Sometimes you just feel it. The pure beauty, the overwhelming joy, the magic that is life. It’s there for the taking in any given moment, for every moment is a reason to change, to renew, to begin again. No matter what life hands you, it’s in your hands to grasp it, get through it and persevere. Faith and fortitude. Courage and hope. Inspiration and life’s greatest gift – the one each of us has in our possession on any given day – the gift of love.
All of these elements combine in some way to create our path, they are part of our story.
Everyone has a story.
I am Mark Brodinsky and this is The Sunday Series.
The Sunday Series (148): Thrive
Cubed. Boxed In. Stuck.
Sitting at her desk at a national loan company, Katie Sampayo was less than fulfilled, in fact she felt trapped and uninspired, restless and yearning for more. There had to be more than this life and more to the life she really wanted to live. Her mind was speaking to her, she just needed to listen and to speak up in order to make a change.
Katie could do it. Why not? She had done it before. Even when, as far back as Katie could remember, trying to speak had been shrouded in silence and fear.
“I used to cry when I got called on in school,” says Katie. “I was one of the shyest people alive.” I remember one day when I was a kid, I walked onto the wrong bus getting home from school. I knew it and I just stood there and couldn’t talk, I just started crying. I felt I looked stupid. It was horrible. I never wanted to be noticed, I didn’t want people looking at me. Anytime the attention was on me I didn’t want it. In 5th grade I dressed like a boy, then like a punk rocker, all to be hidden behind some other persona.”
“In college I became a business major. In that concentration we had to give presentations all the time. I dreaded it. My senior year in college, the last semester at Towson University, one of my mentors volunteered me to be in the Associate Competition for business. The competition was a lot like The Apprentice on TV. My team won the first competition and I had to speak and explain what we did, except I froze, I blanked and no words came out of my mouth, nothing happened.”
For Katie that was the end. At any moment in life there is a chance to turn it all around, to make a change, to overcome fear and start again. Katie Sampayo decided that day would be the beginning of the rest of her life. It was time to speak up.
“For the next week I challenged myself,” says Katie. “I said I was going to be the leader of my team in this next round of the competition and speak in front of these people. When it came time the following week to speak for the team, I did it and it was the best. I did it, I didn’t stutter that much. I didn’t forget anything. Slowly but surely through this competition, week after week, I got much better. Eventually my team was eliminated, but I had people come up to me and say, ‘Katie you did amazing tonight, you spoke so well, you should not have been eliminated.”
Her silence broken, Katie was on her way. Though her ability to share the spoken word was just one of the battles she faced to get where she is today. She says her drive to thrive and be independent was also inspired by her experience during her senior year in high school. Katie says she had some major issues with a group of girls making fun of her, tormenting her, bullying her, all because she was friends with someone they didn’t like. She says it got really bad, but Katie also says it fueled her fire to move away from where she was living, to take up residence in the city (Baltimore) and to gain strength. “It’s why I am a strong woman now, I don’t let people push me around,” says Katie.
Once she entered the business world, sitting there in that cubicle at the loan company, the experiences of her life and that small inner voice were telling her, reminding her, that there was more. Katie says, “I always knew from the time I was little I wanted to run my own business and make a huge impact on the world. To run my own show and know that I did it, I made it happen. That’s why I took a harder look at what I loved to do. I had always been physically active. From the time I was four, I was playing sports, I love being active, I love the competition.”
During this time Katie also found yoga, got really excited about it and it led to her next step. “I knew this corporate job was not meant for me,” says Katie. “I wasn’t built to sit in a cube all day. I went to Merritt Athletic Club, started doing barre and found out they were hiring new instructors. One of the teachers encouraged me to try out. I did and I started teaching barre twice a week after work. I went to the CEO of the loan company and got a health and wellness plan going – the first ever at the company – and started teaching employees after work. I designed all the classes and did it for free. I absolutely loved it. People got so excited to go to classes after work and see their weight drop. It made me so fulfilled to be able to help people at this level and have them feel good about themselves.”
“I did it for six months and knew it was time to get out and do it full-time. I got my personal training certification and the minute I graduated I was out and started working at Merritt Athletic Club. I was so passionate about it and people could see it. I thought what else can I do – so I started a boot camp class. I teach every Saturday in Patterson Park.”
“I also started investing in personal development. It changed my life. I used to be a really angry person. I would get mad quickly. But once I got out on my own I started reading books, going to seminars and taking yoga. I found my purpose. I was no longer angry, I was at peace with myself and my past and in such a good place. So much changed for me from being a “negative nancy” to a positive person. I love making people happy.”
But even for someone making others happy, getting them in shape and helping to bring them “peace”, the pace can take its toll. There’s the mantra: work hard, play hard. But Katie was only living half that life. After only a year on her own and running her fitness business, the business of fitness got to be too much. “I was working myself to death,” she says. “I was doing the boot camp, teaching barre, and teaching another body sculpting class at the inner harbor one night a week as well. I loved all of this, but I was physically and mentally exhausted. It’s when I decided to write the book. I knew online is where I needed to be, to reach even more people and to make an impact.”
The question was fitness or nutrition? Katie loved both, but realized nutrition was the first thing she always talked about with clients. So she started writing a healthy snack guide, Snacking 101, 20 snack recipes which are healthy, gluten-free and meant to keep you full. That became her first e-book. But she wanted to do more, make more of an impact. Katie wanted to thrive.
Putting her passion in front, her past behind and her desire to change lives – Katie started writing another book, Eat to Thrive: The Anti-Diet Cookbook. Then she left the states…to head to the other side of the world. She went to Bali, to earn her Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga certification and then to Thailand to celebrate her achievement and to experience life. She surfed, explored and even played with the elephants. Then she came back to the US earlier this year – promptly erased what she had written and started the book over. Her trip abroad had given her time to think deeper and make sure she was sharing the right message about food, mindset and fitness.
“The key to the book is that diets suck,” says Katie. “The key to success in life is living a healthy lifestyle. Learning to understand what is in the food you are eating. It’s all about knowledge and how the food affects the body. A diet doesn’t teach you anything. I’ve never done a diet in my entire life. You get off the diet and you don’t learn anything about food. You don’t have to diet to look good. This is a no BS guide to nutrition in my real and authentic voice – sassy and fun. There are 50 recipes in the book that are quick, easy and actually taste good that you can make in 30 minutes or less. Eat to Thrive gives you the knowledge about nutrition, to take control of your body and your life and not play the victim of the circumstances around you. Once you have the knowledge you have the power to decide how you want your life to be. Do you want to look bad or feel bad, or do you want to thrive and live the life you actually want to live?”
“It comes down to never ever settling for being just OK, or living a life of mediocrity, or not living a life that is truly fulfilling, or striving to reach your potential. It’s why the book is called Eat to Thrive. It’s not just about looking in the mirror, it’s about doing what you want, going for what you want, pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. What to you want out of life? Push yourself. I’m fully behind this. I help people to live a fulfilling life.”
A life where anyone can thrive.
Until next time thanks for taking the time,
Write. Speak. Inspire.
Author: The Sunday Series. Real Stories of Courage, Hope & Inspiration, Volume I (https://www.amazon.com/Sunday-Mark-Brodinsky-Stories-Inspiration-ebook/dp/B0722MJL55/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1494160949&sr=8-2&keywords=the+sunday+series)
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