Recognizing the accomplishments of others is how we communicate our appreciation for those who make positive contributions to our world. From celebrities to everyday people these unique individuals help to provide a blueprint, guiding us on a road towards balance, success and true happiness. One such individual is living proof that with the right dream and the proper tools, a farm girl from Illinois can transition into a powerhouse in the world of business, family, entertainment and fitness. This inspirational young woman is not without her share of personal trials, but continues to transform trial into triumph and victory into outlets of support and hope for her family and friends. Today I recognize Mom, Fitness Model, National Fitness Host, and Television personality Melissa Cary as my "Woman of your World."
What would you say has been your greatest personal challenge while making the transition from a mid-western farm girl to a big city success story ?
The greatest personal challenge that I've encountered coming from a small town in Illinois to the big city is being able to trust people and their motives. In rural Illinois where people feel safe enough to still leave their doors unlocked, you tend to offer blind trust and take people at their word, having been raised this way my initial reaction to those entering my life under a helpful guise was to believe them wholeheartedly. It wasn't until many years later that I began to notice that many people I thought were sincere in their efforts to support me, were in actuality out for personal gain above all else. After I stopped ignoring my usually accurate intuition and 'gut checks' as I call them, I came to realize that life outside of rural IL was quite different and that good intentions as is often said "Pave the road to pain." in short "Always trust your gut."
Considering everything you've experienced along the way, how would you describe success for Melissa?
Success for me is seeing my children happy and well cared for. I have two amazing little people that are 14 (son) and 11 (daughter). They are the reason I wake up everyday with purpose and a drive deep within me. My greatest desire is to establish a legacy they can be proud of and to and my hope is that the laurels of my success will offer them an outlet of support if ever they should need it. I am very proud of the journey I have been on and I am very blessed to to say that despite the detours and uphill climbs, I didn't give up and my journey that has become our journey (My Family and I) as difficult and as challenging as it has been is one I wouldn't change for the world.
When looking back over your many accomplishments, who would you say are the people who have most inspired you on this path?
People who have inspired me along this amazing path come from several different areas of my life. My children of course are the greatest inspiration that I could ask for, but I offer special admiration and credit to my baby brother who I lost tragically in 2009, to an advanced heart disease. Sharing his life and his story made me realize that at one point I was solely living for other people's happiness and putting my own dreams and desires on the back burner. There is also my grandparents, married for 50 years and my greatest example of steadfast, unconditional and pure love. Even 20 years after my grandmothers passing my grandfather STILL wears his wedding ring in honor of their love and commitment. I like to think that some of that strength and endurance is what keeps me going on my personal journey.
You are obviously a jack of many trades but what is your secret for juggling so many roles without absolutely losing your mind?
This is always the million dollar question. I definitely have my days where I struggle with the many tasks and responsibilities that come with being a single mother. However, I cannot sit here and cry about it everyday because at the end of the day no one else is going to handle business for me like I handle it for myself. I'm appreciative of everyday I have on this planet and I really try to seize each moment, losing my brother helped to put quite a few things into perspective and taught me that even chores and day to day responsibilities have their place. The most important things in my opinion are the people who remind you not only to take a breath but who are also as fragile as the air we breathe and I try to appreciate them while I have them. So, enjoy the day, open your heart to love and stop stressing over things that you cannot control. Spend time nurturing your relationships and friendships and ask yourself one simple question "What if tomorrow never comes? Will the people you love the most, truly know how much you love them?"
Ok, so the question on everyone's mind is, what exciting things can we expect to see from you in the near future? (That you can leak to us)
There are so many things on the horizon this year and I can share a couple of them with you. I will be featured on a reality series of which I have partnered in creating with a good friend of mine. I am also in the midst of developing two other projects that you should see in the near future. Most of them are fitness related in some form but I cannot release their titles just yet. I have also decided to make my way back onto the fitness competition stage although there have been no dates set for that reappearance. Retirement has been nice but it's time to come back and dominate in the classic (35 yrs old +) and masters (45 yrs old +) divisions. Again, showing women of all ages that it CAN be done. It jsut takes discipline, drive and determination!!
There are a lot of young women out there who I am sure will look to you and this interview for inspiration, what advice can you offer them, as a new role model of success?
The greatest piece of advice that I can give women is to stop trying to be everything to everyone, you cannot make everyone happy all the time and still pursue your own true happiness at the same time. Focus on the things that bring genuinely happiness and fulfillment and INVEST in them fully. When you spread yourself too thin you run the risk of burning out and losing track of the ultimate goals you set for yourself.
Also, make sure you always do a 'gut check' with regard to shoots, pictures (published or not), and what you ultimately want to portray. Remember that the girls who are showing their 'butts' all over the place will NEVER be on the cover of some of the highest touted magazines. Keep that in mind when accepting jobs and allowing certain pictures to be captured of you.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me, it has been a joy and we wish you nothing but success and happiness on your journey! The Midwest supports you completely.
For more info or to support please visit MelissaCary.com