On this page, I will be featuring stories from members of the Feel Good Community who are putting the strategies into action, getting great results, and having fun stepping things up in their life.
If you would like to contribute a piece (~300-500 words ideally), please send me an email at email@example.com
Gabe Turetsky (USA)
Wresting & Becoming a Better Man
“Take him down!” the coach yells, blowing his whistle. My aching hands droop from my body as I prepare for the surprise attack to the legs. I know I have to remain focused to defend myself. My sparring partner lashes at my sweat-drenched shoes. With a pound, I hit hard, the cold mat pressing against my face. Discouraged but not defeated, I command my legs to lift me up. Concentrating, I hold my stance and brace myself to withstand the next attack. I notice a slight glint in Coach Andrei’s eyes as I successfully defend myself. Meeting my opponent as I stand up, we shake hands and I thank him for sparring with me. I know he has challenged me to become a better wrestler.
Wrestling has taught me to approach problems with precise analysis and a concrete strategy, while constantly testing and pushing me beyond my physical abilities. It has built up my personality to achieve goals in all parts of life. I have learned to overcome adversity and keep on pushing past my limits. Wrestling is and continues to be the greatest driving force in my life.
Three years ago, my father introduced me to three-time National Ukrainian Champion Andrei, my future coach. Coach Andrei comes from a long tradition of classical coaching and through his style is able to demonstrate indispensible principles not only through the sport of wrestling but also in my actions off the mat. My coach’s stories of immigration to the US have given me inspirational examples of perseverance in reaching a desired goal. Starting life in America was not easy; every penny had to be saved to buy a meal and find a place to live. Alone in a new country, Andrei taught himself English and established his vocation as a coach. After every practice, he reminds me about his golden rule: “Always tell yourself you can do it and progress.” In situations of doubt or uncertainty; competing with tough wrestlers, studying for exams, dealing with serious injuries, or facing other life’s unforeseen hardships, I have derived great strength from my coaches’ words.
The three years of hard work with Coach Andrei have taught me to approach every struggle with maximum effort. I admit I am no Arnold Schwarzenegger, however, when it comes to workouts, I strive to reach my full potential every day. Rather than becoming discouraged when things don’t work, I persist and work harder to improve. When stepping onto the wrestling mat, I clear my head of all distractions and replace it with the focus of taking the opponent down. The greatest lesson I learned from wrestling is that the journey itself is just as important as the finish. Aware of my opportunities that my coach may never have, I am deliberate with my choices and carefully plan my actions to progress and succeed. Whether on the mat or in life, I set up meaningful goals and strive to meet them with determination and enthusiasm. The lessons that I learn from wrestling and the coaching of Andrei guide me as I prepare myself for nationals, college, and my future endeavors.
Danielle Johnson (USA)
How I became a fierce Recession Proof Graduate
After graduating in May 2011 with my bachelors in English education, I quickly realized that my dream of being a teacher was not going to happen. Due to our economy and the difficulty of the job search I settled for a few months as a grunt substitute and coach. I was miserable. But if I can ever count on anything, it is my inner voice telling me how much the situation I was in sucked.
So I did a flippin’ 180*, plus a spin. I decided I wanted to become an education entrepreneur, with location independence. I wanted to travel, learn, and meet new people. I started reaching out to those who inspired me and those who I felt closely aligned with. I started offering my services to people and working for free. Everything I did was because I wanted to do it; it was never work.
My life changed forever. Only a month later I started getting paid for work that I love doing. Not only that, but in exchange for some of my work I get to travel for free and meet totally-rad-insane-movers and shakers.
I realized I already had all the tools I needed to be successful, within myself. It was all about doing cool sh**, learning, and meeting great people. I just had to let my fierce out.
Find your true colour, let’s be creative
“Your real duty is to save your dream.” ~ Modigliani (Italian painter)
Back a few years ago, when I started university, in psychology, I felt that most of my life was going wrong. Anxious to death, I had to stop university for a while. I finally continued, but changed program for International Studies and Modern Languages. I spent the last year’s program in Granada, Spain, which was a fabulous experience.
It deeply transformed me. Not only it influenced my way of living (very different than the one I used to know in Canada), but also my perception of life. I started reconsidering the importance each of us put in doing serious stuff – that, in the end, do not really matter – versus the time we spend actually living our lives. In Andalucia, as the saying goes: “Here we work to live, and there, you live to work.”
After that year, I went back to Quebec to start a Master degree and I was shocked to get back in that life again. I thought: why would I want to work all my life for something I did not really liked?
So I did listen to something I should have listened before: my heart. It sure sounds obvious, but I realized I had put it aside for a long while. Since very little, I have had a strong artistic side, but, at the same time, I have never known how to integrate it into a career.
From that point on, I wanted to make a living from art, specifically from photography. And go back where I had left my heart: Spain. So here I am now, studying photography in Barcelona. I also started to write and I am pleasantly surprised how I actually enjoy it. I created a blog that includes two of the things I like doing the most: photography and writing. It gives me good vibrations when I do both of them. This insight is strong enough to persuade me to continue in that direction.
Get your life in movement
Spending 8 years in a synchronized swimming club taught me the great power of visualization. And its best friend is called action. I remember the hardest thing for me was to feel that I should be doing something else, but I did not want anything to move, basically because I did not know what direction to take. Sometimes, it is hard to let it go when you feel you should not be where you are, doing what you do.
Then I read this phrase: “Nothing is permanent, except change.” – Buddha (or, if you prefer, “Everything flows, nothing stands still.” – Heraclitus) and I slowly started accepting that everything around me, including myself, had to move on, to evolve. So, I had to give it a try, instead of fighting against it. It also meant opening myself to the unknown a bit.
I do know now that a few years ago it was not really my life I was living. So it is mine now and you know why? Because I choose every moment of it. I open myself and mind to every opportunity, project, person that I could share with and I go for it, in order to achieve what my heart whispered to me from the moment I agreed to listen to it.
The more I know about photography, the more I realize that there are as much ways to develop a career in that field as there are photographers. So there is as much ways of living life as there are people on earth. The way to achieve it according to me: find yourself in order to experiment your own way.
So now, what COLOUR do you want to give to YOUR life?
Tina Meinhardt (Cincinnati)
Never Give Up Hope
My story is one of persistence and determination. Three years after graduating with a degree in exercise science, I became very unhappy with my job as a personal trainer, so I decided to make a change and pursue physical therapy. I got a new job as a physical therapist aide and re-took some college courses, as well as others that were required for different DPT programs (Doctorate of Physical Therapy). The first school I applied to was my undergrad alma mater, but was rejected. A year later I was accepted into a different program (on the other side of my city). At 27 years old, I was beginning a doctorate program and was really looking forward to getting my first “real job” when I graduated and turned 30.
Things went pretty well the first two semesters in the program, but I somehow managed to barely fail one class and was dis-enrolled from the program. This came as a huge shock and disappointment. I’ve never failed anything, and couldn’t believe that it happened to ME. I wasn’t sure what to do next, but then an opportunity came to me- my four young cousins’ needed a new nanny because their old one had just quit. Two years later, I’m still nannying them and I love it.
That next application round, I applied to 12 programs, in hopes that one of them would accept me. After 11 rejection letters, I received a letter from a program that I had applied to in Los Angeles. A small, private school with a fairly small DPT program. I should also mention that I’ve wanted to move to Southern California since I was probably 15 years old. I love the weather, the atmosphere, and all of the outdoor fitness opportunities. So the letter said that I was being put on the “alternate list”. I was so excited! I got in contact with the director of the program, and told her how much I wanted to be in the program. She told me that I was a very good candidate and that if I didn’t get into this year’s class that I should apply for early decision for next year. So that’s what I did. I applied again, and a month later, my dream came true- ACCEPTED!
Everything happens for a reason. I got to spend quality time with my cousins and watch them grow up, as well as become closer to my family. I’m pursuing a dream, well two of them. It may have taken me a bit longer to start a career, but I’m going to do it, and I’m going to enjoy every minute of the process in getting there Also, in the 10 months before I move to LA, I have a goal of losing the weight that I haven’t been able to get off since I put it on 4 years ago. I’ve discovered the paleo and primal lifestyle, and they are working great so far. I want to start my new life in California the best that I can- in body, mind and spirit. I’m also taking advantage of my time with my family and friends and cherishing them, because this is most likely the last time that I’m able to see them every day.
Here’s to pursuing our dreams and never giving up hope! LiveStrong!
Andreas Kambanis (England)
“Get a real job” to holidays of a lifetime
Back in 2009 I had this idea for a downloadable eBook that would have 25 great cycling routes to try in London. At the time my parents were pestering me to “get a real job” and stop fooling around with this “silly blog.” I tried to partner up with someone to produce the eBook but they bailed on me and I was left on my own. I had just 30 days to get this project done before I would be flying to Brazil.
Everyone thought it was impossible but just a few hours before boarding the plane I hit the launch button on my eBook. I couldn’t check whether I’d succeeded until I landed in Sao Paulo. When the plane touched down, I turned on my 3G and was greeted with an inbox full of emails. The product had sold successfully and was about to pay for my whole stay in Brazil! More importantly, I’d proved my online business can work.
Gilles Seiller (France)
The Real Fitness Challenge
During summer 2011, me and some friends agreed to participate in a fun race. We were supposed to be a team of four, running in the Vosges, a french mountain near the german border, climbing walls, crawling in mud, running in water… A lot of fun. Except that none of us were fit enough to see this that way. It was a challenge and a huge one.
It was way harder than we expected. Way longer. Way muddier. All in all, it was just a terrible challenge. The course used the steepest path in the mountain. We had to run through the deepest mud i’ve ever seen. The obstacles were all discouraging: tall walls that quickly got slippery, tunnels that ended in freezing water, rocks hidden in the crawling section hurting knees and elbows…
Every step quickly became hurtful but everything miles was run with a smile, helping each others, embracing the challenge with courage and optimism. It was much more friendly than difficult. And it was terribly difficult.
Me and my friends started the race with the hope of doing a good time… It quickly changed to the will to finish. And finish we did! It took me more than 3 hours to complete the race, and it’s really not a good time. My legs hurt for days, I tore up my clothes, almost passed out from the cold and the fatigue… but that was amazing! It was so much fun that we plan on doing a harder race this year.
Basically, it’s the taking part that counts. The amazing feeling to push oneself, to struggle and to finish the race is so empowering, it changed my perception of fitness and challenges.I can only recommend to try such a challenge: there’s no particular skills to master, just will and courage. Fun and pride will be a sure reward.
Lisa Castle Heart (USA)
In September of 2010 I told myself that in six months I wanted to start trying to have a baby. When March 2011 rolled around I started eating healthy. Luckily a friend of mine suggested I try SparkPeople.com. I found the website extremely helpful. Not only did it track the food I ate, let me log my exercise, graph my progress, but it also taught me about being healthy. It had so many articles such as portion control and videos with different exercises. They helped me stay motivated to lose almost 40lbs throughout the 2011 year. In April is when I really started exercising, and also when I put down cigarettes. Nasty little things!
In regards to exercise I attempted to find things that were fun to do. I started with walking, and at the time had a few of my husband’s family members living with us, and we would walk together. Being active with a buddy always makes it more fun! After I had been walking and swimming for a while I decided to try my hand at hula hooping. It seemed a lot of fun, and in this group I camp with most of the girls were learning how to do tricks and such. It took me three weeks to teach myself how to hula hoop. Now keep in mind I wasn’t practicing five hours a day or anything it was more like ten to thirty minutes a day. It took being out of town up at my in-law’s lake house early in the morning while every one else was asleep and two hours worth of time. It also took determination. I wasn’t going to let that hula hoop beat me. No matter how many times I had to bend down and pick it back up. Hula hooping was the first thing in my adult life that I chose to learn, put my mind to it, and didn’t quit till I succeeded. It felt amazing!
After a while of eating right and getting plenty of exercise I found myself online reading as much as I could about things to help me be a better person overall. I read a lot of articles and blogs on happiness and how to achieve it. I am not sure how I got there, but my research led me to a website called HighExistence.com. What I found on this website was a wealth of knowledge to make me a better me. I started dabbling into meditation. I noticed changes in myself. I had more energy, and even though I was already a pretty happy go lucky person I found myself having much better moods. What happened to me next; I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around.
Before I tell you exactly what went down in my life I’d like to share with you this quote I wrote.
“When you get your mind and body right, your soul tends to follow suit.”
Basically the abridged version is I was led to a book by the website I just mentioned and the universe. Let’s just say I went into the bookstore with ten books on my list; accidently found one in the clearance section for $1, and then none of the other books on my list were in the store. Not too long into reading the book I had an allergic reaction to the wildfires we were having in Texas. I had to go on a very strong dose of steroids for a little over three weeks. Only about four days into this treatment I had my first ever panic attack. I know all of this sounds pretty horrible so far, but I can honestly say that it was the best thing to ever happen to me. That book gave me a new way to look at life, and the other things that happened to me shook me up out of the norm enough to change my life forever. The book if you would like to know is called Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch. And please don’t let the title chase you off, because I myself would have never picked it up on my own accord.
Well this is the story of my journey thus far. I still have ways to go, but looking back I feel like I’ve come so very far. I now know what I want to do with my life, and I have the tools to do it to the best of my ability. I hope that you reading this can find your path, and remember we all get to the same place in the end we all just take a million plus different ways to get there! Namaste!
(Please Note: I have no vested interest in any of the websites or books listed here. I just wanted to share my journey and what tools I have used along the way.)
Beth Hughes (USA)
Adventure never stops
After suffering a broken neck and spinal cord damage in 04, to fighting our Gov’t for 6 years over it, I woke one day and realized it was up to me to choose what the next 50 years of my life would be like. The more I took responsibility for everything in my life, my health, my circumstance, the better it became.
As my youngest gets ready to graduate from High School (let me add…with an AA degree from College). I am beginning my search for my next home, a small RV for traveling.. No time limits, I have told my children I may be gone a month, I may be gone for years. Just don’t be surprised if they wake one morning and see me parked in their driveway.
I have always been a wanderer, a traveler.. I traveled the world while in the USAF and then 23 years with a major airline and now that my children have started on their own journeys, it is time to continue on the journey I began 30+ years ago.
The more people question my decision because of my health issues, the more eager I am to get started. (I was not paralyzed from my accident).
So the search for my future home is on, since it will be the cheapest one I can find, I am sure there will be some interesting remodeling done, especially since I am not naturally handy, then it will be me, my camera and my kayak, on the road~.
So here’s to my next 51 years being an amazing adventure…
If you want to share your success story to inspire other Feel Good members, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story (~100-500 words) and a picture of you and I will publish it onto this page.