I have been thinking about this post and writing it in my head for a while now. Truth is, it scares the crap out of me to put this out there. But here it goes- I hope it helps a few of you.
A few years ago I went from knowing a couple hundred people in real life, most within an hour radius of my home, to being seen by hundreds of thousands of people online. Most of these people I will NEVER meet in real life, including you, if you are reading this. But thanks to social media, you know me…or at least the ‘me’ that you see online.
As a fitness model and online personality, you probably think I am always in perfect shape and it’s effortless for me since I get paid to do it. And since it’s my job, I have all day to work out, go to the gym, and cook healthy food at home. I get paid tons of money for photo-shoots, to be on covers of magazines and from people buying my programs. Between motivational posts, sexy selfies and behind the scenes snapshots, my life is an exciting parade of success and opportunity. Not anything like your ‘normal’ life…
We all like to appear successful, but thanks to social media, superhero status is mistakenly dished out proportional to your number of likes and followers. And I will be the first to admit that having over 150K followers online does not define me and doesn’t necessarily translate into real world success. But why am I telling you all this? Because what you see online is not always the whole story, and while sometimes these stories can be inspiring, they more commonly lead to defeating thoughts like “maybe she can do it, but I am just a normal person…”
I want to inspire by being myself, not by keeping up an illusion. My success (that you see online) is not the full story. So I am going to give a behind-the-scenes confession of my real life to show you that not only am I not a superhero, but I am not even a consistent ‘normal’.
I have over 125k followers on Facebook, 20k followers on Instagram, 7k followers on Twitter, and I spend most of my days by myself and have probably never felt more lonely in my life. Even real friends and people who really know me tend to only think of me as my online self thanks to the tendency to stalk each others social media profiles instead of picking up the phone. I can hardly have honest conversations anymore because before I can respond to “How’s it going?” they answer it for me with a string of “You seem to be doing amazing!!….You are killing it!!!…I’m so jealous of how successful and busy you are!!!….” Opening my mouth would either let them down or make me seem ungrateful, so I smile and say, “Yeah, it’s going great!”.
But here’s some truth about my reality over the last year, I:
- Developed a habit of hitting SNOOZE for hours after my planned wakeup time because I dreaded starting the day. Eventually led to setting no alarm at all.
- Spent 1-2 hours scrolling social media feeds from bed once I finally did wake up. Often resulted in a comparison hangover that left me unmotivated to even try to accomplish anything that day.
- Learned that being an ‘entrepreneur’ sometimes meant sitting at home in my pajamas trying get work done between episodes of Scandal . On good days it meant getting dressed and working from a cafe.
- Realized that even models are insecure about their bodies because we have to think about what we look like Every. Single. Day.
- Researched, analyzed, read, planned and dreamed about what I should be doing much more than actually doing anything. When you see a handful of other fitness professionals launch their own version of a business idea you had and yours is still just a thought…talk about being stuck.
- Disppointed friends and family by enjoying unhealthy food around them on special occasions. Apparently fitness models don’t ever indulge so my rebellious eating shocked them.
- Worked for free doing photoshoots, guest blogging and appearances for ‘the exposure’. (Happens more than you think)
- Finished off an entire peanut butter jar because it made more sense to minimize damage by ‘getting rid of it’ in one sitting then risk going back for more later.
- Dreaded posting anything to social media because pictures of my ass are the only thing that actually get likes and creating valuable, helpful content is almost discouraged.
- Doubted myself and my decision to quit my steady job at least once a month. Usually resulted in refusal to accept my obligations and marathon TV watching.
- Considered selling everything I own and moving to Costa Rica to be a beach bum. Pura Vida.
Only a touch dysfunctional right? But before I get to my point, over the last year I also:
- Doubled my income from the previous year at my ‘regular day job’ in my first year as an entrepreneur.
- Published my first eBook that has helped 1000s of people get control of their health habits and change their lives.
- Lost 10 pounds and after a year of rebounding and struggling with my relationship with food post-competition, I maintain balance and am effortlessly at my old ‘stage weight’ year-round without crazy dieting/cardio.
- Made appearances on National TV, booked my first commercial and landed a modeling contract with Target that puts my face in stores around the world (hi, mom!).
- Traveled out of the country twice, 4 times to New York, 3 times to Vegas, Texas, and Boston while growing my business-on the way to fulfilling my dream of being location independent.
- Featured on Maxim, Sports Illustrated, The Chive and as a Bellator MMA Ring girl- some model milestones I never thought possible.
- Learned how to code, run a WordPress site, do marketing, and everything else an entrepreneur spends 90% of their time doing (only 10% of the time I get to do what I do best- help people reach their fitness goals)
- Realized that loving your body is the most important thing to do, because bigger boobs or longer legs will not make you happier. (If you don’t believe me, hang out with a group of models with bigger boobs and longer legs-still unhappy and insecure)
- Figured out that symptoms of depression and often feeling stuck and unsure comes with the territory of being an entrepreneur/creative/risk-taker/human being.
Here’s My Point
Most fitness celebrities, models or social media superheroes are not just that. I’m an over analytical, quirky girl who does BIG things despite sabotaging habits and negative self-talk. And my typical day looks a lot more like yours than you might think.
But that’s not interesting to post about, so a lot of people don’t show reality. And one of the things I loved about social media was the opportunity to be authentic. Being real and sharing my journey was effortless to me. But it’s hard not to care what other people think (I’m human), and somewhere along the way I became too affected by likes, comments, or lack-there-ofs so I dreaded posting. Unpopular posts felt like rejection and half naked selfies felt like selling out. It doesn’t matter how successful someone may appear, feeling stuck and unsure is something that can happen to anyone.
But don’t fret…because those moments cause growth and you will be better off from them. Take action (like I am) to get out of your own way.
Here’s what I do to get the right things done and resist my endless temptation to procrastinate and waste my days with time-consuming, meaningless BS:
1. Master the little things. Stop doing what you know you shouldn’t and do what you know you should. I’m no dummy, and I bet you aren’t either. You probably know exactly why you are still trying to lose 10 pounds…and have been for years. Or why you have tons of ideas and nothing to show for it. I am a master at knowing exactly what I should be doing, but doing it is a totally different story. I started small this week: no TV before bed and a new morning routine to replace my counterproductive habit of checking my phone for an hour before getting up. How you do the little things is how you do everything, so start with small, manageable changes.
2. Have a superstar morning routine. I don’t care what line of work you are in or who your mentor is (mine happens to be Tim Ferris whose blog inspired me to write this), every super successful person and self-help guru has their version of a must-do morning routine that is credited to their success (or at least their effectiveness). Mine is part winning-at-life and part health-driven and when followed consistently, I feel just a little like a superhero:
-Set an alarm for 2 hours earlier than I usually wake up (for me…that’s 6AM)
-Drink 1 cup hot water, w/ juice of 1 lemon and dash of cayenne pepper added. (helps detoxify and gets things moving in the bathroom…let’s get weird)
-Get my notebook out and fill one whole page with whatever is on my mind. Literally, whatever… I don’t think, just write. And don’t stop until the page is done, force it if you have to. For over-thinkers like me, this is an amazing trick to quiet the mind and help you focus throughout the day. (sometimes it’s a diary entry, sometimes it turns into a bright idea for my business, don’t judge what’s on your mind-just write)
-Flip the page over and make a to-do list. The top 3-5 things that are bugging you the most. Usually they have been on your ‘list’ for a while now and you avoid at all costs.
-Circle one of those items and block out a 2-3 hour window of uninterrupted time to get that one thing done. Schedule it on your phone if you have to, but just stick to it!
-Go for a 20 minute walk and listen to music or take a yoga class or get in your workout. By the time you get back you would have normally just been getting up and instead you have already cleared your digestive system, your mind, your nagging list of things to do and your workout. And you didn’t even check Facebook yet…
Way to go, superhero.
3. Stop giving fucks to things that don’t matter. Excuse my language, but accomplishing this requires some determination and passion so #sorrynotsorry. The internet is filled with trolls, negative nancys, haters and every other type of opinion-haver there is. You can’t please everyone, and trying to edit yourself to what you think others want will drive you crazy and is a complete waste of time. And your life. At the end of the day, if you can recognize the person you were and know you were authentic and REAL, there is no apologies necessary. This post is my public declaration that from now on I am going to do and share what makes me happy and provides value to others (instead of letting the perverted comments on helpful posts depress me) and if you don’t like it, I will be happy to show you to the ‘unfollow’ button.
Not only does this one apply to other’s opinions but sometimes you need to tell your biggest critic to shut up too: YOURSELF. If scrolling social media feeds leaves you feeling down on yourself or in a comparison hangover, stop it. Stop caring about other people’s success, thigh gaps or epic cheat meals. Everyone has a tendency to overestimate others and underestimate yourself. You have no idea what that person’s daily life is nor what happens behind the scenes. Give them a mental ‘high five’ for their accomplishments and then put the phone down and do something to help your own journey, they don’t affect you and they don’t matter.
4. Do ONE big thing every day. This goes back to your morning routine, remember that one thing you said you would do today? Go do it. Whenever I have 20 things I want to get done there is a 100% chance that none of them will get done. If you think you will feel better once all those things are done, remind yourself the last time you felt overwhelmed with a to-do list and how quickly you came up with more things to do once you finished. We are constantly striving for more and better so it’s time to accept that our plates will NEVER be clear and we will never ‘make it’. Because once you do, more dreams, goals, and to-dos magically appear for you to do next.
Being really busy all the time is usually a disguise for a lazy, procrastinator to not do the important things that really need to get done. Stop running around doing meaningless tasks, and just get one thing done today.
And then do it again tomorrow.
5. Enjoy the ‘funk’ then move on. Some days when you really feel like staying in bed all day and not doing anything, that is exactly what you need to do. No amount of tips and tricks to fight that feeling will make it totally go away, so why fight it? If I fight my feelings for too long they usually spiral into a damaging phase that lasts longer and costs me more. So, my new strategy for those days that I just want to curl up and avoid the world… is to just do it. Take a personal day and don’t feel guilty. Really get into it with sappy movies, trashy reality tv and even a cookie or two.
Because tomorrow you are starting fresh with your superstar morning routine so you better enjoy the funk today.
So that’s it. That is my game plan when I feel stuck, depressed and unworthy and I hope a few of you can relate. I want you to know that you are not alone. AND you are way more awesome than you think.
PS- I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments! Can you relate to that feeling? Let me know what you do to get UN-stuck. Till next time xox