Anna Maria Locke

April 2015

Thoughts on 28

April 2015Anna LockeComment
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WAAAAAAA I’m 28 now, as of April 26th.

I’ve been looking forward to being 28 for a while because for some reason it just feels a lot more sophisticated than 27, but I was surprised that it ended up being a super emotional birthday weekend! Probably because 27 was such an emotional year for me. Definitely the hardest, biggest, most challenging, rollercoaster year of my life so far. It was the year I finally decided to take control and ownership of my life.

Also emotional because I didn't fully grasp how many people I've met and connected with over the past year! I was flooded with love all weekend and absolutely humbled. Thank you thank you everyone for supporting me through this crazy ride, like-ing all my overly emotional posts on Facebook, signing up for all my random groups, trusting me, and listening to me vent as I figure out what I'm doing with my life!

This whole month of April has been a whirlwind of family, holidays, travel, friends, old and new worlds colliding. I’ve been spending a lot of time simply processing all the personal and professional growth that I’ve experienced over the past several months.

To add to the emotional overwhelm, my beautiful coaches made this Happy Birthday montage video for me, I mean WHAT! So completely humbled and grateful and also crazy to look back at everything that's happened! And so freaking blessed to have all these incredible women in my life. This is why I coach :) I LOVE MY TEAM!

The thing is, when you’re living in the present moment and taking life day by day, it’s easy to feel stuck and really hard to see and feel how fast you’re actually moving. Kind of like being in a car on the highway--you're ACTUALLY moving 70 mph but in your little bubble inside the car you feel like you're sitting still until you look out the window at the world whizzing by. This month I started to look out the window. So much is still the same as it was last year. I have the same goals and dreams and fears, but at the same time so much is different.

So what has happened in the past year? What's possible when you decide to tell yourself "I know I am meant for more" and then go for it?

Last April I was finishing up a hectic school outreach season at the zoo, just getting started with my brand new coaching business, and I spent my birthday weekend in southern Illinois at an Environmental Educators conference. I was stressed out, overwhelmed, but excited for the future

This time last year, I knew big shifts and changes were starting to happen. I could feel something happening inside of me, and it’s almost freaky to read my words because it’s like I was making a prophecy for my own life.

Straight from my journal one year ago, right after I signed up to be a Beachbody coach:
(can't believe I'm posting this on the internet...)


3/5/14

“In February I started to feel the shift inside of me. This is huge, revolutionary. I have not felt this since the first weekend at Augie I met Ben. The quiet, strong certainty that THIS is happening. No rush. But it’s going to happen. I am going to make it happen. I’m exhilarated, nervous, TERRIFIED, excited, all the same physical reactions in my gut. I have good intuition, I can read people, I know myself, my strengths, what I am capable of achieving if the desire is there, the power is with it.

I’ve been a bystander and a lurker and a sponge for years, while I struggle to find a “job” and figure out my “career” and freak out about the future, what will happen, what do I do after we have kids, well now the answer is so clear and obvious, staring me in the face. Just be MYSELF. Stop trying to fit society’s mold, stop chasing what I think of as “success” but can never define or pinpoint. I want to record these feelings, this transition, this moment, this year.

Because this is the year that will alter and shape the rest. of. my. life.

I am growing into my potential.

I finally feel legitimate.

I am terrified that this won’t be sustainable long term, but if I work hard and have the balls I really know it can.”


WOW.

And so I decided to go for it. I decided to start opening up, being more real, going deeper, believing that I was made for something bigger.

I dove headfirst into Beachbody coaching, finished the spring classroom outreach portion of my job at the zoo, spent the summer mentoring 16 teenage interpretation interns while building my coaching team and running challenge groups on the side, trying to keep my blog and Etsy shop alive, throwing and attending bridal showers and bachelorette parties, playing in the city. In the fall I threw caution to the wind and cut ties with my job one year sooner than I originally planned, flew to Dallas for my first Beachbody event, and it’s been an entrepreneurial rollercoaster of business growth and personal discovery. Lots and lots of growing pains!

But I’m finally learning how to relax and trust myself.

Trust that I don't have to work hard and hustle to prove my self worth and be "successful."

Trust that I AM IN CONTROL of what "success" means, and that I was created to be joyful and happy, not stressed and anxious.

For my birthday weekend this year, my two best friends from childhood (who also share April birthdays!) came up to the city and we celebrated with wine, brunch, a trip to the Shedd Aquarium, Japanese BBQ, and simply soaked it all in. We’re reaching a transition into a new phase of life, we aren’t “old” yet but we feel older. We’re thinking seriously about relationships, careers, babies, money, all these big serious topics.

I am ready for 28.

I know it’s going to be another huge year, but in a different way. I am more stable, more confident, and I’m ready to take my life and business to the next level!

This year I want to be aware of the bigger picture, but I also want to focus on being present and appreciating every step of the journey, no matter how far away I still am from my ultimate dreams. I am living the dream every single day.

I want to have less stress, less hustle, less pressure, less perfectionism.

More ease, more creativity, more fun, more time with the people I love.

More time spent connecting to the wide-eyed, creative, enthusiastic little girl I used to be, the little girl who spent her days writing and drawing and creating imaginary worlds and dreaming of being an author, an artist, a designer and Olympic gymnast.

Can you remember who you were, before the world told you who you should be?
— Danielle LaPorte

I remember. And I'm going to finally honor that little girl and keep writing, keep reading, keep painting, creating, and pushing my body to its physical limits because moving my body gives me so much joy. Isn't it crazy how we always knew who we were meant to be, but then we let the world dictate our lives? We listen to the world that tells us "those dreams are dumb and unrealistic." Why do we believe those lies? Why do we let ourselves believe that we're never good enough to get what we actually want out of life? What do you TRULY want? What did you used to believe? That's your truth. Those dreams are your purpose.

I have huge plans and new dreams that give me butterflies and still make me afraid, dreams SO big I've never allowed myself to even think about them, but I know everything will unfold exactly when it’s supposed to, because I know I’m exactly where I need to be. I'm going to breathe into the fear and turn the anxiety into excitement. 

Here's to a new year! Thank you so much for sharing the ride with me :)

xo Anna

Your life is a body of work

April 2015Anna Locke1 Comment
Everything you need to know you have learned through your journey.
— Paulo Coelho, "The Alchemist"

The last couple of weeks have been surreal. So many full circle moments, so many hours and months and years of work and searching and struggling are coming together in a powerful wave. In Cancun I saw a glimpse of my future, and then as soon as we flew home I was plunged into a blast from the past. The Association of American Geographers (AAG) Conference is hosted in Chicago this week, so all my old friends and colleagues from Penn State are in town. On top of that, my two best friends from childhood are coming this weekend to celebrate our 28th birthdays!

My future, my past, my present. All that matters is the last one, the here and now, but it’s weird when you actually pause and look UP from the daily grind to recognize and acknowledge how far you've come.

Last night I found myself in a crowded room on the 43rd floor of the Swisshotel overlooking the lights of Navy Pier at a PSU Geography “Alumni and Friends” reception, explaining to all my old colleagues and my advisor that I’ve jumped ship on academia to become an online health and fitness coach and creative entrepreneur. I haven’t seen most of these people in four years, since I graduated and left Happy Valley in 2011. Everyone looks a few years older, but still the same, but I was struck the most by how much I have changed.

Maybe not changed, but I've grown up and developed a lot of perspective and self confidence. When I entered my masters program I was only 22, fresh out of college with no clue what I wanted to do when I grew up. That’s when I started this blog!  Oh how far I've come.

I used to count tree rings, analyze historical photographs, make maps, and hike in the mountains for a living. It was fun, it was meaningful, and it was two of the best years of my life.

I loved it because I love trees, learning how humans have impacted the environment, making a bigger difference, and being part of a tight knit community like my lab group. I like to know that I’m making a bigger difference in the world by being myself and sharing my skills and knowledge.

Even though I’m not directly using my science degrees right now, I am the sum of all my experiences and I wouldn’t be here, now, in this present moment, without my past. In grad school I learned what mattered to me, I learned how to push myself and expand my comfort zone. I learned that I'm happiest when I'm in the mountains surrounded by big trees, and that having people in my life who "get me" is incredibly important. I made lifelong friends, dabbled in the ivory tower world of academic conferences and thought sharing, fell in love with field work, and published a paper.

After I graduated I spent four years trying to figure out my “path.” Well, after a lot of experimentation, stress, failure, success, sacrifice, fun jobs, WHY MEEEE moments, and meeting a lot more interesting and inspiring people along the way, I’ve finally accepted that I don’t have one true calling. I want to be free do it all, or at least be free to incorporate everything I love into my life and career. I know that we can't do everything all at once, but I'm happy to make the most of the present moment and immerse myself fully into the stage of life I'm in without worrying about what it means, or what the future holds.

Because the fact is, every random side job, hobby, degree, career path, relationship, and phase of life combines into who you are.

Have you ever felt stuck in a job, but were afraid to leave it because it’s what you went to school for, what you went into debt for, what you invested years of your life for, what your family expects you to do? I want to challenge you to start shifting your mindset and start thinking about what REALLY matters to you. No experience is ever wasted because it’s either a stepping stone, a learning experience, or both. Everything you’ve ever done is a chapter of your legacy, your body of work.

Marie Forleo calls it being multipassionate, and Pamela Slim describes it as being a multipotentialite. The labels and words don't matter, but it's a concept that no one has ever offered me before, an opportunity to give myself permission to be myself, to stop feeling inadequate or worthless because I don't have it all figured out.

“You’ve spent your whole life flitting from interest to interest, maybe pursuing a handful of projects at any one time. All of this jumping around has felt amazing. But if you stop to ponder your path for too long, it starts to worry you...And then you discover that you are a multipotentialite. Suddenly it all makes sense. You realize that you are not broken or noncommittal or afraid of your own success...you don’t have a singular calling, you have many. The zigzagging, the sporadic obsessions, the weird interdisciplinary projects, they all now fit.” (Pamela Slim, Body of Work)

I read that passage on the beach in Cancun, alone in my thoughts with the waves crashing in the distance, and it was one of the biggest “aha” breakthrough moments of my life. So I am going to keep running with it, keep exploring, keep challenging my limits, and most of all keep chasing the people, experiences, and opportunities that make me feel like myself.

Everything I know I’ve learned through my journey, and the story is still unfolding each and every day.

xo Anna

Success Club 2015 Cancun Mexico Recap

April 2015Anna Locke1 Comment

OH MY GOODNESS the past week has been a whirlwind, and I’m finally stealing a quiet moment this morning to breathe, reflect, and process everything that’s happening! Life is moving so fast. This past Sunday night Ben and I flew back into chilly, rainy Chicago after four nights in paradise at the Moon Palace Resort in Cancun with 3,000 other Beachbody coaches and their families, and I will never be the same. I feel like my entire life has been rocked from the inside out, and I’m completely overwhelmed with gratitude.

If you’ve been following my posts on Instagram and Facebook lately you’ve probably been wondering how the heck we were able to go on an all expenses paid trip to a luxury resort (and yeah, it was incredibly surreal), so here’s how it happened. The Clif Notes version, if you will.

When I signed up to be a coach last year, I was at a point of inner desperation in my life, my own personal version of "rock bottom." I knew I had so much more to offer the world, but I was struggling and felt stuck. Every day I woke up with a ball of anxiety and dread in my stomach, hating the fact that I had to put on a uniform and go out and deal with responsibilities that didn't align with who I wanted to be.

I KNEW there was more to life than endless stress and an uncertain future, and even though I had no idea what I was doing or if coaching would be the answer to my problems, I decided to take a chance and figure it out along the way, because deep down under all the self hatred and "you'll never be enough" voices I felt like I was worth more. So I took a big leap of faith, followed my intuition, and signed up to coach when I bought the 21 Day Fix. I started to host one or two online accountability challenges every month for courageous and beautiful women who wanted to do the program with me. Where did these random women come from? Instagram, Facebook, my friends, co-workers, it’s amazing how many people come out of the woodwork when you start getting excited about something that’s made a hugely positive impact on your life.

Thanks to the support and trust of all those incredible client-friends, by the end of 2014 I had earned a free trip to Cancun for myself and a guest!

It’s called the Success Club Trip, an annual vacation that Beachbody hosts for coaches who achieve a certain level of growth in their businesses. One of my favorite parts of the company is how the emphasis is on living from your values, and success is defined by how many other lives you can change. We are recognized and rewarded with unforgettable experiences like this trip, a chance to unplug, spend time with our families, and connect with other coaches. Since I’m not really motivated by shiny rewards and fancy trips, I went into the experience with an open mind. It was the second major Beachbody live event I’ve attended, and the first one for Ben, and while I knew it would be fun, I had no idea what to expect.

Well, it was magical. I don’t even know where to start.

We arrived at this gorgeous resort, and were welcomed with open arms by a community of people just like us. Unbelievable. Almost the entire resort was taken over by Beachbody, including 25 other members of my upline team. So think of the most positive and happy person you know in your life--you know, the person who is almost annoying because they’re so positive--and then imagine being surrounded by THOUSANDS of people just like that, who are all feeling just as humbled and grateful as you, and who are excited to meet you and hear your story.

The memories include walking into our room complete with a king size bed, stocked mini bar, espresso maker, Jacuzzi, and a balcony overlooking the ocean. Hearing the waves every morning, feeling the warm wind, waking up early to watch the sunrise, working out live with Shaun T and Autumn Calabrese, endless fresh fruit and strawberry margaritas, laying out and talking with the girls on my team, sharing our stories and lives, just soaking in every single moment. Parties, fireworks, music, a Brazilian steakhouse dinner, making friendships with people we will grow up and grow old with. The experiences were all life changing in and of themselves, but most of all I will always remember how I felt.

It’s hard for me to put the feeling into words. The feeling of being completely and wholeheartedly accepted by thousands of strangers who are family. Complete acceptance, welcoming, belonging, community, the sense of being a vital piece of a movement that is so much bigger than you can ever comprehend. Authenticity, openness, love, positivity.

Then I realized there’s already a word that encompasses everything, and it’s been with me always. It’s one of my greatest values, and what I’ve named my very own team.

Joy.

Limitless, unbounded joy.

Light and love and the freedom to be myself.

My whole life I’ve felt like I need to try to “fit in.” I’ve never felt good enough, I’ve always felt driven to be more, do more, have more. Weigh less, be prettier. I’ve always believed I have to improve or change in order to be accepted by my peers, my co-workers, the people who sit on the other side of the interview table. I’ve been taught that hard work equals success, and that I have to mold myself to fit someone else’s definition, I have to fill an externally defined role.

Well, I am officially DONE with all that crap. I’ve finally convinced myself that I AM ENOUGH, right here, right now, and this trip put everything in perspective.

My new role? To be the best possible version of Anna. Frizzy hair, cellulite, chipped tooth, big nose, vampire white skin and all. I am overly dramatic and emotional, awkward, spazzy, I care too much, I will always be blunt, and I tend to take myself too seriously. But I've embraced all my imperfections because they make me who I am on top of everything I love about myself...my creativity, drive, determination, strength.

It’s super scary, because I can’t hide any longer, I have to open myself up and be super vulnerable, and it’s the most terrifying thing I’ve ever done. But it’s also the most exhilarating. I know that I can inspire others and change lives simply by being myself, and that I can make a living in the process. I can pay the bills, and everything I’ve always wanted to do is happening. This is what Beachbody has offered me.

In Cancun I realized the full magnitude of what we are part of. Beachbody isn't just another network marketing company. It's a MOVEMENT. It's a force. It's a tribe of people who live to serve, who are passionate about making the world a better place by helping one person at a time reach their goals and live happier and healthier lives. On this trip I was surrounded by people who accepted me and welcomed me with open arms, and I didn't have to try to fit in or be someone I'm not.

I am safe. I am here. I am enough.

My mission in life is to be remembered for being a positive and inspiring influence, for helping people find joy in who they are, helping them dream bigger, and empowering them to create freedom to live THEIR purpose, and this trip embodied all of that. So powerful.

When I looked around at all the other coaches, some of whom have been doing this for years and have built entire multimillion dollar empires just by sharing what they’re passionate about, I also saw something bigger. Each individual coach represented their own piece of the movement. Each person has inspired and changed the lives of hundreds if not thousands of other people, and that’s what Beachbody is all about. Sharing your story and inspiring others to dream bigger, to live bolder, to lead happier, healthier, more fulfilling lives.

That feeling was incredibly personal, but it wasn’t my favorite part of the trip.

The best part was being able to share the whole experience with Ben. He has been by my side every step of my journey since I was 19 years old, and he’s been my rock through the rollercoaster ride of the past several years. Coaching is such a massive part of who I am now, but it’s impossible for someone else to share your vision until they feel it too. Being able to hang out in Mexico on a carefree, all inclusive tropical beach with other coaches and their husbands and families, just realizing that we aren’t alone, that we’re part of something SO big and powerful, was life changing. 

The second best part? Realizing that this wasn’t a once in a lifetime trip that ends when we go home and back to “reality.” This trip IS our reality now. Literally, because we are going to be able to travel more, but most of all it goes back to that feeling of joy. The most liberating part is knowing that I don’t have to be in Mexico or on vacation to feel that way, because the feeling exists inside of me always. I can trust it because I can trust myself.

I’m learning how to embrace the journey, how to NOT freak out or feel overwhelmed, how to welcome each new day with a feeling of gratitude and excitement. It’s been a long, hard, deep process but over the past several weeks I’ve been feeling one last massive internal shift, and I think this trip officially signified a new beginning. The timing was perfect, since this Sunday is my 28th birthday, and I am going to welcome my new year of life with open arms.

I’m me, it’s all good, I don’t have to struggle or hustle or strive for worthiness. I don’t have to base my sense of value and self worth on external goals or achievements or recognition, and I don't have to feel desperate or broke or financially insecure any longer. I want to live bigger, dream bigger, make shit happen, and help one woman at a time change her life too by embracing who she is meant to be. We are all perfectly imperfect, designed by a Creator who has big plans for us and wants us to be happy.

You are limitless. YOU ARE ENOUGH.

xo Anna