From Intern to Coach

Before I moved to Los Angeles, I was a student at East Carolina University studying to become a health fitness specialist. As you know, you have way more free time during college versus the real world. I took advantage of the free time and dedicated it to my health. I slept 8 hours a night and lived in the gym. I would meditate every morning and exercise two hours a day. On top of the exercise, I would train 5 to 8 clients a day. My mind and body felt great. I was focused on my career and had a purpose. But that all changed after I graduated and moved out to California.

Change Is Uncomfortable

I was moving to LA to complete my bachelors degree and further my career in the fitness industry. I had to complete a 480 hour unpaid internship to graduate as a health fitness specialist. I was very excited to graduate and start my life after college, but with the excitement came anxiety and fear. I had to start all over again and this intimidated me.The first month was fun, new and exciting. But I soon became homesick and struggled to find my place for the next three months. It was hard, to say the least. I was living on my cousin's floor and interning at Equinox Downtown Los Angeles. I wasn’t allowed to coach anyone. I felt emasculated.

Since my internship was unpaid, I had to make money elsewhere. I started working for Handstand, an on demand trainer app. Between my internship and Handstand, I had very little free time and was busy from 5 am to 7 pm most days. I didn't have a car so I would bike back and forth to work. And then I would bike, Uber, or metro to private clients on the side to make ends meet. My schedule had me up at 4 am and in bed around 8:30 pm. My social life crumbled. I was miserable. I smoked marijuana each night to numb the loneliness. I was worn out and lost my disciplines. I stopped meditating. I played the victim card and thought I deserved a break, but this only made things worse.

As my meditation practice decreased so did my focus and drive. My mind felt scattered and the symptoms of depression slowly took over. At times I wanted to move back to New Jersey, but luckily my parents didn’t let me. My mom and dad forced me to stay. They told me I had to stay for at least nine months and give it a chance. This was no easy task for me. I felt lonely and lost. For the first time in my life, I didn’t have a sense of community nor a purpose. It felt like I was losing a sense of myself. I was clueless and didn’t know what to do. And to top it off, I was still an intern without a job.

Practice Extreme Ownership

I counted down the days until the internship was over. Halfway through, I was given an interview by my personal training managers. I was confident that I would be hired. Unfortunately, it didn't go well and I was turned down. I was too confident and arrogant. The rejection was a crushing blow. I questioned my skill set and my future. I was lost and hopeless. I blamed others and didn’t take responsible for my mistakes.

After a failure, you have two options. You can learn from it and use it as fuel to get better or you can blame someone else for your mistakes. I am not sure what happened or what motivated me. Most likely it was a podcast or book that drove me to change. It was not fun. It was hard to look in the mirror and admit that I was fucking up. It was uncomfortable and didn’t happen overnight. It took me a couple weeks to quiet my ego and own my mistakes.

I used the failure as fuel for motivation and forced myself to get my act together. I ordered the 5 Minute Journal and started to journal every morning. I wrote down my goals every morning for the day. I would keep it simple and write, “Meditate for 15 minutes this morning.”  or “Listen to your boss and don't argue.” With each day of practice, my focus and sense of purpose started to come back. I forgot how good it felt to achieve a goal I set. The small achievement built momentum and allowed me to get back on track.

Meditate & Journal 

Eventually, my internship came to an end and I was hired. After getting hired I continued with my morning routine. I would wake up, meditate for 15 minutes and then journal my goals for the day. As the months went by my focus and productivity continued to improve. I soon climbed the ranks from intern to tier 3+, the highest ranking trainer, in record time.

I am not here to brag, rather I write this to show you the benefits of a journal and meditation practice. Both practices kept me focused on my goals and improved my mindset. If you are struggling with change or feel lost, I implore you to start journaling.

erik rokiskyComment