I once read somewhere that success is when you feel at ease with yourself, when you earn enough sleep at night, when your close relationships are good, and when you are a positive influence around you . . .
I am 35 years old, a wife, mother of two, psychology major, business owner, jiujitsu black belt, golden-gloves kickboxer, fitness model, and maker of the best chocolate chip cookies on the planet!
For those who may not know me, I co-hosted the SAF Fall Spectacular with CTV's Lianne Laing in October of 2011. On June 16, 2012, I will be getting back on the stage, this time as a SAF Elite Pro competitor.
I used to think success came as a result of perfection, whether it related to getting a perfect grade in school, winning a game of chess, or baking the perfect chewy-yet-crispy chocolate chip cookie. In the fitness industry, I attributed success with placing in the top three. At this particular time in my life, with the experience and connections I've made with those who've crossed my path, I can honestly say I am embracing my body, womanhood, and appreciating those around me. For me the definition of success has changed over the years. I give great merit to those who deserve it and recognition to those who have inspired or helped me. I find it so valuable and rewarding to give back to others the enormous benefits of physical activity through fitness or the martial arts.
Last Christmas, my five-year-old daughter performed with her dance troop at the Shenkman Arts Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, in front of over 100 people. She was placed in the back row of her team and danced her little heart out – making a few mistakes along the way. My husband and I were so proud of her! It's not that we reward mediocrity, but, rather, that we focused on the steps she took to overcome her fears and succeed. Getting on stage is a feat on its own; she didn't have to be "perfect," she just had to challenge herself and conquer her fears. You don't have to be the best; you just have to decide you want it more than you are afraid of it.
In the fitness industry, we all strive to be number one, shoot with the best photographers, be in magazines, etc. And we sometimes forget why we all started on this journey. Yes, those "successes" come as an added bonus, but it's more than that. It's about demonstrating the benefits of training and healthy eating, being the best that you can be, and instilling positive lifestyle habits in those around us.
For those starting out in fitness or bikini modeling, SAF is a great organization promoting healthy women's physiques in a competitive yet friendly atmosphere. You may not come out the winner, but you are guaranteed to come out with a sense of accomplishment and an experience that will last you a lifetime – one worthy of adding to your list of successes.
The camaraderie that comes with taking part in physical activity and competitions is priceless. It's all about connecting with others and taking from every single encounter something positive that will help mold or improve yourself. As one of my coaches and close friend, Vanda Hadarean, always says, "We are competing with each other, not against one another." Whether you agree with this philosophy or not, I think there is a deeper lesson to be learned. Fitness is about looking and feeling your best, pushing yourself to extreme limits, and enjoying all that comes with it.
SAF Elite Pro