I was given a choice: I could be laid off or keep my job. I was given just a few minutes to contemplate my decision. I didn’t hesitate with my answer. 'Please lay me off.'
When I graduated from college I took a job as receptionist for one of the leading advertising agencies in the country. Like a lot of young women, I took the job for lack of a better idea and the need to support myself. For nearly 25 years I worked in the “glamorous ad world,” moving up the ladder in spite of the fact that I was totally miserable.
At first it wasn’t that bad. One of the perks of working in advertising is the numerous parties that include copious amounts of booze and food. Unfortunately, with the abundance of food and drink comes the abundance of body fat. Within 3 years of living the ad life, I had gained quite a bit of weight.
And then it happened. One day a co-worker said to me, “you have such a pretty face, why don’t you go on a diet?” As you can imagine, that didn’t make me too happy. It did however set off the chain reaction that lead me to where I am today.
It was hard and a bit lonely, but I started slowly. While my friends continued to party, I rushed home to attend Jazzercise classes and count every piece of pasta I put in my mouth. Eventually I dropped a large amount of weight and after a few years, I reached a level of fitness that shocked everyone.
Years passed, and finally I got the bright idea to hire a personal trainer to come to the agency to work out with my co-workers and me. I managed to recruit almost 20 people for what’s known as “Boot Camp.” I thought the workouts were challenging and fun. But in spite of the trainers’ best intentions, many of the participants dropped out quickly, finding the workouts too challenging.
This is the when it dawned on me. A workout structure needs to be created that caters to those who respond better to a less challenging routine. A place where a person can slowly build their fitness, along with their confidence, among like-minded folks. A place where they're not tossed into a group of GI-Jane wannabes.
It was this realization that brought me to my second lean in moment. In August of 2010 the agency I worked for began to lay people off. I was given a choice: I could be laid off or keep my job. I was given just a few minutes to contemplate my decision. I was frightened, but I didn’t hesitate with my answer. “Please lay me off. “
Within days of leaving my ad job, Kelley the personal trainer was born.
In January of 2011 I founded Physical Funness for the Motion Starved, a place where people of all fitness levels can get their sweat on, have fun, and feel comfortable and cared about. I was inspired by my experience with the Boot Camp trainer and every other time I’ve witnessed someone drop out of a situation because they didn’t feel comfortable. I wanted to put the fun back into exercise.
My lean in moments have changed my life in many positive ways. But the point is most clear to me is: keep your mind and eyes open and wonderful things happen. All you have to do is pay attention. It may take a while to see how events come together but have faith, focus on what you want, what you enjoy, and be willing to take a chance. Good things will come.
A writer creates a children's series to change assumptions that a scientist is a "he."
Writer and Filmmaker
A recruiter learns to own her own success -- and urges other women to do the same.