Saturday, September 5, 2009

My BIG news

OK, here it is....

On Monday, August 31, 2009, after 12 years as a Master Instructor for the Spinning Program, I resigned my MI position with Mad Dogg Athletics.

Phew, that was even difficult to write! I can tell you that this past week has been one of the most pivotal and emotional weeks I've experienced in a dozen years (not even counting the stress and emotion of selling a house and moving. Man, put all that emotion in one week and it's been hard not to be overwhelmed).

How do you leave something that has been such an integral part of who you are? How do you leave a program that has been a part of how you define yourself? That has presented opportunities that you never thought possible?

Before I tell you the why and how, let's fade back in time to about 13 years ago...

It was early 1997. I was a personal trainer at the Vail Cascade Club (now the Aria Spa & Club) in Vail, Colorado. I had been teaching Step, Body Sculpting, Ski Conditioning, and this new thing called Spinning. We had recently brought in a Master Instructor from New York for the Spinning certification. I remember thinking "God! What a great job she has! Flying around the country certifying instructors, and she gets to come to Vail, Colorado!" (I can't remember who she was...she wasn't with Mad Dogg for very long apparently).

The day I got certified was a transition point in my life. As a cyclist, it bowled me over like a freight train - I was empowered by the potential, by the magnitude, by the possibilities of Spinning! "WOW! This is IT!" I thought. I discontinued teaching Step because I didn't have to choreograph anymore - I had always been such a perfectionist and spent hours and hours on my choreography. Spinning allowed me to connect with my students far more than dance type classes, and it was based on something I was already so passionate about already - cycling. It also allowed me to use my own music and not canned aerobics music; I immediately found that I had a skill for designing very effective profiles that simulated real outdoor riding combined with music that helped elevate the mood and energy of the class. I was also a ski instructor in Vail, and was able to apply the coaching skills I learned in skiing. As a coach, I love the one-to-one contact with my student.

About 6 months later, I received the Spinning newsletter with a call for presenters. I filled out the application with trepidation, since I had only been teaching Spinning for a short time. But, I had experience teaching and coaching many genres of exercise and sports, I was certified in group fitness and was a Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, I had a degree in Exercise Science and loved the physiology aspect of training, I was a cyclist and had experience coaching many clients to ride up big hills in my bicycle tours. I was also experienced at public speaking. But I still had no idea I had a chance; I remember joking with my peers that what on earth would I do if they called me?

A few weeks later I received a call from Joelle at Mad Dogg Athletics for an in-depth interview. That call was truly the beginning to the rest of my life. I fulfilled each of the subsequent requirements one after the other. Back then it was a long process to apply as an MI, including sending in a video of me teaching, and speaking into the camera on why I thought I would be a good presenter.

I was invited to the Spinning Presenter training camp in California shortly afterwards where I spent a week with Johnny G and over a dozen other amazing people from around the world.

(If I don't stop myself now, this post will be waaaaay too long, so let's pop forward a dozen another time I'll tell you more about those amazing days with Johnny G and my phenomenal peers.)

In the past 12 years, I have been inspired by some of the most amazing people, coaches, athletes and instructors that I've worked with or trained. Many of the other Master Instructors I worked with I looked up to as mentors. I have had the opportunity to inspire thousands of people at conferences to go beyond self-perceived limitations and to realize their potential as coaches. I have written several important continuing ed programs and articles for MDA, most which brought the outdoors indoors. I have traveled internationally. I have done trainings at tiny little clubs in the countryside with 10 bikes on up to very large facilities in metropolitan cities with 65 bikes. I've experienced facilities ranging from amazing personalized boutique clubs and studios in the suburbs, to high-tech gyms in corporate fitness or university facilities, to large major chain clubs.

I certainly haven't done it for the money (my husband even jokes that I practically pay for the privilege), but the personal rewards have been countless, endless. Spinning gets into your blood. I LOVE Spinning. I LOVE the mind-body aspect of Spinning. I LOVE the fitness and health it's brought me, and has allowed me to bring to others. I LOVE being a Master Instructor. I LOVE inspiring others. I LOVE the people I've met.

However, in the past several years, I've been approached with several opportunities in indoor cycling that I have had to turn down because of my loyalty to Spinning.

Concurrently, in the past several years I've been attending seminars, reading books and joining coaching programs on entrepreneurship and building a business with the intention of growing my bicycle tour business and potentially creating an online business for bicycle tours in Europe. During this time I was exposed to the wonders of social media such as blogging (hence, this and other blogs I started), Facebook, Twitter, forums, podcasting, and more. It's truly amazing the opportunities that are out there if you look, and if you aren't afraid to learn, explore and grow.

I learned about how to develop a niche market, rather than go for the BIG market. I learned about promotion and PR and internet marketing and eBooks. I even wrote my own eBook which has been very successful and well-received, and I have some big plans for additional ones. It's such an inexpensive learning tool, a great way to reach people with excellent information.

Long story short, I have a deep desire to do something for myself. I also have an MBA from way back when, and perhaps that's been stirring inside me to do something more for myself. It's not just about the money (but a greater income doing my passion will be nice). For me, it's also about self-actualization. It's TIME for me to move on. It's TIME that I at least try some of the things I've been learning about, and take advantage of some of the half-dozen or so opportunities that have been presented to me.

In order to do so, I had to become a "free agent". By taking off the partisan hat I can "reach across the aisle" so to speak and inspire and touch many other instructors as well.

Sooooo, you will not lose me! I just won't be attached to Mad Dogg Athletics and Spinning. But remember, you can take the girl out of Spinning, but you can't take Spinning out of the girl! It's firmly implanted in my heart, in my soul. I hope to leave doors open with Spinning for potential projects in the future, as they continue to grow and lead the industry as they always have, and always will. My plan is to complement the Spinning program.

I have three opportunities that I will be working on immediately (and three others in the next 4-8 months). One of them is so exciting I can't wait to tell you about it! Go here and listen to the podcast about ICI PRO, which will launch soon.

I will be changing the name of this blog soon. I will still be giving you great information, but I'll be spending more time over on the ICI site. You will discover when you listen to the podcast, that there will be a portion of the information that will be on a paid site, so you as an instructor can grow even more and really find that spark of inspiration. This too is a very inexpensive way to reach even more instructors.

I am also hoping to come out to your club to present Master Classes. Please contact me for more information on how I can do that.

Thank you everyone for your comments and emails, and mostly for your patience lately as I focus on my personal life and moving. I am very, very excited for the future, and I look forward to sharing even more with you!


Thursday, September 3, 2009

Some personal news to share with you

For my regular readers of my blog, you know that I've been a bit pre-occupied lately. Maybe you've sensed that I've been trying very hard not to be anxious. Maybe you've wondered why I seem to be apologizing for not delivering promised posts, such as my Can Fit Pro sessions the past 3 weeks. (Hey, I take this blog seriously and I hate not doing what I say I'm going to do). There have been reasons! By sharing this information with you, you'll understand a little more about me and what we (my husband and I) have been enduring the past, oh, 6-8 months...

First, I now have very good news to share...

We have a contract for our house as of yesterday around noon. This is big. This is very BIG! Not only do they want to buy it, but they want it very soon (we'll close in only 2 week) and they will pay cash - no waiting for financing. You cannot even imagine the pressure that this takes off our shoulders!

My husband began building us a new home almost 2 years ago, a house that is a little too big for us, but we were both doing quite well in our businesses and we had big plans when we started this process. Then, as you are all aware, the economy tanked, and things didn't quite go as planned. My bike tour business had one cancelation after another beginning in February, and I had to cancel all my guided tours to Europe. My husband's general contracting business has no new projects (except for a minor remodel); he had to lay off all his employees, and he personally had to do the hands-on construction of most of the interior of our house, which was not his original intention.

(Our new house in Eagle, taken in late April. When the landscaping
is finished next week I'll share some more photos)

In the meantime the bank was getting uneasy, the construction was taking too long (we also had record snow levels this winter which also hampered progress), the market wasn't good for selling our current place. They started pressuring us, even warning and threatening us. They changed the rules on us on a weekly basis (did you know banks can do that? We didn't). No need to go into detail - you know the story, it's the same all over the country, even the world.

We were able to satisfy the bank temporarily, mostly by selling many other assets. Keep the wolves at bay, so to speak. But, we never lost hope. We never stopped believing.

We put our current home on the market 65 days ago; our realtor tells us that is excellent in this market - many will probably sit until next summer if they haven't sold by now. Never mind the fact that had we decided to sell last year or earlier, we would have been able to merely whisper that we might be thinking of selling, and we would have had a line out the door. Simply put, our home is the best unit in the best and most popular townhomes in Edwards, Colorado. I had quite a few people prior to a year ago who told me that should we decide to sell, to please let them know first because they wanted first dibs. But this year, those very people were in the same boat as just about everyone else in this economy. In fact, most people who came to view the house said they must first sell their current home in order to finance a new one.

So we are very, very relieved these people came along.

And, there's more good news! We already began moving to our new house in Eagle, 19 miles away. Monday was the big moving day, although we've left a bed and a few other items here at the old house. We're still sleeping here a few more days until final inspection of the new place (probably tomorrow). My office will be the last thing to move - so here I sit writing this post surrounded by stacks of papers, boxes, files...a veritable mess.

More good news is that after months and months of wondering IF and WHEN we would get a mortgage so we could get out from under our construction loan, we closed on that mortgage on Monday. Phew!

For many people, the past few months would have been oppressive stress. There was the very real possibility that the mortgage wouldn't happen. If that were the case, you can only imagine the outcome....banks don't take too lightly to you not being able to pay. For us, well, we did our best to think positively, do our affirmations, and visualize only good things. We weren't always good at this, we had our moments of fear and worry, and I think my husband suffered more than I did (bless his heart - that man needs a vacation soon)! I am sharing this with you because many of you know that I espouse the teachings of The Secret, and of empowering speakers, authors and coaches like Jack Canfield, John Assaraf and Wayne Dyer. They have all helped me through this year. [I even created a ride for WSSC 2008 called The Secret Ride, which morphed into this year's ride called How Big is Your Why}.

The happenings of this week reinforces my belief that it really does work! When you are committed to your desires and your goals, and as long as you are patient, you can create your own reality. As long as you believe deep in your heart that things will always work out the way they're supposed to, and in your best interest, you don't have to succumb to worry. As long as you take the lumps and obstacles as temporary, you know that the road will open up a few miles ahead. It may not always be what you thought you wanted, or exactly when you want it to happen...but things always work out. I knew that we would be OK, I knew that this house would sell, I knew that we could move in, and I KNOW that the best part of my life is ahead of me. And it includes a beautiful new house, a couple of thriving businesses, some awesome bicycle rides and Spinning classes, some great people who will enter my life, and some fabulous trips in the future!

Let me ask you this... Are you certain of your own fantastic future? If not, you only have to change one thing....your attitude.

Jeff and I are not totally out of the woods, and I have a lot more affirmations I'm working on, but I am actually quite excited for the future. Some of the things I'm working on will directly involve you, my readers. So stay tuned for a big announcement.

Tomorrow I teach my 6 am Spinning class right around the corner, about 600 yards from my house (well, my old house). Tomorrow is the last time I get to wake up at 5:35 a.m. and still take my time to get there. For next week's classes, I'll have my coffee ready to brew the night before, my clothes laid out, my water bottle filled, my breakfast planned and my alarm set for 5 a.m - maybe even two alarms just in case. I'll listen to my playlist on the 20 mile drive to the club - at high volume to help wake me up. But oh man, that half hour less of sleep will make a big difference to me!

But you know what? I'll adapt!

Don't forget to check back soon for a big announcement. I'll be posting more Can Fit Pro sessions (profiles, playlists, powerpoints) very, very soon over on the ICI website. I promise!