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  • Writer's pictureValerie Thompson

It was challenging, but it changed me.

This is one of those "been there, got the t-shirt" lessons. But, it goes a little deeper than that. I do have the t-shirt. But I earned it. And I feel like each day I continue to earn it again and again and again.

We face #challenges every day. A day in #realestate without challenges are few and far between. Sometimes they're easier to overcome than others. My challenges may be a piece of cake for you. We may be facing some of the same challenges at the same time, together.

Growing up, I faced many road blocks. Sometimes I knew it; others I had no clue until later in life. One of the first things I had to face was my father passing away four days before my third birthday. It was a challenge, but I didn't realize it. I truly never really knew life any different. Let's be honest, how many of you really remember more than a few small memories from before you were five? It was more of a hardship for my mother than me. But, she never let me know it. I never knew that when I asked for $20 to hang out with friends, my mom sacrificed something she was saving for. Growing up without my father only now resonates with me because I see my husband with our children. I couldn't imagine them growing up without him. The tragedy of my father passing was challenging, but it changed me. It allowed me to be more independent. It made me learn things that many of my peers didn't {like the difference in a flat head and phillips head screwdriver}. It taught me that it's ok to grieve and be sad, but to always remember the memories, and not to dwell on the parts that hurt.

In sixth grade I tried out for cheerleading. I didn't make the squad. In seventh grade I tried out for cheerleading. Same result. I was devastated. I didn't understand. I thought I had practiced and learned and did all the things right. Me not making the middle school cheerleading squad was challenging, but it changed me. I had to watch friends cheer and be happy for them. I had to watch them wear their cute uniforms to school on game day and still have team spirit. I had to watch the boys choose them over me because, well, I'm sure many reasons, but I also wasn't a cheerleader, so I didn't have the same "status quo" as some of the other girls. BUT, I still was happy. I still worked hard and practiced. I had this one friend that believed in me and worked with me. I stretched and I jumped and I worked on my form... In eighth grade I tried out for cheerleading. This time it was different. I was trying out for the high school squad. There were three squads, the 9th Grade Cheer Squad, the JV squad (that got to cheer Varsity games and compete at the JV level) and the Varsity squad (Varsity cheer and competition). I was so nervous. But, I walked up to the school doors where the tryout results were posted. My name wasn't on the 9th grade squad. I was sad and began walking away when my friend told me to go look on the JV roster. I made it! I actually made it! The hard work paid off. I was a cheerleader and I got to cheer and compete! It was the best day ever. Each year I continued to work hard and each year I got better. And those were some of the best memories of my youth.

My freshman year of college I declared a major in Exercise Science. I was going to be a Physical Therapist. Someone at orientation advised me to take Anatomy and Physiology my first semester. I didn't bat an eye; I had it in high school, with the same book, and made an A. Well, first semester I was living in the dorms, pledging a sorority and learning how to be more responsible and make more of my own decisions. It was all so new, and having that same book didn't mean squat. I was on the high road to an F-Bomb. Headlines were on flashing marquees: Honor Roll Student brings home First F. Literally. I made an F. The class was challenging, but it changed me. I struggled that semester. All A's and an F. I even retook it the following summer just to replace the grade and made a D. I was bummed. I thought I wasn't good enough as a student. I changed my major three more times and finally settled on Marketing with an emphasis in Sales. If you remember from my last post {here}, I think I found my calling. {Insert promotional plug to tell you that I am a fabulous REALTOR® and I'm here for YOU!}

Challenges come to us at all stages of life. They come when we aren't expecting it. Or, we jump in knowing things will be hard and we persevere to get through them, to reach our goals. Needless to say, I did get the t-shirt.

I worked hard at the gym and one of my favorite coaches, Chris Steinberg, told me "If it doesn't challenge you, it doesn't change you." The class was challenging, but it changed me. After several classes with him, I earned the shirt. 180 Fitness is a fabulous gym with fabulous instructors and The Zone continues to help change me.

Challenges aren't always desirable. Change is a choice. What's yours?

You can't fall if you don't climb. But there's no joy in living your whole life on the ground.


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