1) I am much more confident in my abilities. I have spent 12 years training so many different people with different backgrounds, goals, fitness levels, body types, biomechanical/physiological differences, injuries/issues, personalities, incomes, etc, so I have gained a ton of experience. I have also spent countless hours researching, experimenting, and testing out my theories/ideas on myself, and I have collaborated with many top fitness and medical professionals so I know so much more than when I first started. When I was extremely new, most of my knowledge (or lack thereof) came from the sources that make me cringe today. I used to be a fan of Jillian Michaels and read a lot of Oxygen Magazines. That pretty much says it all.
2) I have totally changed my mindset. I went from an ''all or nothing'' mentality to fitness and nutrition (particularly nutrition), to one of moderation, enjoyment, and sustainability. While I never encouraged clients to adopt this unhealthy mindset and kept it to myself, I struggled with it for years. When I was extremely young I did everything I am SO against now. I obsessively counted calories, deprived myself until I gave in and binged, I did SO much cardio, didn't do enough strength training, and obsessed over what my body looked like. I hadn't established an enjoyable and realistic healthy lifestyle, and I used exercise and nutrition to control certain elements of my life that I felt powerless over. This was especially true in my early to mid 20's. I was significantly less fit than I am now, and I was not happy with the way my body looked, performed, or felt. Even though I just turned 35, I am in the best shape of my life yet am nowhere close to my full potential (or where I want to be), and I have established an extremely positive and effortless relationship with food.
3) I focus so much less on aesthetics than when I was young. In fact, I rarely think about appearance-related goals. The mindset that I have with my own training/lifestyle, and the one that I try to instill in my clients, is that the focus should be on getting strong, fit, and feeling good/healthy, and I encourage them to set performance-related goals, lifestyle-related goals, and health-related goals instead of aesthetic goals. This isn't always an easy mindset to adopt, but I have been fairly successful in helping many of my clients change their mindset, and improve their lives. What I have come to realize is that aesthetic results will be a byproduct of the performance, lifestyle, and health-related goals. I spend zero thought when it comes to my own appearance, or what people might think of my body, and this dramatic turnaround has been extremely liberating and empowering.
4) I used my 5+ plus of my undiagnosed rib related issues and MANY symptoms/injuries to basically get a second education. The $20 000+ that I spent while trying to fix my broken body (and soul) was a huge investment to my well-being, but the amount of knowledge that I gained was astronomical. I ditched the ''patient'' mentality and became a student. I learned 10000x more during this time than during 5+ years of university, and my degree is in Human Kinetics (Kinesiology). I am now very well equipped to work with people who suffer from many different injuries and issues, and I now know the importance of listening to my body.
5) I now have a network of amazing and like-minded fitness and medical professionals that I can turn to for advice, collaborate with, and gain endless knowledge from. Also, over the past few years, I have established some very good professional relationships with different physiotherapists, massage therapists, and other sports med practitioners, and my business has benefited from many referrals. While this is obviously great from a financial standpoint, the fact that I have gained the trust of some very highly respected sports med practitioners, and the fact that my work speaks for itself, has been extremely gratifying. This was one of the goals that I set for myself when I first started training.
6) The level of passion that I have for my work has increased exponentially. Due to the dramatic turnaround that I have made in terms of my overall fitness, health, and mindset, and due to similar positive outcomes in the lives of many of my clients, I know that I can truly make a difference. This is something that I do not take lightly.
7) I realize that I still have so much that I want/need to learn, and I'm not scared to admit when I don't know something. The fact that there is endless information out there is so exciting and my thirst for knowledge will never end.
8) I'm not afraid to say no. Back in the day, I used to take on anybody who wanted to train with me. Now I am much more selective, and won't put up with any BS. I only work with people I truly feel I can help, and also want to work with. While this does not happen a lot, I have also fired clients. I won't compromise my values or sanity for money, no matter what.
9) I am not scared to share what I know, or my opinion. I think that I possess a lot of knowledge that can help or inspire a large number of people. Before I used to keep most of this information, or my opinion, to myself as I worried about what people might think or if they might not agree. Now I spend a lot of time writing (one of my other passions) and sharing what I know and believe in. I am always up for a good debate if someone shares a difference in opinion, and I am always open to accepting new ideas and views into my work and life if they make sense.
10) I no longer censor the ''real me'' when I am in a professional environment (or on social media), and I feel pretty comfortable being my authentic self. While I occasionally catch myself reverting back to old habits/hiding the real me, this is becoming less frequent. This has increased my confidence more than I can even acknowledge, and it allows me to do my job to the best of my ability. I used to worry about potentially losing clients if I was my authentic self, and it was extremely stressful. Now I really don't waste any thoughts worrying about what others might think.