August 29, 2017
Not everyone can be a leader.
It takes drive, discipline, commitment and work. Above all, being a leader is self-sacrificing. Just like a parent, no one will ever know what you do to maintain and build the household. It takes perspective, vision and faith to operate your world, keep everyone focused, promote progression and encourage connection on a weekly basis. It’s a seemingly thankless job, a role that requires you to seek reward in your internal satisfaction to make a difference. It’s not easy feeling like you’re in separate trenches fighting to bridge your community through fitness – which is why I decided to host our 1st Annual NEM Leader Retreat.
In-between my family life, work obligations and household chores is a special section called, No Excuse Moms (NEM). For the past eight years I committed each week to working out in the park with any mother who showed up. In that time frame I’ve made countless friends and expanded what started in a little town of Elk Grove, CA to over 350 No Excuse Mom groups in 30 countries. On the daily I communicate online with regional managers overseeing thousands of members from each region. I see workouts posted from different parts of our world on our group leaders page. I read about leaders who are constantly thinking of ways to inspire their community to connect and move.
Every day I am so empowered by these women who are making a difference in their personal lives and the lives of people around them. Their drive is so deep and their passion is so persistent – I know this because I am like them, and they are like me.
We are leaders.
We want to see change, so we became the change and ultimately bring the change to our communities.
I was admittedly nervous when I planned our leader trip to Miami last minute. Up until then I had written down my goals on a poster board in January and looked at it daily but was too scared to make a commitment towards planning and budgeting for a full NEM weekend. A month prior to my event in Miami, I reminded myself that you only grow when challenged, so in an effort to defy comfort, I decided to meet my fears in creating this event head on, and squash them.
Women came from all over – from Canada, Arizona, Texas and Maryland. Many moms had never flown or left their kids for longer than 3 hours. We were all scared! At the same time, we were all excited to hug each other – after all, we have been an online family for years.
The weekend started with a fun LIVE video of us cooking in a house that was literally falling apart behind the scenes. Between one of our leaders walking around nursing her infant, to a toilet overflowing and an oven handle breaking, the day was only getting started with the laughs we would consume the entire weekend. When we arrive later that morning to the Everglades Airboat ride, I decide to do my signature jump pose on a bridge – another mom did the jump pose, only to have her sandal fly into Crocodile-infested water. After rushing to do a LIVE TV interview with America TeVe, I changed into a form fitting dress in the trunk of our van in preparation for our Sunset shoot at South beach. On the beach were leaders trying to discreetly change behind towels, while our photographer, Robbie Harvey raced to get everything shot before the sun disappeared. We laughed, dined and decided to take a spontaneous dip in the ocean at midnight. We were determined to do things we could never do in the company of our families. The next day was filled with a sweaty, humid and hot workout on the beach with #LiveWisely, followed by tasty treats at Sugar Factory, a quick tour around the Art district and a dressy dinner at Mangoes. With our Canadian manager getting delayed two days in two different cities, other leaders nearly missing morning flights and misplacing a wallet (and begging TSA to let us through), this weekend was definitely a moment in life to remember. We danced, we laughed, we sung, we swam …but most of all, we connected.
We needed to refill our souls that weekend.
Being a leader is a lonely place to be, whether you are a hardworking mom, employer/employee, friend or spouse. Not everyone understands your work ethic, drive or desire to do more than the people around you. As a NEM Leader, not everyone will reach out to strangers, invest in other families and be of service to their community. But we do.
It was important to be around people who understood what it meant to ‘do more’. When you do more, you learn more….and therefore, you BECOME MORE. I am more because of all the women in the NEM organization who do more. Thank you to all our No Excuse Mom Leaders, I can’t wait to do this again next year.
Therese, our NEM admin from our online groups came from Louisiana and make us Taco Soup the first night!
Our first night in the house! Everyone came in on Thursday night and Friday morning!
We made tasty and healthy Arepas. You can find the recipe here.
Everglades Airboat Ride. This was fast and a lot of fun.
There goes Caitlin’s shoe! Thank you to Chris Rivera for swimming in and getting it!
This picture was too funny
TV spot with our Leader, Bily from Los Angeles and Juanita from Arizona.
Quick change in the car!
Changing at the beach
Robbie really worked magic with all of us!
Behind-the-scenes of an amazing shoot
I think this is the sexiest suit we all own (I didn’t realize it was going to be this revealing!)
We had a workout jumping multiple times in the sand.
Nothing like posing really hard then celebrating really hard!
Midnight swim. This was definitely a night to remember.
We took it off for the photo LOL! We could never get away with this at home or in a crowded beach!
#LiveWisely Fitness event sponsored by Wise Popcorn
The Sugar Factory was seriously crazy. Highly recommend it!
Leslee (on the left) just came in an hour prior and only spent less than 24hrs in Miami with us! We were determined to make her time fun!
Mangoes for dinner and dancing!
Playing at the outdoor gym in South Beach after dancing!
Quick dip before going to the airport on Sunday!