Taking Chances and Following Your Dreams

Mastermind Weekend 1/16

Hey there!

I'm Tina

I’m the owner of Carrots β€˜N’ Cake as well as a Certified Nutrition Coach and Functional Diagnostic Nutrition Practitioner (FDN-P). I use macros and functional nutrition to help women find balance within their diets while achieving their body composition goals.


An in-depth, 4-week reverse dieting course for women who feel like their metabolism has slowed down, think they might have hormonal imbalance and can’t lose weight no matter what they do.

Hello Carrots ‘N’ Cake readers! My name is Chandra, I write over at the blog Chandra’s Shenanigans.

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I’ve been a huge CNC reader since almost day one and was more than happy when Tina asked me to write a guest post for her and share my latest story. Today I’m going to tell you a little story about taking chances and following your dreams….

Ten years ago as a senior in high school, I decided I wanted to go to college for computer information systems. I loved working with databases, web design, computer code, all of that nerd stuff. If you would have asked me 10 years ago what I thought I would be doing at the age of 27 I probably would have said something along the lines of being a senior developer, a project manager, practicing to take over for Steve Jobs at Apple.

After 3.5 years of college and, coincidentally, about 3.5 years out in the real world, I changed my mind. Yes,I had a good paying job. Yes, I had a lot of student loans to pay, but I was not happy. I had recently gone through a huge life change – I lost weight, changed my habits, got healthy, gained confidence, and I gained a new passion. I felt like a new person, happy and more alive, and I wanted to share that with others. I wanted to help others realize healthy doesn’t mean just eating salads and living at a gym. Healthy means enjoying every day to the fullest, while also taking care of your body and mind. Exercise can be fun, and healthy food can taste amazing. And there are always room for those indulgences in life – everything in moderation. πŸ˜‰

I looked into different career options in fitness and nutrition. At first I toyed with the idea of going back to school for Dietetics. However, after a trip to ISU and realizing I’d need to start fresh with my undergrad courses and invest in even more student loans, I decided to hold off on that plan. Instead I decided to start off with getting my personal training certification. In November of 2008, I became certified through NASM.

But I didn’t put my training certification to use right away. I’d interviewed at one gym, but the location I wanted to work at wasn’t hiring female trainers, so I just kind of stopped there. I was still miserable at my programming job, but I wasn’t doing anything more to work towards changing. It actually took me almost a year before I finally decided enough was enough.

On the last day of the 2009 Healthy Living Summit, I was with the group at the park eating breakfast when someone asked me when I was going to stop being unhappy and start doing what I truely wanted. I had a great talk that morning with Tina and Heather about career changes and going for what makes you happy instead of suffering in a miserable job. I also received a very sweet and motivating email from Heather as I was flying home that evening and it brought me to tears. I knew I needed to start making a move.

After all of this I decided to make my “3 month plan” for quitting my full-time computer job and becoming a working personal trainer. In November 2009, 3 short months later, I put in my notice at my computer job to cut to part-time, and started working part-time as a trainer at a local gym (hoping to build to full-time). I was really doing it!

However, after just 5 months at my gym I was still miserable. I did not feel I was in the right place for what I wanted out of my career in fitness and decided to quit my personal training job. I honestly felt like such a failure when I did this. I talked for so long about how this was my passion, this is what I want, and here I was quitting. But I couldn’t stay, it wasn’t the right place for me and deep inside I knew that.

So off I went trying to figure out what I wanted out my career. I got certified to teach BodyPump and Turbo Kick, and also started working at the fitness studio down the street teaching classes. I love doing all of these things, but between 3 instructor jobs and still working part-time for my computer job – not to mention trying to race train and have a social life – I’d been wearing myself very thin. Not only that, but I still knew I still wasn’t doing exactly what I want to be doing. I love teaching classes, but I missed personal training.

I’ve known for awhile now that what I really want to do with my career. I recently found a blog post draft from back in March (that I completely forgot I started) where I stated it perfectly. It wasn’t a happy post (which is probably why it was never published), but I was talking about how I didn’t feel like I was myself, I wasn’t where I wanted to be. In the last paragraph I wrote: “My ideal job would be part-time training (in a more private environment where I could set my own prices), part-time group fitness instructor, part-time writer/coach. BUT – that seems about impossible right now, or even around here at all. *SIGH* I need to get myself together and figure out WTF I’m doing…”

I knew what I wanted, I just didn’t know how to get there.

Little did I know, this dream WAS possible. A few weeks ago I found and ad for someone looking to rent out space in a fully equipped training studio near my neighborhood. I called the number and set up a time to go check the place out. From the minute I walked in the door I was in love. This place has pretty much everything I would need/want for a training business. Not only that, but it is in a great location. My dreams seemed to be falling into place!

After days of non-stop number crunching and questioning I made one of the biggest, scariest decisions of my life – I’m renting the space and have started my own personal training business, Motivating Training! EEKK!! I’m so scared, but so excited at the same time.

I feel like I’ve changed my mind and jumped around with jobs a lot in the past 9 months, trying to figure out where I belonged. I felt bad for it at first, but I don’t care now. This is the opportunity of a lifetime for me and I cannot wait to put my all into it and build a successful personal training business. I am finally getting the chance to follow my dream and I am chasing it full force.

If you have the desire to make a change, you can make it happen. I’m not just talking career, I’m talking anything in life. Set your goals, make a plan, put it into action. It might not happen over night, it probably won’t be easy, but in the long run you will be happy and it will be 100% worth it.

“Don’t wait. The time will never be just right.” ~ Napoleon Hill



  1. Chandra thanks for sharing your story! That is so amazing that all the stars are aligning for you πŸ™‚

    I totally agree with you about goal setting: make a goal, make a plan and just follow your plan! I’m glad you found something that you love!

  2. Wow! What an incredible story of trial and trials, not errors. It isn’t easy to get out of our comfort zone and try something new. One thing I have learned is “Don’t sacrifice your potential for security”, otherwise you never would of found your true passion. Wishing you the best!!

  3. I love that quote. I got tired of “waiting” for things to happen to me…waiting to meet someone special, waiting to lose weight, waiting to be happy…waiting waiting waiting. I took control of my life and lost the weight. Everything else kind of fell into place. πŸ™‚

  4. What an inspiring story! I had a similar experience on a smaller scale–I went to one college for the “name brand,” but then realized that it didn’t offer the dietetics degree I truly wanted (despite trying to convince myself otherwise). So now I am pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition…and going after my dream job!
    Anyway, thanks for this thoughtful post, Chandra!

  5. That’s awesome. You’ll be much happier if you listen to your heart and what you know will be the best fit for you. Best of luck!!

  6. Chandra, Good luck with your dreams. Its okay if you make all the wrong decisions or change your mind or goof up.
    I have 2 degrees and 8 years of student loans to pay. I hate my profession.
    I tend to think in a very narrow, technical way though…as in, there is no way I can quit my job…I can barely afford rent, and I have all this debt.
    But…I think I find it easier if I tell myself there is no rush. There is no deadline.
    Sure, I’m almost 30 years old….and I might be “stuck” for years yet…but its not the destination…but the journey. Just try to live the life along the way…don’t miss out on the life..and explore and be as positive as you can.

    Oh, and I have a wide range of passions, but still not quite sure what exactly it is that I want to do or be someday…but that’s okay. Its all just living and realizing I don’t have to figure it all out. Its all a learning process of exploring along the way.

  7. Thanks so much for sharing. We are all so inclined to stick with what our degrees say and it can really drag us down. Where we were when we decided upon that major and who we are now can be so different – who says you need to be in the same career you whole life? I struggle with this too. I got a B.A. in Psychology and an M.A. and Counseling and yet, at times, I feel like I don’t want to do either. You’ve assured me that eventually I WILL figure out my path, just as you did.

  8. I feel like I’m in the same boat. I graduated with a degree in Marketing. Not only is it hard to find a job in that field but I don’t think my heart is there. I’m more into fitness and nutrition. I just don’t know if I have the motivation to go back to school. I really don’t know WHAT I want to do. It is the worst feeling ever, but I take it day by day. Your post is a huge inspiration!

  9. Awesome post and story Chandra. It is definitely bloggers like you that have inspired me to seek out change and happiness in my life. Most recently I quit my job to focus more on my grad program (which I love) and my happiness with my life as a whole, not just with bits and pieces πŸ™‚ thank you and good luck!

  10. So true about following your dreams! Also, it’s hard to know what you want to be when you’re still in high school! I also switched career paths, and I’m around your age. Congrats on finding your path!

  11. That’s a fantastic story, Chandra! From one nerd to another, thanks for sharing! 10 years ago I was primarily in the web design, Internet marketing, and computer programming field, and now I’m in the food blogging and shopping profession despite being the VP of our software development company, LOL.

    Good luck to you!


  12. Awesome post, Chandra. So many people, myself included, just sit back unhappy but unwilling to make the change. Good for you for making the change.

  13. Great story! I am also going through that phase of “what the heck do I really want to do with my life?!” I am in law school, but every day I question whether this is really what I want to do. I just keep reminding myself (as your story has done) that I don’t need to have it all figured out NOW. Trial and error is the way to go!

  14. Thank you so much for sharing this story! I have been miserable at my job for the last 8 months…maybe more. I actually came home and cried for a few hours last night. I also don’t feel good that I am 32 and still trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. After reading all the comments, it feels good that I am not alone.

  15. Chandra–this is terrific! I’ve never read your blog before, but I think I’m going to start! My story is similar to yours, except that I was in research science, then college teaching, and I have almost 10 years on you. Some of my grad school colleagues, who’ve found me on Facebook, have said, “You’re *only* a fitness instructor?” but this is what I truly was meant to do.

    The market has been terrible up here for my little training business, and I need something in addition to teaching for gyms, since I have the need for growth in my work. But I’ve been doing some exploration, and I have faith that all will come together. It doesn’t happen overnight.

    Again, way to go, and you are proof that we need to take risks to find our best opportunities, that the “passive life” isn’t one worth living…

    — Brooke πŸ™‚

  16. Chandra,
    Thanks for sharing your story, very inspirational! I am also in the midst of living out my dream. I just completed a year long program at The Institute for Integrative Nutrition and am now a Certified Holistic Health Coach. I still work full time at my other job, but like you are working on the transition πŸ™‚
    It’s great to hear others successfully living out their dreams!! Best of luck to you,

  17. Chandra — this post is so inspirational. Thank you for sharing your story! It’s awesome to read about people who take huge chances to follow their dreams — even if it means they have temporary failures along the way. So many get stuck in jobs they hate because they feel like there is no way out. I’m glad you were able to take this risk and I’m hoping everything works out with the new business. I know it’s a lot of work to get a business up and running, but your passion for this work definitely shines through…and I’m sure that passion will carry you through! πŸ™‚ Congratulations!

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