A New Chapter and Business Venture, Creations.
My flat brimmed hat turned backwards. Accompanied by the way to big for my face, aviator sunglasses. The music playing loudly through the speakers, so no words could be spoken. My eyes focused on the person behind us. As they charged towards the wake.
This was a summer day in New England. Just after I graduated high school, 20 something years ago. Wakeboarding was my passion. And little did I know, coaching was too.
Over the next five summers. I found myself in the boat time and time again. Being financially compensated for my services. Yet, I had to balance my "real job" with this hobby. Occasionally calling in sick for work, so I could teach others how to ride a wakeboard. Or even get upside down on one, landing their first flip.
What started as daily clinics for the local shops. Blossomed into running a wakeboard school in Charleston, South Carolina. I had all the things in place to start my own career as a young entrepreneur.
But I didn't.
I let the rules of society convince me I needed to follow the path of my schooling. Pursue engineering. As that was a real career and would provide me financial stability, the house with the white picket fence, and all that comes along with society's real life fantasy.
The problem was. I was not fulfilled with the construction and engineering path. I tried to make it work. And have wakeboarding on the side. But I sabotaged both.
At the ripe old age of 24 I found myself barely wakeboarding. Broke. And working solely to make money.
The next four years I managed to climb the ladder of engineering. With great companies. At 27, a Civil Engineer in training. I was standing in front of a planning board meeting. Presenting my project. My mind miles away from the meeting. And the board knew it. My project was beaten up, badly. But before they could deny it, I came back to reality and asked for a continuance. It was granted and my clients money and project saved for another day.
This moment hit me like a ton of bricks. I hated what I was doing. And it was affecting others. I knew that I was not going to be a Civil Engineer. And I never wanted to present a project to a board again.
I started to converse with a friend, one who was a coach for cyclists, marathon runners and tri-athletes. I wanted to pursue that career. I had no clue how to take the steps to do so, but the seed was planted.
I chased the money to another company. One who I started my construction career with. And who mentored me up the ranks, from a laborer to a project manager. I negotiated a "dream job" and went back to the world of site construction.
I was unsatisfied, unfulfilled, miserable. I found myself, self medicating, numbing the hatred of working this job. As all I kept hearing, I should be grateful for this amazing job.
On September 2008, an opportunity was dangled before me. Again chasing the money but moving me to Colorado. I took the bait. Quite my job. And moved to Colorado. The universe delivered its message as the The Great Recession hit. The job I was promised fell apart.
The winter of 2008 and 2009 I rehabbed a house. Lived alone at 10,000 feet. And learned a lot about myself. I stumbled back into the world of wakeboarding. With a trip to Orlando to reignite the spark in the spring of 2009. I started competing and coaching again, at 29 years old. I found myself riding better than ever in summer of 2009. But the universe once again tried to remind me to slow down. As I was injured days before the Amateur World Wakeboard Contest. Even with this set back, I packed my stuff and moved from the Rocky Mountains to the mecca of wakeboarding, Orlando, FL.
With no money. No job. I had some contacts. And a sense of landing an engineering job that would pay for my wakeboarding habit. But Florida was hit harder than many places and jobs were almost impossible to come by.
In May of 2011 after 18 months of trying to make Orlando home, I realized that the hill I was pushing the rock up, was more of a wall. In tears, about to pack up my things and move back to Massachusetts and go back to what was easy and comfortable. I made one last effort.
On that day I landed four jobs. I was answering phones and filing papers at an engineering company, selling real estate, waiting tables and teaching stand up paddling. I stayed in Orlando, Florida.
Stand up paddling kept me on the water. And in my mind was going to get me back to wakeboarding. I was bored paddling around the flat lakes. And became frustrated when the wakeboard boats rolled by with the music blasting and people hurling themselves through the air. As 2 years earlier I was on this lake in one of these boats. But now with no money to pay for gas. Paddling was my only way to be on the water. Not in the boat, doing what I loved.
A few months later I was convinced to compete at a stand up paddleboard event. Something I vowed never to do again. With having 20 something years of competing in sports behind me. Never making it to the level I wanted. I had the realization at 30, I was never going to be a pro athlete. But I went to the stand up paddleboard event.
This day forever changed my life. I left the beach inspired. And wanting to compete. I started training. And made working in the stand up paddleboard industry a goal.
The following year it all came full circle. I begged a company to sponsor me. Then convinced them to hire me. And in July of 2012 found myself living in Northern California, working in the stand up paddleboard industry and pursuing a dream of being a pro athlete again.
The experience and knowledge gained during the next seven years was invaluable. I never made it to the level of racing that I wanted, a top pro. But other avenues opened up. I started coaching clinics around the country. And in 2014 became a certified yoga instructor, where I found myself teaching and managing the Wanderlust Festival's SUP Yoga program. Fulfilling a deep desire to teach and passion to share both paddling and yoga with people all across North America.
This moment in time is where I had the biggest face to face struggle with fear. The universe was providing all kinds of signs to start my own business. But comfort and the power of fear prevented me from taking that step. It began to create problems in my world. Just as it did back in my construction and engineering days.
As things spiraled downward with me, affecting relationships and business opportunities. I knew I needed a change.
I left San Clemente, which was my home for the previous three years and the mecca of surfing, paddling and ocean sports. And thanks to great friends found my sanctuary in the Caribbean.
I went back to a simple life. And the universe once again shared with me a glimpse of running my own business. But not ready or open. I turned my back on it.
Until this past fall.
As a few opportunities presented themselves. Ones I knew were not a fit for me. And others helped remind me of this. For the first time in many years. The words "no" came out of my mouth. Shortly after I found myself in a place where I was ready to take the wheel. And control of my future.
A few weeks ago, I was not exactly certain on how it would all come together. And I made a post about exciting news. The overwhelming response confirmed it was time. But the universe was not done testing me. I was delivered with a fun battle with the flu. And then the holidays. Making me sit with my post and decision. In a not a so strong mental space. However I was prepared.
The months leading up to this moment. I began a soul searching, self healing journey. I took to writing, a lot. Studying and using CBD. Utilizing the practice and benefits of yoga. Tackling feats that others said I was crazy to do. Tapping into the powers of breath and mindfulness. Ice baths and cold showers. A better diet. And surrounding myself with people who wanted me to succeed, as much or more than I did.
The time spent on the couch down and out. My mind actually was working. It shifted from being scared to start my own business. To become fired up about it. As my strength returned. My vision of my business started to unfold.
Today, as I write this, I have learned from the past. Being open to any and all opportunities and experiences that I align with. And willing to say no to those that do not fit. Even if the financial reward is there. My business is an extension of me. The most authentic part. My services may not resonate with some. And that is ok.
I am looking to be surrounded with quality partners who together we will raise the vibrations of life. Helping to spread mindfulness, the value of staying active and in nature, protecting our playgrounds (the environment), and empowering others to take the step into the unknown just as I have.
For those of you interested in my offerings, my website will be updated in the next month as I am organically creating this venture.
For now. I will be providing brand building strategies, not just in watersports but beyond. I will work with manufacturers, retailers and individuals. I will be providing coaching. Not in the traditional sense of making people faster or tougher or winners. But rather to tap into the mental toughness and fortitude that I have learned throughout my athletic and business journeys.
If you have any questions on services I have listed please feel free to reach out. If I am not comfortable with the task you need fulfilled, I will say no. But I maybe able to help you find the person(s) to fit that need. The friends I have made throughout the years cover the gamut of businesses and I'd be honored to connect you with them and them with you. As this is an integral part of the business I am creating.
Thank you all for the overwhelming support. I am excited to work with you or just to call you friends.