Today, I quit my dream job.

Two years ago I was handed my dream job: Director of Fitness Programming and Community at ASICS. I joined a team tasked with building a fitness app from just an idea. I got to travel across the United States to curate a group of high-performance trainers and personalities to envision and create content. I got to decide what fitness programs should be created, how to execute them, and how a user would experience them in the app. Best yet, I was the head trainer! So —I was right there with the team creating the fitness programs that people would soon join from around the globe. And in those first 6-months, we dreamed up and built an app for one of the largest sports and fitness companies in the world.

Over the past two years, I’ve flown to Paris to serve as the Head Trainer for Elite Model Management, one of the top fashion modeling agencies in the world. I got to kick-off the largest music festival in the southeast, Bonnaroo. I got to travel to Berlin to film videos on behalf of ASICS for Europe’s largest footwear retailer, Zalando (the Zappos of Europe). I got invited to speak to top companies about how to best use influencers in their marketing. I got to travel to NYC to lead classes launching new apparel lines and sit on panels alongside Olympic athletes.

Over the past two years I got to do things I previously only dreamed of. Things that actually were so cool, they were beyond many of the dreams I had.

And today, I quit that dream job.

One of the most-asked questions I get on my blog and Instagram is “OMG I think it’s so cool what you do at ASICS, how can I get a job like yours?”.

Well…to even try to begin answering that question, I’d have to explain how it all started...

Two and a half years ago I got laid off.

I’ve never publicly shared this because I was — naturally — beyond embarrassed. I walked into my annual review at Withings, where I was the Global Social Media Manager, with a full deck prepared on what I wanted to do with the company next (build out a corporate wellness strategy to lead globally), and was instead told I was being let go. Turns out the big acquisition of Withings by Nokia that year wasn’t going my way.

With a small severance package, and a huge pride pill to swallow, I went out on my own and started E. Bailey Consulting. I had a background in Social Media Management and Influencer Marketing both through my own channels and through what I had built at Withings. But quite honestly, I just didn’t feel like I could trust another company. I loved my job at Withings. I loved my teammates. I loved our products. They just couldn’t love me back. And that’s called business.

I often feel that a job is like a relationship: you get out what you put in. Sometimes you’re carrying the extra weight, and sometimes it’s carrying you. And in this metaphor, I got dumped hard. And therefore wasn’t ready to trust another company again.

Standing on my own two feet was where I felt the safest. I took on more classes at EverybodyFights (EBF) so that I could at least pay my rent from my teaching income. And I figured if I couldn’t get consulting clients, or if I was a terrible consultant, I knew how to work an espresso machine so either Starbucks would hire me or in the least Jugos wouldn’t shut me out from working a blender.

That’s the thing about taking risks— you have to know you might fail. And you have to know what failure looks like for you. And you simply have to be ok with that. Not many people have that. I call it being able to “swallow a pride pill,” and find myself gravitating more and more to people who know how to do that. People who are ok with taking risks, who are ok with failure. Now, Failure doesn’t scare me anymore. Being too comfortable does.

I set out on my own and quickly got my first client: hello, EverybodyFights NYC! What a blessing. A company I loved, a team I adored, and a project I knew I’d be good at. They had two locations in Boston, one in Chicago, and it was time for them to take on NYC. I was hired to help build the EBF community in NYC. I am forever grateful for everything George (and Nicole) have taught me and trusted me with. And especially for believing in me then. I wasn’t always sure I believed in myself. In many of those moments failure didn’t feel too far away from where I was.

One thing I was also hyper-aware of was that I needed multiple sources of income because I couldn’t trust just one. If I got injured, I wouldn't be able to teach; if a client hated me, I could get dropped. So, I also launched my 12-week online training program, leaned into modeling and influencer work, and actually came out doing alright. I was juggling four solid sources of income. If one dipped, the other would pick up and so on. I had my plan A, B, C and D ready.

I didn’t have health insurance, made a few left turns, and was basically scraping by, but I was Doing It, and that felt great.

Fast forward a few months and I received what seemed like a random email from a woman named Sandrine, subject line “Runkeeper/ASICS/Withings/your new adventure”. She had come across a recent blog article of mine about how I was getting into consulting, and she wanted to chat about ASICS’ new project of online training and get a trainer perspective.

4 days later we meet for coffee: the SVP, CEO and myself. After an hour of chatting about the online training industry, training in general, what I was working on, and my thoughts on the fitness app space, I landed my second client.

After a few months of consulting with ASICS, my project with EBF ended, and ASICS offered me a full-time role. The project, now called ASICS Studio, was game on and taking all of my time. I loved the team, the environment, my work, and the flexibility ASICS offered me to continue to own my passions outside of the office, as well (training, modeling, blogging).

So I jumped in and accepted a full-time position as an employee, and thus closed my consulting shop. It simply felt right. In a series of wrong turns, or left turns, or U-turns, I somehow ended up exactly where I was supposed to be.

And for two years, I felt that to be true.

The thing about your dream job though, similarly to relationships, is that you grow, you change, and they grow, they change, and sometimes you grow together, and sometimes you grow apart.

{to be continued….}