“I Have a Dream” –Martin Luther King Jr.
July 8, 2014
It’s been a little while since I last blogged…life has been really busy lately and I’m in the midst of a major career transition as I’ve left my 16 year corporate career and job at Google to become an entrepreneur and follow my lifelong passion and dream of launching my own health, wellness and fitness company called Passion Fit! Right now, I’m putting my nose to the grindstone and am working hard on all the preparations to officially launch my company within the next month. Therefore, my blog post today is about my dream, my story and my journey so far to get there. I hope it will inspire many of you to also follow your own dreams if you haven’t had a chance to do so already. If you get to the very end of this blog post, you’ll get to see the unveiling of my new Passion Fit company logo! I know you’re all on the edge of your seats waiting for that, so keep on reading…;)
It all began when I was 9 years old. I’d always been chubby as a baby and little girl, which everyone told me was “cute.” Maybe it was at the time, but after getting tired of having my cheeks pinched really hard by all of my parent’s friends and our relatives year after year, I distinctly remember declaring at the dinner table one evening that I was going to start eating healthier and exercising. Ha! Kind of a funny thing for a 9 year old to say, isn’t it? However, I was serious and from that day forward, I stuck to my vow and really have never looked back. Of course I’ve always loved dessert and carbs and still do, but I’ve found healthy ways to still enjoy these things over the years with options like fruit, dark chocolate, frozen and Greek yogurt, whole grain bread, cereal and pasta and brown rice. I’ve also stayed focused throughout my life on eating lean meats, good fats such as nuts and avocado, low fat dairy products and lots and lots of vegetables.
As for exercise, I was involved in many different school and summer team sports and types of dance as a child in elementary school, teenager in junior high and high school and student in college. I did tennis, cross country, track and field, basketball, softball, ballet, jazz, modern, hip hop, Bollywood and salsa dance, cheerleading and was on the pom squad (which I absolutely loved and where I did a lot of choreography and dance instruction as co-caption in high school and as a Badgerette instructor in the summer during college). I also loved exercising to workout shows that I discovered on ESPN back in the ’80’s and ’90’s and did these classics religiously from the ages of 9 through 18…seriously! Does anyone remember these shows?
Since these shows aired during the day, I’d record them on VHS tapes on our VCR at home and do them after school. I also joined a gym for the first time when I was 18 years old at Bally Total Fitness with my sister. That’s when I really started getting into weight training, using workout equipment and taking aerobics classes…and I was hooked!
By the time I got to college, I decided to audition to be a fitness instructor for the University of Wisconsin-Madison Athletic Centers and taught Kickboxing and High-Low Aerobics classes from my freshman through senior years. I also took dance and aerobics classes for extra college credits on top of my marketing and management classes in the Business School.
After college and while working in corporate jobs at GE, CNET, Reebok, Yahoo and Google, on the side I trained, competed and placed in the ESPN National Aerobics Championships, trained and ran in a marathon, half marathon and several 5k and 10k races with my husband and took lots of dance classes. I also worked out at the gym 6 days a week, got licensed to teach Zumba and continued to keep up with my AFAA (Aerobics and Fitness Association of America) and CPR certifications in order to teach Kickboxing, Core Board, Zumba and Cardio Sculpt classes at Bally Total Fitness, Reebok’s corporate gym (where I worked in Interactive Marketing) and Google’s corporate gym (where I worked in Digital Advertising Sales). In addition, I became a member of Reebok University and IDEA for fitness instructors, where you receive lots of great choreography, fitness class format ideas and other continuing education credits.
When I was thinking about going to graduate school, I contemplated between getting an MBA, an MS in Advertising and Communications or an MS in Exercise, Health and Nutrition. Deep down, I wanted to get the MS in Exercise, Health and Nutrition, but my parents told me to choose a more “practical” degree, so I chose the MS in Advertising and Communications from Boston University. In the end, it ended up being the right decision, since I’ve still been able to learn and grow through my fitness certifications and continuing education credits around health, wellness, fitness, stress management and nutrition and my graduate degree has helped me in my corporate career and beyond.
By the time I became pregnant with each of my two sons, I was still committed to eating healthy, while occasionally indulging in my cravings and exercising regularly, where I did Prenatal Yoga and Pilates, workouts with light weights and a swiss ball and lots of walking. Staying strong and healthy through both pregnancies allowed me to successfully deliver my big 7 and almost 8 pound baby boys, even with my small frame. 🙂
Throughout all these years, I’ve experienced many changes with my educational and professional pursuits, getting married and having children, but the one thing that has always stayed with me is my dedication to and pure love for all things related to health, wellness and fitness. This love has also kept me physically, mentally and emotionally strong through good times and bad in my life.
Therefore, in 2012, I almost left my job at Google to start my own health, wellness and fitness company, but it wasn’t the right time or the right circumstances. However, the idea never left my head or my heart and that voice inside of me continued to persist with such conviction that I couldn’t ignore it any longer. So here I am, building my company and vision one step at a time, from the ground up and taking one of the biggest risks I’ve ever taken in my career and life! While I’m a little nervous, I’m also extremely thrilled and excited and there is a sense of calm within me because this is my dream and I know it’s the right path for me. I had written a personal mission statement when I was 19 years old and one of the things I had written, which I still believe today, was as follows, “I want to find my special talent and my purpose on this earth and serve humanity to the best of my ability.” My late grandfather also told me back in 1999 that he felt I would have a second career in my 30’s and had always encouraged me to continue to pursue my passions around fitness. I’ve truly been lucky to have amazingly supportive family and friends and these have all been signs for me to go for this!
Anyway, stay tuned for the launch in the next month of my new website, digital fitness videos, social media and digital advertising platforms, email newsletter sign-ups, more frequent blog posts and upcoming fitness class and wellness program teaching schedules at various locations. I can’t wait to get things started and share my knowledge with all of you!
That’s it for today my friends. I hope my story, my dream and the journey I’m taking will inspire you to think deeply about what you’re passionate about, what makes you happy and what your dreams are. And now that you’ve made it to the end of this post, drum roll please…
Here’s the debut of my official Passion Fit company logo:
I hope you like it and I’ll be back with another blog post soon!
Bodies in Motion with Gilad Janklowicz, ESPN. 1980’s.
Getting Fit with Denise Austin. ESPN. 1980’s.
“I have a dream” –Martin Luther King Jr. (1963)