By: Shannon Ortiz, LPCCS, RYT200, SPS

What is your WHY? Many life coaches, motivational speakers, and yes, even counselors (including me!), will challenge people to find their WHY? Their purpose. The mistake we often make is we immediately think big picture. If it’s a fitness goal, maybe it’s to lose 30 pounds or set a 5k PR. If it’s job or business related, maybe it’s to quit your job and become self-employed or retire early. All of those things are phenomenal reasons to make changes and keep pushing. More than likely though, if you are just starting off on your journey, as as you hit a roadblock or barrier, you’re likely to fall off track because it seems daunting and impossible. You may just throw your hands up in the air and go put those comfortable shoes back on. Here’s the deal! You need to BREAK IT DOWN (in my best James Brown voice).

What is your why RIGHT NOW? Find the baby step (watch What About Bob first), then figure out your first step toward your baby step. Small steps lead to BIG changes! I think I’ve heard that somewhere before…

I never, repeat N.E.V.E.R. intended to teach yoga or return to group fitness and make a living at it. My WHY? The reason I picked up my first barbell, did my first bench press and ended up in a Hot Power Yoga class? I wanted to start my leaf blower. Yep, You read that right! My leaf blower. Raise your hand if you ever tried to start a piece of lawn equipment. Then you know my struggle! Apparently you have to be Hercules to accomplish such tasks. It was self-defeating. I had to ask for help to start a leaf blower? Really now? Not this girl! Hold my beer…well water really.

Guess what?! I used my leaf blower to blow my leaves today, as I did last year as well. The rest of the story…

I have survived the darkest minute, hour, day (I could go on) of my life thus far. When my life got flipped upside down, I went to my mat. I went to the gym. I lifted the barbell. I ran harder, faster. There were tears amongst the sweat dripping down my face. I was probably physically stronger during that time (and now) than I had ever been, and thank God! Pushing myself physically has taught me a lot about myself mentally. I tell my fitness classes and clients that it’s 90% mental and 10% physical because IT IS! The need to start my leaf blower helped me more than just being able to blow my leaves even though I didn’t know that at the time. It was my why RIGHT NOW! Of course, my why RIGHT NOW has changed, as yours will too, but eventually you will reach the ultimate goal of losing 30 pounds, setting a 5k PR, quitting your job to become self-employed, and maybe even retiring early. Guess what…I did all those… minus the early retirement, but until then I love my job of helping people be the best version of themselves. Thank God for the leaves that fall!