Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Unbelievable Joy

Life can be surprising, exciting, sad, exhilarating or just plain unbelievable. I can't complain about anything this year. I thought that I had a lot to complain about in January when my husband got a job transfer and we had to move from a place where I had just established myself. I didn't want to move, I still don't particularly like the location we are living, but all in all, things have worked out for the best this year and I have no regrets.

After the move, my current employer found a way to allow me to work remotely from my new location so I still have a job (even though it's not with Nike, I'm working on that)! I have the best boss in the world. I have found a running group that I really do enjoy training with. I get to go back to Roseville every few weeks to reconnect with friends, stop by work and fulfill my responsibilities as the Athleta Roseville sponsored athlete. I have flexibility in my schedule and I have had many unexpected opportunities this year.

Today it was announced that I WON the espnW #98DaysToShine contest! Can you guess what the prize was? It's perfect for me and my husband. We are headed to the US Open! All summer long I have been entering the contest daily by submitting a photo for the corresponding day. I read the rules, I set an alert in my phone so I would never miss a day, and I left the rest up to espnW and my fellow competitors. I really embraced the competition, I encouraged my friends to join and honestly, I did not expect to win. I was overjoyed when I won! I came home with a perma-grin on my face and I haven't stopped smiling since. Thankful. Blessed. Lucky. I have so many feelings right now, but the overwhelming one is joy. I am blissfully happy! Not just because I won, but because this prize is the manifestation of all the hard work I have been putting in this year and it means the world to me. I owe a lot to espnW and I want to express my thanks to them for providing this opportunity.


Winning this contest made me think seriously about how I am approaching my goals. I'm choosing to believe that my life is headed in the direction I want it to go. I have always loved fitness and sharing that love with others. This year has reinforced my belief in my ability to do this. If I can't motivate people in person it may be through my blog, Twitter or Instagram account. However it happens, I can be a voice for women in sports and women who want to achieve great things. 

Some of my friends and even strangers have asked how I am so lucky. I don't honestly think that I am a lucky person. I wish I could just say there was some magic pill you could take and you could be lucky too. It doesn't work like that. In my case, I have put in a lot of work and I have applied for a lot of jobs and opportunities and been told no. I've been told no hundreds of times, not received responses to emails, been told I'm not good enough and should have just settled for a more stable job, a more reliable job where you are guaranteed a good salary right out of college. Why wasn't I a doctor or a nurse? My response has been and will always be that I would not be happy in a job like that. That is not the life I chose and I am walking a path that I have no regrets taking. Right now I am working a job to pay the bills, but in all my spare time, I am working towards my dream career in sports. 

I do research daily. It's not a secret that I want to work for Nike. I scour their job postings and look at the requirements for becoming an employee. I have taken jobs for gaining experience in areas I think will make me a better candidate. I reach out to as many people as I can that have reached the goal I have in mind or are on the same path. I ask questions, I put myself out there and I am not afraid to fail. Have I made it to my dream career yet? No, but I am so much closer. 

My resume now shows the work I have done for the Sacramento Capitals World Team Tennis League managing all of their social media. I have had the privilege of an ambassadorship with Nike Women in 2012 and have maintained connections with influencers I have met. I have spoken with recruiters and shared my passion via social media. I have connected with women across the globe and motivated them. So tell me, do you think I'm wasting my time? I don't. I see every minute I spend working towards my dreams as time well spent. I have learned so much through the last few years and perhaps, when I do get my dream job, what I have learned now, as a consumer and brand ambassador on the outside, will serve me in ways I can't even imagine. 

If there is one thing I have learned, life is never what you expect it to be. I have had a blessed year. I am blessed with a job that I enjoy, friends that support me, a family that I can share my dreams and passions with and I can run and train without injuries. I have been lucky enough to be chosen as an ambassador for Nike, Nuun and Athleta. I won the trip of a lifetime to the US Open. I put myself out there and succeeded. 

Life was meant to be lived and I am going to live it the way I want to. I have always been one to make a goal and not stop until I reach it. Maybe I'm stubborn, or maybe I've just found out how we were meant to live. I can't give up on my dreams or passions because they are what make me who I am. I can't live your life for you any more than you can live mine. But if you can take anything from this, I want you to make a choice in your life. Don't give up on your passion, don't let anyone else define you and don't ever give up. 

You can't wait for opportunities to knock on your door. Put yourself in a place where you are vulnerable, where you have the opportunity to get to a better place. Will you fail? I almost guarantee it. But when you succeed, you will know how truly lucky you are. Amazing awaits.

~Karen