So, as it turns out, it’s a lot easier to get a daily workout in when you don’t have other things filling your schedule.
Like, say, a job.
For over two years I had complete and total control over my calendar. I managed all personal or business appointments according to how much I felt I could take on.
My main objective was to minimize stress, live in the moment and be happy.
Moving appointments that conflicted with health and fitness goals was commonplace. eg. Nope, sorry I can’t meet you for lunch on Wednesday, I’m doing BodyPump class at 12:15. How does Thursday look?
The benefits of living that way were many; I’m sure I don’t need to list them for you.
The downside, sadly, was primarily financial. Despite living in denial for a long while, I finally had to resign myself to the fact that retirement at age 47 was not an option. Not, that is, if I wanted to keep traveling, buying stuff and eating well. Or eating at all, at a certain point.
One thing I knew for sure though is that I was not willing to compromise the values I had grown to hold so dear in these past couple of years. I was prepared to wait for as long as it took to find the right job, even if it meant buying less stuff in the process.
I wanted to join a company that was forward-thinking enough to allow a work-from-home situation, with the flexibility that home could mean Toronto or Las Vegas, without limitations. I also wanted a role that would allow me to stretch and grow beyond my comfort zone.
When this opportunity presented itself, it ticked off each and every check box on my list of ‘must-have’s. It was, as they say, an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or perhaps more accurately, one I shouldn’t refuse.
I have been given the opportunity to grow a new line of business for a well-established company, leveraging all the learning I’ve amassed in the various roles I held during my 10-year tenure with the software behemoth. The official title is Director of Product Management, but the role is a fantastic mash-up of business development, marketing and alliance-building, three areas I’m deeply passionate about.
It’s a wonderful opportunity; and also one that scares the shit out of me. And that is a winning combination! Seriously, I can’t tell you how much I love that I’m afraid of the scope of this role. I feel like I’m being stretched in a way I haven’t been in a long time.
The first week got off to a slow start, with most of my time spent in administrative duties. My boss told me to enjoy the quiet while it lasted as I would be “crying uncle soon” from the work that would start to hit. His prediction came true in week two, when I found myself on my first business trip. It was time to jump in with both feet.
I left the house early Monday morning but got some downtime after I made it to my hotel in Los Angeles. I used the opening in my schedule to go for a walk around the neighbourhood and get some lunch. In my previous life I would have unpacked my laptop and ordered room service. The fact that this didn’t even enter my mind as an option is testament to how far I’ve come.
I started my Tuesday with a short yoga sequence (thank you Kerry for that brilliant tip!) before checking out of my hotel and heading to the first meeting of the day. A rushed commute to Orange County, followed by the warp-speed inhalation of a sushi lunch saw us just make our 1pm meeting. A meeting that lasted 5 hours. Oh yeah, I remember those.
Once we were checked into our new hotel, we met back downstairs to head to dinner, a dinner we walked to. (Yay for walking!) Rather than watching TV or getting on my laptop when I got back to my room, I did an in-room bodyweight circuit that helped me sleep like a baby. The following morning I did another yoga sequence, which helped not only to get my blood flowing, but also to centre my mind and put me in the right headspace for the day.
The truth is, finding time to workout while working or traveling is a challenge. But it’s also do-able.
I can safely say that the tap has officially been turned on, and I’m now watching my calendar fill up with a number of business trips over the next few months, including one that will find me back in familiar territory, and among old friends.
My biggest challenge, quite frankly, won’t be that my job will become too demanding, rather that I could fall into my old ways.
These next few weeks will be the true test of my mettle. How deeply embedded are these new values? How important is work life balance to me, really? How hard am I prepared to work to maintain my good health?
My fingers are crossed that the life I’ve lived, the one I’ve loved, will anchor me in better life choices during the turbulent times on the horizon.