From Fitness to Recruiting and Entrepreneurship, Perseverance is Key
Need some inspiration … especially when it comes to stick-to-it-ivness? Our CEO, Sharon Bondurant can relate. Read on to learn about her struggle with perseverance and the exact strategy she used to go from quitter to relentless. She shares all this and more in her recent interview with Michelle Micalizzi, host of Relentless Talk Radio.
Michelle: We’re on Segment 2, which is the Health and Fitness segment of the show. We’re on the line with Sharon Bondurant! Sharon, you were telling people that you were training and notice other bikini competitors training in your space. How did you jump from like, “Wow! I could never do that,” to “I can do it!”
Sharon: I think, you know, it might have been a midlife crisis. Well, I call it a midlife opportunity. I was just needing a change. I really needed to get out of my comfort zone and I was looking for something at that time to really break out and bust all my fears.
On that one day, my trainer came up and he said, “Have you ever thought about doing a show?” and I said, “No, but honestly, maybe this is what I should be doing!”
So, when I first went into it, the real goal was that I was not going to quit. I knew I was going to go through with it and, regardless of the outcome, I just needed to not quit. I always call myself a former quitter. I never had that discipline up until I started competing. It really helped me change my mindset. When I first started, that was the biggest goal. I’m like, alright, I’m doing this, I’m not going to quit, and hopefully, I won’t be the last person in last place. That was my goal.
Michelle: I was thinking last night on my walk, because I’m doing a bikini competition on August 18th, but I’m 12 weeks out, which is not that far away. There’s that moment when you think, “What was I thinking making this public commitment? Hey, I have to actually do it.”
So my goal is to get on stage and not embarrass myself. At this point, I wasn’t planning on winning. I mean, I was planning on just getting through the training, getting myself on track, and exactly what you just talked about: how to set a goal and how to not quit.
I thought to myself, “Wow, it’s really funny that I’m the ‘not quitter’ girl.” Because whenever you’re starting to get nervous, you think, “Oh, I could quit, make it easier.”
Sharon: Right, like, how can I back out of this?
Michelle: Like, how can I back out of this so nicely? What excuse can I make?
What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
Sharon: Yeah, and this is all new to me, again, because I haven’t competed in four years. So when I did my first show, I was fortunate enough where my goal, again, was not to quit, but I ended up doing really well. I ended up winning my class and winning the entire division of my show. It was so surprising! And that was when I was like, “You know what, I have been playing so small.” I didn’t really believe in myself.
Just showing up and not quitting, it made me realize, like, “Okay, I can do this. What else can I accomplish?” So I kept competing for four years and I ended up getting my pro card about four years ago.
Michelle: Which pro card do you have again?
Sharon: IFBB bikini. I stopped after that. I was going to continue on, but there were a couple things going on: I went through a divorce and I had some issues with hormones, and my body was like, “I need a break.” So, I stopped. And it’s been four years, which is a really long time not to compete, especially going into a pro-level show, right? I’m turning 50 in October.
Michelle: October what?
Sharon: October 17th.
Michelle: I’m the 2nd!
Sharon: Ok, Libra! Yeah, so I decided, “You know what? It’s unfinished.” I have unfinished business because I never was able to compete at a pro-level. I never did a pro show. It’s like, alright, I’m going to come back because I have a long way to go, but I want to do it for me. And again, the goal is, you know, don’t quit. Just do it. I don’t care about placing or anything like that.
Michelle: You want to show up. Have you picked your show yet?
Sharon: It’s either October 26 or the beginning of spring of next year because I have some trips planned in October already. I need to maneuver that, but either way, yeah, October or one of the first shows the next year.
Michelle: Having a little more of a buffer zone isn’t a bad thing, right?
Michelle: So, has the biggest lesson been just not quitting?
Sharon: Yeah, definitely. And that it’s a marathon. You know life is a marathon! It’s not a sprint and you’re never too old. There’s never something that you can’t do. One of the things that are really important to me is to say, “Alright, what do I want to do?”
Don’t let age or circumstance or where you’re starting from getting in the way
And same with business. Wherever I’m starting from, there’s always more to accomplish. There never should be a setback that’s going to keep you from eventually attaining. It might take longer than you anticipated, but keep going.
Michelle: One of my friends says, “Don’t wait for your ducks to be in a row, ‘cause those damn ducks are never gonna be in a row!”
As soon as you get the first duck out of the row, because of the synergy of the first duck in the row, the next duck moves. And that’s how life is. It’s never just, you know, let me wait ‘til the money shows! That’s my favorite one.
Michelle: That’s just never going to happen. You have to put your head out there and on the block and just go forward.
Sharon: Right, absolutely. And that’s why I was telling you I am launching that podcast next month!
Michelle: That was my next question! I love the theme: Messy In The Middle. Now, tell me where that came from.
Sharon: Well, there’s a famous author and business coach. His name is Robin Sharma.
He has a quote, “All change is hard at first, messy in the middle, and gorgeous at the end.”
And it stuck with me! And I love his work so much so I actually named my dog, my pug, Sharma. She’s on the couch with me. But it always stuck with me.
And it’s so true. You know, ideally, you would love to have a clean slate all the time and be able to start fresh, but realistically, it’s always messy. It’s always messy restarting and starting from wherever you’re at.
There are always things that you have to overcome and it’s not so much about starting, but it’s about pivoting and reinventing and transforming and making good with what you have wherever you’re at.
Michelle: There’s a reason why I share my process. Even the first interview was me choosing the charity. Well, I could have gone about choosing my charity for the articles privately.
But I wanted people to see the process of, “Okay, here are the 13 charities I’m looking for. I’m gonna narrow it down.”
You know, I share the process of what it looks like to train. I had pretzels this weekend and I shouldn’t have. I mean, that’s part of the deal.
Now that you’ve been a successful business owner for a long time, people just think that somehow a magic wand was waved over you and you got some magic formula and the secret handshake that made it easy for you.
But you and I know that whether you’re getting fit or you’re in a relationship or you’re starting a business or you’re ending a relationship or you’re just doing whatever, it’s messy! You haven’t got it figured out! You don’t know where you’re going or what it’s going to look like.
Michelle: And that’s kind of what your podcast is about, right?
Sharon: Yes, all about that. So it’s going to be practical and tactical tips from people that have been there, done that, and are restarting and have been successful both in business and personal life, as well. I have so many people that I want to invite on.
Michelle: I’m so excited! Because you and I met when you were in your own personal transformation and you came to one of my shows and I met you and like 300 other people. But I remember meeting you because you’re awfully cute. You were with my friend, Kelly.
Sharon: Oh, thank you!
Michelle: And then you reached out to me and then we had lunch and we had basically this conversation about, like, “I want to do a podcast, but I’m not quite sure what to do.” You told me your process of where you’ve been with your own personal life, and I thought, “Well, there it is!”
Sharon: You did, you told me that! And it’s kind of funny because I went through a breakup earlier this year and I remember, when I met you, I was like, “I’m going to reach out to Michelle.” I even told you that.
And some of the things I’m going to talk about are that if you want to be around great people, sometimes you have to really go and seek them out.
I messaged you and I’m like, “Um, we go for coffee?” like I feel so silly because I’m asking you for coffee or lunch and it felt a little uncomfortable.
Connect with the people that you want to be around
Michelle: Pam Gaber, she was one of those people for me 10 years ago. I met her at Women of Scottsdale. I also met Linda Franklin, who is the founder of Women of Scottsdale, and Debra Bateman.
These are all very powerful women in our community and I thought, “I don’t know what I’m going to do with them someday but I’m gonna have a really good reason to go talk to them at some point.”
So, I just kept on building my relationship with them and then when opportunities came to work together, we knew each other from bouncing off each other.
I just spoke to a bunch of women that came out of prison and were starting their work-life over.
One of the girls had been out eight years and I said, “If you want to be an attorney, go to attorney-kind of events and just go walk up to a strong woman and say, ‘Hey, how’d you do it?’ They’ll tell you!”
I mean, they’ll tell you! If they’re worth their salt, they will share with you how they are out there going, what they’re doing, because women lift each other up. Strong women lift each other up.
Whenever I meet a woman who is doing this or shaking their finger or ticking their nose up, I’m like, this is not my tribe.
Sharon: Right. Exactly. You have to go seek those people out that you want to be around.
Michelle: I appreciate you coming on board! I’m looking forward to watching your Instagram and watching your body change. We definitely should train together. We’ll do another Facebook Live video. And keep me posted on Messy In The Middle.
Sharon: I know, and you’re gonna be on!
Michelle: Yay! Yeah, that’s going to be awesome. Well, have a good rest of your day and thanks for coming on.
Sharon: Thanks, Michelle!
Michelle: By the way, how do people find your Instagram and reach out to you?
Sharon: Instagram is @sharonbondurant_ig. My company is the-finders.com.
Michelle: And how can they find Messy In The Middle?
Sharon: Messy In The Middle will be on my Instagram, iTunes, and Facebook. Sharon Bondurant on Facebook.
Michelle: Cool! Have a good rest of your day!
Sharon: You too.
Relentless Talk Radio is a weekly Facebook Live show that, among other things, encourages people to make a commitment to health and fitness and shouts out inspired business concepts that are ready to explode. New episodes air every Tuesday 2:30 – 3:30 PM LIVE on Facebook @RelentlessTalkRadio. View Sharon’s and other past episodes here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnZnNHe-MIw&feature=youtu.be