Spotlight for June: Cheryl Smith

Meet Cheryl! This diving beauty has been living it up in Australia, stepping out of the cookie-cutter approach to life that we BOTH were raised in. I have known this amazing woman since we were in elementary school together. We competed in sports together and academics, and it has been SO amazing to see her journey take her to the other side of the world and explore exciting and thrilling new adventures. Take a read, I’m sure her story will connect to you and maybe give you that extra encouragement to give your unexplored options a try!

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Name: Cheryl Smith
Age: 27
Occupation: Project Manager, Sailing Whitsundays (Online Travel Agency)/Dive Instructor

What were you doing before you fell onto this path?

Leading up to my current position, I was working as a (Scuba) Dive Instructor on overnight boat tours in the Whitsundays, QLD. These tours ranged from 2 days/2 nights to 3 days/3 nights with group sizes ranging from 8 – 28 passengers. It was in this role that I discovered an imbedded passion for scuba diving, Ocean/Reef Protection and tourism; a passion that I had yet to discover in my previous years of employment.
Before landing this job, I was living and working in Ontario across various positions (Liaison Officer, Athletic Therapist, Beverage Cart Attendant, …), whilst completing my Kinesiology Degree. I always knew that I would find myself in an active role, but never imagined I would soon become a Certified Dive Instructor!
After 2 ½ years (essentially living) at sea, I decided it was time to hang up my fins and approach my passion from dry land, which brings me to where I am today! Now, I get to share my knowledge and experience with those looking to visit the Whitsunday Islands and explore the Great Barrier Reef in a variety of interactive ways. I use my creativity to develop marketing campaigns and strategies to highlight my new-found love.

Would you say you were happy with what you were doing previously? Or was there something that was missing from your previous career path?

I was! I must admit, I was very lucky with my past employment… I always seemed to find myself in positions which I thoroughly enjoyed. For me, I was missing something in my day-to-day life and the overall satisfaction I had with my home environment. Please do not mistake this with my home/family environment! – I grew up in a great home, with incredible family and friends, whom I miss dearly. It was something more external… something I couldn’t really put into words…

I now realize that I was lacking a ‘passion’, exploration and the opportunity to step outside my comfort zone.

If you were happy with your current career, what was it about (Your passion) that made you believe it was time to act on this interest & develop it into more than just a hobby?

Originally, I chose to leave my career because I realized I was the perfect time in my life to branch off and see other parts of the world! I never ruled my previous career out and to this day think there is great possibility to return to it. It was simply a perfect opportunity to explore other avenues before making concrete decisions. At that point in time, I didn’t have any solid commitments or a relationship to keep me stationary. I was a single, recently graduated and very curious 22-year old. At the time that I left, I hadn’t yet realized the ‘passion’ that I was about to pursue. I simply had the inner urge to explore unknown opportunities. My passion for travel, scuba diving and the Ocean at large came soon afterwards…

Had you had experience in an area like this before?

Prior to my arrival into Australia, I had only once swum in the Ocean (on a family vacation in the Dominican Republic) and only snorkeled on a few occasions. I knew very little about scuba diving and had yet to experience the exhilarating activity. Living in Hamilton, Canada, I also had minimal exposure to international Tourism (or even local Tourism for that matter) – it was never an industry I envisioned myself getting involved in.
My first ever scuba dive (on the Great Barrier Reef) was an unforgettable one and obviously a very influential one! It didn’t take me long to realize that I was in my element when I had a regulator in my mouth and the deep blue sea 360 degrees around me. It is a whole other world beneath the Ocean’s surface! You can watch a documentary, read a National Geographic or go to an exhibit on the ocean’s wonders… it is a whole other dimension to experience it firsthand.

Did you have a mentor/ role model whom you confided in as you ventured into this new territory? How did they help shape your decision to follow your passion/ how have they shaped your journey?

I was lucky to have many mentors and role models throughout my journey! The company I first started working for was comprised of a variety of crew, who had all come from all over the World to do the same thing: share their love of the sea with others (and have fun too!). I was working with individuals from Germany, New Zealand, the Netherlands, England, Ireland, Sweden… the list goes on! Many of these people had dived all over the World, and others had started off just as I had. I was inspired by both! Being able to see that you could go from a completely inexperienced Diver to a fully certified Instructor if you put your full heart into it was a ‘kicker’ for me. Listening to exciting dive stories from the more experienced crew gave me incentive to fulfill this new goal of becoming a Dive Instructor.
My crew were incredible and helped me every step of the way. Every one took time out of their own schedules to help keep me on top of the work load and perfect my technique. Over the course of 6 months, I successfully competed my PADI Open Water Course, Advanced Course, Rescue Course, Dive Master Course and, alas, my OWSI Dive Instructor Course! I will never forget these people – their personal stories, unique approach to diving, passion for the Reef and of course, the long-lasting relationships I had built.

Many books that I’ve been reading talk about discovering your happiness in life, and the easiest way to start is to look back at what you were interested in as a child. Did you ever play games/ participate in activities related to this field?

My parents always referred to me as their ‘water baby’ or ‘little fish’ for my evident love of the water from a very young age. My mum tells stories of bringing me to my brother’s swimming lessons: she would put me on the edge to do a skill with Greg and I would just launch myself back into the water and frolic my way to the surface with a smug smile from ear to ear into my mum’s arms. I seemed to have no fear when it came to the water! My love for the water was apparent in the many activities I participated in growing up: competitive swimming, synchronized swimming, wake-boarding, fishing… I guess it should come as no surprise that I took to scuba diving so quickly and fondly!
Instructing was also an area I enjoyed from a younger age. My first job was as a Swim Instructor working for the Orangeville Otters. I loved being able to work with kids, teaching skills and getting to see the results. Again, my transition into becoming a Dive Instructor was a rather natural one given my past teaching experiences.

What were some of the challenges you faced when deciding to follow your passion & pursue this dream?
The ultimate challenge that I still to this day struggle with is being so far away from my family and close friends. I never had the intention of staying in Australia when I left, but now that I am still here, I do have to deal with the consequences of my decision to stay. How I deal: I Skype with my parents on a bi-daily basis, FB stalk nearly every one of my close friends on a daily basis, ensure at least one trip home to Canada per year, try and arrange holidays with friends and lastly, I ensure I’m surrounded by supportive people over here. This year, I am lucky enough to have both my mum and dad come visit!
A major challenge I came across when becoming a Dive Instructor was realizing that what I was attempting to do in 6 months, many did over the course of years! I was surrounded by admirable professionals and wanted to meet their high expectations. Building my confidence up, learning from my mentors and putting in the extra effort showed them I was fully competent to take on this role.
Ironically enough, the next hurdle came when I finally became certified as a Dive Instructor: having confidence in myself as a professional. A very common question you will get from a student diver is ‘how long have you been diving for?’ or ‘how many dives have you done?’ Obviously, getting started, my experience was limited. But we all have to start somewhere, don’t we!? It was challenging gaining the trust of my divers if they were aware of my ‘Novice’ status. I dealt with this by perfecting my briefings (for both certified divers and introductory divers), speaking with a firmer confidence and answering questions in an honest way, but not a “yes, you are right: I am brand new to this and you are about to trust me with your life” sort of way.

Do you have any advice to other women who are possibly on the fence with following their own directions?

Just follow it! Take the chance. Take the risk. It could be the best decision you’ve ever made… For the pessimists: of course it could very well be the worst decision you’ve ever made; I promise, even if this is the case, the whole discovery process will leave you feeling empowered as an individual.
Focus on the positive and what you will get out of it.

At the end of the day, just because you choose to pursue a new path, it doesn’t mean you cannot return to your old one. Don’t be disheartened if it doesn’t work out and you return to your previous route. At least you will know that you took a chance, put yourself first and you can continue living your life without the ‘what if?’

But perhaps you will find a missing piece of the puzzle, as I did? With pursuing passion comes great happiness.

Looking back, is there anything that you may have changed that you think would have helped you get on this path sooner?

An open mind!

Where do you see this passion growing to over the next 5 years? And 10?

Honestly, I do not see myself pursuing dive instructing in the future. While I will never say never, I have discovered that scuba diving is something I get most out of when it is for my personal enjoyment! I have had a blast introducing others to the underwater world, seeing the huge smiles following a dive and knowing that I may have kick-started someone else’s scuba diving journey. At the same time, it is a high-stress job with many risks involved. I am at the point where I would like to explore new underwater worlds and improve my underwater photography skills – as opposed to looking after students!
It’s also time for me to explore new passions! Through pursuing this one, I was introduced to so many other great things that I now have in my life. It’s amazing how taking one chance can open up the door to so many other great things. If I hadn’t taken that leap of faith, I would not have met my partner, Luke (my perfect match); I would not have known how much I love to Stand-Up Paddle Board, golf and box!
Where I will be in 5 years? 10 years? I have no idea, nor do I want to know. If there is one thing I have learned over the last couple years it is: to live in the present. If I continue to make the most of my ‘now’, I’m sure I will end up in a great place in my future.

Where can someone find more information about your company/ career choice?

There are many dive organizations that offer scuba diving instruction, but I would recommend PADI over the rest as they are recognized world-wide and an organization with the highest of safety standards.
Go to: http://www.padi.com/scuba/
For more information on the Whitsundays and Great Barrier Reef adventures, go to:
http://www.sailing-whitsundays.com

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May’s Spotlight: Rosie Metayer

Meet Rosie! She’s a wonderful wife & mother of 3, and one hell of a personal trainer! I’ve have the privilege of being a client of Rosie’s in our boot camp, and now I work alongside her. She’s such a wonderful inspiration and GREAT motivator for those mothers out there who don’t believe it’s possible to be a great mother AND take care of yourself by pursuing your passions. Enjoy this interview, she’s a pretty spectacular woman!

 

rosieName: Rosie Metayer

Age: 39

Occupation: Personal Trainer Specialist

(Credentials:- PTS, FKS(Fitness Kickboxing Specialist)

Zumba Instructor –Level 1

What were you doing before you fell onto this path?

 I was a Commercial Insurance Broker


Would you say you were happy with what you were doing previously? Or was there something that was missing from your previous career path?

Let’s just say it wasn’t my dream job, I fell into the Insurance World and the money was good at the time and so you keep plugging away.  I moved companies a few times, and my last company was much smaller than those Alpha Broker Houses downtown that I worked at.  Working in a smaller office certainly had advantages but also some disadvantages.  Although it started very positive, I ended up not enjoying my job.

It seems we spend more time at work than we do at home, and when we put in extra time and come in on a weekend to get caught up, or to help with meeting a deadline and we leave our families behind, it is quite upsetting when there’s not any recognition of ones hard work.  Instead, there were words of sarcasm.  This was eating at me, deep down inside I knew where I wanted to be and that was in the FITNESS WORLD! This was my passion, this was what I loved.   I loved seeing people push themselves beyond imaginable limits and be healthy, I started to think seriously about departing and leaving the Insurance Broker role, I wasn’t happy, didn’t like how I was being treated, very unfairly and I knew this job was sucking the energy out of me! The energy that I love to have and push forward to my clients, but yet I still stuck it out. I continuously fought with myself, I was scared of making a move, I would say to myself “Is it the right time, 3 kids, expenses, financially can I do this?” I needed out and knew that I had my personal training to fall back on and I not only loved personal training because of how rewarding it was,  I was good at it too!

If you were happy with your current career, what was it about personal training and fitness that made you believe it was time to act on this interest & develop it into more than just a hobby?

The fact that I was Personal Training Go Girl Bootcamp already and knowing how much I have made a difference in many women lives and that I was being told on a continuous basis I was very motivating and inspiring, was making my decision to leave my full time job and fulfill this dream much easier. This wasn’t just a hobby for me. I had transformed my own body loosing my pregnancy weight; I was the living proof to many women in that bootcamp that I was a working mom, had 3 kids and was also personal training clients on a part time basis that, exercising was a lifestyle change, but so rewarding too! When you first start seeing those results on your body, it’s such an incredible feeling. The women I trained saw how this worked for me and my drive to get my results but also I was pushing them too.

I knew..once and for all this was it, this is where I wanted to be, in this space of Fitness, there was no other choice. I was going to make it work, it was time to push forward and just do it.


Had you had experience in an area like this before?

I didn’t’ have previous experience in doing Personal Training on a full time basis, but I did have experience with fitness. I guess deep down inside, what probably has been engraved in my head was seeing my dad being sick with heart disease as a child, and I often wondered how I could make a difference in the world with helping someone become healthier. I was always very active growing up as a child and teenager. I played many sports was captain of house league sports for a year. I took physical education throughout high school and one component of the program was to put a training circuit as well as a cardio routine. I did very well with this and I knew then this could be a possibility to get into this field of work. I also helped friends and family train.

Did you have a mentor/ role model whom you confided in as you ventured into this new territory? How did they help shape your decision to follow your passion/ how have they shaped your journey?

Yes I had a couple mentors who have influenced my decision to get into this field.

One is my good friend and trainer Essam Tossom, who I’ve known now for the last 7 years. I hired him as a trainer to give me the extra push, throughout our training circuits he would say that I was a natural, I had very good form and that I should consider getting into the Personal Training and Fitness World.  We would sometimes tag team personal train with other clients and trainers and he would be astonished at how I could motivate the other trainer’s clients.  “You are good” he would say.  I remember him also saying, it is so rewarding, especially when your clients push themselves and they too see that their hard work pays off.

The second mentor is my current employer, and mentor, Mr. Dan GO, known as the Ninja Man, from Go Girl Bootcamp.  At the time, I was just his client at his bootcamp, I was one of his first clients in the bootcamp world and I got amazing results after my second child was born! It didn’t come easy, I pushed it so hard in that bootcamp and did extra cardio on the side to get that body back.  Every so often Dan would pull me aside and say, “Have you ever considered being a trainer, damn you are good! you bring so much energy to the room and you inspire and push all those women around you during the workout– consider it” he would say.
Dan is a great guy, he knew I wanted a hardcore workout and would always throw things at me to go over and beyond the normal workouts…I loved it!  He planted the seed with the thought that I should consider getting into personal training, and from there I thought about this every day.  In fact, I almost quit my job and not go back to work from maternity leave, but again, I didn’t feel ready, or was I hiding from the fact I was scared of failing?  Well the thought would always enter my mind, in the mean time I ended up getting pregnant with my 3rd child. Now the Personal Training thing was on my mind again, this time I knew that as soon as I had my baby, I was going to get my body back ASAP, I continued to workout with Dan at the bootcamp and went back to my full time job, and every so often Dan would put me on the spot in bootcamp, and would ask me to share my story, of my body transformation and at the same time I had people saying to me, “you should be a trainer, your energy is so good, you helped me push today through class, seeing you not giving up made me get another rep in, you inspired me”  I would keep hearing this every time I went to bootcamp, I had ladies that wanted to be in my group because they felt they wouldn’t quite in the circuit because they were with me.

This was incredible, that I could actually make such a difference in these ladies lives! I still had the feeling of failing, failing the exam, failing myself to not have that perfect body image I had visualized, but really deep down inside, I knew I had what it took to bite the bullet and just go for it.

Together with Dan Go and Linda Watson (Personal Trainer and Franchise owner Of Ilovekickboxing.com) they kept planting that seed, and would say “Why are you hesitating, you are good at what you do- just do it!”

Many books that I’ve been reading talk about discovering your happiness in life, and the easiest way to start is to look back at what you were interested in as a child. Did you ever play games/ participate in activities related to this field?

Yes I always played games and was very active as a child, sort of like a tom boy. Even the simplest of games, like hopscotch, would turn into an athletic hop.  I often thought that I wanted to be fit because my dad was a diabetic and passed away with a heart attack, so I wanted to make sure that I was always fit.

What were some of the challenges you faced when deciding to follow your passion & pursue this dream?

The biggest challenge is financially, it’s scary when you are used to a certain income and lifestyle. I almost felt silly and selfish leaving a good paying job to be a trainer. It’s tough to have your own business, but I feel now that this is my space I can make this happen.


Do you have any advice to other women who are possibly on the fence with following their own directions?

My advice would be to at least TRY following your dreams and passion.  If you don’t try, you would never know if you could succeed, or where you would be in a couple of years.

For myself, I use this perspective: it’s like making a drastic hair colour or hair style change. Chop off your hair, the hair will grow back eventually right? I looked at it as this is my opportunity to try this Personal Training Full Time and to make a difference in peoples lives, and if “financially” I can’t make things work for me and my family, well then it’s just like hair– “it” grows back. I can go back to work full time or part time and still do what I love. But my point is, as scary as it is, sometimes we need to take risks, and those risks we take we will encounter big hills and small ones, sometimes even a bumpy road to travel, but we need those hills to allow us to make mistakes and learn from them.  You become a better person and are true to yourself.

I urge one to try to follow your dream and give it your 100% all of everything you have to make it work, if this is where you truly want to be!  I haven’t looked back since 4 months ago, when this happened to me!

Looking back, is there anything that you may have changed that you think would have helped you get on this path sooner?

No, I don’t think I would change anything, I believe everything happened for a reason, and at the right time.  I also needed to be ready physically and mentally to be able to go on this journey.  It is now that I’m able to deliver the amazing  workouts that I do, I  am more experienced, I know what works, I know what can get people moving and I am confident at what I do….because it truly comes from my heart.

Where do you see this passion growing to over the next 5 years? And 10?

I see myself in the next 5 years, still working along side Dan GO at Go Girl Bootcamp and at Nox as a Fitness Kickboxing Instructor.  I’m slowly building my own clientele in addition to the bootcamp and eventually I would love to have my own facility not only working with women, but work with teenagers and give them a place for them to turn to. I want to promote healthiness and hopefully I can be a role model of having fun, but living a healthy lifestyle too.

Where can someone find more information about your company/ career choice?

At present I am registering my company name-.COMING SOON!

In the meantime, if you would like personal training sessions, I can be reached at: Rosie16@rogers.com or facebook message me.

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer these questions! It’s so important for women to read about other women who have found success in the activities they love. Do you have anything else you’d like to add to our discussion?

Thank you Stephanie for selecting me as your feature, this has motivated me some more, and has made me realize how much more I have made the right choice to follow my dream!

kickboxingrosie 2bootcamp