Last night, I had the chance to spend time with some truly inspirational people in my neighborhood, and the greater Bay Area as well. I even got to see some Lululemon educators from my hometown store in Roseville! So awesome. Early last week after run club, one of the girls in our local Lululemon store on Union Street handed me this flyer, and told me it would be something that she thought would really speak to me in my current journey toward making my dreams goals. After taking a look at it, I knew this was exactly what I had been searching for, advice and inspiration from people that took the scary first steps to standing up to the fear of failure in building the life they imagined for themselves.
Disclaimer: It’s no secret that Lululemon gets a bad rap and stereotype here in our neighborhood, not to mention nationally. However, its all how you choose to view it. You can choose to use their mantras to spark something meaningful in your outlook on life, instead of just assuming its a bunch of BS, and blindly stereotype the masses. I choose to find the authenticity in everyone. This event was further proof that there is honest passion, love, and mentorship rooted in the Lululemon culture.
The story that spoke to me the most was a story about living life inside the safe box. Inside the walls of what was practical and expected of me. Told by an educator in the Roseville store near my hometown, she shared how she had always lived life in the safe zone, and always said no to spontaneity and anything with a risk factor. While I am your stereotypical Aries who lives on the edge and is fueled by the high risk/high reward outlook on life, I also have a side to myself that aims to please others, especially those closest to me. This side of myself has led me to where I am today, and I can’t say that I am 100% content with it.
All through grade school and high school, I was urged to be the best at everything: always get perfect grades, maintain the perfect classy image, and participate in the sports that would get me the farthest in life and were the most practical, regardless of whether or not it was a passion of mine. I remember being so disheartened being pulled out of dance class as a child because it wasn’t something that my family deemed as practical. I was pushed hard as a mid-distance track athlete, and had a hard time accepting failure at meets, and forcing myself to be passionate about it. I began to develop these habits in other areas as life went on, taking classes that I wasn’t always interested in, only because it was the practical thing to do, and would help me into a safe and successful career. This continued into college. I turned down my first and most coveted acceptance letter to the University of Southern California, because “going to a military academy” would be much more prestigious. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Two years into a collegiate track and field career, an engineering major, and a string of bad grades later, I took a stand for myself. For the first time in my life, I said yes to my heart. I quit running, and joined our cheerleading team. I threw myself into singing with our choral department. I changed majors to Economics, where my analytical and creative skills would flourish. I couldn’t change my school or my post college military commitment, so I forged ahead on that front, and learned as much as I could from the incredible experiences I was given.
I could choose to keep living the life I thought I was supposed to live, or I could live my life with some dignity and do things that I was truly passionate about. I spent the remaining 5 years of my military commitment post college finishing what I had started. As soon as I could, I broke free, and moved to San Francisco, the city I always saw myself settling in forever. It has been a rocky road of slow progress toward what it is that I see for myself in the future, and I often find myself slipping back into old habits of making career choices that please my family or doing things because I think they are what I am supposed to be doing. Last night was a wake up call, and I no longer feel alone in the struggle of chasing what I think perfection should be. It is a work in progress for me to be at peace with the mindset of loving myself first, and realizing that it is not a failure to step away from what is safe or expected of me.
Moral of the story: Do what you love. Not what you think you are supposed to be doing.
Thank you to all the amazing speakers last night, each of you left a lasting impression. I can’t express it enough. I am also grateful for all the amazing advice and positive support I get routinely from my local Lululemon store here on Union Street. They’re a team full of charismatic mentors, with a love for the life they lead and inspire others to lead theirs in the same fashion.