December 7, 2016: I sat anxiously on the steps of Champions Square, surrounded by a bunch of sweaty friends as we had just completed another hard morning workout. While they sat nonchalantly as Lou and Booher began announcements, I was freaking out. Today was the day they brought me on as their third co-leader.
How are they going to announce it? How will people react? Do people even know who I am? Am I actually ready to do this? What if I suck at it? What if they decide not to announce today? And so on…
The doubts filled my mind and I blacked out as Lou began his announcements. The next thing I remember is Lou saying my name and awkwardly stumbling to stand with Lou and Booher. Smile, Mia. Smile big. Be excited. THEY ARE ALL LOOKING AT YOU FOR HEAVEN’S SAKE. SMILE.
It’s funny thinking back on that version of myself. I was young (ok, I still am kinda), extremely insecure (fine, sometimes still this too), not very confident in myself, and most significantly, I was lacking a purpose. It wasn’t until I took on this opportunity, challenge, role, whatever you want to call it, that I finally figured out who I truly wanted to be.
NP has done for me what I don’t think I could have ever done for myself.
NP has taught me the importance of genuine friendships – people who will be there for you no matter what. I have met people from LA to NYC, Toronto to Miri, and everywhere in between. And I feel more loved and supported at this point in my life than ever before.
NP has pushed me out of my comfort zone, emotionally and physically. Emotionally, I’ve learned when it is and isn’t the right time to express what I’m thinking. I’ve been able to care for others in a way that has been so unbelievably fulfilling. And Physically… well holy shit. A month prior to coming on as a leader, I ran a half marathon at an 8:30 pace and thought I had peaked. Less than two years later, I’ve qualified for the Boston Marathon and I actually like running. This community continues pushing me to become a better athlete.
NP has been there for me. I may not tell many people what is going on in my life, but I can promise you that it’s not as pretty as it may seem. We all have our struggles, and I surely have mine. But with NP, we have a community full of people who are there to lift you up, even when you don’t directly ask for it.
And lastly, NP is my “WHY”. The opportunity to lead each and every one of you Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings is something I wouldn’t trade for the world. Knowing that I am possibly impacting your lives makes every early morning alarm worth it. Providing a safe space for people to get and stay fit, while also bringing community to New Orleans, is something I never imagined would happen for me. But it has. You are my WHY, November Project. For being a better version of myself; for loving my community and myself; for my happiness.
So thank you for being here. Thank you for showing up. Thank you for letting me lead you. Here’s to many more bounces and memories together, New Orleans.
Win your day.
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