All posts tagged Motivation

Danielle, Staten Island Half Marathon

Danielle, Staten Island Half Marathon

Today’s Lesson of the Day comes from a Classmate who has a story about passion, dedication, and the ability to realize that when one door closes, a road opens. A road that is 26.2 miles long!

Dear (My) High School Soccer Coach,

How have you been? It has been about 10 years now since we last spoke on the high school soccer field after classes let out. I was the girl with the black soccer shorts, pink cleats, curly hair in a bun, about 110 pounds and 5 ft. 3 inches in the summer of 2005. Ring a bell? What if I tell you my name? Nope that probably won’t work either.

The reason being is that to you, I was just another grammar school soccer star that had a dream to make the high school team but you see that’s what makes this story so special. You and me we never saw eye to eye — I thought I was good enough to play in high school and you thought the exact opposite. How do I know? You never gave me the chance to show you, because I didn’t make the team.

I remember waiting by the phone after the tryouts for your call. The call never came. Maybe I wasn’t the star I thought I was and maybe I just wasn’t good enough. The one phrase in my whole life that I would never settle for, but after 10 years and no phone call, I am writing to say you were right.

I cried for days. My parents felt terrible, but I remember my dad looking at me and saying, “You have to put yourself back out there and join another sport. You have the athletic ability, find something to stay fit and then give tryouts a go next year.” What could I do? Soccer was the only sport I had ever known and loved. I saw a flyer up for the cross-country team but running was the one thing I hated most about soccer. Running was our punishment, not our pleasure.

I decided to give it a try. I went to my first day of practice in those same black soccer shorts. I ran for 10 minutes and I felt like I was on top of the world. Runners high? Maybe, but then again maybe I was too young to understand what any kind of high really was.

That day I laced up my first pair of not even real running shoes. It was probably the day that set the rest of my life in motion. I fell in love with the sport, the girls, the sweat, the tears, the pain; it became a part of me. I was average I wasn’t the star but that was okay because I was a part of something. It was so much more than I ever could have imagined.

I ran cross-country, indoor and outdoor track all four years of high school. This gave me some of my best friends to this day and some of the best years of my life. Coach, I never went back to your soccer tryouts during my sophomore year, instead I circled the track in my fancy new running sneakers and I watched you coach your girls on the field, and knew that was then and this is now.Displaying Image.jpg

I went on to college, and although I decided to not run at a Division I level to focus on my studies, I trained myself for my first half marathon soon followed by my first NYC Marathon. The girl who used to score goals and walk back to center field, completed all 26.2 miles of the NYC Marathon and sometimes I still don’t even believe it. It happened and it was one of the biggest accomplishments in my life to date. Completing the marathon lead me to writing my college thesis on “The Empowerment of Women through Distance Running” which lead me to my marketing position at New York Road Runners, the biggest running organization in the world, who organize the NYC Marathon, helping to inspire and empower people through running everyday, truly a dream job.

This afternoon, I went running on my old high school trails, and I came to realize that most of my success is owed to you, Coach. We often go through life thanking the people who believe in us. We thank the people who give us countless opportunities, but we rarely stop and thank the people who never gave us a shot.

When you really think about it the people that didn’t believe in you are the whole reason you are where you are today. A decade later, I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart, for not thinking I was good enough to play on your team. You were right, I had so much more to offer the world than scoring just one goal.


A very happy runner girl

Danielle, New York

Growing up I was the kid in class who saved his homework passes for the end of the school year. Year after year I would earn these passes and save them for when it got warm out or for a special time, but year after year the passes went to waste. Simply because no assignment was worth “wasting” a pass on. I would just save them for the next time. I never learned my lesson until it was too late. Now I have homework passes that I have saved my whole life. 

You see most of us can learn from the homework pass because much like myself, I waited and waited for the perfect opportunity. I held on to my golden tickets just eager to cash them in at the right time. The right time never came. The perfect opportunity doesn’t knock either. We live life like this. We wait and wait and wait. We put off things till tomorrow. We make excuses or hold off on making a change. We say it is not the right time or we are too busy. Sorry to break the news but as busy as you are today, life will only get more complicated and tomorrow will have a to do list that is longer. If we look at life, not by years or months, but by weeks we will get a better understanding as to why it will never be a perfect time.

Monday comes and we complain  about Monday. The start of the week. Friday rolls around and we embrace the weekend. Sunday hits and we say we cant believe it is the end of the weekend. REPEAT. A week is gone, it turns into a month and into a year. We have weekly routines.

We have obligations and responsibilities to do on a daily basis, but when will you cash in that homework pass? When will you make a small change for yourself? When will you give yourself something different? No matter what the change is in your life, you have to make it. The opportunity is everyday. Quit making excuses. Quit saying tomorrow. Quit saving the homework pass because eventually the assignments will run out. Eventually the days will pass and you’ll be looking back reflecting and say to yourself. What was I waiting for? Just remember, when it is all said & done, you can’t say “I have a pass that gives me extra time.”
Today is the perfect day to ___________________. Go out and do it!

-Professor Stern

Flipping tires has become an increasingly popular exercise. This functional fitness move is great for the whole body, but this isn’t about to Goodyear tire on the floor. This is about the tire that is deep inside you. The tire that is weighing you down. The tire that seems so heavy that you can’t seem to move it. An obstacle in your path that you can’t seem to flip. A challenge that you can’t seem to overcome.

Today’s Lesson is about your own tire. It is about finding the strength to get past it. To put the tire in the rear view. If there is something in your life that is holding you back. Something in your life that is weighing you down or stopping you from achieving your goals, today is the day you face that tire. You might not move the whole thing today, but you will start. You NYNJ_August2014-109get your hands underneath, bend the knees, take a deep breath, and mentally prepare yourself for the challenge. The HARDEST part is starting. The struggle to get that tire off the ground. Once the momentum starts to shift and your arms are burning, legs are shaking, sweat is dripping and heart is pounding, you push right through the pain.

We all face daily obstacle in our life. These obstacle do not define us. We have not failed because the obstacle is there, we fail because we let the obstacle stay there. We fail because we lose the confidence and hope to flip it, to get past it, to move forward. Find your tire. Find your motivation. No matter how big or heavy that tire is, you my friend are STRONGER!


-Professor Stern

The mid 20s should be considered “The Prejudice Years.”  Well hopefully I can help end the trend, but these seem to be the most prejudice years of life. Recently out of college – you reconnect with some high school friends, you stay in-touch with some college friends, but thanks to social media, you know A LOT about your entire network. You follow them because just because you want an extra follower. You have been Facebook friends for years and are just too lazy to delete people (until you make a post about how you are deleting people) Anyway, you see all these instagram pics, tweets & statuses. First reaction – –  judging!

We are all guilty of it, but why now more than ever? Simple. This is a major crossroads of life. For argument sake, let’s call them all “friends.” Some friends on your news feed are getting married. Some are having kids. Some are still partying like they are freshman in college. Some moved out – others are staying home. Others maybe haven’t found a solid career yet. There are even some that have this really cool job title & you count their money more than they count it. Fact is – you prejudge all of their decisions. You compared them to your own. You might even stoop as low as to gossip about them.

Today’s Lesson is not about telling you to stop being prejudice or about judging a book by its cover. (preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience) The lesson is to remind you that this is your life. When you lay your head down at night and scroll through social media, quit passing judgement on how others are living & think about the day you just lived. Don’t compare roads. You are on your own road. If you are unhappy with the road you took, don’t look back and find the wrong turn. Don’t turn around. Simply look ahead to the next morning. Look ahead to moving forward. Look forward to the day when you stop comparing yourself to others. To the day you decide to put your best foot forward & embrace the journey. To the day you stop reading the covers of their stories & focus more on writing your story.

Create a life so full that even your reflection is looking forward.

-Professor Stern


This story will sound all too familiar for most of you. It was that point in time when you were on-point! You were on that gym grind. You never missed your favorite workout class at the gym. You had salads for lunch. You avoided beer at all costs. You were good. You were real good. You were pinning all the fitness things on Pinterest. You were following every motivational twitter account. You were liking all the inspirational pictures on Instagram. You might have even thrown a “Progress Pic” up there yourself! Whatever your motivation was– vacation, summer, beach, etc., you had it and nothing was going to stop you!!!

Until that one week….

Either the vacation happened, summer happened, or just life in general caught up and you missed a week in the gym. You could “afford” to eat that piece of chocolate here and there or maybe “relax” with just a couple beers after a long week. “I’ll start up again on Monday.” That turned to “I’ll start up again the 1st of the month.” Weeks pass and you look back disgusted because you see  yourself and all that hard work has disappeared!

We have all been here before! Unfortunately you will probably be here again, but realize one thing, today is a new day to start. Today is an opportunity to start a journey, that at first may seem like you are “playing catch up,” but in-fact use it become STRONGER, FASTER, BETTER than you were before. The road will be long, but time is all you have! Mark the calendar with an “end date.” Let this be a goal and reward yourself once you reach it. Don’t fall backwards once you hit it.

The hardest part is not getting in the best shape of your life. It certainly is not hard to quit. The hardest part is starting over. It is taking those set backs and making them your comeback. If you are tired of starting over… STOP GIVING UP!


One of the most common conversation pieces at family gatherings is the “diet.” Around the table you have those who KNOW EVERYTHING. They know everything! In reality they are simply preaching what they read online or heard on a TV Show from a “Doctor.” Then across from them are the family members that are “starting.” They are ALWAYS STARTING. They use the same excuses each time you see them. Then there is the quiet cousin who is in great shape. Not because she is young. Not because she knows the magic diet, but because she joined the real FitFam. So what is the “FitFam?” Consider it  a motivational support group. A place where people share similar goals, dreams, and ambitious. While there is no Fit Fambloodline. There are no family gatherings. Hell there are hardly even real default pictures, but the FitFam is REAL.

Sometimes it is used as an escape for that ordinary person to feel special. It makes them feel accepted. The FitFam accepts ALL shapes, sizes and kinds of people. It is a family where opinions are only formed to motivate each other. It also hold people accountable. If you post that you are going to the gym, you almost feel obligated to do so. You feel obligated to be truthful to this ‘family.’ You can easily lie to your real family about your diet and how strict you’ve been, but to the ‘FitFam’ it is about honesty with each other and honesty to yourself.

For anyone just starting out into the fitness world or for anyone restarting. I encourage you to search for #FitFam You will find a world of incredible people who share their stories, share their fears, share their challenges. They don’t see obstacles as roadblocks, but as stepping stones to a new path. You have the motivation inside of you. The ‘FitFam’ has your back whenever you feel like giving up. Welcome to the Family !