Ambassador Story: A Decade in Review
By: Keri Mandell
Ten years ago, I was twenty-eight, married, living in Boston, and working in Brookline Public School. Such as in life, there were good times and bad. Over the last decade, my life has changed pretty dramatically. After having cancerous cells removed from my cervix and learning I could never have kids, I became deeply depressed. Soon after, my dad and stepmom had learned that they too had terminal cancer. All this took me into a pretty dark and scary place.
Years later, I climbed out of that hole and can say I’ve truly come to not only appreciate but LOVE my life. The dark times taught me that what I have today is fragile. We never know how long we’ve got. Long story short, I now live every day to the fullest, striving to train hard, be kind, give back, and hopefully inspire others along the way. I now focused to leave a mark on this world so when I look back, I can say, “I gave it my all and I helped as many people as I could by making a difference in their lives through my actions and words.”
The action of looking back can really bring to light some valuable lessons. I can clearly see how far I’ve come and even battles I’ve won along the way. Because of the times when I was drowning vs. when I felt invincible, have molded me to the athlete I am today. Some of these lessons are only applicable to my life but others, I believe, can help make sure you don’t go through the same heartache and pain.
“Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” – Writer and philosopher, George Santayana
Do what make you truly happy
In today’s society, we’re told what to do, what to think, almost brainwashed a little. I felt I had to follow the norm and live by certain standards; go to college, get a job, get married, have kids, then you die…
I was afraid to follow my dreams or admit I had any. I was afraid to go against the grain or stand out but now I say screw that! I live by my rules, which led me to discover that fitness is my passion. Learning that kids were no longer in my cards, turned me upside-down. Awful thoughts started to creep in like I was less of a woman, I was unworthy of love, I was tainted goods, and I even told my husband to divorce me. This is when I found out that relief can come in strange forms.
A friend brought me to my first yoga class and now I tell others yoga saved my life. It opened new doors and taught me to love myself. Yoga showed meI was so much stronger than I knew. 5 years ago, I quit my job in education to pursue a career in the fitness industry and opened my own yoga studio- Empower Yoga. So when I say that yoga changed my life for the better, I truly mean it. Was it easy? HELL no!! Worth it? Absolutely!!
You have to live your life
Don’t be afraid to fail. The fear of failure will hold you back if you let it. Doubt kills more dreams than real failure ever will which makes resilience is the secret ingredient to success! Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he created the light bulb.
If you haven’t failed, you’re not reaching high enough. Playing it safe sounds easier, of course, but it’ll NEVER get you to where you want to be. Failure is just part of the deal but remember. you can fix the failure. Stop playing it safe and get in the game!
“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone” – Author, Neale Donald Walsch
This is where the magic happens. You may fail, but so be it… You have to learn in order to be great.
Rejection isn’t personal
Repeat after me… Rejection is not an expression of self-worth. This only means there’s something better out there for you. It’s redirecting you down the right path. Trust that the universe is giving you a blessing in disguise.
While I believe goals and ambitions are important, it’s also imperative to appreciate the things or people that make us who we are. We get so caught up in wanting more, we forget what’s in front of us. Be satisfied with what we have at the moment.
Work out for your insides & not your outsides
“Change happens from the inside out. Not the other way around.”
Like many others, I have always struggled with my weight and appearance and suffer from body dysmorphia. I’ve battled eating disorders for years while constantly comparing myself to others. This always made me feel unworthy or unhappy. Discovering that my outward appearance is a direct result of how I treat my body, changed my life for the better!
What you manifest, you become
Personal manifesting is REAL! Take the time to visualize the way we want our life to be, write it all down, draw pictures and set the scene for your life. Things will happen! It sounds crazy, but it truly works. Envision and goals for the future, say them to yourself, talk about them with others, and watch what happens next.
People don’t care
Think about how often you think about yourself and know that everyone around you is probably doing the same thing. Chances are, the people around you aren’t thinking about you, they’re thinking about themselves. I struggled to learn this, especially growing up. We’re always so concerned about what others think of us, we try to show off our best selves. Stop trying to get people to like you. No one cares. The right people are going to like you no matter what and the others don’t matter. What matters most is that you like yourself!
No one has everything figured out
We’re constantly changing and evolving. It’s ok to not know what you want to do when you grow up. Believe me, at 38, I’m still unsure sometimes. It’s ok to now have life planned out and figured out. Do your best and enjoy the process of becoming who you are.