I've always considered myself to be quite a determined young lady. Failure has never been an option and I know that my best days are always in front of me. I like to call myself an optimistic realist. Imagine this bright-eyed girl's surprise when I found myself in uncharted territory. I started a new job with big hopes, dreams, and plans. Instead of being the one to absorb information like a sponge and thrive, I found myself struggling to even tread water. How did I go from taking off like a rocket to sinking like a brick so fast. With the demands of my new role I travelled a lot even weekends, worked 12 hour days and lunch and sleep were luxuries. My dream job played out more like a nightmare. Not only was I struggling mentally but physically too. It was time for my annual physical and I was actually looking forward to it. That's when it was confirmed that my life really was out of control. In three months I'd unknowingly gained 10 pounds and had elevated blood pressure. I'd never weighed this much in my life and have always been very healthy. This was alarming to say the least. They ran blood tests to rule out any medical conditions, but it all pointed back to STRESS. I left the doctor's office devastated as I drove back to the office trying to figure out what to do. This job will not be the death of me. In the past year two of my former classmates have died around the age of thirty. During that drive back to the office I decided that come hell or high water I am taking back my life.
The first step was reduce my stress at the office. As much as it pained this overachiever I had to stop caring so much. I was physically doing everything in my power to do a job well done and yet it wasn't enough. Never again would I be the victim of unrealistic expectation. I could have worked all day everyday and still never finish my projects. In that moment I decided that I would work normal hours, take a lunch and put the Blackberry down. That was probably the easiest part. Knowing the possible consequences of going against the culture I had to convince myself that being fired wouldn't be the end of the world. Once I was able to overcome that fear the weight was lifted. As long as I can look myself in the mirror and know I gave 100% I can cope. Even Peyton Manning got fired. Sometimes it's just not a fit. At that point I was ready to handle either outcome.
Now that I have a life, attacking those 10 pounds became top priority. I was able to start cooking again instead of eating out. My meals were planned and I started exercising 5 days a week. Nothing or no one was going to take me off of my plan. Between Michi's Ladder for nutrition and Jillian Michaels and P90X I was a mad woman. I downloaded the MyFitnessPal app to track my food intake, weight, and exercise. This is when I also found my theme song. Within three months I'd lost 10 pounds and boy did I feel AMAZING! I got my swagger back. I check my blood pressure periodically and it is back to normal too. I even ran my first 5k! None of this would have been possible if I'd succumbed to the pressure and stress. This is me pre-race in the black.
After being depressed and down for so long it was time to re-introduce my friends to the Jasmine they've always known. The happy girl who's always looking for something exciting to do and most importantly smiling. I don't know who that other girl was but she is gone for good so let's party! It felt great to be able to meet a friend for lunch or make plans after work and know that I would not have to cancel at the last-minute. Finally, my husband and I could have dinner together without me wallowing in negativity or in tears because I was at my breaking point. After volunteer coaching for almost ten years and having to quit because of work it felt good to be able to get out there as much as I could. I was rejuvenated. My fuel is life and my love of it. It's my energy, my everything. The happier I am, the harder I work.
Since becoming a more confident healthier person my productivity improved. I no longer had to work paranoid looking over my shoulder afraid of being fired. I'm ok either way. You're probably thinking why didn't I just quit and find another job. The thought definitely crossed my mind, but I feel like I have something to prove. This job isn't too hard for me. I want to conquer it and all of the obstacles that came with it. My pride won't let me quit because someone thinks I'm not good enough. I'm too good. In the mornings I pull up to the office stress free with a smile on my face ready to conquer the world. There's a lesson in every obstacle and I want to learn all I can. I've never backed down from a challenge and I'm not starting today. This my biggest failure yet my greatest accomplishment. Without a doubt I can say that I work to live, not live to work. Remember, headstones really don't read job titles. Life is too short and too precious. Take back your life! You owe it to yourself.
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