Updated: Dec 12, 2020
It feels different this time. Ten years ago my mindset was the sky is the limit and the belief that second place is the first loser.
20 years ago my mindset was driven by a hunger to accomplish as much as I could in the least amount of time.
I'm not really sure what the rush was.
Throughout my youth when I fixated on something, nothing stopped me from reaching my goals. I loved doing and I wanted everything yesterday.
Today my decisions happen a lot slower and I take a lot more into consideration in the process.
I can remember the last few times I competed on stage. I torpedoed into a show with only maybe 6 or 7 weeks to get stage ready. I was tired from a year of prep for a previous show that didn't turn out the way I had hoped, I was training while nurturing a torn hamstring, and I wanted to win this next show so badly that I was doing double sessions of cardio and lifting even on days I was fasting.
Yeah you read that right.
I remember waking up in the middle of the night with the most agonizing hunger pains on those fasting days. I remember secretly crying while lifting too. But my physique was behind schedule so my mindset was if this is what it takes, then so be it.
Needless to say I didn't show up on competition day in peak condition, so this show didn't go as I had hoped either.
I felt like a complete failure.
AND.. I was so darn tired.
I gave competing one last shot 6 months later before realizing that, as a Figure competitor, I was probably too muscular for the federation I was competing in - and not muscular enough - for the other federation I wanted to compete in.
The only other option at the time was the newly introduced, and less muscular division, called "bikini," but I felt it portrayed women in too sexual of a manner.
I take the sport of bodybuilding very seriously. My first competitions before there was such thing as even the "Figure" division was as a natural bodybuilder
in my early 20s. I didn't like the provocative posing or the excessive flirting with the judges that was happening all across the bikini stages. I didn't feel like these things belonged on a bodybuilding stage.
Fortunately, "Bikini" has evolved since then into a much more muscular and less sexual category than it was in its infant stages...but it didn't resonate with me at that time so I didn't consider it an option.
As a result, after these last three shows I lost my drive to compete and instead I decided to focus on building my fitness brand and the businesses that went along with it.
Six years later and I am still trying to build my vision. There have been many high points and a number of obstacles that have slowed things down along the way.
Some of the high points were:
Owning and operated a brick-and-mortar fitness facility where I launched a Michele Approved® movement in my community that took the guess work out of healthy nutrition, identified the best of the best businesses. and did things like this:
I carved out a niche in the fitness industry by specializing in teaching the posing and stage presentation components for physique athletes competing in every division and every federation,
I've head judged and panel judged competitions for multiple federations including world championship shows in LA and NY,
I've hosted posing and stage presentation workshops for all divisions and federations in Bodybuilding,
I've finished school to become a certified yoga teacher so I could add more tools to my tool belt as a posing and stage choreographer and coach,
And I've graduated from an intensive Modeling and Acting School to add even more tools in my tool belt as a posing and stage choreographer and coach.
And then there are the lows.
The things that diverted me off my path and made me feel like I was crawling up a mountain.
Things like financial ruin, selling all of my belongings including my precious fitness facility, becoming 65lbs overweight,
divorce, depression, and even health issues that put me in the hospital a couple of times. Needless to say a lot has happened over the years and there has been a lot of zigzags in the road.
Then earlier this year I came to a crossroads. I had been feeling that the things that really excite me in life were a lifetime ago and I had little motivation to get out of bed in the morning. I got up because I had to pay the bills, not because I wanted to.
At the same time, my biological clock was ticking so I was contemplating whether or not to have children. At first I settled on the idea of having children.
But I found myself slipping deeper and deeper into sadness and didn't know why. I should be excited about children, right? Part of me felt guilty for not being excited. Like I was letting down "Mother Nature" or something. I might've been excited 10 years ago if the timing and the relationship was right, but now that I am 40 all I feel is the pressure of now or never, rather than the pure excitement of motherhood.
After a ton of soul searching I decided that I had to be real with myself. I had to come to terms with letting down "Mother Nature" because this was just an idea that came from my own insecurities about motherhood. There are many things I still want to accomplish...and the truth is....motherhood was in the way. Ugh. So harsh. But the truth can be ugly.