Ode to The Slight Edge

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The past month has been nothing short of an eye opening experience. I have pursued two ventures that I honestly can’t say I saw coming; starting my own business in network marketing and becoming an elementary special education teacher in the inner city of Syracuse. Needless to say, I haven’t found the time to reflect through writing as much as I like to or grew accustomed to while living in Thailand. But no time like the present. Being a teacher in Thailand was the best job I ever had. Being a substitute teacher in America, in an extremely low SES inner city community, is far from the best job I ever had. Every day is a challenge, mentally, physically and emotionally. Luckily I am fortunate enough to have walked into an opportunity where I will now take over full time for a teacher who is on medical leave. It is exciting to have some consistency, build solid relationships with my students and get into the swing of normal classroom life. Except I am teaching a grade level and subject area I have no experience with. “Nothing like biting off more than you can chew and chewing anyway.” I am up for the challenge and despite the extreme differences from my teaching in Thailand, I still get to shape young minds and carve young hearts each and every day. That is something that will never get old.

On a positive note, I am feeling extremely inspired by my other professional decisions I have made the past few months. I feel so fortunate to be a part of such a positive group of like-minded individuals and have the opportunity to build my own business with the incredible platform of Beachbody, LLC to back me up. As a part of my training for being a coach I have incorporated personal development into my daily routine. I read The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson (if you haven’t read it I highly recommend you do), which artfully describes the author’s rollercoaster ride from beachbum to millionaire to bankrupt and back again. He gives his key for success; in business, life, happiness,and health  which is the slight edge. “Little things that seem insignificant in the doing, yet when compounded over time yield very big results.”

For me this book and this new business venture came at the perfect crossroads of my life. I read a little each day for the past few weeks and the messages were woven into my brain, just as I have woven them into my writing. I am a very self-aware individual and as a writer and an emotional Gemini, I am always searching to understand myself better. I have realized lately that I always need to be challenged. “The wisest investment you can make is to invest in your own continuous learning and development.” I moved 8 hours away for undergrad, enrolled in a 5 year Master’s program where I did student teaching full time and went to grad school, got extremely involved in my sorority and took many leadership positions, and then decided to move to a third world country and teach. When I came home I knew I needed a new challenge. Something to work toward each and every day. I didn’t realize I was walking into two challenges with both my teaching and my coaching. “There is no treading water in life, no running in place because everything is in motion. If you’re not improving, enriching, building, unfolding- if you’re not adding assets to your personal and professional value every day- then you’re headed down the curve.” Diving straight into uncharted territory has forced me to push myself to become better. I wake up everyday at 5:30 am to work out and go to school all day then I come home and work on my business for a few hours until I go to bed. “The simple things that lead to success are all easy to do. But they’re just as easy not to do.” People always complain that they don’t have enough time, but really we all have enough time to accomplish our goals, it simply is a question of what is a priority in our life. I feel inspired by my reading and by my fellow coaches and teammates who have found such great success in the business. I feel inspired by my own intrinsic drive and my ongoing realization that whatever life hands me, I can and I will handle. My attitude is what determines my happiness and I am in control. “Success doesn’t lead to happiness- it’s the other way around.” It is amazing how quickly you can change your day by smiling at strangers, reaching out to tell others you appreciate them, laughing at confusion or lending a helping hand. “Be happy and the reason will appear.“ Our society has tricked us into the mentality of “I will be happy when…” but if my travels, my heartbreak, my grief and my triumphs have taught me anything; it is we must be happy now. We have to cherish every day. “There is no some day. There’s only today. When tomorrow comes, it will be another today; so will the next day. They all will. There is never anything but today.”

Life is such a balancing act and when we live in the moment we have to simultaneously have goals for the future. “When you do have a clear picture of the future and consciously put time every day into letting yourself be drawn forward by that future, it will pull you through whatever friction and static you encounter In the present- and whatever tugging and clutching you may feel from the past.” I struggled when I first got home because every single person I encountered gave me the “What’s next?” spiel. Being a planner, an organizer, a go-getter my whole life; it was very hard for me to admit that I didn’t know. But I didn’t. I think about my future every day but I am so fortunate to have picked up this book at this point in my life because it reminded me, “Success is the progressive realization of a worthy idea.” The key word is progressive. I don’t know what exactly I will do to change the world but I believe I can and I believe I will. I don’t just want to…I need to. At times this feels like a blessing and a curse. You have to have a plan to start but that doesn’t mean it will be the plan in the end. “That pain of wanting the burning desire to posses what you lack is one of the greatest allies you have. It is a force you can harness to create whatever you want in your life.”

I am a big picture person, a big picture thinker but being involved in network marketing and the health and fitness world has helped me to value the day to day steps that will take me from dreams to reality. “Showing up is essential. Showing up consistently is powerful. Showing up consistently with a positive outlook is even more powerful.” That is what The Slight Edge has taught me. “Sometimes you need to slow down to go fast.” I am excited to have the opportunity to share my voice and my passion for being positive in a new way. I am also excited to bring my own talents and what I have to offer both to my clients, my business, my school, and my students. “We all have the capacity to have a powerful ripple effect. The question is, what kind do you want to have? The choice is always yours.” Some days I feel very discouraged working in the American school system, there is a lot that I don’t agree with and simply cannot understand. But I also see a lot of hardworking, committed, passionate individuals who pour their heart and soul into those classrooms despite the many obstacles they face. There is still hope there and hope in the eyes of the tiny humans looking up at me every day. “There’s nothing compassionate about letting yourself get sucked into a vortex of negativity.”

Quite honestly, I was scared that coming back to America would feel like “settling” after a life that felt like an adventure at every waking moment. But, I was very wrong. There is so much this world has to offer; no matter where you are you are in control of your life and the artist of your masterpiece. “The world is rife with hesitation, the cornerstone of mediocrity.” Don’t hesitate to improve yourself. Don’t hesitate to reach for more. Don’t hesitate to change yourself for the better. Don’t settle for what you think you should be doing, have to do, or don’t have time to do. Challenge yourself, believe in yourself and most importantly DO something. “Life is doing if you aren’t doing you’re dying.” Cheers, let’s drink to that! xx

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