I sat across from a small women's-only strength and conditioning studio owner to discuss the possibility of working together. She graciously traveled the half hour to my place of business to see the facility.

The first topic we landed on was how we were going to spend our evenings on New Year's.

I explained how I was invited to a friend's home for board games but wasn't feeling particularly up to driving out there and having to be "on" for the night. She finished most of my sentences in an "I feel ya, sister!" kind of a way and stated she preferred intimate gatherings with people she knows well, lest she sits in the corner observing everyone else who seemed natural able to strike up conversations with strangers. 

I had reached out to this particular woman with big hopes for creating a referral partnership. She doesn't provide nutrition and weight loss coaching services. I do. She also doesn’t provide formal mindset and transformational change coaching programming. I do. I knew she was passionate about women’s issues, in particular, body image and empowerment, but by having her clients hire me for nutrition coaching, she'd acquire more referrals as well. It would be win-win.

"Walking with a friend in the dark is better than walking alone in the light." - Helen Keller

A few minutes into our conversation, we were both in tears. She shared her story of starting her studio and through the twists and turns I learned that her father was an alcoholic and her mother a drug addict who belittled her about being fat and ugly. Her first husband died, and a week later, her father passed away. So many losses, and yet she was this vibrant, vital woman.

As I was writing this, a text came in from her. "Thanks again for such a great chat today. I was nervous to come and you made me feel comfortable." 

I replied with, "Thank YOU. Want to hear something funny? I'm writing about our meeting as we speak. It was that meaningful for me."

"I love that,” she said back. “It makes me happy that I feel like I am finally starting to attract like- minded people into my life. You are an inspiration to me."

I contacted this woman for business purposes. We shared desires I anticipated would mesh well. But until I met her, I didn't know how deeply our emotions crossed. The relationship I initiated for potential clients naturally turned into something with much bigger potential. 

As a nutrition consultant, I am not merely coaching a person toward weight loss. As a fitness entrepreneur, I am not merely meeting people in my community to create strategic alliances. Of course I could approach both with exterior motives, but I enjoy my work immensely more when I touch the understanding that every life I’m a part of, whether through a handshake, a hug, or a "great to meet you," could be monumental for both of us.

My meeting ended with a scheduled seminar at her location, a purchase of my book, an agreement that any of her clients would receive a discounted program and plans for further communication. Our goals aligned with such clarity, I felt I had made an instant friend.

She followed up her last text with, "Thanks for sharing your struggle with me and for being so real so fast. We are so twinsies in that way. Haha."

"You have a beautiful spirit,” I replied. “Gosh, thank you for the kind words. I really look forward to doing more together—business and otherwise! :) Oh, man! You’re my emotional doppleganger! Lol!"

She said, "Yes!"

One word was all she needed to say because it said it all. 2016 is to be my year of yes, as it could be yours. Yes to friendships that may bloom in the least expected places, and yes to the understanding that we cannot be who we are without others. Our relationships create stories, which tell us into being.

The new year has me reflecting upon the reasons I choose to be involved in this work. I say "Yes!" to everything it requires of me. The difficult and stretching circumstances especially exist to uncover the parts of myself I may not have noticed before. The people I meet and the clients I serve are mirrors into my most vulnerable places. The word “yes” inspires me to adopt a curiosity about the most challenging situations I persevered through and the manner in which I did so. How will you use those moments—and the friendships you have cultivated—to ignite your passion, your focus, and your purpose?

I say “yes” to living into this question!

___________________________________

Dr. Kori Propst has been at the helm of The Diet Doc, LLC’s general population weight loss programming and Mental Edge Peak Performance and Life-Emergence services since 2008. Kori specializes in a blend of coaching and therapeutic modalities, including cognitive behavioral, positive psychology, mindfulness, and strengths-based experiential techniques all geared toward integrative self-determination. Her expertise includes physical and mental training and mind-body integration, optimal athletic performance, and overall well-being. Kori has guided top-level athletes toward optimizing their strategic plans for success, as well as individuals working toward self-development, empowerment, and control.

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