This was a difficult post to write…not because of the content itself but because putting it into words makes it real. To be honest…that’s a bit terrifying.
It might help if I start at the beginning and catch you up on what lead up to that incredibly dramatic opening line.
There are a few things that I can list that are so unbelievably important to me. Things that I would die inside if I lost and things that all of my life decisions revolve around.
My family and close friends
My health and able body which now also includes weight lifting and fitness
My most favorite personality traits about myself: My ability to see the positive in any situation, my oddly energetic and upbeat nature, my sense of humor, my ability to get along with almost anyone
The opportunities to be better
(and I can’t lie…I do love my ability to retain useless tidbits of trivia and facts)
Any decision I make is because, for or the make any of the above; stronger, better or most wonderful.
I originally took this job in Phoenix for the second to last item on the list (The opportunity to be better). Better means anything that I can do that will make me better. Better person, daughter, employee, human being… I strive to do one thing per day that will just make me better. This one was one I couldn’t turn down. I had been in the hospitality industry for the better part of a decade and had done a pretty decent job of moving up the corporate hospitality ladder relatively quickly. I originally fell in love with the hospitality industry even before college because every day seemed like it would be different. You would always meet and interact with people from all over the world. You could learn about different cultures, share new experiences with people, witness people see something for the very first time…it was an incredible and exciting industry to be in. Corporate America didn’t seem so bad either. You put in your time, you make a decent pay check, you are covered with medical insurance, dental maybe vision if you’re lucky and maybe even put some money into a 401k, (then give up half your money to the BIG boss…but that’s a different post for a WAY different blogger). Then, when you’ve done this for 50+ years you retire. Easy Peasy right? Taking this job meant another step up the ladder, a new adventure in whole new city, all new people, brand new experience and a whole new chapter of life.
Since day one in the hotel biz, I busted my ass. You HAVE to in this industry if you want to keep up. Plus, I’ve always had a killer work ethic from my parents who always worked their asses of so that we could live comfortably. Hard work was never something I had a problem with. I put in the hours needed, I sacrificed what I needed to and made sure the job was done Moving away from home was going to be difficult but I had done it before going to Las Vegas and found a way to build a second family there during college. I knew that I was going to have a hard time leaving my family, but I was excited for the new family I would meet in this new place. Anyone in the hotel industry will tell you that it’s tough. The new mentality of travelers where they are shocked that they have to pay for anything, demand VIP treatment on an EBT budget and this weird phase where people’s first reaction is to yell and be horrible and nasty and mean when they don’t like what they hear…BUT…it’s entertaining as hell and overall it’s a fun industry.
The honeymoon phase of ANYTHING is always cupcakes and unicorns. Dating, a new toy, updated remodel…it’s NEW, it’s EXCITING! The blaze of sunshine in the beginning is often blinding. I moved to Phoenix for THIS job. THIS is the reason I left everything and everyone I know. I knew I was going to have to work HARD. This wasn’t just an event management job. It was an event SALES AND MANAGEMENT job. The beginning was great! Everyone was super nice, the resort is beautiful, the Phoenix weather is incredible and all new people is like adult Disneyland for a super social Chatty-Kathy like yours truly.
With everything going so well I picked another bodybuilding show to prepare for, re-started my book since I lost it in the move, I decided to get involved with Meet-Up to try to meet new people, I had a big exam for my Behavior Change Specialization with NASM coming up and yeah, I even looked into the Tinder to see what the male population was working with in this part of the country. I was starting to build a new life here, my own life.
Work started getting a little busy so I was having to put in the occasional Saturday to meet with a few brides to talk wedding details. I started having to stay late 1-2 days a week to make sure everything was done before leaving. I was asked to remove all of my family photos from my desk because it was not professional for client’s to see when they came into the office. I had to do extensive training to learn the new systems that the company uses to create events. I have my own way of learning things and my own way of retaining information but was told by my boss that “I wasn’t learning fast enough and she was shocked that I didn’t know more of the information that I should know at this point in my career.” So I worked harder. I stayed later to complete more training, came in after meeting with brides on weekends to research past events and clients. The extended time took away from time in the gym a few days a week and I adjusted as needed, my meet-up experiences dwindled down to once a week MAYBE but I hadn’t even had a chance to meet anyone yet anyway. I started coming to work earlier and having to stay later. 8-9pm nights became regular and Saturdays were normal. I was getting cardio done first thing in the morning at 5am to get to work my 7am and the lifting after I left work. My plans for exploring Phoenix, Sedona, Jerome and going to L.A. or Vegas had to take a back seat because I needed to do well at this job. Eventually, I was able to squeeze a one week vacation to see my family since the busy season was coming up at the hotel and I wouldn’t be able to see them again until after the summer. So we went to Mexico in January, of course I had to hit the ground running after vacation and things just seemed to fall apart after that.
My boss sat me down and told me that I was not making my numbers in Sales. She said that I had 7 weeks to make my numbers or I was going to be up for termination. I couldn’t be fired! I had never been fired in my life for anything. So I needed to do better. I needed to work even HARDER! I focused on trying the best I could to sell during the day and evenings were left for event details and work catch-up.
Despite what most people may think, sales is NOT one of my strengths. I hate the feeling of “soliciting” to people and the slimy feeling I get for talking to to people knowing that there is an ulterior motive. Sure, I can talk to anyone…but it’s because I just want to talk to them…not because I need to try to sell them something or need to butter them up before dropping the proverbial bomb on them. Despite this weakness, I did everything I thought I could to sell. I stayed at work late into the night, started missing workouts, decided to postpone my show to March to give me some more time, and kept grinding. My book would have to wait.
I was told that I could no longer bring my food into my office because the smell was offensive so I would miss meals due to not wanting to be away from my desk for too long. I would stay at my desk through the night, leave at 3 or 4am to do some cardio and get a lift in, take a nap in my car or change quickly after a quick shower in the gym and go right back to work. I would spend weekends working on details, meeting with brides who could never meet during the week and being available for people who just walked-in off the street wanting to see meeting space for an event (it happens ALL the time). Meal preps started happening late Sunday nights into Monday mornings just to get them done. I started making little mistakes at work that would impact my events, my co-workers were getting annoyed with what they assumed were my careless errors. My boss decided to have me sell corporate meetings as well as social events as well as do the event management for all of them. I was having trouble juggling social clients as it was. I was getting angry phone calls from brides I forgot to email back right away about their wedding over a year away, I was getting angry emails from people who I didn’t get a discounted rate for or wanted to argue about a contract…I was becoming overwhelmed, negative and bitter. I could feel myself being sucked into this whirlwind of stink and stress.
I stopped answering my phone when my friends called. I had nothing good or positive to tell them because all I was doing was working. My family couldn’t get a hold of me, I stopped posting on social media and stopped trying to inspire and motivate others because I was barely keeping my own head above water. My body wasn’t making progress into this show and I was becoming so disappointed with myself for not just sucking it up and staying up all night just to get done what I needed to get done. After a few weeks of this, I had to meet with my boss again to “follow-up” on what I was doing. I still wasn’t making my numbers and she gave me a tongue lashing on why she didn’t understand why I has having such a hard time with this job, why wasn’t I able to just make sales and that I would have to figure it out because she was getting tired of defending me to upper management.
That night I had my first panic attack. I was driving home from the gym at 1am and I couldn’t take a deep breath. My chest started to feel tight, my body started to sweat and my hands were shaking against the steering wheel. My chest started getting tighter and tighter, I couldn’t breathe and even shallow breaths were more like gasps. I had to pull-over and just calm-down. I didn’t have time for this. I have a show to prep for, I have a job I need to do and I have a family that i need to make proud of me, people who look up to me…I NEED to keep pushing it and I NEED to do this job and this show.
The deadline on my exam was drawing near and although I wasn’t taking a lunch break, I would have to take 10-20 minutes to read during “lunch” since I was having to eat in my car, I just brought my book with me to study…I can’t lie to you…the only other time I could read was in the bathroom. Hey, I gotta do what I gotta do. I made more changes in my prep plan because I wasn’t making progress. I was posing as much as I could, I didn’t even have a chance to get a suit or even time to make a routine. I kept telling myself, “on my next day off.” But that day off never came so I just put it to the side.
The straw that broke the camel’s back was a meeting with our top managers. We go over our employee satisfaction survey responses. No one really wants to say anything in those meetings but at the end I wanted to chime in. “I know we all have our days and our quirks, but I just wanted you to know that I enjoy it here, I like being here and I think this is a great resort.” To that the manager responded, “That’s great and we appreciate that but we really need you to focus on booking some business.”
It hit me…what the HELL was I doing? Why was I doing this to myself? I’m not good at this job…I’m not good at following the rules or fitting into a mold, an expectation to behave a certain way and be a certain way and speak a certain way. I have given EVERYTHING to this job and what did I have to show for it? A bad attitude, a negative and cynical outlook that has replaced all of the amazing qualities that I had spent so many years building, an exhausted body, and a count down to a show I didn’t even think I would be ready for (which I eventually had to take down because it wasn’t ‘professional’).
Maybe there are some people who are meant for this job. I’m SURE there are people out there who LIVE for this kind of job…but it’s not me. The negativity of people, the physical, emotional and soul draining nature of the business just isn’t for me. If I’m going to bust my ass like this and lose sleep, sacrifice EVERYTHING I have, give up time with my family, my friends and time away from the things I love and am most passionate about…it’s going to be for something I am EXCITED to do. Something I am MEANT to do. I didn’t go through this HUGE life change to be someone’s punching bag, I didn’t spend years changing my life and learning everything I have learned through studying, trial and error and asking questions like a pecking bird just to be another number behind another computer booking another meeting in another hotel. I’m meant to do something INCREDIBLE, I’m meant to change peoples lives and change the WORLD. I’m meant to be more than just a number on a spreadsheet. How am I supposed to do incredible things when all I do is bitch and moan about this job? Nothing will EVER change if I don’t change it.
So you know what? I QUIT!
I have NO back up plan, I have NO back-up job and no prospects in the very near future…and you know what? It’s far less stressful than knowing you are going to work your ass off and still not work hard enough for the suits at Corporate. I’ve known what I was born to do for a few years. Maybe that’s why my tolerance for doing something that wasn’t what I know I want to do was so much lower than it has been over the years. I am MEANT to be a lifestyle coach. I am meant to be a motivator and voice of inspiration and courage and determination. I went through this experience and this journey with bariatric surgery and fitness and lifestyle change and health so that I can help OTHERS make the same journey and support them along the way. I was born with this unique, outgoing and crazy personality so I can be the voice of joy, encouragement and humor in fitness and health. No one should EVER have to go through the process of making a lifestyle change alone and it’s my goal to make sure they never have to. It may take me YEARS to build my business…it may take years of sleepless nights, of never leaving my desk of working my ass off and not making my numbers…but it’s for MY DREAM. MY PURPOSE. To me…THAT will always be worth it.
Things happen for a reason. Maybe this WHOLE experience was what I needed to realize that I just wasn’t meant to be in corporate america. I needed to lose EVERYTHING and smash my face into rock bottom to finally realize that I need to build my OWN business, my OWN venture and change lives… not just make numbers for someone else’s dream.
There is some bad news and there is some good news that comes with the most recent decision to quit.
Bad News #1- I will be leaving Phoenix.
Good News #2- I am lucky enough to have an incredible family that I can go back home to in Chicago, to live and spend time with while I build my new life and new venture.
Bad News #B- My body just wasn’t ready for this show, one week out from the show I had to make the painful decision that this just wasn’t my show. Everything was working against me during this prep and was was just stubborn to keep going this far. Add to that that the show had to get rid of my category…it just wasn’t meant to be. I learned a LOT from this prep. I know what I’m made of and I learned what I need to do for the next prep in terms of balance, commitment and focus. I originally was disappointed in myself for being a quitter…I saw myself a quitting something that I had worked SO hard for and literally given everything I had left into. But again…things happen for a reason. I couldn’t get on that stage knowing that I don’t look my best. I didn’t feel like I deserved to be on that stage knowing that I was going to get a free trophy for being the only one in my category. I want to COMPETE. I want to know that I’m the best physique on that stage and I want to EARN that trophy. I’m comfortable with the decision not to compete this year. There will always be shows in the future and I am GOING to compete. I’m going to the Natural Olympia one day… just watch.
GOOD NEWS #C- I PASSED MY EXAM!!!!! You are now looking at: LYSS REMALY, CERTIFIED PERSONAL TRAINER AND BEHAVIOR CHANGE SPECIALIST! AHH!!! YAY!!!!
AMAZING NEWS #2.5- I have an INCREDIBLE opportunity at the end of March to film a video for Bodybuilding.com. They are flying me out to Boise for filming and doing a feature on my transformation and will also be flying out my mom for the shoot! HOW AMAZING IS THAT!? So prep isn’t over my friends…. I’m still busting my ass so I look FIERCE for this shoot!
AMAZING NEWS #3- I can FINALLY breathe. I haven’t felt this feeling in a long time…just…happy. I feel like I can be myself again, I feel like I had been held under water for the last 6 months and struggling to just take a breath and get my head above water. The moment I walked out of that door…I took a deep breath and couldn’t stop smiling because now…NOW starts the adventure…NOW begins the new chapter of my life. I’ve never been more excited and terrified in my life.