In my life as sitcom, there is always a story. In fact, everyone always has a story…Some people enjoy watching their own story reveal itself as it goes through its twists and turns. Others stress about that which they cannot control. Jack will tell you that I definitely have been known to be anxious when everything falls apart, but I try to bounce back, be creative, enjoy the journey, and breathe. But sometimes…really! 2020???
Ok, remember last year (it seems like a lifetime ago), when I left a job I loved at a nonprofit in Westchester and the Bronx to take a job closer to home? And Jack had moved home, transferring from James Madison, and Jack and Rufus and I moved and then moved again all within one month? That was all the Fall of 2019. So, 2020 started. Jack had been accepted into UCONN Stamford. Rufus was getting used to the new apartment. The disco ball was hung and glittering. I started my new job recruiting and was promoted on the first day. Things were going well! I exhaled.
There was this virus overseas. I wasn’t really paying attention until it started getting closer, and people were getting really sick. And then everything shut down. And hiring stopped. So, recruiting stopped. Hmmm.
Jack asked me what we were going to do. Were we going to be ok? My brother Bill said he wasn’t worried about me…I always land on my feet. I was born to hustle. I exhaled a tiny bit…but really I was holding my breath while telling Jack that all would be well.
I contacted all of my personal training clients to see if they were willing to meet with me on FaceTime or Zoom (I didn’t actually know how to Zoom but I was sure I could learn…). Thankfully, 100% said yes! And since then, Wellness Now has added more personal training clients and life coaching clients, and I have started presenting wellness webinars again (which I love…I just hadn’t had time for a long time).
I did look for a new job, and several recruiters and companies were very interested but everything was on hold. I kept trying to take the same advice from myself that I give my life coaching clients: Keep breathing. Make a gratitude list. Give yourself some time and space and figure out what you would LOVE to do.
And I walked. I walked and I walked and I walked until I had trained for a marathon. Literally. Since all the races were canceled, I launched my own with the Buoniconti Fund and raised money for the Ryan Walsh Traumatic Brain Injury Fund ( http://bit.ly/Walsh-Fund21) in the process. The walking really cleared my head and some of that nervous energy went away.
I wrote in my journal. I made gratitude lists. I tried to visualize what I wanted next for myself. I gave myself the gift of the Summer of Colleen…so I could paddle board, walk, see my clients virtually, walk more, read and write by the pool. Through all of that, I still met some really interesting people, even with a mask on in a global pandemic. The result of the Summer of Colleen was a clearer vision. While I appreciated the steadiness of a paycheck, I love being an entrepreneur and choosing the 100 hours you get to work for yourself I love the flexibility and the creativity. I love bringing health, hope and happiness to those that I encounter through personal training, life coaching, and motivational speaking. I ALSO love being part of a team at work.
That is where the next step comes in…through all my reading and talking and exploring (and fighting and standing up for Ryan), the journey led me to finding out about Aflac. Yes, the duck. Anyone who has been following my story since Ryan’s accident knows that I have fought so many insurance companies on his behalf. Aflac pays claims fast to their policyholders. That was different! And I could still make my own schedule? Yes. I could still see all of my clients in Wellness Now? Yes. I would still be helping people and businesses? Yes. So, everything would fit into place…I would have a team of people to work with but also be my own boss? Yes.
That was intriguing enough for me to take all the online courses and sit for the insurance exams with a mask on, fogging up my glasses, in a very dystopian experience…and I passed! So, I started and went through all the training. The people and culture are great. I was just waiting for the other shoe to drop after such a crazy year or two.
But the other shoe did not drop. Jack is graduating WITH HONORS from UCONN in May. With honors. In a pandemic. I am so proud of him. And his sense of humor saves me every time I almost get in my own way. Rufus thinks that this pandemic is the greatest thing ever since he gets to spend all his time with us. Wag wag wag. Oh…and I just got promoted at Aflac. Yes, really. I just started the management training program! I am still trying to fully exhale. Hopefully soon. That was a lot of change and a super long post. Looking forward to another Summer of Colleen soon with paddleboarding, walking and gratitude. Thank you so much for being part of the story! Ohhhhmmm….