June 2, 2014

Keeping it Real

It is hard to believe that it has been 4 years since I left my job at Nike. Ironically, it has also been 10 years (nearly to the day) that I moved to Portland to work for Nike.

Here I was ten years ago, the summer I moved to Portland.

While sometimes it seems like yesterday, I feel so different than the person I was 10 years ago. Ten years ago I was single, fresh out of graduate school, "green" to the corporate world, and new to the city of Portland. And now here I am, ten years later, married with a dog and a child and a mortgage. My how the times have changed.

These last four years have brought about the biggest changes in my life, both personally and professionally. I left Nike and started my own business, I had a baby, I became a barre3 instructor, I took a leadership role in the Junior League of Portland....among countless other small milestones.

While it was four years ago that I moved on from my job with Nike, it has been really hard to let that part of my life go. You see, being hired by Nike was a fulfillment of a dream, a dream that I chased so voraciously that I even went to graduate school to be hired. Because I worked so hard to achieve my goal,  It was especially challenging to voluntarily walk away from that dream. The title came with a prestige that made me feel accomplished, whether deserved or not. It has taken me four years to finally release that identity and feel a sense of personal accomplishment and self-worth that is unrelated to my former employer.  While it is still an important part of my past, I no longer feel that it defines who I am or what my future holds.

Heidi O'Neill, the VP of Women's Training became a mentor and a friend during my years at Nike. She coached me through some very difficult professional hurdles and was a wonderful advocate. In one of our many meetings, she asked me two questions that stand out "what is your ideal job" and "where do you see yourself in 10 years?".

At the time, I didn't have a specific job title that I desired. My ideal job consisted of attributes: a supportive team of colleagues, a leader that I wanted to follow (i.e. a good boss), work/life balance, a job that challenged me,  a job that facilitated personal and professional growth, a job where I felt that I was making an impact, a job that excited me such that I wanted to get up every morning to go to work.

And the second question, "where do you see yourself in ten years?" Despite being a type A, plan for everything kind of girl, I was challenged by this question.

So, here I am ten years later and I can't help but ask, "is this where I envisioned myself ten years ago?"

The answer: "NO".

But, "Would I want to be anywhere else?" The answer, without question,  "NO!"

I am quite positive that ten years ago I would have never envisioned being a "stay at home mom", envisioned leaving Nike to start my own business or envisioned that I would be teaching in studio and online exercise classes.

That said, I could not have written a better plan for myself.

As for my ideal job, without even planning for it, I have achieved it. I have work/life balance. I have the luxury (albeit it's not luxurious) to "stay at home" with my daughter. I have a team of women that I work with and for at barre3 and through the Junior League of Portland that are incredible colleagues and leaders that inspire me and push me to grow and learn. I get up every morning, sometimes exhausted, and I enjoy my life. I want to go to "work". Don't get me wrong, it has its challenges, and sometimes I complain (which you have heard about in other keeping it real posts), but it is a good life, a really good life.

Maybe you are at a crossroad in your life, like I was four years ago. Maybe you are trying to make a change, to choose a different path and you are afraid to make the leap. If that is your situation, my advice to you is this:

Take chances
Embrace change
Be willing to accept an unplanned outcome and move forward from it
Seek happiness
Enjoy the ride and know that there will be some bumps in the road

If you can do all of those things, I am certain that 10 years from now you will look back and realize that it was all worth while, just like I have.


  1. Regan - this is beautiful! So timely for me as I just left Nike, too (thanks for helping me land the job in the first place!). As I was driving away yesterday, I was thinking just the same thing - if someone had told me ten years ago this is where I would be, I would have called them crazy. But now, I wouldn't have it any other way.

    Love these Keeping It Real posts! :)

  2. I'm often amazed how much my life has changed over the last 15 years. I'm now back to doing what I thought I'd be doing after a years-long hiatus. It's all good. I do know that you're very good at the child-raising, barre3-teaching you're doing now. :) Jennifer

  3. Love this Regan! Thanks for sharing!