When I was younger I always managed to bounce back quickly. When I would fail I would shrug my shoulders and either try again or move on to the next challenge. I had faith that I had a purpose and that everything was going to fall into place, I just had to keep trying. But when my Olympic dreams came crashing down, so did I. This time, I could shrug my shoulders but I couldn’t try again and I had no idea what direction to go from there.

Me being a tough purple unicorn
Me being a tough purple unicorn

The good news is that the resilience and self-confidence that I had when I was younger was still there and still a part of my personality. I had just lost track of it for a bit. After about six months of wallowing in self-pity the fog retreated and I regained my self-awareness and my belief that ‘everything happens for a reason.’ It was time bounce back up and head in a new direction.

At the time I had two jobs. One I loved but was not making enough money to support myself with and another I loathed but was consistent. I was at the end of an athletic career with a degree and Anthropology, certificates for personal training, nutrition, Crossfit and enough wit to be a solid problem solver. My career seemed like a good place to redirect my focus and energy but, for me, the sum of all of those parts did not equal a career. I wanted to do something that was exciting, dynamic and challenging. So I looked to myself and my past to see what patterns I could find to help me set a new compass. These were my two take-aways:

  • Although my past positions had been general they all pointed the same direction. No matter the title, I love to communicate and would always find a way to get involved in some form of marketing and communications.
  • I have always been a drawn to travel and new cultures. More specifically I have always enjoyed breaking down cultures, figuring out the purpose behind what makes it unique and finding ways to communicate with and about new people.

With my career not really going any place fast, an expensive apartment, trouble figuring out who my true self was these days and a love life that was leading me to more frogs than princes, I knew two things were pretty defined on my list: a change of scenery and that it was time to go back to school. I liked the dynamic nature of marketing and wanted to find a career in an organization that operated across borders. It may not have been much to go off of but, for me it was, and sprint may be a better definition of what I did.

Within a month, I had researched different programs and applied to Masters of International Business programs in Australia, New Zealand, Spain and Italy.  I figured, I spoke a little Spanish and Italian, if needed, and had friends from Australian and New Zealand. Which to me meant I could survive. So why not get a different perspective of the world and challenge myself in a new culture. In the end I picked the University of Auckland’s program. When I found out I would have to wait a year to begin school I decided staying in an expensive city, working two jobs and not being my ideal self was no longer an option. I pretty much gave everything away, had a farewell party and jumped on a plane to New Zealand before anyone could successfully talk me out of my master plan (Boy, did they try).

My first picture in New Zealand after a run on the beach.

While all of those New Zealand stories are for later blogs, and my future grand children, I will simply end this post saying that although I am a big fan of S.M.A.R.T. goals, sometimes you have to go with your gut and trust that everything will work out the way it is meant to. You just have to keep bouncing back.