Vulnerability 101

Jayel_164

I suffer from perfectionism…

I want everything to be perfect, and I tend to have a preconceived notion of how things should play out. After my divorce was over, I made it my sole purpose to do everything on my own, to control as many uncomfortable situations as possible, and to help others (via personal training) along the way.

One MAJOR KEY that I forgot was that there’s no such thing as perfection, and it’s ok to ask for help. I’ve gotten so busy helping others that I never truly embrace time to help myself. As I preach how important the mental component is over the physical component, if not the most important, I forget to listen to how powerful my own words are and as a result have been neglecting that aspect–I always want people to think I’m “ok”, that they don’t have to worry about me, and can focus on themselves.

Everybody has a story, and this is mine… Right here, right now, and it’s subject to change– because that’s how evolution works. My story is mine, and it’s ok to change, to re-create, to re-write pages, to delete, to edit, and leave blank spaces.

Over the last couple of months I’ve been struggling; with life. The way it plays out, the way it doesn’t and this overwhelming sense of disconnect.

We’re living in a world were it’s seemingly so easy to “connect” to others yet we find ourselves (as least I do) lacking true connection that’s not from a handheld device, sent via text, and that isn’t the life we portray on social media.

Recently, I haven’t known how to put my feelings on paper, or how to articulate how I’m feeling, so I’ve hit the pause button, and by pausing, I’ve realized that it’s ok to to say “I need a break.”

Quite frankly, I’m burned the f*ck out!

When I made the commitment to myself that I’d always be “ok” it seemed fair, something I could manage (most of the time) and a new coping mechanism that I was willing to take on… not knowing if it was right or wrong.

Throughout the past couple of months, I’ve had a lot of personal family things happen. My step-dad being diagnosed with terminal cancer a little over a year ago, I’ve recently had to watch as he was admitted to the hospital for a month long procedure that made him weaker than a baby in hopes of him getting stronger, forcing him to immediately became co-depent. I’ve witnessed my mother try to take on the huge burden of becoming caretaker to someone that is ultimately supposed to be taking care of her. I’ve watched her struggle, and listen to her tell me “it’s going to be ok”, when in fact it may not be.

I’ve been struggling A LOT with keeping, balancing, and contributing to deep, meaningful relationships with people in real life while also being “ok” — I’ve had a hard time asking for help, asking for friends when I need them, and being there for others on a daily basis as I attempt to fill the shoes for them, that I struggle to fill myself.

I’ve been working on forgiving myself for having this need to constantly strive for perfection when I know damn well that doesn’t exist.

I’ve had the mentality of being able to do it all on my own; be successful, financially independent, not have people worry about my overall wellbeing, and perceive me as “killing the game.”

While at times that’s 100% who I am, I am not that person 100% of the time.

I have made the difficult decision to cut people out of my life that I thought were there for the lang haul simply because they weren’t feeding my soul the way they once did, and because it was the right thing for me to do, despite it not feeling that way. Throughout these past couple of months, I’ve been able to forgive others as I work on forgiving myself for all that I’m not, and everything they are.

But, the most valuable thing I’ve learned throughout these times of being confused AF, is that it is more than ok to ask for help. It’s ok to continuously reinvent yourself, it’s ok to not always be able to see the whole picture, but rather parts of it. I’ve learned that it’s ok to share your real story, the one that doesn’t quite make sense, the one where you’re struggling– because today, here in the now, that’s the story and there’s not sugar coating it. No, it’s not the story forever, but it is for right now, and whatever it is, whatever page you’re on, chapter, or sequel, it’s not the finale.

Life is too short to focus on how people perceive you, and your image all of the time. I’m human, and so are you…no matter what you’re going through, allow yourself to go through it and don’t be afraid of wherever it is you are, and wherever it may take you. Just know that it won’t last forever, there’s no such thing as that either.

#realtalk

Jayel_Sig

What’s Next?

jayellewisday1sep172016_pinkoutift_fave-0101Everyone is looking for more meaning in their lives- it’s what holds true meaning that they can’t always seem to find.

Since moving back to the states (it’ll be four years in May) I’ve given my all to “what’s next” — for me it originated from a place of not being enough and ultimately having to move on from my marriage, divorce, and loss of what felt like the only life I had ever known. At that point, what’s next for me was learning how to be completely independent (mainly financially) and not allowing myself to look back in the rearview mirror. I put everything I had into my marriage to ultimately walk away knowing that it was the best possible decision and that over time I would learn some of the reasons as to why things didn’t work out.

I have.

In the coming years I did what most people told me I could not. I hustled; I independently built my fitness brand, made quite a name for myself in the industry, graced several magazine pages (even a cover), and made business connections some would kill for. All of which have been monumental for me, yet still leaving me with the question of “what’s next?”

Throughout the past year I’ve been more financially stable than ever before, have partnered with, been sponsored by, or affiliated with over eight major brands and have gotten more recognition than I’m typically comfortable with.

People in the industry often view my roles as “having it made.” While I don’t necessarily disagree, I’ve paid a very high price of not valuing my emotional well being, sacrificing relationships (both with myself and others), and losing some of my deep seeded passion along the way.

From a business perspective, I truly couldn’t ask for more. Yet, at the end of the day all of the endorsements, awards, accolades, financial security and running a business that I love, I still find myself wondering what’s next, and is it enough? In a sense, it’s a blessing and a curse– yes I should always be thinking of what’s ahead but I’m slowly learning that planning everything out (especially being the perfectionist that I am) gives me no time to appreciate what’s right in front of me.

I’ve become obsessed with making the impossible possible, and as a result I fail to give myself credit for what I’ve built (and will continue to build), because I’m so overworked and overwhelmed that I fail to see things clearly. I thought that what’s next was always something I had to ask myself, and have a concrete thought-out answer as my response, and in turn that would make me happy. Wrong.

I’ve put pressure on myself, I’ve set unattainable standards for myself and what I expect from others–and it’s failing. I’m failing myself– making a living has turned into forgetting to live and I only have myself to blame for that. At times I’m so focused on the bigger picture that I fail to see that the bigger picture is in fact made up of tiny snapshots along the way.

What’s next, you ask– working on my own personal relationship with myself. I’m learning that the most important relationship has to start from within, even if that includes guilt for feeling selfish. I’ve neglected my emotional wellbeing for years and the candle can only continue to burn on both ends for so long.

So, the next time you ask yourself, or someone else asks you “what’s next?” Remember that by always living in forward motion and not your current state of being you’re putting yourself at risk for a potential downward spiral. What’s next for me is continuing to build a name for myself and my brand, but focusing in on the things that truly matter in life, taking a step back when necessary and reminding myself that no matter what- I’m enough.

 

Presents vs. Presence

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I haven’t been very present on my blog lately; that’s for several reasons, but the main one being I’ve needed to be more present in my own life. I think in this crazy world we live in, we’re so caught up, and inundated with what’s going on around us (it’s almost impossible not to be) that we often forget to put the focus back on ourselves. Our current pace of life is nothing short of fast, instant gratification that often leads to displeasure, and a sense of urgency that often leads us feeling lost.

Part of my job and who I am, is being a healer. I help people find some sort of balance in their daily lives- yet I fail time and time again at learning to teach myself those same fundamentals.

Since moving back to the states (three years ago) and finalizing my divorce, my career has been better than ever, and it’s partially due do a behavior trait that I acquired when my stress and anxiety levels seemed to be at their peak. I made myself believe that I couldn’t stop. I had my sights set on what success meant for me; being financially independent, getting my name and my message out there, cultivating meaningful business partnerships, etc. and I truly felt that in order to obtain all of those things I couldn’t slow down. That slowing down would lessen my chances of becoming successful, or decrease my odds of “getting it right” – yet it’s that same behavior that I’ve been repeating…not stopping the hustle, the daily grind, and the accelerated forward motion that’s made me realize how imperative it is for me to slow down in order to continue to be successful. I often tell others how important it is to reflect within, and that giving themselves the time and energy to do so is a true present. Imagine that, allowing yourself your own presence is a true present that can only be gifted by you.

I’m slowly realizing that I truly need to practice what I preach, and that if I don’t hit the pause button from time to time, I will begin to despise these pretenses of what success is, and how I view my accomplishments.

For me, it’s not just about the physical aspect of slowing down, but more so the ability to create a more balanced and purposeful emotional existence. The truth of the matter is that everyone is going through something on their own, but we forget that we don’t have to face it alone. The problem lies in the appearance we tend to give off, as though nothing is bothering us, everything is alright, and we’ve got it all together. That’s a lie if I’ve ever heard one (I’m calling my own bullshit here). No one truly has it all, or has it all together, but we allow this facade to become a leading role in our lives and then we begin to believe it to be true… until the reality of it all slaps us in the face.

When it’s so easy and comes like second nature to help others, let’s remember we can only truly do that if we’ve helped ourselves first.

Jayel_Sig

Shit My Therapist Says

IMG_6066“You can’t compare your journey to someone else’s.”

“Look how far you’ve come.”

“Just because (x,y, and/or z) didn’t work out, doesn’t mean that things won’t work themselves out.”

“The person you were last year, isn’t the same person you are today.”

“Be patient.” 

I’ve been in therapy for just about two years now, and it’s one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. At first I was insecure about the fact that I even needed a therapist, to be honest, I wasn’t exactly sure why I needed one, but just knew I did. It was the moment that life hit me hard, and I knew that I needed a voice of reason. Not one of my friends’ that would most likely tell me what I wanted to hear, but rather one that would be able to see patterns, and tell me what I needed to hear.

In the past two years I’ve learned a lot about myself, the way relationships work (or don’t work), and how to deal with situations that I’ve had to cross paths with.

A little over a year ago I was finalizing my divorce, and life was hitting me hard, really hard. It was my reality that what I thought once was, was no longer. I had been programmed for so long (much of my young adulthood) to look at what I’ve lost, how bad it hurt/s, and how to recover. The problem lies in looking at what we’ve lost, not what we’ve gained.

Recently I’ve been struggling to write, to blog, to journal, to feel like myself, or how I think I should feel, without being so harsh, and negative towards my own emotions. It truly is a constant struggle of how to not let my thoughts, my old ways, and the patterns that used to control my mindset get the best of me.

Being a personal trainer, I’m often the one that inspires people, that helps individuals reach their highest potential, and come back stronger than they ever could have imagined. Yet when I don’t feel inspirational, motivational, or that I’m doing all of the right things it truly gets the best of me. What I do for a living is make people feel good; both emotionally and physically. It is my hope to teach them to embrace their journey, their own story, and above all, teach them that they are important. Yet when it comes to me, I often forget that I matter too. Too often we get so caught up in the lives of others that we begin to neglect our own.

Our pasts, no matter how painful, amazing, loving, or treacherous they may have been, are a part of our stories. We can’t pretend they didn’t happen, just because it hurts, and we certainly can’t attempt to move on in life and understand the true capacity of which we’re headed, if we don’t acknowledge where we’ve come from.

When we take time to reflect, we begin to realize that it always has to start from within. That the real work, the shift, the change, both mental and physical, have to originate from within. Truth is, despite how we may feel on any given day, is that it’s all within reach. What we want, what we deserve…it’s all within reach, but only if we realize we have the power to change…through our thought processes, what we allow to consume us, and how we allow situations to effect us.

Often we’re searching for someone or something to validate our emotions and tell us that we’re headed in the right direction, but unfortunately too often that person that we select to validate our feelings isn’t headed in the right direction themselves. It’s not that we’re necessarily on the wrong path, it’s that we must learn to embrace the more scenic route.

Remember: You weren’t the person you were yesterday, your journey is yours and yours alone. Many will never know what it cost you to get where you are today. Celebrate life’s little victories, surround yourself with positivity, and don’t devalue how far you’ve come because someone else chooses not to see it.

Jayel_Sig

 

#goaldigger

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For those of you that don’t know, I’m not only a personal trainer but an unlicensed therapist as well (giggle). I really enjoy putting the whole “personal” back into personal training. I get to know my clients in the gym, but learn a lot more about them; the way they work, what makes them tick, how they define happiness, relationship issues, family drama, all of it- outside of the gym. I often struggle with calling them clients because truth be told they’re more like friends.

Last week I had a client come in that had been struggling for the past week or so with a very irritating back injury. This left her out of commission on the workout front, and in turn feeling like she was in the dumps.

We get used to our routine, our all natural sources of therapy, and what makes us feel better. This is something I want to dive into a little bit more. The feeling, of feeling something. When we work out, although in the moment it may be difficult and not your exact definition of fun but the feeling you get; the endorphin high, accomplishment, empowerment, etc…those are all feelings associated to working out. It’s not only a way to train your body, but also train your mind to release energy in a healthy way.

So if you’re like me, or most people, when something is off in your routine…well, you’re off.

After having hundreds of conversations throughout my fitness career, there’s one generality that sticks out. It’s people wanting to create a lasting relationship with health and fitness.

Seeing me is a great start, but it’s just the beginning. The real work starts with you. When people make up their mind that now is a good time to start getting into shape, that means they’re mentally prepared for that next venture, but what I encourage people to do is break that down even further.

I have clients that are training for a marathon, recovering from an injury, working on overall balance, wanting to lose weight and clients that simply want to maintain. It’s a very broad spectrum and their goals begin with their overall desire to do better, and be better. Yet getting to those goals can be a real struggle. Each and every one of them need to have a game plan. A structure, something for them to follow to actually be able to achieve their goals in the healthiest ways possible.

There’s short term and long term goals, and in my opinion it’s the short term goals that matter most. That’s where you begin to lay your foundation to build upon, and start creating lasting habits that you’ll be able to use in your everyday life.

For some lists work, others use spreadsheets, whatever works for you do it. The point I’m trying to make here is that we need to stop looking at the BIG picture, and make tiny little snapshots first. It can be very overwhelming to see “MARATHON” written on your calendar without anything in between. This isn’t just about fitness goals, it’s about life goals as well.

If you’ve followed my blog for some time, or even a short period of time you know that I am a type A personality to a fault and I want things done yesterday. Having a list of things I need to accomplish for the entire week is completely and totally overwhelming to me, it’s actually pure chaos. The list seems like it’s never ending and I panic and end up not being able to cross anything off. So, instead I’ve started writing out daily lists of what I need to tackle that day. Each day is different, leaving me with more or less time to get things done. On the days that I have more time, my list is longer. As I begin to cross things off, I feel a sense of accomplishment, it makes me happy, gives me structure, and then I’m ready for the next day.

Although this basic principle of list making may not be for you, figure out what it. Really it’s just a way to be organized and think about what you have to get done on a regular basis.

You want to lose weight? Great, now write down how you plan to do that…

You want to have matching socks each morning? Awesome, you’re going to need to make sure the laundry is folded and ready to go.

You get it. Don’t get caught up in the end result, begin to work on steps that will lead you to your goals that aren’t as scary, as big to tackle, and allow you to feel like you’re constantly progressing.

Don’t over think it. Just do it. Whatever it is that works for you.

Jayel_Sig