Wednesday, January 1, 2014
I have been saying all day (today is January 1, 2014) - I should have blogged more, I should have...yada, yada, yada and my list goes on and on. BUT you know what, I tried what I could do. The year 2013 gave me a lot of things to learn, I reflected more on how I am becoming the woman I wanted to become...to be the adult Elise would want to look up to...one day at a time. It was an amazing year and for the first time on NYE, I was not saying to myself " Another year gone by..., time flies! " This time, my heart was singing with excitement. I was at peace for the coming year. I was ready to hit the ground running.
In the spirit of revisiting the events of 2013, here are the highlights:
This was the month all I could remember are the feelings of sadness, mourning, and uncertainty. I was unsure if I was trekking the right path. I was bouncing off ideas whether to work part time and pursue life coaching. I felt my sense of self is not there, confidence level is on the lower than normal level --- looking back, I saw a 34 yr old woman in front of the mirror not liking the extra curves she gained from the years of neglect. Neglect ...yup! You see I was the traditional student. When to college straight from high school, completed pre-med, went to medschool and quit, got married, worked and went to grad school, worked, back to grad school for 2nd Master's, got pregnant, finished 2nd Master's, applied to a doctorate program, relocated overseas, got accepted to doctorate program, worked and finally have reached the tipping point of working for "The Man."
December 14, 2012 - my last day at my last job. I felt so relieved yet afraid of how to continue my career path.
I am eternally grateful for my Tita Mila ( I miss you so much! I know you have always been my guiding light)...she was my source of strength, my #1 fan and my heart mourns for losing her from CANCER. Yup, the big C did it again. She joined my other family members who also lost their battles with this ugly disease during this dreadful month.
I figured...I could not sulk all year. I have to do something with my life and start taking charge of my destiny. I made a 360 degree decision of starting a preschool on Okinawa instead of making a name as a life coach. I also joined a Fitness Challenge Group to kick start my goal of losing at least 15 lbs and be feeling good when I hit my 3-5.
Shoot, I even hired a personal stylist to revamp my style...organize my closet...all in preparation to becoming the woman I need to be.
Hubby left for deployment. I was left with my daughter, Elise and about to give birth to a full blown business in educating young children. I did not have a choice other than be the woman I needed to be. I put on my big girl panties and got to work. Blessed beyond belief that the good Lord never failed in sending me angels to make things happen. I still remember when Elise turned two years old and it was just her and myself. Was I sorry for her? No. I was making a better future for her. Her 2nd birthday marks the journey of Early Learners International School. There were huge mistakes committed and lots of fear in my heart. But I know, we ended the month with high hopes for the future. My doctorate studies went to the wayside.
This is the month I learned about true friendship and nature of other people. One lesson to highlight is "You could only TRUST yourself." While there are others who are willing to help, YOU are the only one you can actually control and change. If I dwelled on issues instead of finding solutions, the business venture could not have moved forward! I remained steadfast in my resolve in making things happen, pushing forward and opening the school's doors. From nowhere, one mother reached out and trusted me with her boy. ONE student on opening day - April 8, 2013. In my heart I asked, how to get 9 more...if only we have 10 to begin with.
Sacrifices were made, long days, long nights, frustrations, throwing spaghetti noodles on the wall and seeing which one will stick. By the end of the month, we had 5 official students.
People would say NO to you but keep going - yup, learned it by heart. I have no shame asking for people if they were interested with our school. The staff and myself were literally knocking on doors. Some doors opened, some were shut while some well...let me put it bluntly...it shut before you could even say Hello. I noticed I was losing weight from the Fitness Challenge and drinking my dense nutrition shake as my breakfast replacement each morning. Hubby came home and we were at 10 students. I am thankful and my faith made stronger.
The first 60 days of the school...finally, a Ballet teacher and a Zumba teacher to teach classes at the 2nd floor. We planned out to offer a summer program. The school's AC's not fully installed yet. Ah, for some reason everything on Okinawa is on a timeline that is well, island time so to speak. The hot summer month were coming and we only have 1 classroom with a working AC. I started to volunteer at the Kadena Library every Wednesday. We had a camp out with the staff at White Beach. I was empowered to sign up for my first 5K in July. I decided to support other women and fight cancer by becoming a Wellness and Lifestyle Coach. I dreamed of big dreams in raising funds for Stand Up To Cancer. I was a woman with a mission. I was becoming more confident and finding the woman I am fast becoming.
The summer program launched, we were at 24 students including the after school kids, summer program, and regular preschool! We have one additional AC installed and we have 2 classrooms we are working off of. A fit club on Friday evenings have been set up. I started to volunteer my time at Mihama Kid's Park. Days at the school are becoming faster, busier and more alive with the hustle and bustle of business. I have a tinge of fear, of hesitation, of uncertainty...how fast are we moving forward?
I held two fitness challenge groups and met a woman who will soon become a good friend. I was seeing other women to emulate. I was in awe of their accomplishments and deep inside wishing to be like them...someday. I fell in love running, I completed my first 5K. I was ready to sign up for more.
Fall semester was within reach, School Year 2013-14 is about to commence. Gut feel is telling me that the office is not ready to elevate. I feel the office operations' tempo is not meeting my speed. I was frustrated. I was angry with myself. To top it, I was thrown in an unwanted drama regarding fit clubs. Glad I remained objective and kept on point. The school is my heart and soul - I will NoT let no one take that away from me. I was becoming a woman of strength and ready to wield that power. My learning point was, YOU are you and YOU are more than enough. It was time to let go of self doubt. I have earned two graduate degrees for Pete's sake! Either I do it 110% or NoT. I knew September is going to a HuGE month of growth for the school. A morning fit club for Mommies have been opened.
First Zumba public event we were a part of...one came up and said she knew about us and gave high rating of school, an EDIS staff too! We are definitely getting out there!
Who was I fooling? Deep down, I knew pursuing the Ed.D program is already not my season but I was trying so hard that it is hindering my growth. Prolonging the agony, avoidance at its best.
Yes, we hit a home run of 40 students when we opened our doors for School Year 2013-14! Now I know what it feels like to have an upper limit problem. You would think I am walking like THE BOSS. But no! I was deathly scared...40 families and 6 full time staff looking at me for leadership. For a minute, I was overwhelmed. But my faith in God strengthened me to wake up each morning and have the confidence I need to LEAD. My stint as a Wellness and Lifestyle Coach went to the back burner. Although, I met the VP of Global Sales for Beach body right here on Okinawa...was able to even humor him with my kind of funny. Learning point for me was, Rise UP to the challenge or go home asking yourself all the should have, could have's. Alliances were formed.
My birth month is coming up. I am becoming the woman who she she says she will do it, you bet your bottom dollar she will do it. In business, one's integrity and values are gold. It is funny to me that there are some people who claim that they are business people but...meh....that is a story for another day. But hey, we have all the AC's at the school up and running. One more lesson to take note of...LEARN to say NO with grace.
I failed in keeping track of schedule, missed my panel interview I have been prepping for more than a month. Shame...shame on me.
I turned 3-5 and mind you not only did I lose 15 lbs...all my clothes were literally falling off! Looked even better than college. I knocked out my 5K#2 as Strawberry Shortcake for the Monster Dash. Wrapped up the school's first 2 public events- Halloween Parade and Costume Party. Hahaha, life is not perfect without other people raining your parade. Had to solve the parking issue with our neighboring businesses. Lesson learned - when you are making huge strides in your business , that is when challenges come up...and you got to do what you ought to do when you need to do it and NOT when it is convenient. Lesson learned- stay classy!
I celebrated my birthday with just hubby and I - dinner at the healthiest buffet on Okinawa. I was in heaven! This lifestyle is not a fad, WE as a family are committing ourselves to good health, exercising, and in turn nourish our mind, body and soul. The holidays are coming up and check this out --- talented teachers are seeking employment at the school!
The school's officially have an active morning fit club, the evening one just did not survive, a Tahitian class, a Hot Hula Fitness class, Ballet for Kids....whew! The 2nd floor is getting used up and word of mouth is spreading like wildfire. It was a beautiful and exciting month. It still has its up' and down's ...why not, life is after all Yin and Yang. Again, the answer always lies in YOU.
Delegation and honoring my values are two lessons inked in my heart and mind for this month. Both proved to be very useful.
Truly a month to be thankful for MaNY things! A wonderful team of staff, supportive family and friends, the parents of the school who trusted us. Our THaNkSgiving Feast at the school summed up the abundance and richness I feel. You know, The Lord truly worked in the most humbling ways. Ask and you shall receive. God wills it, it will be done according to His plan and not yours.
Gabe left again but this time to support a humanitarian mission close to our hearts. I completed my 5K #3. On Turkey Day, I observed an ESL class...from what I recall...it was a cold day. Brrrrr, winter is here on the island! Another program is to be launched at the school. Team ELIS is the dream team taking shape. Holiday program plans are already planned out. Ending the year with a bang was our goal.
Lesson learned - have a grateful heart all year round.
College night #2 with hubby was super fun. It was an event we always look forward to. We represented our school colors, spoke to eager parents and future college freshmen. The energy and the vibe of preparing for college are infectious :) Education is key to success...no matter what others may claim it to be.
It was the busiest 3 weeks for the school - parent conferences, inspection, holiday shopping, end of the yr program, and Christmas parties. Team ELIS rose up and exceeded expectations! Praise be to God for always guiding us. Truly, when one has faith...there is no need to feel inadequate or afraid. Two weeks of break - much needed and well deserved by everyone. Lesson learned - take care of your people and they will take care of you. The staff Holiday Party was heart warming and memorable. Showing your appreciation is the greatest gift an employer could give to his/ her employees.
I redeemed myself and successfully completed an interview on internet live radio with Katie Adler. Wow...that was something! I had a blast. The plan to cohost a Vision Board Party came to a halt. It was best I serve as participant. I finally resigned to the fact that could not move forward my doctorate program. It was not my season to be learning. It is my season to be doing and living my dream.
We decided to spend a very quiet holiday season and it was the best ever! Just my family and I, less stress, less thinking...it was sheer bliss just being with them. Planning for 2014 was so much more FuN and inspiring.
We closed our books at 65 students and 570+ likes on FB. It was a phenomenal year, I am praising The Lord for His blessings and generosity in making 2013 the way it was. I found ME ....not again but the ME who was waiting to be found. I am a FITMOMPreneur, I have faith in God, I honor my values and will live by it each day.
I have created ZenSavvy Momma Movement to reach out to other women who were like me at the start of 2013... Feeling lost, inadequate, with an unfulfilled mission and behind the uncertainty there is a flicker of hope that just needs to be ignited. Be INSPIREd, lit the fire!
In 2014, I will take it ONE DAY AT A TIME! Cheers to new beginnings, to a blank journal...pages await for my pen. I will cherish each movement and not resent anything. I will not feel sorry for doing what I know what is right. I will not feel guilty for taking more control of MY time than other people taking control of it.
2014... You gotta believe it! I SERVE, I DESERVE!