Whew! What a year that was. 2022 has been a banner year for me in many ways – I finally made my coaching “official” by creating this website, obtaining my business license, and making a concerted effort to expand my network and visibility. It hasn’t been easy, but it has been rewarding in many ways – not necessarily in the financial sense, of course, but in other, equally important ways 😉.
As I reflect both on the challenges I faced and what I accomplished in 2022, I also look toward the future. I have big plans for 2023, as do many of us, so I wanted to close this year out by sharing my reflections in the hope that by doing so, you will also be inspired to reflect and look forward.
Over the past 12 months, I’ve learned a thing or two about networking that even my 15+ years of recruiting experience hasn’t taught me. I’ve faced the challenges of marketing and the laborious, often tedious process of building a website from scratch. Starting a sole proprietorship in Virginia? I can now tell you how. Best practices for tracking business expenses? I’m far from the expert but I’ve learned from trial and error. All great lessons and worth sharing, but what has really stuck with me is far simpler. My biggest takeaway from this past year has been somewhat unexpected – in a wonderful way. And that lesson is that you truly have nothing to lose by just asking. Have big dreams? They will never happen if you don’t at least try.
Sometime around when I started building my website this time last year, I also realized that I needed to swing for the fences if I was going to make a legitimate go of building my own business. Was I nervous about pushing my services when the market is literally saturated with running coaches, when all it takes to be able to advertise yourself as a personal trainer is a passing test score? What made me so different that people would want to work with me over the 700 other coaches looking for their business?
I do think I offer a unique perspective, a genuine and unwavering commitment to helping others make healthy lifestyle changes and reach their goals, and I did invest a not-insubstantial amount of time, energy, and money into obtaining the education necessary to feel confident in advertising myself as a coach. But at the end of the day, nobody was going to know these things about me unless I put them out there.
And so I started swinging for those fences – emailing anyone who might be remotely relevant to me, attending networking events and workshops, and creating a constant stream of content to share with anyone and everyone who would listen. And do you know what happened? My inquiries and my results became a trickle became a stream became a steady river. I still have a lot of room to grow in my business, but I can honestly say that I exceeded my own expectations by a significant margin in 2022.
To be clear, my purpose in sharing this is NOT to humble brag. Rather, my intent is to encourage others – to encourage YOU - to also swing for those fences. You have nothing to lose by asking for help in making those dreams a reality. Life is too short NOT to ask.
Consider these examples from my life:
· I love everything about the Blue Zones – those areas of the world where people enjoy longer life expectancies and lower incidences of chronic disease – so back in 2020, I reached out to the Blue Zones Project on a lark to see if there was a way to get Arlington, VA involved. Did I think for a second anyone would get back to me? Not even a little bit. And yet someone did, and there is now a project in the works to bring the BZ to Arlington in 2023. I was lucky that the County Board was receptive to the idea, but at the end of the day, it wouldn’t have happened if I hadn’t taken that chance.
· Again on a lark, not thinking anything would come of it, I submitted my “story” to Runner’s World magazine, and a short blurb about my coaching was included in the first edition of 2023. Hardly 15 minutes of fame, but it was a big confidence boost and cool from a dorky runner’s perspective.
· I have long wanted to lead wellness retreats, but that classic conundrum of cart-before-the-horse or vice-versa has prevented that from happening – I had no experience leading retreats therefore I couldn’t work as a retreat leader. So I asked the question – how can I make this happen myself? Some hard work, dogged determination, and the first retreat(s) are soon to be on the schedule.
· And countless examples of me reaching out to local businesses about potential collaborations and receiving positive responses that have led to some cool projects and exciting plans.
I plan to continue building on this momentum in 2023, and I hope you will all be along for that ride with me. And remember: you have nothing to lose by asking for help in pursuing your dreams. There are a lot of people out there who would love to help you in exchange for a little support thrown their way, so let’s all help each other make 2023 a banner year. Because one year from now, I’d like us all to look back and feel proud of what we’ve accomplished together.