How do you know when to give up? a personal story

I’ve wanted to leave teaching and go into health and wellness (which really is just another kind of teaching) for years.

At the advice of my trainer at the time, I went and got my personal trainer certification because it has a nutrition component and that would be good enough credential to do weight loss mentoring.

The amount of nutrition training in the cert was minimal. I didn’t feel equipped on paper to do it. (Kind of like being a doctor. But that’s another rant for another day.)

I opened a personal training business—Second Chance FitCenter—out of my living room (or formerly known as the living room—all equipment and empty space, no furniture).

I connected with a business mentor and through my work with her rebranded to just my name. Took on the belief that people care if you can help them, not if you have the right paperwork. Quit my day job. Was doing one-on-one fat loss mentoring, online accountability groups, webinars, make-and-take classes for personal care products and household cleaners, occasional larger clinics/speaking engagements, had a blog, had classes, and was still doing personal training. It was great. Everything was small (except the clinics), but it was fun, people had success, I got a lot of positive feedback.

But the marketing part. I’m a socially anxious introvert by nature (have worked on that a lot, and most people wouldn’t know it). But knowing how to connect with strangers to try to sell them stuff? Not anywhere in my skill set.

The mentor turned out not to be awesome and in a women business owners Facebook group, she soon thereafter was asking for advice doing exactly what she had been advising me on.

When I got divorced, I went back to teaching, but soon thereafter went back to school (while still working) so I could get a degree in health coaching and then be employable doing what I was unable to market myself into on my own.

The class schedule conflicted with my inflexible work schedule, and after trying to work more hours and take fewer classes (which was an internal-life disaster—more work hours sucked up substantially more brain space than just the extra time at work), I dropped out.

If I believed in destiny, fate, or other magical extrinsic forces playing games with us, I would say that being a health coach was not meant to be.

But I don’t. So instead, I’m just frustrated.

Writing here helps. Working on my book helps. Writing is one of my great loves.

But ultimately, most of my energy is still going to teaching.

(Let me take a moment to say: I love teaching kids how to play instruments and so many other things that are wrapped up in that. I do not love the circumstances through which I’m expected to do that at this point. If there was a teaching job with a better schedule within a reasonable commute from here, I’d take it and, presumably, get my mojo back.)

My wandering thoughts really boil down to: how do you know if you’re working hard on a dead end? How do you know if you’re just working the wrong way, and that if you worked it differently, it would work? How do you find that path? How do you know when to give up?

And: do you know of any grants that would allow me to create and implement a health and wellness program at one of my schools? My principal is amenable. I just need some money…

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