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How to start over after failure

By Natasha Caleel Freutel

As I sit down to organise videos on my YouTube channel, I am suddenly flooded with memories from my past life.

It’s not easy to see pages of content I’ve created in the past; they are painful reminders of what used to be. Although it was hard to start over after a major life change, I am so incredibly grateful for those experiences because they shaped me into who I am today.

“Just because you fail once doesn’t mean you’re gonna fail at everything.” -Marilyn Monroe

Shattered dream

Life happens, and sometimes we are forced to reinvent ourselves. So here I am, sharing my story and the steps I took to get to where I am today.

It was 2017. I had a husband and new baby, a thriving online career and I was constantly creating content that reflected that. We travelled, I could work from anywhere and I truly embodied the ‘fit mama’ lifestyle.

But this all came screeching to a halt when my husband told me he wanted a divorce. I didn’t know what to do. I had spent 5 years building the persona that I am online, so much so that I wasn’t sure who I would be without this identity.

I wasn’t sure how to navigate this situation, so I hid my divorce for a while. I didn’t mention that we weren’t together and just slowly started phasing him out of my posts. I was ashamed. I was the woman who excelled at everything… How could my marriage be such a failure and why wasn’t I able to fix it?

Read more from Natasha: No gym? No worries!

Starting over

It is very hard to muster the creative energy to be an entrepreneur when you aren’t in a good place mentally and emotionally. Therefore, I quit.

I stopped investing time into my online business and got a ‘real’ job again, many jobs actually, because I was determined to provide a decent life for myself and my daughter.

When you start over, whether it be through a major life change, a business loss, or simply starting a new phase of life, it’s important to recognise that it is impossible to build something new until you do the internal work to get you in the right mindset to succeed.

It’s easy to fall into a negative mindset, constantly thinking “life isn’t fair”, “I deserve so much more”, and “why me?”

Finding contentment

The truth is that appearing desperate, bitter, and anxious will never get you anywhere. It’s important to find gratitude for what you do have and visualise where you see yourself in the future. I’ve learned that if you can’t appreciate what you have now, then you certainly are not ready for more.

It’s also important to heal past wounds. Accept that what happened isn’t a failure but rather a life lesson. Be honest and open up about your struggles to others, and work to change the narrative.

Instead of saying, “I failed”, acknowledge that your past endeavours were no longer serving you and that you needed to explore new opportunities.

These days, I am so incredibly happy with my life. I was able to open a new location for my gym, reignite my online business, and am newlywed to a wonderful and supportive man. None of this would have happened if I just sat around wallowing in my own negative self-talk.

Based on my experience, here are 7 practical tips that will help you start over:

  1. Take the time to decide what you want to do and put your energy into one goal at a time. Little wins will give you the motivation to keep going.
  2. Invest in yourself; further your education, find a mentor, and make your physical and mental health a priority.
  3. Build a support system. Find friends, family, and professionals who align with your goals.
  4. Learn to live on less to gain more.
  5. Acknowledge that a temporary side hustle is okay. You may not have your dream career right now, but what you are doing will help support your financial goals so that you can work on the other ones.
  6. Identify your strengths. This may help uncover unexpected career paths.
  7. Be smart about debt. Pay off what you can and only invest in things that are directly related to your new goal.
  8. Take your time and do it right.

When it comes to starting over after failure, always remember that your past does not define you. We all have a story but we also have the power to change it.

About Natasha Caleel Freutel, OTR/L

Natasha is a Board-Certified Occupational Therapist and fitness professional. She is the owner of Fit Mama Santa Barbara where she coaches women of all ages through her online platform to help them feel strong and confident in their own skin. You can find her on instagram @fitmamasb or online at fitmamasb.com.

About FITposium

This contribution was created in partnership with FITposium, an annual educational and inspirational seminar focused on success in the fitness modelling and entrepreneurial industry. Held in Arizona in the US, this workshop features a variety of sessions to prepare fitness talents with everything they need to know to enter the market and succeed. For more info about FITposium, visit fitposium.com.

Author: Pedro van Gaalen

When he’s not writing about sport or health and fitness, Pedro is probably out training for his next marathon or ultra-marathon. He’s worked as a fitness professional and as a marketing and comms expert. He now combines his passions in his role as managing editor at Fitness magazine.

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