Three years ago, I did something so unthinkable, so outlandish, so erratic, so unorthodox that the world almost went up in flames.
No, I didn’t climb Mount Everest naked.
No, I didn’t break into the White House wearing a Jason mask with an axe in hand.
No, I didn’t attempt 40-pound Farmer’s Carries in high heels.
So what did I do three years ago that was so incredibly insane?
I turned down a full-time job at Adidas.
Keep in mind during this time I was running my business – from training, to writing for my blog, to designing programs for remote clients, to coaching teams.
Just like planet Earth in a galaxy with rocks and fire and asteroids moving a million miles a second…ain’t nothing stable about that shit.
Being a business owner, to that end, is an unending series of “oh shit” moments.
Alas, when I could’ve ditched the uncertainty of business for the stability of a career at Adidas…I didn’t.
I know what you’re thinking, ‘Erica, what the actual fuck?’
Look. I get this leaves you flabbergasted.
And for someone who prides herself in giving solid life advice, I’m sure a pompous a-hole for telling people, “hey, here’s how to live your life, sincerely…from a girl who made a ludicrous decision and threw her life in the trash three years go.”
As much as you think I threw it all away, I beg to differ.
Sure, on the surface, it was fucked up, but when you peel back the layers, it makes sense.
What helped me make the decision to stick with my business was to remember my “why.”
Why did I choose to continue coaching youth athletes over receiving free Adidas gear?
Let’s take a look:
– Being in soccer for over 20 years, I didn’t want to leave the game.
– I love exercise science and learning about functional anatomy.
– I love teaching and get lit up when coaching athletes new movements.
– I love writing and the adrenaline rush that comes with it.
– I truly believe in the power of strength training for injury prevention.
– I truly believe in the power of physical activity for a lifetime both on and off the pitch.
– I want to develop athletes over the long-haul and inspire them to lean into the process.
– I want to teach athletes that “the process” extends off the field and into real life.
– I want to create content so people rethink their lives and take radical action.
– I want to provide as much value, both physically and mentally, as possible for human beings.
– I want to inspire people to live through creativity and give their gifts to the world.
Of course, I could go on and on about my “why” but I’ll stop. You get the point.
What you’ll notice is my coaching “whys” have depth.
On the other side, let’s take a look at my Adidas career “whys”:
– To make money.
– To have benefits.
– To say I worked at a big name company.
– To brag?
That’s about it.
And total transparency: these “whys” felt icky and superficial. Moreover, I cried at the thought of leaving my business behind and saying farewell to my youth athletes for the sake of a bigger paycheck and “higher” status.
With that said, knowing your “why” as well as understanding it allows you to get clear on your purpose. Do you feel in alignment? Or do you feel whacky?
I’d be remiss not to mention that knowing your “why” propels you to take action, as well as keep your momentum for the long-haul for what you truly want in life. Especially if your “why” is empowering and authentic, your actions will follow suit with the same energy and vibes.
As an example, perhaps you want to start training to get in better shape. Sure, your “why” may be you want to look sexy naked.
But let’s dive a little deeper:
– Why do you want to look sexy naked?
– Do you want to have improved self image?
– Have you suffered from a lifetime of self loathing physically?
– Do you feel you’ve lost your vibrancy and zest for life?
– Do you want to overcome confidence issues?
– Do you want to feel athletic, strong, and resilient?
These “whys” are an excellent start. If you can answer these questions with seriousness and conviction, you’re well on your way to establishing and prioritizing new training habits, and honing in on what’s important.
This reminds me, when I asked an online client why she wanted to do a workout program, she said, “I’m tired of feeling old and tired all the time.”
Her “why” was related to her internal feelings and emotions, which can be super powerful to tap into.
What she found was, being sedentary was holding her back from the simple things in life, such as walking down the driveway with ease, carrying grocery bags without breaking a sweat, going into work with fervor and energy.
When you understand your “why,” you’re onto something magical.
Even with some of the soccer players I train, when they are clear on their “why,” namely when it comes from a genuine heart space, they’re much more able to lean into the process of training – the good days, the bad days, the feats of strength, the puke-inducing conditioning runs. They realize it’s a process that’s well worth it.
And if their “why” involves impressing their helicopter parents, I can’t help you out there. Perhaps quitting sports altogether is the solution if that’s the motive. Just a thought.
Coming back to my career now, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Even on the hardest days when I feel I’m failing, I return to my “why” and find myself in solace and alignment once again.
So, yes, know your “why.”
But make sure it’s a “why” that makes you feel warm and fuzzy, too.