“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.” -Maya Angelou

Often times we see the outcome of a person’s success and are amazed at what we see.  We tell ourselves that they must have some sort of secret power, one that you don’t possess.  The problem is that we see the result, but we weren’t with them throughout the process.

When I was around the age of 15, I had an aunt who competed in bodybuilding.  I was so inspired and in such awe of her accomplishment that I told myself that one day I would compete in bodybuilding.  That was 35 years ago, and this year, at the age of 50, I participated in my first bodybuilding competition.  I still find it hard to believe that I actually did it.  I lost 20lbs and sculpted my body in ways that I had not seen since my teenage years.  After the event, I posted several pictures on Facebook, exclaiming to others that if I could do it, so could they.  I was inspired to inspire.

I don’t imagine that my aunt set out to get the attention of her niece who lives hundreds of miles away, but her decision to compete impacted me and the desire resided with me for many, many, years.  When we set out to accomplish goals, we have no idea whose life we may affect.  Our desires, goals and dreams are not just for us, but for anyone who happens upon our story.  You never know who or when your life may inspire someone to fulfill their own purpose.  It may be your next-door neighbor, a student you mentored, the checkout lady at the grocery store, or someone thousands of miles away.  Your choices, decisions, and actions always, always, affects someone else.

I made a decision several years ago that I was going to live my life on purpose.  I decided to live my life to the fullest and to be transparent about the journey, as well as the outcome.  I wanted everyone to see that I am not special, nor do I have secret powers, but what I do have is the strength, determination, belief, and confidence to go after my dreams.  Before I posted those beautiful pictures of myself on stage, I posted pictures of myself sweating it out at the gym at 4:00AM every morning.  I made YouTube videos telling how I felt, whether it was a good day or bad day.  I talked about my struggle with self-doubt because I needed to express how the journey was not easy, but well worth the reward.  The reward was not the medals that I received, but me seeing and believing that I can do anything that I put my mind to and so can you.