This week’s DESIGN YOUR LIFE is pretty freaking awesome. Though Stephanie and I both graduated from Michigan the same year, I didn’t meet her officially until she moved to Chicago last year. Which is strange, considering how alike we are. Her passion for her blog and personal training is outstanding. She is also one of the most genuine, purposeful, and energetic people I’ve ever met. Really. If you don’t believe me, check out her blog videos to see for yourself.
Knowing how intentional she is with her training and life coaching, I thought she’d have some insightful intentions. I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I got goosebumps reading her intentions. I am now more excited to fulfill my own intentions after reading her DYL. And I’m also excited to get into the gym and do some workouts with her. This girl has abs.
DESIGN YOUR LIFE: Stephanie of Step It Up With Steph
It’s My Way, or Everyone Else’s Way
Growing up, I was constantly asking, “What should I do?” about anything and everything: from the pants I should wear as a child to the classes I should take as a college student, I always thought that I’d find the answers from other people. I would ask my parents, friends, advisers, classmates, and mentors what THEY thought I should do in certain situations, how I should respond, what I should dress like, or what actions I should take. After a lifetime of trying to do things “Everyone else’s way”, I decided to start trusting myself and doing things MY way. Not in a snotty, “my way or the highway” sense, but more like I know that I have the answers to my questions, so why would I do things someone else’s way, when I can do it my own way? When I started practicing yoga five years ago, all of this started clicking, and while I still ask for advice, at the end of the day I ultimately conclude that I need to do things my way.
Live Your Passion
Since high school, I’ve always wanted to spread happiness, health, and fitness through the media. When I graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Communications in 2007, I knew I wanted to go into television to spread those things, but I thought I needed to gain experience before doing my own thing. Therefore, I moved to New York City within a week’s notice to take a public relations job at Lifetime TV because I’m very passionate about women’s issues and the media. After only two months on the job, multiple breakdowns, and the constant voice in the back of my head telling me “this is not your passion!”, out of the blue I got a call from a job I had applied for months prior: the Dr. Phil show in Los Angeles. The only contingency on this job offer was that I had to quit my Lifetime job, move across the country, and start my Dr. Phil job within a week. So, I gave my week’s notice on a Monday, worked my last day at Lifetime on a Friday, packed and flew to LA Saturday, found an apartment, and started Dr. Phil that Monday. After working on the show for a season, and feeling pressured by coworkers and parents to continue for a second season because it was the safe thing to do in this economy, I decided to stay true to my first intention (see above), and quit. I had NO idea what was next for me. So I took a secretarial desk job that bored me to pieces and ultimately motivated me to live my passion – I did my yoga, pilates, personal training, and life coaching training and certifications, and just KNEW that Step It Up with Steph was my passion. I haven’t looked back since!
I know that when I want something, I get it. However, the problem for me is deciding WHAT I want. One of my trainers once told me that if you can’t make a decision in 9 seconds, you’re not ready to make that decision. I thought about that for a minute, and now daily reflect on it. ALL of my major life decisions have been instinctively made very quickly. Accepting my Lifetime TV job, the Dr. Phil job, creating Step It Up with Steph, dumping a boyfriend, moving to Chicago, etc. While this may be viewed as “impulsive”, I believe that when I’m connected with myself and my innermost desires, I am able to make these quick decisions intelligently and intuitively rather than out of fear or based solely on impulse.
The Road Not Taken
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.” -Robert Frost
Growing up, I remember being called “weird”. In high school, I was also called “weird” (not sure why, because I was also voted prom queen…) But, alas, I guess if being friendly to everyone and a bit crazy (in a fun way) is considered “weird”, then I am! However, even though growing up people thought I was weird, I didn’t let that stop me from being myself. Sure, it made me feel unsettling inside, but I didn’t want to change myself or how I acted just to follow the herd. There is a saying that 80% of the world is consisted of followers, and 20% are leaders. In order to be in that 20%, I believe we have to take “The Road Not Taken”, as my favorite poet Robert Frost says. I remember reading this poem in middle school, and its message has stuck with me ever since. Of course 80% of the population is going to think I’m “weird”, but my intention is to take the road less traveled, and then bring the 80% along with me!
Acting Out of Love vs. Fear
Sometime in college I read Marianne Williamson’s book A Return to Love. I know Jess has mentioned this book in her blog, and it has also inspired me. (So much so that I interned for Marianne for a summer) The main take-away for me from Marianne’s book is to question myself: Do I act out of love, or out of fear? When I act out of love, I’m connecting to my deeper self, a higher being, or God (however you’d like to look at it.) When I act out of fear, I’m often escaping the very thing that may help me grow.
Acting out of Love – for MYSELF.
I’ve tried to treat myself with respect, kindness, and love as often as possible. But never was this love for myself tested so much as during a past relationship/breakup. I had been dating someone for almost two years. What started as a long-distance “fling” turned into my first serious relationship: “I love you’s” were exchanged daily, “forever” was mentioned, and he moved across the country to be with me. We were the picture perfect couple, but slowly things started deteriorating. I knew it wasn’t right, but when you love someone so much, that part inside you wants things to work out and you tend to ignore the flashing red lights. I ignored the red lights for a while, and even ignored the shooting pains in my leg when I would talk to him (talk about mind-body connection!), and finally decided that I needed to respect myself, my body, my mind, and my spirit. I needed to love MYSELF as much as I was loving him. I no longer stay in unserving relationships, whether they are romantic or friendships, out of guilt, weakness, fear, or out of the hope that things will get better. Now when I’m dating someone, and even in relationships and opportunities in general, I really pay attention to how I’m feeling deep down when I’m around this person or in this situation, and don’t ignore my instincts, talk myself out of my feelings, or blow off shooting pains 🙂
If you can dream it, you can do it.
Daily I am amazed by what seems to be dropped in my lap in regards to my business. While I am hustling to spread healthy, fitness, & happiness to the masses, I am still repeatedly blown away by opportunities, people, and resources that come my way to support my dream. It reinforces to me that if I can dream it, I can do it, and so can anyone else. When I’m being true to myself, living my purpose & passions, and acting out of love rather than fear, it’s like I am signaling to the universe, “Yes, bring me more of that!” I’ve also heard someone say that the bigger the WHY, the easier the HOW. If you know why you have a certain dream or goal, it will be a lot easier to figure out how you’re going to achieve it.
Check out past DESIGN YOUR LIFE interviews.