Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Good for your Body. Good for a Smile.

I LOVE Zumba.

I've been a group fitness instructor since 1986 (imagine shiny spandex and leg warmers and Reeboks). Over the years, I've taught high- and low- impact aerobics, step, group cycling and muscle conditioning. I enjoyed these fitness formats but I never forgot for one minute that they were workouts. I worked hard, physically and mentally, every single second of every one of these classes. I probably didn't smile much at the time.

Zumba Fitness is different. If you haven't tried it or know what it is about, do a Google search. There are dozens of classes each week in gyms and churches and dance schools in neighborhoods across the globe.  Go and visit a class and watch what happens when the music starts.

Zumba found me after I had "retired" from teaching and was traveling a lot, with regular appearances on QVC and leading project teams based in Massachusetts and Tokyo and Sidney. I had been to a demo at a local gym and thought it was fun, but it was more about the dance moves than getting sweaty. I could workout more efficiently with 30 minutes on the eliptical.  I'd chalked it up to another trendy fitness wave, like TaeBo.

Then I went to a dynamic, sweaty, nutty class in West Chester, Pennsylvania and was hooked for life! (Thank you ACAC) I searched out classes when I got home and was soon getting a bi-weekly fix. Then, driving home from class one night, I thought "You can do this, you know." Crazy. I tried out the idea on my boyfriend and my sisters, thinking that at least one of them would tell me that I already had enough on my plate. They nodded yes. They know me so well. It was very easy to come out of retirement. I got my group fitness certification renewed and took the Basic Zumba training. A few calls to old friends and some good, old fashioned networking got me on the schedule at a couple of gyms.

I did all of this because Zumba makes me SMILE. I grin like a fool for 60 minutes, sweating like a pig. I wear lime green and purple and lots of hot pink and colorful rubber bracelets and glittery silver shoelaces. I am essentially tricking 1-3 dozen people into a highly effective, interval based cardio "workout" each class. I am watching my clients shed pounds and get healthy. At 51, I am in the best shape of my life -- including those years in my 20's wearing spandex and leg warmers. The warm, sweaty smiles that beam back at me at the end of each class are the best gift a girl could ever get.

Here's a fantastic "commercial" for Zumba that was created by a group of instructors as part of a contest. It pretty well captures the spirit of Zumba. I hope to see you in class someday soon.

Love, Lelly

Monday, March 28, 2011

April 1. Time to Get Started.

You may ask if 2011 is my year to make changes, live dangerously and follow my bliss, then why did I wait until the end of March to start this blog?

Good question.

After so many years in the corporate world, I still think in quarters. Consider January 1 to March 31 quarter 1, fiscal year 2011. I spent these first 90 days or so tying up loose ends.
  • I worked the corporate job until the end of January.
  • I went on a couple of job interviews and spoke with recruiters about my "stellar" resume and what I wanted to do next.
  • I cleaned my house like Martha Stewart on crack.
  • I bid on 2 used American Girl dolls for KnittedByH.A.N.D. and rephotographed and remerchandised the Etsy Shop and launched parallel shops on ArtFire and Zibbet.
  • I played with the dolls.
  • I baked cookies and cakes, and made a lot of soups.
  • I ramped up my Zumba teaching schedule from 3 to 9 classes per week.
  • I dabbled in some pro-bono social media and ecommerce consulting.
  • I broke ground on a new direct sales business (more on that later).
...and started this blog. In project management terms; my first quarter was the Discovery phase of my adventure. Beginning April 1, we start Planning.

Love, Lelly

Sunday, March 27, 2011

2011. My Year of Living Dangerously

I am not learning to sky dive, ride a motorcycle or drive a mile with the gas gauge on E. Nonetheless, this is my year of living dangerously. I left a 6-figure corporate job -- that was wrong on so many levels -- in pursuit of happiness.
  • I slipped the golden handcuffs.
  • I escaped from cubicle prison.
  • I am following my bliss.
  • I am woefully under-employed.
GASP! Go ahead and clutch those pearls. I have never done anything so irresponsible in my entire life! I am the ever the good girl. I eat my vegetables, return my library books on time, recycle. I'm in bed by 10pm and take my vitamins every day. I have worked at least 2 jobs since I was 14. So why am I taking this leap? Well future posts will go into more detail, but in the meantime I'll use this chestnut:
"If not now, when?"
Two of the most important and influential women in my life -- my Mom, Bernice, and my Gran, Helen No. 1 -- died at the age of 61. 61! They were good girls too. They worked hard and produced some pretty amazing people. They died too young. They died toiling for the next paycheck. They died never having seen a Carribean sunset or their grandchildren become rockstars. Last November I turned 51. I decided that if these next 10 years are my last on earth then I'm going to make each day meaningful. I'll be eating a lot of peanut butter and using teabags twice, but I'm going to live dangerously and fully. I am going to dig deep and find my bliss and follow where it leads. I'm taking spiritual inventory. I am going to find ways to support myself by helping others. 

How? Dunno. Let's find out together.
Love, Lelly