- an object (such as a large cup or sculpture) that is given as a prize for winning a competition
- something that you keep or take to show that you were successful in
Everyday in my home office I sit down and work. I love my work. I would not even call it work, I would call it passion and purpose. I LOVE coming into my office. It is my designated area of my house that when I enter I feel a sense of worth, duty, calmness, excitement and possibility all in one.
Due to the fact that I spend so much time in my office, I need to make sure that my surroundings match my intentions; which make me not only productive but make me FEEL good; having reminders around the office of WHY I do what I do.
You see, with a “lack of a boss” to keep me motivated, my motivation needs to come from within. My daily dose of “LETS GO” comes from the picture of my daughter smiling back at me, the flowers, candles, scents, crystals and Dreamcatchers that remind me of my team and the endless possibility of dreams. I spy with my little eye…..post-it notes of every size and colour reminding me of my goals and staring at them daily makes me work harder at them and allows my subconscious to work on them even when I am not ACTIVELY paying attention.
I see books, with titles such as #GIRLBOSS, #YOU ARE A BADASS, #THE UNTETHERED SOUL and #THE BIG LEAP (ok, and perhaps some 50 shades of something’). I have whiteboards with my team and THEIR goals, not just mine. I save cards of appreciation from my friends, family and clients all around the world. A hand-painted piece of art hangs on the wall in front of me of the Alhambra, My ALHAMBRA, reminding me of WHERE we want to vacation and eventually reside, and some magazine covers of times gone by.
But this post is about the trophy (s) that sit upon my desk. The trophy that sits in the corner, behind the stack of books and fake hydrangeas from Home Sense, and the other trophy that sits just to the left of my MAC screen in direct vision daily.
The “in the corner” trophy with a light sprinkling of dust comes in the form a well sculpted physique that I recieved in 2013.
The inscription says “2013 Arnold Amateur International Championships BIKINI.”
To be honest, I have not thought about that trophy until a few weeks ago when I received my subsequent one…3 years later; the one just to the left of my computer.
The inscription says “#1 Leader In Action – Rita Catolino and Dario Garcia Cabezas”
Both trophies are important. Both represent a push, a sacrifice and a outcome of success. I am proud of both, but that is where the similarities stop.
You see, looking back at my days of competing, although I recall them fondly, it was a very lonley time. Bodybuilding (or bikini in my case) is a solo sport. You train “in the zone” daily making sure you are giving enough time per session to each body part so that you can “sculpt” your physique to the liking of the judges- rounded glutes, heavy shoulders, chillsed waist, sweeping quads etc…. Then you need to get in some form of cardio, HIIT to show off those hard earned muscles. This equates to at least 1-1.5 hours daily in the gym. Easy? No. Worthwhile. I say yes…to a degree. Don’t get me wrong, I still train and move my body daily, but I do it for the endorphins, the mental clarity, for sustainability, health and for my body. I listen to my body daily and if it wants yoga, yoga it gets. I no longer focus on the actual veins, proportion and idealism of specific group of people. I do it for Rita. But I digress. Solo Sport. EGO sport (in my case). We have not even touched upon the food and lifestyle aspect. I LOVE food. Im Italian. So competing (I competed for over 7 years in over 16 shows) took that away from me to a certain degree. Whether you are following “old school style” of nutrition plans with poached chicken and greens, or a macronutrient “IIFYM” approach, the kitchen scale, nutrient timing, Tupperware and missed get togethers (my own choice for my lack of will power) are just part of the regime. I trained the majority of my shows with NO alcohol (I am a red wine lover) for months on end. To be brutally honest and real, these shows put a huge wrench in my marriage. It was no longer about a “bucket list” or out competing myself, it started to affect my mood, my health and not to mention the amount of money put into new bikinis (they are not cheap), travel, hotel, hair and makeup, spray tans, registration etc etc. This was not easy on my family. You get the point. Something that I have not divulged to many people (only those close to me) is that I also lost my menstruation over 7 years ago due to back to back shows and too low body fat percentage (for my body type). You see, we are all different, and my body type IS not excessively athletic…. I have an Italian bum, hips and curves. It is HARD for me to build muscle, especially in the areas needed. I pushed WAY outside of the zone (always natural, never with ANY fat burners or other substances), just with food, excess training, and diligence. I obtained the “ideal” look for my category (bikini) and started winning shows and eventually top spots on international stages. I did have fun. I did meet so many amazing people. I accomplished a goal set out in front of me. I did get to shoot some amazing photographs and collaborate in some amazing projects. BUT was it worth ALL of the extreme protocol, loss of menstruation and subsequent not being able to give my daughter a sibling? NO. Is my plastic trophy of a sculpted physique something that I stare at daily and am proud of? Not anymore. To be honest, it just reminds me of the things it robbed me of.
My newest trophy has no dust on it. I look at it daily, it gets my attention. Not because I am a narcissist, but because this trophy is the antithesis to the previous mentioned. This trophy WAS not a solo gig or egotistical feat. This trophy is about stepping into my leadership and impacting as many women and men as I can on a daily basis. LEADER IN ACTION is sharing my passion and purpose with hundreds of people and being in SERVICE TO THEM…NOT to myself. Its about leading a team of amazing people, being their to support and loving on them NO MATTER WHAT. Its about stepping outside of my comfort zone to help others succeed both in their health and wellness goals, as well as their financial ones. This trophy, unlike the first, did not require me and my husband to fight, rather it brought us closer together than ever.
Being the #1 leader in action in my company for 2016 is no small feat. What you don’t see behind the shiny trophy and pictures in glamours outfits onstage with Mario Lopez are hours upon hours of emails, meetings, zoom meetings, group sessions, travel, courses, reading, sharing and days with no hourly schedule. This is not a sign me up, get-rich-quick type of deal. This is THE REAL thing …if you want it. This is just like any other career you chose to run your life with- hard work, sacrifice, dedication… except that you get to build it as you wish; with the people you wish to build it with, on your own watch, in your bathrobe or in heels. This is a life I have always (well never actually) dreamed. It is a life that gives hope, opportunity and one that ANYONE can achieve.
Oh, and the trophy? A physical daily reminder of all of every single life you have impacted? NOT JUST YOUR OWN agenda? Who wouldn’t want that recognition?
As my friend Angelike Norrie said to me, “give a woman money and she will move, give a woman recognition and she will move mountains.”
Thank you to my team. Thank you to all of you. Thank you to my supportive husband Dario. Thank you to my family who are ALWAYS there. Thank you God without whom NOTHING of this could be possible.