This is one thing I've noticed about people (including me): people don't appreciate what's free. Honestly, I don't always appreciate what's been freely given to me. It's as if we have to work HARD for something in order to appreciate it. If we didn't bust our butts to get it, then it has no value. If somebody has given us a valuable gift (which by definition is FREE), we'd neglect it simply because, well, it's free.
One of the main reasons why I don't advertise my ZUMBA classes for FREE (even though it is essentially free), is because I don't want to attract the kind of people who don't appreciate what's free. So I advertise my classes as "donation only" so folks would know that they could give whatever they want, but still have the option to not give anything.
My Body Challenge program I do charge for, because doing that program for FREE would mean that nobody would take it seriously. Plus, I charge people penalties for not doing certain things -- nobody would take accountability seriously if there are no penalties involved.
You know, most things in life were given to us for free. All of you were given something very valuable for free, whether it's a job that you didn't have to apply for, a place to stay, a car, healthcare, gym membership, etc. Some of us treasure what's been freely given to us, while some of us neglect our gifts.
But you know what? There is something else that is free, but you never thought of it as free: an opportunity. Believe it or not, opportunities are FREE because you didn't work for them. You didn't invite them. In fact, you weren't even looking for them. Opportunities are like pests: they just invade your space without asking for permission. For example, back in college, I had a man from the Czech Republic invite me to work with his church in that nation. In his words, he said, "We need more black brethren." So, simply being black (which I never asked for when I was born) gave me an opportunity to be invited to his country. Now, I would have had to raise the funds to go there, but the invite was FREE simply because of my skin color (which was given to me for free).
Back in New York, I worked for Macy's. My mother already worked there per diem (that is, as needed), so she suggested that I apply there. The INVITE, which is the opportunity, was simply given me. I didn't ask about working there. But because of the invite (the opportunity), I applied there and was immediately given the job because I used her employee number as a referral. Because I wasn't working full-time anywhere else, I was able to work many hours at Macy's, especially during the holiday seasons. That job helped me pay for my EMS training, which lead me to getting EMS jobs.
Opportunities are FREE -- and as such, we tend to neglect them. Some opportunities I appreciate, while other opportunities I simply neglect. Why? Because I could get so caught up in what I want to do that I miss truly important opportunities that are presented to me.
I think about a parable in the Bible about the servants who were given a certain amount of money to invest. One was given the equivalent of $5,000, another the equivalent of $2,000, and another the equivalent of $1,000. Each man was given according to what they were able to handle. The first two servants invested the money and doubled it. Both of those servants were greatly rewarded for their efforts. But then we have the last servant who was only given $1,000 who buried the money. When the "master" asked the servant about how he invested the money, the servant returned the $1,000 to him, being afraid to invest the money. The master chastised them, calling him "wicked and lazy" (ouch!). That servant had the OPPORTUNITY to do something great and to get rewarded for it. Instead, he neglected that opportunity because he didn't want it (Matthew 25:14-30).
You know, the FREE opportunities that are presented to you could lead to great rewards -- but you are probably neglecting them because these opportunities are not what you wanted.
For instance, when I was a member of a gym, I was given the opportunity to become a Les Mills instructor. I wanted to teach the Les Mills BodyAttack fitness program, which is about as intense as my ZUMBA classes. But the group fitness manager said that the gym has no BodyAttack programs, so she highly recommended that I go for BodyPump. I didn't want to teach BodyPump, but her suggesting that I go for BodyPump was an opportunity that came with promise. If I got caught up in what I wanted to do, I would have missed other opportunities. But I took her suggestion, went for my BodyPump certification, and I became a very successful instructor in that program. I had a permanent gig at the gym teaching classes. If I was caught up in doing BodyAttack, well, I would have had to go to another gym and I may or may not have been hired. At least with my gym, I knew I could get a job right away by doing what she told me.
Think about this: would you rather work HARD for something that may not have any promise instead of working EASILY for something that does come with promise? Would you rather bust your behind for pure chance, or would you rather ease into something that's given to you? You probably want to be a college professor, but you have a great opportunity to be an elementary school teacher -- and you could get this job right away. Would you stick to your guns and neglect the elementary job, or would you be willing to put your dreams of college teaching on hold?
Whether it's good health, good vision, a job, a place to stay, or a chance to travel to another country, if the opportunity was given to you, think twice about neglecting it. No, not every opportunity is a good one. But if an opportunity presents itself, don't be quick to dismiss it. This opportunity just might be the answer that you're looking for, but it's dressed in different clothes.
If you've attended my ZUMBA classes and wondered how in the world do I have so much energy, well, I'll tell you my secret: I spend the entire day preparing for this class.
As hard as my ZUMBA class is, if I prep well, then that class won't feel like much of a work-out for me. Yes, there are times when I'm struggling in class, but overall, I'm able to do everything in class that I planned to do. There are no exercises in that class that are too hard for me to do, all because I spent the entire day prepping for the class.
Now, you think, "Wait a minute, your class is only 45 minutes long! Don't you think spending an entire day prepping for a 45-minute class is overkill?" And yes, it seems like overkill. When you start your day, you don't think much about my fitness class. You have other things to worry about. If you're truly committed, you MIGHT spend two hours prepping for class. But most of you probably spend no more than 15 to 30 minutes prepping for my class, and that time is probably spent on eating a light snack, drinking an energy beverage, or just simply getting your clothes ready for class.
For the entire day, I may eat no more than TWO (yes, TWO) things: a protein salad and oatmeal, and maybe I might have a banana or two. I take a multivitamin supplement and a chlorophyll supplement. I drink a juice that I made in my juicer that consists of beets, apples, red cabbage, and a couple of other veggies. Then I drink a cold brew coffee 3 hours before class. If I feel for some reason that my sugar is a bit low, I would have a quick sugary drink right before class. In addition, I do no other work outs before class. The goal is to get my body to direct as much energy to my cardiovascular system and my skeletal muscular system as possible, and when done right, my preparation would make my highly intense class seem ALMOST like a breeze.
Now again, you're wondering, "But your class is only 45 minutes! Why would you waste your entire day for just one 45-minute class?" Well, here's the answer: those 45 minutes may be the most important 45 minutes for YOU, or for someone else. I've been told that my classes are the highlights for the week for some people. My classes might be the only things some people look forward to each week, so I want those 45 minutes to be the BEST 45 minutes that such people could experience.
But you know what? Life works the same way. Preparation time is always significantly much longer than show time. Back in high school and college, I participated in theatre, and in college I was briefly a theatre major. A typ