When I started this new blog (read more about that HERE), I was thinking of ways I could share a little bit more about myself -- give you guys an idea of who I am, where I came from, and why I do what I do.
I was thinking of creative ways to do it -- maybe I could share my life in different chapters (K-12, college, post-college).... but I don't think anyone wants to read about me narrating the Lion King in Kindergarten, am I right?
Thus, I've decided to break my life story (so far) down into an evolution based on the different categories that mean the most to me: career, fitness, relationships. Of course they all tie into each other, and most will overlap.
But today we'll be talkin' about my WERK story (#werkwerkwerkwerk) and how I ended up where I am today: strength and conditioning coach, nutritionist, entrepreneur, and all-around badass (lol).
.... I always wanted to be a lawyer.
Growing up -- probably since the age of 12 -- I had my eyes and my heart set on becoming a lawyer. I'm not even sure why, really. I just knew I loved to read and write, so I figured practicing law would allow me to do both of those things. Oh, and not to mention being a lawyer is *~super cool and prestigious and makes a lot of money~*... and being the people pleaser that I was growing up, this sounded like a surefire way to make sure everyone I knew was proud of what I was doing.
Fast forward to college, where I had a fateful conversation with one of my dad's friends. I was a legal studies major, and I remember him telling me, "What happens if you don't end up practicing law? What are you going to do with that degree?" ..... Truuuue. So I switched my major to advertising and public relations, because again, I liked reading and writing.... and advertising did lots uh dat.
Keep in mind, at this time, I had absolutely NO interest in health and fitness, other than my 1 mile runs on the treadmill every now and then. In the beginning of college I literally ate whatever I wanted and barely worked out, until I gained the dreaded Freshman 15 and decided it was time to make a change.
^ That being said, during the time I was changing majors and trying to figure out my life -- like the majority of us do in college -- I fell in LOVE with working out. I started strength training and watching what I ate, and saw great results -- not only in the way I looked, but in the way I felt. I became obsessed with it, and started my Health Nut Julie blog on Tumblr.
So.... I was doin' the health and fitness thang.... never really giving it a second thought -- as I went from an internship at a news station in Orlando, to a writer at an advertising agency.
I graduated from college in December of 2013 (a semester early) and decided to do what most of us do -- get a full time 9 to 5 job. Because what else would we do? Is there really any other choice?
What's funny is that God, the universe, whatever higher power that be... had other plans for me.
During my time at the advertising agency, I started to feel like something was missing. I had a great job I went to school for. I had a great apartment. I was making decent money for just getting out of college. I was investing in a 401K. I was able to pay all my bills on time and still have the luxury of saving some money.
But every single day I would drive to work... I would ask myself,
"Is this really all that I'm living for? Is this what I'm meant to do with the rest of my life?"
I have the tendency to look for the deeper meaning in everything.. because I believe that we're all put on this earth for a reason: to use the gifts and talents we've been given to bless the world. To be the bright shining light the rest of the world needs to see. To share our story in hopes of helping others overcome or avoid situations we've been through.
You see, my eating disorder started when I was at this full-time job... because I was so out of alignment with who I really was, and who I had the potential to become.
It's not like there was anything particularly WRONG with my job. Like I said, it was a great job.
But I knew I was meant for more.
So, I started personal training and online coaching on the side.... still never expecting it to turn into a full-time gig.
Little I did I know - again - that God had other plans for me... and soon I was working two full-time jobs essentially.
I had a decision to make: stay at my comfortable, safe advertising job -- where I knew exactly how much money I'd be making every two weeks...
OR take the leap of faith, not know how much money I'll make, spend every day working for myself and figuring things out on my own with no boss to sit there and hand me tasks, and pretty much just jump full force.
You can see I've chosen the latter.
And I wouldn't change a DAMN thang.
You see, my dreams extend far beyond what I ACTUALLY do for a living.
I love personal training.
I love writing.
I love being a coach and nutritionist and all the things fitness related.
But what I'm really meant to do, as I mentioned in this blog post, is serve a purpose greater than myself. I use all these different avenues to help YOU live your best life -- through fitness, through health, through relationships.
And I knew I couldn't do that in my typical, boring 9 to 5 job.
I was meant for more.
And maybe you are too.
One of the questions I get asked the most is "how did you know when it was time to leave?"
Outside of the obvious signs -- my eating disorder, crying on the way to work, and not wanting to put up with the BS anymore.... there was a moment I had when I just KNEW, and I'll never forget.
I was laying in my bed one day and heard a voice say, "Just do it." I'm like "OK Nike? What are you trying to tell me?" ...But honestly, there have been a few times in my life where I've heard a voice (more like a gut feeling) that's stronger than anything I've ever felt in my life -- and this is one of them. I let it go that night, but the voice just kept getting stronger and stronger.
That was on a Wednesday.
On Friday I put in my notice.
A few weeks later -- come hell or high water -- I was doing this thing.
I was following my dreams, becoming all I was created to be, and living the best life for me.
Yes, it's scary. Yes, I question it sometimes. Yes, there are days I want to give up and cry and throw in the towel because it's hard.
But knowing that what I'm doing has the potential to inspire or give hope to ONE person -- whether that's through fitness, nutrition, leaving your job, having confidence in yourself, whatever -- then every single tear shed, hardship, stress, struggle is worth it.
If you're reading this and feel similarly but have no idea where to even start...
start by getting still and listening to (and TRUSTING) that little voice or gut feeling -- your intuition. I PROMISE: it will never steer you wrong. :)
Stay STRONG, SEXY and KEEP FOLLOWING YOUR DREAMS!