How to Make Tough Decisions

It has been an interesting year for me to say the least. I left a job last June that I honestly thought I would be there another 10 maybe 20 years. I started teaching Pilates full-time and went back to being a beginner in many aspects of my life and started studying to become a personal trainer.

I learned a lot about myself and I am not going to lie, it was hard. I went from having a secure job with a healthy paycheck and a group of colleagues – to cutting my income by 75% and going back to poor student mode and feeling very alone. Since I was teaching Pilates so much, I had students ask for private lessons, and I felt less confident teaching one on one. So I used my savings to sign up for an online intensive course on becoming a personal trainer. I had gotten my master’s Degree in Public Management so learning the muscles and how the body runs on a molecular level was extremely hard for me, I can make budgets and write essays but understanding science does not come natural to me. Studying made me feel dumb and I was used to feeling like the smartest person in the room. I also swallowed my pride and took a job from my father’s company solely for money. This made me a beginner in another aspect, I had to learn how to do tech support for a world of computers I didn’t understand. I felt like a scared 19-year-old again, back in school, barely making it between pay periods.

I really found myself though. It took time, it took patience – but I finally figured out how I operate. We are all different! I had spent so long thinking I had to fit into a certain type of mold. It’s good we are different. Different isn’t bad. After months of struggle and bad luck something magical happened, I was faced this month with a really difficult decision. I had four job offers in front of me and had to answer the question: What do I want to do with my life?

3 Tips for making BIG Life Decisions

  1. Give yourself emotional space to think through your options. Take a step back and don’t emotionally attach to any one decision. What I mean by this is: view each choice with the same weight and separate your self from it. Give yourself time to process the conclusion of each choice – without emotionally reacting. Gather your feelings and then ask the three most trusted people in your life what they think. Let them give you their opinion and weigh that against your initial response. The best thing we can do when making a decision is to take out your emotional thought and rationalize the choice. It’s also great perspective to hear how your “tribe” views it. (Your Tribe are those people in your life who are your cheerleaders and greatest friends, the people who you know are on your side and want you to succeed).
  2. Meditate on the choices in front of you. Think through all the possible options, even if it’s hard. Process the good and bad things that will happen based on what you do. Also allow yourself to know that unexpected and unknown things will occur with any tough decision. Go for a walk and think about your life, think about the things in your life that will be affected by your decision. If you can go to a local walking trail and breathe in some fresh air, escape your known environment and get in touch with nature. Meditate on your decision. If silence doesn’t work for you, play some music, lay in bed and close your eyes and explore your thoughts. Maybe go for a run or a bike ride. Spend some alone time thinking through your choice. If you’re not the mediating type, make a pro and con list.
  3. Listen to your gut feeling. After you’ve weighed the decisions in front of you rationally and given yourself time to logically think through the available choices, go back to your gut feeling. How did your options make you feel. Yes, make a rational smart choice, but if you felt a negative reaction to a choice, go back to why you felt that way. In the end to make a good decision you have to make the decision based on what you really want, not what you think your supposed to do, not what other people think you should do. What do you actually want? What do you want your future to look like? Make the best decision for you, and make it selfishly, especially if has to do with your future. Your gut feeling is usually right.

Facing four job prospects I had to really think about what exactly I wanted to do with my life.

I had 1,000 questions running through my mind: Should I take a job that uses my masters degree? Should I take a job at a nonprofit again because that’s where my work experience is mostly from? Should I do development because I am good at it? Do I have to do something just because I am good at it? Do I actually enjoy development work? Will everyone from my old job be impressed if I take this job? Should I just take the highest paying job? Should I take the job that pays the highest now or the job that has potential for growth? Should I take this job because it sounds the most respectable?

My best friend asked me: What does it matter what anyone else thinks? What makes you happy? She told me to think about why I cared about who I was impressing and who I was trying to impress. And she asked me if any of that mattered. She was right.

In the end: after a run, after talking to my tribe, after making a pro con list, after thinking about it for a full 2 days… I decided to take the job as a full time personal trainer at a well established local gym. I didn’t take the development director job with the fancy title, I didn’t take the job at a nonprofit everyone has heard the name of, I didn’t take the job that pays well right now. I went with what makes me happy. Fitness makes me happy. Inspiring others to care for their physical bodies, showing people how to get stronger and gain strength and confidence – that’s what makes me happy. This is my life, who cares if anyone is impressed by me.

You shouldn’t spend your life living to work, work so you can live. Live for each day. Follow those dreams people!

Xo- Thea

Follow my Personal Training Journey HERE

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Things I learned after a Bad Relationship

This is a weird post for me to write because I didn’t want to talk about it for so long.

I met someone last summer who I thought seemed really nice. Something didn’t feel quite right, but he had a nice smile. I met him through a work function and I though he was harmless. After our first date I thought that I had really found someone. At the time I didn’t see the warning signs. I didn’t see the emotional abuse. I didn’t see the manipulation. I didn’t notice the gas-lighting.

If you feel you are in an abuse relationship visit this website.

I don’t want to say that I was in an abusive relationship because I don’t want to see myself that way. I wonder how many other people feel this way? This relationship took a lot out of me, and it kind of messed me up. Looking back on it how did I miss all these signs? Emotional manipulation it’s slow, it’s subtle and its hard to see. I thought this man was handsome, I thought he made me happy, though I can’t remember a time when he did.

Signs of emotional abuse include = Controlling Patterns: time, relationships, money; Isolation; gas-lighting, disrespect or humiliation, etc. HERE is a great article explaining it.

The signs I didn’t notice until after:

Sign #1 – The end of the first date didn’t feel right- I felt like my privacy was invaded. But I thought it was because we were clicking. And I just pushed my feelings away.

Sign #2 – He said I love you two weeks in. You cannot know someone enough to know if you love them after only two weeks. Everyone’s line here is different but for me saying the big “ I love you” means something and it should be cherished and cultivated. Not used for control.

Sign #3 – I started to feel guilty going out with my friends without him, as if I was doing something wrong. A friend invited me over to dinner last minute one Sunday and I was lonely and went – and he told me I was a slut and lying about where I was. I was visiting a friends house and she has a 13 year old daughter. But I felt like he was right about me.

Sign #4 – I went on a planned vacation with girlfriends and he made me miserable about going without him. He also made sure during the vacation I felt guilty. The vacation had been planned months before I had even met him, but I still felt like I shouldn’t have gone.

Sign #5 – I never saw his house or met anyone from his life. He told me this sob story about his grandmother and I had no way to tell if it was true. He could have been married with kids and I wouldn’t have known. He knew where I was at all times, and I knew nothing about him.

Sign #6 –  Plans were dictated entirely on his schedule, and I felt as if I could only have plans with him. He worked constantly, So he could rarely see me. He preferred when I stayed at home.

Sign #7 – He made me feel like the close friends in my life were actually my enemies. With his advice I started to turn against them. He made me feel like I shouldn’t trust even my closest friends.

Sign #8 – I engaged in behavior with him I didn’t feel comfortable doing. One example of this was -He would encourage me to drink beyond my limit. He would get mad at me if I only wanted one drink or even if when I didn’t want to drink at all and I felt obligated to get drunk for him.

Sign #9 – We were always fighting and it was always my fault. I felt like I had to watch all my behaviors and act “correctly”. I was apologizing constantly and in the ‘dog house’ for things I had said or done without asking him first. He made me feel like I couldn’t do anything right and I was constantly hurting him.

Sign #10 – He didn’t encourage me to better myself. He thought I should not try things because I would just fail. He didn’t want me to teach Pilates or follow my dreams. We actually had a fight when I was talking about becoming a personal trainer, he made me feel like I was hurting him if I did that.

This is what I learned:

Trust your gut.

Watch out for Gaslighting! Read about it HERE and HERE.

Always trust your friends before someone new in your life.

AND I would literally be dead without my best friend.

He convinced me that my best friend was somehow a bad person, and she told me – he wasn’t welcome at our house. She was scared for me. And I reacted so mean. I know that it wasn’t me, I was being manipulated. But I still feel terrible for how I made her feel. When she was there for me through the whole thing.

I want to write deeper post on gas-lighting and manipulation. But I wanted to see if anyone else ever felt like this. There was never abuse with him, but afterwards I felt abused. I have blocked him on all social media. Every now and then he tries to reach out to me, but I see his deception now. I block and report now.

Comment on your thoughts on this. Have you been through something similar?

Xo, Thea

How to pick your Tribe


A dear friend of mine told me I was one of her “tribe”

I love this concept. You are, after all, like the five people you spend the most time with.

Your tribe is defined as:

Tribe: A social division in a traditional society consisting of families or communities linked by social, economic, religious, or blood ties, with a common culture and dialect, typically having a recognized leader.

You can develop and choose your tribe and you should! You should cultivate it. You should nurture it.

Surround yourself with people that impress you, maybe even challenge you.

Find people who support you but don’t just agree with you.

Find people who make you feel happy – not anxious, not worried, pick people who when you think about them you smile.

Find friends who support you, that want you to succeed. If you feel like a friend is routing for you to fail, you really don’t need them.

Be the kind of friend to them that you want them to be for you.

All relationships take work. Put effort into those friendships that really add value to your life.

Great articles on Tribe Finding: