Before we get to what I thought was a colossal failure for me, let’s talk about an amazing winner – Melissa Burton! I know when you guest post it’s a given that you’re going to gush about the person you’re posting for but truly people, Melissa is amazing. She was one of the first bloggers to re-tweet or tweet about me and my blog when I didn’t know a tweet from a twit. She was also one of the first to start reading my blog and to actually find it interesting and, of course, I loved her back.
I love her Tunes for Tuesdays, I love that she’s obsessed with Duran Duran and that she has so much love for both NY and LA. She’s truly amazing and I can’t wait to meet her in person someday. When she asked me to guest post and told me she was going to open a private nutrition practice, I was giddy with excitement! I know she will be a success no matter what. I just want to be a part of it. So, here’s my contribution. My epic firing from my very first “real” fitness job:
When I left the corporate world for a position as Fitness Director at a large gym near my hometown, I took about a $10,000 pay cut. Why would I ever do such a thing? Because it was my dream job and my corporate job, although well paying, was sucking my will to live. After a lot of budget finagling, my husband (then fiancé) agreed that my will to live surpassed monetary gain and I took the job at the gym.
I was in heaven. I had a team of trainers whom I oversaw, I taught 6-8 classes per week and I worked with so many amazing people. Well, my peers were amazing. The owners? Not so much. They didn’t even workout at the gym they owned. Right? To say they were both out of touch with the needs and wants of our members is a horrendous understatement. Needless to say, I butt heads with them quite a bit when it came to how the trainers should be training, what conferences and workshops would be beneficial to attend and just the day to day focus of the team. They were focused on whether or not we had our name tags on and I was focused on the benefits and treatment of the clients. To say this relationship ended badly would also be a horrendous understatement.
I was there for three years before it all fell apart. I watched several excellent staff members get fired for various bogus reasons or (and far worse) be treated so badly that they finally just left. For me, it was a long time coming but one day in the spring I was brought into the owner’s office and told I was being let go. As it turns out, those were an excellent choice of words! At first however, I cried my eyes out. As difficult as my working environment could be, I loved the club. I loved my team of trainers and, maybe most of all, I loved teaching classes. I remember going home to the apartment I shared with my future husband and just balling my eyes out. You know what he said? This is good. This is just the opportunity you need.
Huh? I was a little stunned. Couldn’t he see how upset I was? Did he remember that we were in those very days, trying to get pre-approval for a mortgage for a house we were building? Only my entrepreneurial and ever optimistic husband could see me being fired as an opportunity. This is why I love him. He can always see what I don’t.
After I felt sorry for myself for about a week I started looking for a place to open my own studio. It was something I had been wanting to do for some time but was putting off until we built the house. It was time. My boss had “let me go” and go I did!
Six months later, I opened VITA – Train for Life because VITA means life and that’s why I think people should train. Training for races or to lose weight or improve your golf game are all well and good but really, you just need to sweat and move and exercise for the betterment of your life! We are meant to move and, sometimes, to move on in order to find opportunity and realize our dreams.
A lot of my dreams came true with the opening of my business. I realized that YES I CAN. I realized that If I build it, they will come – and come they did! Slowly but surely, I filled my personal training schedule and my classes. I even hired a few trainers and had so many amazing moments there. What I thought had been an ending to my dream job was only just the beginning to achieving so much more.
Like Melissa, I was terrified of putting myself (and our money!) out there. Here’s what helped me and I know will help Melissa as well:
1. Have integrity. Do what you think is right for your business and your clients and you can’t go wrong.
2. Walk the walk. The best example is the one you set. If your clients see that you live your words, they will believe in you and learn to believe in themselves. Motivation and inspiration are key.
3. Word of mouth brings in clients. Forget fancy marketing strategies, expensive advertising and local fairs. I’m not saying not to do those things but what always worked for me was word of mouth recommendations. Come in and try a class, bring a friend – you won’t be disappointed!
Melissa – I wish you so much luck and courage as you take on this new adventure! I know you will be successful because you have a passion for living a healthy lifestyle and, maybe more importantly, to help people do the same.
Now, when can connect to set-up an endurance eating plan for me?
If you are now as in love with Allie as I am, connect with her via VitaTrain4Life.com, Twitter and/or her Facebook Page.
Disclaimer: Allie has not been paid to write the very nice things she wrote about me – although I may owe her an endurance eating plan 😉 – MB/TVRD
A good, healthy love fest makes me smile! Thank you so much for having me on your site today. I hope I did you proud mama. I think we make a great team:-)
This was THE most inspiring story ever. I’m actually going to have my teen read it. Real winners take a challenge or a downturn and turn them them triumphs. Your dreams came true when you were fired from your dream job!!! I love that. It wasn’t without risk or even tears, but you did it. It’s resilience in action!! You go, Allie!! –Lisa
Allie…. I love love love love your story. I just landed my Dream 9-5 job… but slowly but surely I think I am realizing that it is not the dream I thought it would be…and I kind of want to work on developing my blog and doing more fitness related things. Your jump (TWICE) is so inspiring!
I love hearing your story Allie! You are truly amazing! I never knew you worked the corporate life until this post. And I love that you made lemonade from lemons. I think it’s really inspiring opening your open studio. Not a lot of people have the guts for that.
Thank you Kimberly! If you can do it, follow what’s in your heart. It will never fail you. Good luck!!
Thank so much Britt! Oh yes, I had many years of doing marketing and sales for corporate America both in CT and Los Angeles. I’ll have to blog about it one day…:-)
Allie, you do me proud all of the time. I’m very thankful not only to have found you but to call you my bloggy friend. It’s weird to feel so close to someone you haven’t even met IRL but I’m happy all the same. I’m more than honored to help tell the world all about your awesomeness. xoxox
This makes me wish I was in the same city as Allie and Melissa! Allie’s passion for life and good health is inspiring and motivating.
Loved learning more about one of my favorite bloggers with this guest post. Allie, you are such a HUGE inspiration!!
Allie and Melissa, you know how much I adore both of you! (Melissa – this morning, it was the Smiths that got me through that last mile!) Allie, I agree with your husband that every transition leads to new opportunities and while it had to be harrowing that your dream job fell apart at the time, I am glad you can look at it now with such great perspective. And I am taking every last piece of advice you posted here to heart. I signed that damned lease and applied for my building permits yesterday. Here we go….
I AM OBSESSED WITH ALLIE! This woman rocks my life and her guns, holy moly! I don’t want to get in a “shoot out” with her!!!! 😉
Allie!! This is why you’re a favorite.
And I once had a job that was sucking the life out of me and I quit it, and both my husband (then fiance) and my mom were proud of me.
I get it now.
Yes, the will to live trumps the money sometimes.
Luckily, super cool people find a way to have both.
Thank you so much Maribel!
YES Ilene!!! I cannot tell you how happy I am for you. You have made the right decision because you’re investing in YOU. I cannot wait to see where this journey will take you!
You are so awesome GiGi! It would be the friendliest shoot out…in a kitchen while you’re whipping up something yummy and nutritious.
Such a great, inspirational story. I can completely relate. I’m currently in the middle of my own transitional phase. Thank you so much for sharing Allie!
And, I second your sentiments…Melissa, your business is going to be amazing! I can’t wait to watch it take off 🙂
I love Allie’s spunk and her attitude. Leave it to her to turn being let go into a positive.
Thanks Whitney! Good luck with your transition. Change is always good when you’re chasing dreams.
What an awesome inspirational story! It took a lot of guts to quit your corporate job and then to have the guts to do your own thing! Awesome!
I tried to write this earlier at work but it looks like it didn’t work. You story is just another thing I admire so much about you. A few years ago I was laid off and I was considering getting into fitness training but I was financially too scared to do it. I found my current job and that was it. You make me see that it still could be a possibility. You rock!
Allie has such a positive personality, I love hearing from her. Thank you for sharing more about her and her story… I commend anyone who will put their goals and passion ahead of a “job” or pay. <3
Love this combination! Melissa is a gem and Allie, I just “met” you after seeing you on Another Mother Runner which let me know YOU are a gem too. Immediately I went to your site and related to your background SO MUCH! So fun you both are connected and Allie, keep inspiring others to follow their dreams. Life is way to short not to!
Allie, I enjoyed the backstory of the creation of Vita. I’m happy that you saw your dreams come to life. I’m positive if desired, you’ll go back to it. You are a VERY inspirational healthy living role model. Excellent advice for Melissa as well.
Melissa, wishing you all the best with your nutrition endeavors.
I know I read this…but for some reason I didn’t comment! Sometimes things happen to pave the way for something better!! I love this! Your husband is awesome too, Allie!
HEY Melissa!! Missed you at Zumba this weekend but I understand you go in late 🙂 Sorry it is so ridiculously cold here 🙁
Allie! What a story. Wow. You already know that I have had some experiences with crazy gym politics but wow I had no idea what you had been through! You already know that every single thing happens for reason, it might have sucked at the time, but your hubby was right, it was simply an opportunity. You are so inspirational and you are so awesome for following your dreams!!
Thank you so much! You’re absolutely right. So glad to have “met” you.
Thanks Nellie! Unfortunately you had to experience some first-hand gym drama without even working there!! Getting fired was devastating for me at the time but looking back, I’m really proud of what I accomplished after the fact. Sometimes gym management is just cray cray!
Kimberly: I like watching your story unfold as well.
Lisa: Thanks for stopping by for Allie’s feature. She’s pretty amazing, isn’t she? I’m thrilled to have her as my bloggy friend.
Maribel: Allie and I aren’t even in the same city. The power of the internet is amazing – as I know that you know! Get to know Allie on her site too. She’s pretty inspirational.
Nicole: Thanks for stopping by to read Allie’s inspirational story. Can’t wait to check your site out as well.
Ilene: Of course you know Allie! Congratulations on signing your lease. I’m looking forward to reading as you document that journey too. PS – I still hate chair pose. A lot.
GiGi: Seriously, is Allie awesome or what? She makes some of us who use motherhood as an excuse not to look so good an absolute sham.
Tamara: Thanks for stopping by my blog for Allie’s amazing advice. I look forward to getting to know you and your blog better. Any friend of Allie’s must be fabulous.
Joi: Thank you for stopping by and the well wishes. I believe we keep circling each other in the blog universe and I believe we finally need to connect. I look forward to getting to know you better via your blog too.
Michelle: I hope to not only take some of Allie’s advice but I kind of hope her genetics and her spirit come along with me in my future endeavors. Thanks for stopping by my blog for Allie’s post.
Nellie: Your class looked amazing and yes, I’m so sorry I missed it. I love the support that all of us who are fitness enthusiasts give to one another. Wishing you a wonderful holiday season and I do hope to see you soon!
Karen: Allie’s outlook is only one of the reasons that she blows me away. Thank you for stopping by my blog to comment. I can’t wait to check out your blog too!
Hi Leah: Allie really is inspiration personified, isn’t she? As I prepare to launch my nutrition private practice, I know I’ll come back to this post again and again. Thanks for stopping by. I look forward to getting to know your blog as well.
Kris: Not only should Allie’s story tell you that changing your career is possible, let me tell you the same. I went back to school to become a Registered Dietitian at the age of 30. It wasn’t easy leaving a good paying job to be the oldest person in a college class and take classes like Organic Chemistry and Microbiology but it was worth it. It is NEVER too late to change your life to make yourself happy. People will always pay your for your time in a job, so don’t you want to be happy doing said job?
Cori: Thanks for stopping by to read Allie’s inspirational story. I love Allie’s attitude about most things and I knew her insight about making changes would help me as I make this jump. Your blog has also served as inspiration not only with running but with believing in myself. Many thanks!
I knew I would love this story! So inspiring, I have tears – it’s so hard, your husband is so smart, you are so strong! All of it, together, not easy to go through but what a great experience overall, right? So glad you shared. And Melissa – good luck, best wishes for your new business venture! Sounds like you’ve got a lot of people cheering for you and now you’ve got one more! So glad to find you through this guest post!
Thank you Stephanie! Allie has some very excellent supporters herself. I love Allie’s passion and her wisdom is invaluable. Glad to make your acquaintance, Stephanie!