. Write them down. Find 10 things that bring you peace so you can call upon them when you need them. These are things that ignite all your senses and bring your soul to life. These will become the anchors for you to rest, breathe, and believe that there is a better state to get lost in than being busy.

Here are 10 of my favorites:

  1. Stepping into a hot shower after a strenuous workout.
  2. Poetic lyrics in a song that make me stop and really listen.
  3. When the credits role on a movie and I can’t move still lost in the meaning of what I just watched.
  4. Watching the crackle of a real fire.
  5. A hot windy summer night right before the rain.
  6. The sound of a loon over a quiet lake.
  7. Early mornings alone with a book.
  8. Falling asleep holding hands with my partner.
  9. A strong hug from my child.
  10. Getting lost in the flow of writing.

I could go on because when I think about it, life is so full of truly precious moments. If you struggle to calm you mind or even attempt to meditate go back to your list. Use your anchors and let them bring you peace.

With love,

SheilaSpam (0)

Is It Possible to Live A Stress Free Life?

Fall is approaching, the kids are back in school and the demands of increased responsibilities and schedules has returned. The days are shorter and it often feels like life is pulling us in too many directions for us to possibly be able to maintain a healthy focus on what truly matters. I don’t believe a stress-free life is what we should be aiming for. Stress is a fact of life. It is through stress that we adapt, change and grow.  What is important is that we learn to differentiate between good stress and bad stress and do everything in our power to minimize that which we deem to be detrimental to our health and well-being.

Choose your stress wisely because good or bad it will take from your valuable energy. That energy will either result in enhancing your ability and efficiency to give, or it will deplete you and take away from your quality of life and that of those around you. A challenging workout will require you to put forth your best effort. It will take from you in the moment but will give back so much more when you are able to go about your day with renewed vigor and mental focus. By stressing our muscles, we break them down and it is through the healing process that they rebuild and repair themselves to be bigger and stronger.  Simply put, any workout that leaves you empty for hours and/or days after is not enhancing your life. It is in fact, stealing your mojo! If this is the case it’s time to rethink your approach to exercise.

Stress is not meant to be long term and continuous. Stress should ebb and flow, bringing and providing challenges to various aspects of our being. We struggle, we adapt, we overcome, we grow, we rest, we reset, and we are ready to be challenged again. When the cycle is not complete we are in a perpetual state of tension and overdrive, which leads to fatigue and possible hopelessness that things will ever get better. Going on a “diet” falls into this category. Placing yourself in a state of deprivation without going though the stages of change and adaptation feels endless and overwhelming. When we aren’t rewarded with gratification through lasting results we lose hope. When stress becomes repetitive with no progress it becomes depleting to our mind and our spirit. That’s not to say the stress of the challenge of healthy living ever goes away because it never does. In fact, you only reap the benefits of ongoing health and fitness through repetitive stress and effort. But when we grow continually stronger in our new habits we are rewarded by knowing that our efforts are paying off.

I think it’s important to take a good look at the ways that stress is enhancing your life. How is it giving you more energy, mobility and vitality? This is valuable stress and it’s worth having in your life. Healthy stress will improve your mind and your outlook towards all other challenges that occur throughout your day. When you place your stressors in two categories, that of enhancing or depleting, the blurry line will quickly become clear on which stressors are welcome and useful and which ones need to be removed immediately. That which does not give takes; there is no status quo when it comes to energy. That which is not growing is dying. What are you feeding your precious energy too? Through this process of discovery, you will be able to determine which stressors simply aren’t worth having. Removing that which is not building you up but instead is tearing you down is an act of self love, and self love is never selfish.

BE…Happy

A simple reminder on this snowy February. It’s a tough month for many. Fighting the blahs is real and if that’s all you fight you’re lucky. The sun will come out tomorrow. Every February passes eventually. If you’re feeling tired, sleep. If you’re feeling lonely, reach out. If you’re feeling a bit lost and unmotivated sign up for an artistic workshop or class. Do something that stimulates creativity.

We take happiness for granted sometimes and we also forget that when we perceive it’s not there that we are somehow less of a person. I beat myself up when I’m not happy. Reprimand myself for not being grateful for my beautiful life. Literally yell at myself for being too stupid to realize how good I have it. Hmmm somehow I don’t think that’s how gratitude is supposed to work. Then I get mad at myself for being so hard on myself. Then I forgive and accept that sometimes it’s okay to not be okay. I can allow it in the moment but focus on the movement of that moment. Because everything in life drifts like the clouds. The breeze moves what once was slowly into oblivion only to carry along with it the shape of something else. Look in the direction of the breeze and shape the clouds into a different mindset of your making. The sun lies just above the mist and brighter days are ahead if you choose to just Be and see them.

Love Sheila xo

Authentic Bravery

Bravery begins with authenticity. Changing your life is the bravest thing you will ever do. It requires blunt honesty about how you got where you are and ‘in your face’ realism about how you are going to turn it all around.

We seem to let ourselves go on for years down a path that is either taking us in circles or leading us further away from where we want to be. It happens in all areas of life, our jobs, our relationships, and our bodies. The longer we travel the wrong path the more entrenched we become in the footsteps of familiarity, stuck in the quicksand of monotony. We realize at that point we are paralyzed but now find ourselves without the energy or insight to move in any other direction, never mind the right one.

These are the toughest points in life.

The good news is at least we are no longer heading the wrong way, but the bad news is we will undoubtedly die stranded in this place. It’s here where we find depression, anxiety, fear, and overwhelm. But it is also where we might find freedom.

But not all freedom breathes new life into existence. Freedom can be found in giving up, deciding you no longer want to participate in this thing called life. There is freedom in saying “I just can’t do it” and with those words you are off the hook. People will stop depending on you. They will do things for you and treat you like a child or an elderly person who is no longer able to sustain themselves. You become an invalid long before the reality of physical decay sets in. This is simply an existence and it is a dis-empowering way to live.

In my opinion, one of the most hurtful things someone can accuse anyone of being is a coward. I also choose never to be seen as a victim. I have known victims in my life, we all have, and I understand they have come by their own perspective on life based on experiences I know nothing about.  As an outsider I cannot pass direct judgement on where they have come from, yet it is still difficult for me to justify the mindset of a victim beyond the stage of acute injury. We have been placed here to overcome, to grow, to radically rise above our struggles, traumas and injustices. To do less is to live small.

Bad things happen to good people, this is true, but good people cause and allow bad things to happen as well. This is where an opportunity for authenticity resides. You are a good person, we all know that and bad things have happened to you. You may be in a dark place right now and all you want to feel is sorry for yourself. Sorry for the ways your body has let you down, sorry for the ways your heart has been broken, sorry for the disappointments others have caused by not showing up and delivering what they promised you. This is your inner victim seeking solace in a story you are creating for yourself. The last thing you want to do is get real about any small part you may have played in these unfortunate circumstances but you must. And if upon searching you are unable to find an answer as to how you contributed to your circumstances then you must forge ahead. Jump that ship of blame and climb onto the life raft of responsibility to fix it. If your body is ravaged with illness there is no easy fix. If your mind is riddled with depression you can’t simply snap out of it. But I assure you, every empowering act you take in the right direction will move you one step closer to the serenity and peace you will find in simply making the effort to change from the powerful place of ownership.

Create An Environment To Thrive In

a-caress_by_the_sun-1566449

Become a master of your own existence. Manipulate your surroundings to support your success. Even a flower needs the correct conditions to thrive.

We are organic creatures, we need enough water, food and sunlight to grow. Would you dare to put a full sun plant in the shade?

Your environment is at best simply keeping you alive.

You would feel like such an unsuccessful gardener if you went to the yard and saw a bunch of spindly plants with a few sparse leaves but no vibrant colour, no flowers to be seen. Would you feel okay about a garden full of life but no growth?

We look to place our plants in an environment that will cause them to thrive. We feed and water them according to the instructions. We transplant them and transport them when they outgrow the space where they reside yet we often refuse to do the same for ourselves.

We are withering and dying inside and we pump ourselves full of that which does not support our growth. We long to reach higher and expand yet we stay in environments that are squeezing and confining us. This causes stress and suffering.

The pressure within is building as our roots wind back around themselves blocking the flow of that which longs to travel to the dense nutrients that lie beyond our reach.

All life whether human or plant can only draw so much from it’s current space. What makes you so different from that geranium you place in your garden every spring?

Your instinct is to help it grow yet you are suffocating, starving and squeezing the life out of your own beautiful self.

It will feel strange in the beginning to have so much empty space around you. But after a while that too will be full and you will be so much bigger and stronger for being willing to step out into what now seems vast and empty but is so full of everything you really need.