I had no idea I was going to write this post today.
As I was brainstorming about twenty posts I want to share with you, I sat down at the computer and put this picture together. It literally came out of nowhere.
But it’s so, so true.
Attending my high school reunion this year forced me to take a step back and look at what has happened in my life since graduation day. In ten years, I have worked through struggles, successes, hard times, great times, and everything in between.
How A Football Game Changed My Life
Never in my wildest dreams did I picture myself as a professional NBA dancer (going on her possible sixth season) who works from home to support her passions through blogging and freelance writing. In fact, I pictured myself on quite the opposite end of the spectrum. By the age of 28, I pegged myself working hard 9-5(ish) days in an office, with a goal of moving towards the next promotion to help support my family of four.
After high school graduation, I got a job at a law office and spent my summer filing and helping out with reception. I loved that job. It did not challenge or require much of me, but I was okay with that.
Then I went off to college. I spent the first year there going through the motions, changing my major three times (yikes), and spending every free moment doing absolutely nothing. Literally. I did not participate in any extra curricular activities, I did not belong to any clubs, and I certainly did not play a collegiate sport. The most responsibility I had outside of classes and school work was babysitting a few times a week. That was it.
Then somewhere between the freshman ten and fifiteen happened. For some of you, it doesn’t seem like a big deal…. but ten or so pounds on me is a huge deal. I had no motivation to do anything. I felt lost and confused in what I wanted in life and what I saw myself working towards.
During football season of my freshman year, I saw our school’s dance team standing on the sidelines during an exciting game and decided I wanted to try out. I was bored, and at least that would give me something to work for.
I auditioned that summer and barely made it. I was actually put on as an alternate and had to prove throughout the summer that I deserved a spot on the team.
My first season dancing for the University of South Florida changed my life. While performing in front of thousands of people, I felt a rush I had never experienced before. For the first time in my life, I was required to attend regular workouts with a trainer and watch what I ate. I saw it as a challenge, and I wanted to be the best I could be at it.
Then came the next season. As a veteran, I auditioned for the team again. The difference this time was that I had confidence. I felt great and earned my spot back.
For the next two years, I thoroughly enjoyed my time in college. I built friendships with the girls, and it almost felt like we were a sorority of our own.
When I graduated in May of 2007, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my degree in Mass Communications. At that point in my life, my main focus was making a professional dance team, and I would figure out the rest later.
I moved back to Orlando and took a leap of faith to audition for the Orlando Magic Dancers. At the time, I had confidence, but on a much smaller scale than I did while dancing at a collegiate level.
I had been told by my coaches that I was going to have to work really hard to keep up with the level of dancing they take, and I saw that as my next challenge. I had my mind set that I was going to make this team!
How An Audition Changed My Life
Once I have my heart set a goal, I will do whatever it takes to make it happen. Months prior to auditioning for a professional NBA team, I knew I was going to have to work hard for a spot on it.
I took hip hop classes, I took jazz classes, I ate extremely clean, and I worked out every single day. When the day finally came, I walked into the gym knowing I did as much as I could to make my dreams of becoming an NBA dancer happen.
As each round passed, I became more and more surprised I was still standing there. I made it through hip hop, I made it through jazz, and only during my final performances of boot camp week on stage did I feel confident and comfortable.
I gave it everything I had.
(Like the crunk face, do you?)
By the end of the night I found out I made the team and I was in shock.
I DID IT.
I could go on and on about how dancing on this team changed my life, but the answers are obvious.
I got to perform and got an even bigger rush performing in front of even more people. I got to dunk basketballs. I got to repel from the ceiling during the NBA Finals. I got featured on websites like Maxim. I got to travel the world, and all in doing so, I met my future husband.
I felt on top of the world.
Then one day, it ended abruptly. Scott’s contract ended, and he parted ways with the team. As a newlywed couple, I decided not to audition again knowing we would most likely be relocating to a new city to start a new life.
Then we did.
How Moving Up North Changed My Life
After a year of searching for a full-time job, Scott finally landed a promising offer from the Detroit Pistons. Within a few weeks, we had plans to move up to the suburbs of Detroit. By November of 2012, we became Michigan residents!
This was certainly a turning point in my life.
Without dancing, without my family, without my friends I grew up with, and without teaching barre classes, I had to figure out what I wanted to do and what else made me happy.
At the beginning, it was rough. We lived in a hotel for three weeks, and all of my days ran together. Without a set schedule and without responsibilities, I had no idea what to make of my days and how to spend my time. I would literally sit in front of my computer for hours at a time, reading blogs, participating in Twitter chats, and researching everything I could on careers I might be remotely interested in.
Shortly after, it hit me. This was my opportunity. This “slow” time in my life was a chance for me to focus on blogging and make it more than just a hobby. I wanted to make it my job.
Then I started dancing again. I participated in a handful of halftime shows, and then eventually got offered a spot to dance on the Pistons Dance Team.
This did not happen overnight, nor was it easy. I felt extremely outside of my comfort zone the first few months of practicing and performing with a new team, which forced me to work harder than ever. Although my confidence was lacking, I was going to make it happen, and eventually I did.
My time to focus on blogging quickly changed into “fitting it in” whenever I had time. I made a point to keep up my site, but put all of my extra goals on the back burner.
After the season ended, I found the fire I once had to put myself out there in the blogging world and make something happen. During the season, I became overly ecstatic to find out I was accepted as a FitFluential Ambassador, and my main goal this summer was to get involved in as many projects and campaigns I could.
Yesterday I hinted towards some exciting things that are happening for me on the blog front. Without saying too much, I will share that I am in the midst of working on a handful of sponsored posts and am also preparing to travel to the FitBloggin’ conference in Portland, not only to represent FitFluential, but also another huge brand that is sponsoring me. I promise I will share more about that when I am there!
My point in opening up with you is to share the love. I woke up in the best mood today, and I know exactly where it came from.
Ten years ago I never would have thought I would be dancing in the NBA. Five years ago, I would have never thought I could find a job in writing, and run a site that makes me want to inspire others. One year ago, I would have never thought I would still be dancing in the NBA and preparing for auditions to do another year of it all again.
Life is often unpredictable, and always surprising. Sometimes we don’t realize our dreams until they are right in front of us, staring us in the face. Are you reaching out for them?
In order to succeed in any dream, you first have to believe in yourself. That is the first and single most important thing I have learned throughout this entire process.
Have confidence in yourself.
Believe in yourself.
YOU (with confidence) can make anything happen.
“In order to succeed we must first believe that we can.” – Michael Korda