Friday, October 19, 2012

My Name is SHARON

My name is Sharon and I lived my last year. 



















Let me explain.  

When I turned 40, I started to do a little more soul searching then I had done in my 30’s.  I started thinking about my accomplishments thus far, and what I still wanted to experience before I kicked the bucket. I was very happy and content with most of the areas of my life.  I had a wonderful husband, 4 amazing kids (2 sons, a step-daughter, and a step-son), and a thriving business.  However, there was something that was missing on the personal side.  I had gone on “auto-pilot”, so to speak.  Except for my daily 5am workouts, I didn’t take too much time for myself.  My joy was in spending time with my kids, husband, and work.  All of this was good, however I came to feel that I needed a little excitement and well, to be a little uncomfortable.  I was playing it safe and coasting through my days.

So, somewhere along the way, the idea surfaced that I would live 2011 “as though it were my last year”. I decided that I would push myself beyond my comfort zone, scare myself, and do things I would normally NEVER do.  I wasn’t sure what the year would look like, but knew the general goal.  

As fate has its way, my challenge appeared a week later, when my trainer at the gym suggested that I compete in the next fitness show.  I had been to one of those shows before and had never conceived that I could look like one of those elite competitors, nor have the will power to train that hard.  And, even more, I didn’t think I could have the courage to get up in front of hundreds of people in an ITTY BITTY BIKINI.  I was the SHY girl that wore a towel around my waist at resort pools. And on top of it, I had just turned 41.   How could I be one of those super fit, toned, confident women up there on stage?  The sheer thought of it all, made me want to throw up.  And then it dawned on me, this was the challenge that I had been looking for.  It would force me to face all my fears in one event:
~The fear of not being able to accomplish a goal that I set for myself

~The fear of not being good enough

~The fear of being laughed at…being on stage wearing almost nothing in front of hundreds of people


So I was in! 

The first task at hand was to quiet that little voice inside my head that kept telling me that I would not be able to do it.  I literally had to shut the voice up every day!!  I had to replace the negative thinking with a new positive mindset.  I was 100% committed to my challenge and nothing was going to stop me!  I was a maniac on a mission for the first time.


I started intense weight training 6x a week.  On four of the days, I threw in a second workout that consisted of 30-40 minutes on the treadmill with 5lb weights wrapped around my legs.  My diet consisted of “clean foods” and basically no sugar, no salt, large quantities of protein, portioned fats, and only good carbs (sweet potatoes, brown rice, quinoa, and green veggies).  I logged all my food each day, and had a specific ratio / percentage that I needed to reach each day. The amount of time spent on all the food prep, exercise and logging the food was equivalent to about a half days work!  This was my routine for 4 months.


After about 10 days, I started to see an amazing transformation taking place.  Each week, I could see results from my hard work.  I lost more and more body fat and gained lean muscle.  My kids said I “had six pack abs” and I started to feel more and more confident and strong.  

The weeks slipped by and suddenly it was the day before the show.  I was so looking forward to the brownie sundae that I would have after the show.  I had pictured it in my mind for months.  I was mentally and physically tired!  The last week before the fitness show was exceptionally stressful as I had to give up most of my carbs, and on the last few days, I was basically just eating plain chicken or fish most of the day (depending on what your trainer thinks you need to do) and little water.  I started to think about getting up on stage and all the unknowns of the next day.  That little voice inside my head started getting her voice back.  I started to doubt myself and questioned what the heck I was thinking by trying to do this fitness show.  I tried on my suit and I suddenly felt horrible…fat and untoned.  I had a MAJOR meltdown and decided there was NO WAY I was getting up on stage the next day.  I called my husband crying hysterically and told him that I was not going to go through with it.  He spent the next 20 minutes “walking me off the ledge”.  Looking back now, having this near nervous breakdown the day before the show, was a huge blessing in disguise.  It was the pivotal moment when I finally decided that I would not let fear stop me like I had done so many times before.  

It didn’t matter what anyone else thought…this was my challenge, my time, and my day.  The outcome of the show also did not matter. The only thing that mattered was that I finished what I started and that I did it for me.  

After hanging up with my husband, a strange calm came over me. I decided to look at the show as a way of celebrating my journey and how far I had come.  I was not going to worry about the details, and I was just going to “go with it”.  This was a new thing for me, but what was the worst that could happen?

The day of the show started at 2am with my husband helping me wash my hair.  I had spray tanned the day before and my entire body was an alien orange color that rubbed off on anything I touched.  By 4:00 am I was getting hair and makeup done, and when I finally looked in the mirror, I thought “Who is THAT?”  It was like playing dress up or putting on a costume at Halloween.  It was liberating!

When I finally walked on stage, I still had a great sense of calmness.  I could feel the warmth of the stage lights beaming down on me.  The lights were so bright that I could barely see the crowd, but I could hear my family and friends cheering for me.  I felt so proud and happy!




MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.  

The ultimate gift came when the results were posted at the end of the first part of the show.  A list of all the competitors was taped on the backstage wall.  If your name was highlighted, you placed somewhere in the top 5 and would be part of the awards ceremony and go home with a trophy.  I had gone out in two divisions; one for my age category (35-42) and one that included 20-40+ year olds in my height category (5’2).  To my utter surprise, my name was highlighted in both categories!  An hour later I stood on stage two times as they called out 5th place, 4th place, 3rd place, 2nd place.  Each time, my name was not called until the 1st place trophy was given out.  






























I remember thinking as I stepped into the 1st place box on stage, that sometimes you have to push yourself “out of your box” to step into your box of greatness.  A place that YOU choose, one that signifies accomplishment, determination, courage, and pride.  

What I took with me from this experience is that I really can accomplish anything that I set my mind to, and that I should never let age define me or stop me from doing anything!  

**I know that this feature is a little different than most you've seen on here, but I thought it was just way too cool. Please remember the purpose of this series is to love, support and grow. Sharon will be reading your comments and so, you may comment directly to her.

5 comments:

  1. Sharon, what a great story of overcoming your fears! How liberating it must have been to finally get up on stage, and then to win! BTW, you look amazing!

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  2. First of all, I thought she was a lot younger than she is. I thought she was 30 tops. When she said she was 41 I was shocked. That is amazing she made all of those changes/sacrifices to do something she was afraid of doing. She looks amazing and so petite too!

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  3. Wow! I am totally impressed with your will power and your ability to step out of your comfort zone! Congratulations! You look great!

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  4. What a story! What dedication you have! You're a great example of commitment, dedication and proving to yourself that you can do anything you put your mind to. Thanks for sharing this.

    ReplyDelete

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