Starting Ocean Rehab and Fitness was not in the plan. But it was the best unplanned thing to ever happen to me and my career.
What seems like ages ago, I originally came to Vancouver to pursue physiotherapy. I went back to school (I have a BA) and began studying Kinesiology. I started taking all the prerequisites that I needed to apply – from Human Anatomy and Statistics to Exercise Physiology. I even went back and upgraded my Chemistry classes – which by the way, just hearing the word ‘chemistry’ makes my eyes glaze over. It was like learning an ancient language!
I’ve never ever thought that I could be a ‘science’ major. I was always a performing artist. As someone looking back on this, I know this was mostly because of my own internal dialogue creating limitations.
Fast forward a couple of years later though, with 2 chemistry classes down and most of a Kinesiology degree from UBC under my belt, I was beyond proud of myself – my GPA was just as high as it was when I was in my undergrad as a dance major!
It amazes me what our mindset can do, especially when we take all limits and definitions away from ourselves.
So, after all my academic achievement, I was completely devastated when I didn’t get into the Physical Therapy (PT) program. My world felt like it was crumbling around me. Oddly enough, I didn’t want PT bad enough to try again the following year; I was more upset that I didn’t achieve my goal of getting a placement. I was at a point where I felt completely lost. I knew where my passion was (I had been working with clients who live with disabilities already at this point for about a year) and I loved the community that I was starting to be a huge part of.
But where to from here?
Fast forward to now, 2022. I have the privilege to work with clients of all abilities, every day in the gorgeous city of Vancouver. I get to assist clients from all over the world via Ocean Insider Club in improving their health and fitness. I get to watch my clients thrive and compete in adaptive sports, stay as independent as possible and get excited about setting new goals for themselves. I get to collaborate with some amazing organizations like Action Canada, the Disability Foundation, BCRPA in Surrey, the Rick Hansen Foundation and MS Society of Canada, all to help bring inclusion and health to the forefront for people living with disabilities.
Looking back on that time when I received my news about PT school, I was so focused on this so-called ‘large door’ that slammed against my face, that I completely missed seeing anything else.
What I had failed to see at the time was the shiny new door opening while the other was shutting.
This story may be a life lesson for me, but it is something that can be translated into something even more specific, like our health and fitness goals. Sometimes we get so caught up on the path to our goal, that we end up becoming rigid and closing our minds off to other great opportunities.
I’ve seen it before where someone is training hard before an event and then they become injured. This is obviously frustrating to that person, having to give up the event and instead do some resting, physiotherapy, and rehab exercises. But in the long run, they have now learned a limitation of their body and now know the skills on how to get their body back into injury-free shape.
I have even seen some people come out of rehab stronger and more resilient than they were before they got injured; rehab gets us to focus on the detail stabilizing muscles that we sometimes neglect in our day-to-day training.
Someone once said to me, “Stay flexible about your methods, and stubborn about your goals”. I think that this rings a lot of truth in finding ways to achieve what we want in life and yet being open enough to allow the possibilities to present themselves, even if it’s something we hadn’t thought of.
So next time something seems like a door slamming in your face, or maybe an injury happens before a big event, be curious as to what door this opens for you. It may be challenging at first, but I know it was for me.
If we put all our focus on that door slamming, we may miss a great opportunity through another.