As 2014 draws to an end, I thought I’d take a look back on what happened, what I achieved, whether I hit goals I’d set myself or made progress towards those goals. Did I move forward or backwards? Has it been a productive year? Have I learned and grown? What direction am I going in?
And then there’s next year to look forward to, new goals to set, new targets to aim for and what steps I need to take next.
To remind myself of what this year has brought I read back through some of my blogs and it’s been fascinating revisiting those snapshots in time, seeing what was happening and where I was at. Early on in the year I was full of optimism about working towards my ultimate goal of competing overseas – the goal I’d been aiming for the entire time I’ve been doing bodybuilding that has taken such a long time to be ready for and has required such patience, persistence and determination. I was excited by the fact that for the first time in about 4 years I was virtually uninjured, which meant for the first time we could actually work towards a goal rather than being limited in what we could do as we worked around setback after setback.
I was excited by the fact that I’d finally allowed myself to take that photography course I’d been promising myself for years and that I was going to work at my photography to see where it took me.
I finally acknowledged that I had been pushing myself too hard for too long and as a result my health was suffering so I made the conscious decision to cut back on as much extra work as possible and focus on getting as much down time as I could – only attending workshops or events if I wanted to be there, rather than feeling obliged to be there, not feeling like I had to write to a schedule but only when I felt like it.
That excitement and optimism didn’t last as I then found a lump in my breast which threw me for a complete loop as the worst case scenario played out in my head. Doubt, fear and uncertainty where my constant companions as I had test after test, then waited for what seemed like an eternity before finally getting the all clear – strangely enough I didn’t blog about any of it, which is a little unusual for me – but I’d lapsed into a deeply depressive state and couldn’t see my way out. Even once I had the all clear, I couldn’t pull myself out of the hole I was in, until sometime in May when a random post on FB snapped me into action and I started my 100 days of gratitude ‘project’.
I looked at a lot of those blogs and they still resonate now – some are funny, some a little random, some serious, some whimsical – but all are real, worthwhile and re-iterate the importance of taking time every now and then to stop and think about your situation. And I bet if you did, no matter how bad you think things are, there’s always something you can be grateful for…and if you can be grateful for one thing, then there’s probably something else you could be grateful for…and something else…
And suddenly you might find that the thing that is bothering you is not as bad as it seems.
By the end of the 100 days, I was in a much better space, things just seemed to be coming together – early in the year I’d written about flow and being in the moment, but I’d fallen out of it, until the grateful project. And now I had achieved it again, the universe was bringing me all that I was asking for
I’d been helping competitors backstage early in the year and believe there is a need for such a service. I know from my own experiences interstate and internationally that comp day is so much harder when you have all the additional fluff to worry about, that’s why I feel so much more comfortable and relaxed when Aiden is with me backstage.
And so Stage Angels was born.
My photography was going really well at shows and my doctor getting me media passes trackside at the drag racing was awesome – I’ve started to sell some photos, had enquiries about buying my photos, and even been published in some of the drag racing mags so this is another direction that I could pursue.
After starting my comp prep and writing a bit of a rant about bad practices that I’d heard from Season A, I had a number of requests for recommendations for comp prep coaches and since I genuinely couldn’t provide any, I decided to do it myself…and immediately had 4 initial consultations, with 2 ladies becoming prepees. I have to say it’s been an absolute pleasure working with both Rochelle and Diah, I couldn’t ask for more dedicated, disciplined, easy going ladies who take direction incredibly well, ask as many questions as they need to, to feel reassured, who have completely opened up about exactly how they’re feeling every step of the way and trusted me to be there for them. It’s a privilege, a challenge and an honour to be able to guide someone to achieving such a big goal. I take it very seriously and it’s definitely what I want to be doing more of.
By the middle of the year I was starting to really focus on my own competition goals. Having decided on a monster season of 9 competitions in 9 weeks, in 3 different countries with shows at state, national and international level – all with a specific purpose in mind – prep started a long way out to make it as gentle as possible to ensure I had the time to get into the right condition whilst retaining the stamina and energy that I was going to need, and it was a good thing too – holding my condtion for 13 weeks under such an intense, extended, difficult season is no small feat, on top of everything that needed to be organised!
Everything else outside of work and training stopped – and it shows! I hardly wrote any blogs in the 6 months of prep and competing!
But it paid off.
That complete focus on achieving a feat that is utterly unique came together in the most incredible way possible. Not only did I achieve my ‘ultimate’ goal of competing internationally, but being part of a team was a fabulous experience and then to go and win everything…even to the point of clean sweeping the female categories in 2 of them, I exceeded the expectations of myself, Aiden and everyone else and took a giant leap into territory that a miniscule minority will ever get to experience – that of a Pro.
But the achievement goes beyond that – into uncharted territory – not just a pro, but a pro in 3 different federations…at the same time, and to have done it in just over 2 years after double shoulder surgery and being so injured that I couldn’t even walk is a testament to Aiden’s commitment, skill and knowledge as well as my dedication, consistency, determination and downright stubbornness.
I’m incredibly proud of myself, as it wasn’t even in my wildest dreams – all of our planning and work had been aimed at getting me on stage at an international competition – we never considered what might happen if I won. And now, the world is quite literally my stage!
One thing I did write was a crowdfunding campaign – I told my story, the whole thing right from the beginning. I wrote about the triumphs, tears, battles and Aiden’s belief in me. I wrote some words about how I would feel, standing on that stage as they announced me as the winner…
And those words came true.
They were prophetic and gave me goosebumps. I talked about how I would cry, tears of joy, relief and sheer pride that I had achieved the seemingly impossible. But those words didn’t mention another deeply personal reason that has driven me right from the beginning…
The highlight of the year, better than all the trophies was receiving an email from my dad. It simply read:
‘Dear Bags, congratulations, we’ve run out of superlatives! we are so proud of you. Love Dad’
Then there were real tears. It brings me to tears now. Nothing can beat that.
I carried those words with me to Boston and finally delivered the performance that I have had the potential to deliver…and got the best result against the best competition.
Looking back on this year, it has been huge. I’ve taken steps in the right direction in my photography, I’ve started prepping people for stage and now know that it’s what I want to do more of – I love helping people achieve their dreams and their dream body. I’ve been doing a lot of diet and nutrition advising at my workplaces and I want to do more of that – ever since my own transformation I decided that diet and nutrition coaching is where I want to be, and I’ve definitely taken steps in the right direction there this year. I love helping people out backstage – being that Stage Angel, who oversees a competitors day making sure it’s as stress-free as possible and I’ve got some great ideas about where I can go with it.
Another thing I’m very pleased with this year is my consistency with my training and how my body has held together. I have done everything right, never skipped or skimped on a training session, kept my diet really clean, been disciplined and focused all year. Not once has Aiden had to kick my butt because I’d let myself go or not given 100%.
I’m very grateful to now be sponsored by Athletes with Attitude and Evelyn Faye Nutrition which will be a big help moving into next year.
There have been many other highlights this year – helping wanna be competitors at ANB Workshops, muscles with mussels at south Melbourne Market, my crazy photo-shoot in Sydney and of course how can I forget my pose down with the inimitable Mr. Bruce Hatfield!
Looking forward to next year, I think it’s also going to be a big year – stepping up to the Pro level is very exciting and I’m going to be doing a new style of training to get me there, which I’m itching to start! I’m going to continue working on my photography, Stage Angels, and maybe prepping – if I can fit it in with my competition plans. I’ve got competition plans to make! Where will I go? sooo many comps to choose from!
I’m going to do a lot of learning and studying next year – in fact I’ve already started that. A week off training and work means time for reading…in fact, I’ve spent the last few days reading all about fat!
It’s fascinating stuff – it knows what you’re up to…and it’s waaay more clever than you are! 🙂
I’ve also just started a new job, which so far I’m really enjoying and hope that it continues all year. I’ve just moved into a new house, which I think is going to be quite fun so the new year really is beginning with a bit of a clean slate – a whole new chapter waiting to be written and I’m excited to see what unfolds!
Until next year…
Happy New Year!!