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What a difference a year or two will make...

Written By:  Kaleda Connell
On December 7th 2015, I opened Degree. 

Close to two years ago I walked away from an excellent job, with an excellent paycheque, pension, company vehicle, amazing co-workers and in a field that I enjoyed. I was incredibly excited to start on this new adventure to "be my own boss and work my own hours" and no longer answer the THE MAN (I still dont know what that means). I was sad to say goodbye to my co-workers, and the clients from that job, sure.. But I was more excited that scared to start this new journey. 

I purchased a building, all the equipment, learned about insurance and cash flow and accounting and payroll. I was excited, I was the boss, I could do this. If you followed me on social media you saw most of this- the exciting deliveries of new equipment, the paint colours, my wonderful mother helping me every step of the way, and my amazing boyfriend, Mark, agreeing with me and listing to my crazy talk every day (and also completing the "I'm too short to do this" list). 

Here's what you didn't see. The tears, the incredible days of self doubt, the fights between me and my partner. It starts with my equipment delivery- it was late and wrong. Nothing they sent me was what I wanted. I just spent tens of thousands of dollars on equipment that was garbage and I was supposed to be open IN A WEEK. Then when I called the company... no one would answer. No more than a week after I received all the wrong equipment and with most of it missing- the Equipment Company went bankrupt... 

I hired employees (wow look at me go) only a couple of months in, and everything was great again. Until it wasn't. I lost employees. Not just one... all of them. I spent every night for probably 3 months in tears, not just because I had lost employees, but because I had lost friends as well. I tried to dig myself a hole and hid in it- and if I could have I would. I thought "why am I even doing this?", "can I even do this?", "I am so not cut out for this", "I should just quit right now"... and I almost did. I was more scared than excited for the future of our little gym. I spent nights not sleeping, days not eating. 

Then, as most new business goes... the excitement started to wear off. Some gym members stopped coming, some cancelled memberships, some went elsewhere. Each lost client I would say to myself "was it me?", "what am I doing wrong?"

This was all in the first 6 months... What the hell was I doing? But you didn't see any of this on social media. We don't post that kind of thing for everyone to see. Just the good stuff. 

Fast forward to today:  we're almost at year two of being open (1 year and 10 months to be exact). We have an absolutely incredible (growing) team of people at Degree who really just want to help people and make people happy with fitness. and health. The equipment is FINE and still works :). Our clients are HAPPY and HEALTHY. Today I am more excited than anything for our gym, the team and our community in Seaforth.

Here's what got me through it. 

I have an absolutely amazing support system, My mother, my boyfriend, my employees, other gym owners, my mentors from Two Brain Business, and even my clients - I am NOT ashamed to tell everyone how much all of these people help me and that I know I would be NO WHERE without all of them. 

I have STOPPED comparing my success to others, or I try to anyway. Whenever I talk to another gym owner or business owner, and see how much success they are having I no longer think "what are they doing that I'm not?", "why are they taking a vacation and I can't?" and instead I am happy for them. Comparison is the thief of joy and I don't have time NOT to be joyful- life is too damn short. 

If you are going through a tough time- it's okay to question everything. That's what we do, and you should. Questions lead you to answers eventually. Your struggles may not be business related. Maybe they are health related, maybe they are relationships or maybe they are financial. Whichever they are- someone else has also gone through that and come out on the other side a better person for it. Do not wish for an easy life- wish (or earn) for the strength to endure a difficult one. That is how was grow as people. 

If I can give you two pieces of advice:
1. STOP comparing yourself to other successes
2. Get a Mentor or Coach... lifestyle, business, financial, nutrition, fitness... in whatever field of your life you are struggling with.

A lot can change in a year or two. And I'm so happy it does. 
Schedule your No Sweat Intro here. Chat with one of our coaches, check out our gym, get a body composition reading and recommendations towards your goals. It's all free. What do you have to lose? 
Kaleda Connell

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Degree CrossFit Seaforth
38 Railway Street, Seaforth
Ontario, N0K1W0
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