Strong Inside Out officially turned one year old yesterday!
A year ago, I had no idea what to expect. I thought I was just starting another fitness blog. I had no idea how much it would evolve over the span of one year… or how much it would change my life.
Now, after opening up about my past, releasing my first ebook and beginning online coaching, I am much wiser, productive and open-minded.
I’ve learned a lot over the past year, and I’d like to share with your some of the lessons I’ve learned since I started writing for the interwebs. These lessons are for life, so even if you don’t have a blog or write at all, there is still a lot to be learned here.
Make sure to stick around to the end for an awesome birthday contest!
Make Your Own Opportunities
They. Are. EVERYWHERE.
Most people are just looking in all the wrong places.
The problem is that most people are looking for that one big opportunity to come up for them.
Most people want to be told when to act, what to do, who to talk to, or have blinders on to other opportunities because they are so focused on that “one” that may never come.
Start opening up your definition of what an opportunity is.
Who says you need one big opportunity? Who says you can’t take action in the face of many smaller ones or even make your own opportunities? You might even get to your goal result faster.
I took many little opportunities along the way to grow Strong Inside Out.
I wrote back to every single comment on my site so that people know I care about what they had to say.
I refocused my content on issues that readers wrote in to me about.
I respond to every email I get and have made some great friends out of it (not to mention I truly do get inspired by the stories of strength and courage that I get weekly in my inbox).
Every time you wake up in the morning is an opportunity to be the person you want to be that day.
Big or small, opportunities are everywhere. Stop waiting for the “one,” and start recognizing the ones that present themselves every day!
The Worst You Can Hear Is “No”
This was a hard one for me to get over… oh wait, I still haven’t gotten over it yet.
Let’s just say I have some issues around rejection. I don’t know if it was from my nerdy childhood, or if my years in Hollywood beat me to a sniveling pulp that refuses to ask people for things…
I prefer not to blame. I like to find a solution. :)
So one of the things I always say here is:
“Feel the fear and do it anyway.”
Trying to live by my own example, I’ve made it a point to put myself on the line quite a few times this year. And you know what? I came out on top almost every single time.
I wrote my book hoping that some people would dig it, and it’s sold more copies than I thought it would!
I went to Lululemon about collaboration and now I’m doing a bootcamp with their run club!
I was recently talking with Andrea about the power of asking. So many people are afraid to ask for what they want.
I discovered this year that, by sucker-punching fear in the face and taking action anyway, you can get a lot further faster… even if it’s super scary making yourself vulnerable like that.
Every time I act in the face of fear, it gets easier to take bolder action the next time around. To ask bigger questions. To DREAM bigger.
The worst anyone can say is “no.”
And you know what to do when that happens? Find another way to get where you want to go.
You’d be surprised how much people really are willing to help.
If I hear, “no,” hey, at least I’m not living in the purgatory of “I’ll never know.”
Surround Yourself with Awesome
These people inspire me daily. These guys make me strive to be a better, fuller person and dream bigger.
Surrounding yourself with people who encourage and support you was one of the early sentiments I expressed to you all here.
It’s so so SO important.
Those people who suck the life out of you? Why do you keep them around? What do you get out of it?
Do you and them a favor: fire them. You don’t need to waste your time with people who make you feel bad about yourself.
You need people to lift you up. You need people who say, “You’re freaking awesome and I’m lucky to have you on my team!”
There’s a great deal of people here on Strong Inside Out and in the Facebook community to encourage you. Some other great groups are Steve’s at Nerd Fitness and Joel’s Impossible League. These people are out there doing crazy great things with their lives… and they want you to join them!
If I learned one thing over the last year, it’s that people can tell when you’re putting up a show.
When I’d write a post that didn’t ring true to who I am, no one responded to it. It didn’t resonate with anyone.
The more ME I am, the more people relate with my writing.
It’s scary a lot of the time, but I am so happy to share what I’ve been through and what I’m currently going through if it helps you feel less alone!
You will be able to be a better mom/dad/husband/wife/sister/brother/son/daughter/coworker/boss/human being if you embrace your differences and just freaking OWN it.
We’re all weirdos. Every single one of us. Be proud of your crazy quirks and do the world a solid by letting your freak flag fly.
Don’t be afraid to be you. You’re the only you out there. If someone doesn’t like it, don’t worry: there are another 7 billion people who might.
You Are Not Alone
Before I wrote my about page a year ago, I had told a total of maybe 5 people the truth about my past.
I thought that everyone would judge me because of what I’d been through. I was embarrassed to talk about it, like it was a disease I had to hide.
I really didn’t think there were very many people out there who had gone through what I had.
When I broke down those walls and wrote my story for everyone to see, I felt exhilarated.
This was before anyone besides my Mom and my fiancé read my blog. I felt good just getting it out there!
Hiding my past was smothering me. I didn’t feel like I fully became myself until I could finally embrace the pain I’d been through.
By realizing that those years shaped me into who I am today, and that my story could help inspire hope in others was an enlightening moment.
The most amazing thing happened, though. I started getting emails.
Friends, acquaintances, family members at first, then people I didn’t know. People started coming out of the woodwork and telling me their stories.
Out of all the emails I receive from the contact form on this site, I’d say about 80% are from those who are going through or have been through dark times.
You are not alone.
Only after I recovered did I find this truth. But I hope to help you realize it sooner.
If you’re feeling alone, I hope this site helps you feel less so.
There is a whole community here to support you.
And one other thing: You have all the power to change your life if you are willing to put in the work.
I’m not saying it’s your fault that you feel this way, because it’s not.
I’m just saying that if you choose to, you can start making your way out of the darkness.
I hope you’ll join me… it’s pretty cool being able to see after so many years in the dark. :)
For those who just skimmed to the bottom to find out what the surprise birthday contest is, kudos to you, my very smart friend. ;)
In the theme of Strong Inside Out, I want to spread the inspiration far and wide today. The best way I’ve found to do this from my year of blogging is to share your own lessons to inspire strength in others.
So, as motivation to start inspiring others, I will be giving 3 randomly-selected participants a free copy of Make This Your Moment!
To participate, follow these directions…
On the Strong Inside Out Facebook page, I’ve posted this image:
Here’s the instructions to get in the drawing to win a free copy of Make This Your Moment:
2. Tag yourself in it by hovering your mouse at the bottom of the image where you will see “Tag Photo.” Click that button and type in your own name.
3. In the comments, leave a token of inspiration to give strength to someone who needs it today.
This year, the Strong Inside Out community will get stronger, bigger, and more supportive than ever. Let’s kickstart this year with an inspirational bang!
Three winners will be selected at random on Friday, July 20th at 7 pm PST and notified via Facebook. Woo!
Also, I’m honored to be on TransformationalMotivation today! Check out my interview as well as a humbling write up from the awesome Mohamed Tohami here!
If you liked this post, check out 11 Life Lessons from 2011 to Turn You Strong Inside Out and Meet Amy: 27 Things I’ve Never Told You.