The Instinct of Fear

January 20, 2012

January 19, 2012

Every time I get nervous, my left eye starts to water. I swear there is a nerve that connects my eye to the anxious lobe in my brain. As I was sitting at News10 studio this morning, I regretted not bringing a tissue to irrigate the water swelling the inside of my left eye. I was in the waiting area because I was asked to be an expert guest on their morning show to discuss kids and fitness.  I didn’t fear being on camera or stumbling on my words. I knew I was a seasoned public speaker who could confidently answer impromptu questions. However, despite my years in training, my left eye never fails to humble me….

This morning’s experience reminds me of when I was interviewing with the Founder of 24 Hour Fitness Corporate, Mark Mastrov. After quitting my job as a fitness manager, I vowed to work with an international company only if I trusted the person I was working for. Without anything tangible but my vision, I compiled a portfolio with a strong resume, an aggressive cover letter and photocopies of anything written about me. I then mailed it to the top executives of large companies.

Looking back I can’t believe I had so much audacity.

In this experience I developed strong relationships with several fitness executives. I was flown to Boston to interview with Cybex International. I befriended the founder of Franchise that is now the largest fitness gyms for kids. While I had options, I still felt confused and discontent with my professional course.

I will never forget the day I received a voice mail from Jim Rowley who was then the Senior Vice President of Fitness at 24Hour Fitness. He told me he received an ‘intriguing’ resume and even recalls meeting me briefly when he visited the 24 hour fitness club in Sacramento where I first became a personal trainer. Not only would he interview with me, but also grant me an interview with Mark Mastrov, since the letter was directed to him.

On the day of my interviews, I discussed my experience, my passion and my intense interest in working with the company that first introduced the business of fitness in my life. While I probably experienced it before, that day was also the day I first realized my left eye had a watery disposition.

In these last years I’ve continued to make big choices, big sacrifices and big challenges to advance my understanding of my professional, personal and physical capabilities. Never would I have imagined being hired by the CEO of the largest fitness company (at that time). Nor could I imagine seeing my writings in a magazine, my nonprofit’s name on a large donation check or be asked to guest as a fitness expert on live TV.

Fear is a healthy ingredient to life. Without fear there is no risk.
Without risk there is no sacrifice.

Without sacrifice there is no success – because success arrives only when a part of you is positively transformed by the process.

The only way to arrive at transformation is to first begin with fear, for if you are not afraid at some level, then you are becoming too content and not moving past a comfort zone.

In order to grow, you must be challenged. This morning I resonated with that understanding strongly as my eyes slightly watered while standing in the news studio waiting to go LIVE in 3-2-1….

With stars in my eyes! This is my graduation photo from UC Davis taken in 2002. I can't believe this was 10 years ago!! I was 22 and graduated with double majors in International Relations, Asian History and minored in Political Science. I worked all throughout college. The last year I became a personal trainer.

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