The GU'd Life: The power of saying YES

The GU'd Life: The power of saying YES

We’ve all been faced with them at some point in our lives. Daunting work, life, play, travel choices that are exciting, scary, intimidating, or overwhelming; decisions that made us pause to truly think through the consequences. The proverbial “two roads diverged in a wood” type decisions that, looking back, may've completely changed the trajectory of your life in big and small ways, with outcomes, some more impactful than others, that couldn’t have been imagined at the time we were making these tough choices. When I look back at my life I can pinpoint a few of these pivotal moments that highlight the power of saying YES and how those choices opened up new horizons for me and landed me smack dab in the middle of the Canadian Rockies filming cycling videos for iFIT. 

Following a collegiate career playing lacrosse for Cal Berkeley, and with no definite career path ahead of me when I graduated with a degree in American Literature and a minor in African American Literature, I said YES to a work opportunity and packed up my Volkswagen van, chopped off my hippie locks, and drove across the country to teach English as a second language at a summer program at a prestigious East Coast boarding school. A few weeks into my tenure, a vacancy in the English Department opened up and I was offered a job teaching American Literature and English as a second language for the coming school year. There was no other answer but YES, so without any formal teaching experience, besides some classroom volunteering I’d done while at Cal, I jumped with both feet into my first teaching job. You may be wondering what teaching in Pottstown, PA, had to do with my cycling future, but it was here, in the dense forests and rocky trails of French Creek State Park, that I said YES to another opportunity: riding mountain bikes. With no options to continue my lacrosse career post-college, I needed some other physical outlet, and when two teaching friends shared their passion for MTB riding and lent me a bike, I was hooked!! Turns out when you share your passions with others, you never know what fires they might light and what opportunities might await.

Fast forward two years when I took my newfound mountain bike passion to Santa Fe, NM, where I began a Masters in Literature, but actually fell deeper in love with the bike, did my first bike race, and, after only one semester, put the Masters program on the back burner while I immersed myself in bike culture by getting my first shop job, even though I didn’t know a thing about working on bikes. Much like in Pennsylvania, I was fortunate to find a community of experienced riders who shared their knowledge and passion with me, which only deepened my stoke and desire to see how far I could take myself on two wheels. Not long after, I purchased a road bike and did my first century, which wasn’t pretty, but I got it done with the help of my friends. 

It was a return to my home town of Petaluma, CA, in the late '90s where I began a career as an elementary school teacher, that saw me say YES to another new opportunity that was right in line with my passion for cycling. Who knew that  becoming a spin instructor at a local gym would be the foundation for becoming an iFIT trainer (think online cycling videos that allow the user to ride “with” me in stunning places all over the world while leading them through a workout) 20 years later? Yup, turns out making mixed tapes, coordinating workout routines, and spouting encouraging words while sweating profusely helped set me up for success in 2020 when I did my first cycling series for iFIT in Central Nevada. Fast forward three years, two more iFIT cycling series, and I find myself along the glacial banks of the Athabasca River in Jasper National Park, filming new cycling segments in one of the most gorgeous places I’ve visited in my life. It’s not lost on me how fortunate I am to have this opportunity. The most rewarding aspect of being an iFIT trainer, however, has been getting to connect with riders from all over the world, to communicate with them and to hear their success stories, and to know that they are all doing their personal best as they chase their fitness goals.

The ability to say YES is a super power that we all have at our disposal. Here’s to saying YES to opportunities that might scare, excite, intimidate you because when we do, more doors open. When we say YES, we do more, create more, and live more. And, possibly most importantly of all, when we say YES we invite possibility into our lives and the ability to learn what we are capable of and just how far we can go.

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