Standing at the front of the studio on the mats, I am swinging a kettlebell. Aware of everyone in the room, I pick up their energy. For a moment I go inside my head. I have created this. Over the past six years, there have been many times when I have paused and felt grateful for the hard experiences that led me down this road.
I felt grateful for the moment someone said I couldn’t rent an apartment for me and my three children because I had not worked in 11 years after being a stay-at-home mom. I felt grateful while swinging a kettlebell in my studio (which I opened in the middle of a pandemic). I felt grateful while gazing out on the ocean while teaching a course on improved mobility to a non-profit organization called the SUPVETS (a contract I received through an ex-Navy Seal client). I also felt grateful while running my first retreat in Mexico in 2023.
I am thankful for all these moments because this was a path I created as I rediscovered who I was at the age of 41. As I have built my company, I have had to learn how to use my voice and remind myself of my own worth. Over the past six years, I have had to not only build a company but to build a relationship with my three children and the one with myself.
When I was 38, I sat on a workout bench staring back at a very strong, capable woman. I looked at myself in the mirror, confused because I had no strength to lift. I grabbed my bag and walked out. I went for a walk, stood on a bridge, and cried. I call them my “freedom tears.” They represented the moment I realized I needed to set myself free.
On this day I realized I needed to make a change. I used to think I was broken, but now I know I was brave. I knew I had to leave my marriage and after being a stay-at-home mom for 13 years, I was heading into unchartered territory. I was scared, but I was even more scared to completely lose my self-worth.
Divorce feels like you are in the longest tunnel, wondering if you are ever going to come out the other side. I was unsure of what I wanted to do. I just kept thinking I had this opportunity to do what I really wanted. It felt like a second chance.
So, I sold leggings, worked at a dentist’s office, and launched an online auction business with two other people. The online auction taught me that if you are going to run your own business, you better love it because the hours you put in are incredible. I hated it, and in the end, I was feeling even more lost, plus I was missing my children.
I didn’t know who I was anymore, other than a mom, ex-wife, friend, and daughter – who was Jodi? I knew I felt like a loser. I was spiraling and the one thing that always helped me navigate my life was training.
It was training that made me stand in front of a mirror and admit I needed to work on the inside. It was training that allowed me to have peace. It was the one thing I had control of in the midst of all the craziness. It brought me back to my place of peace. It helped me decide one day that I would just be me. Instead of searching, I decided to rediscover who Jodi was by just being myself.
I remember the day I tried a kettlebell class. I picked up the kettlebell and started swinging it, and for the first time I felt balanced, I felt at home. I call it my “knowing.” It was knowing that it just felt right, a safe place where my head felt clear. This was like a breath of fresh air in a world that felt like turmoil.
I had no idea at the time that the kettlebell would lead me down a path toward running my own company. All I knew was when I swung that kettlebell, my mind would calm, my internal voice would go quiet–it was my Zen. I learned later this small whisper would let me know that I was on the right track. I was just beginning to rediscover who I was.
Six years has felt like a lifetime and also as fast as the blink of an eye. Since starting to rediscover myself I had now found the kettlebell and started taking Muay Thai lessons. Then I found a certification program in New York City.
I fell in love with the program that was built around kettlebell and martial arts movements. The next step was to get certified, but the bigger step was to get the company to hire me. I was learning that you don’t know until you ask and if you don’t ask, the answer is always no.
There were many trials sorting out my trip to New York City. Some said I was having a mid-life crisis, others said it was impossible. For the first time in my life I wasn’t going to listen to anyone but myself and my whisper. As I sat on the plane alone to go after a small piece of my dream, I knew that this was the next step in my story. I was nervous to be travelling alone for the first time, but for some reason I knew I was exactly where I was supposed to be. I took comfort in that quiet whisper that told me I was okay and to keep being brave.
NYC was the most uncomfortable, exhausting, life changing trip of my life. Talk about getting out of your comfort zone, every day! Sometimes training five classes a day, learning as much about martial arts as I could, teaching my first class of 30 clients, it was one giant exploration of a new career. Not only did I get certified in Level 1 but I also received my Masters in Kettlebell Kickboxing.
I got a “yes” to the job training trainers for the company and even rode the subway alone to my first NBA game. What a total bucket list experience that was! It was a Level Up Growth Week. I was exhausted, elated, and so tickled with my newfound zest for life! I would lie on the hotel bed at night in exhaustion but laugh out loud at how freaking incredible I felt!
I returned home to train trainers for the company in Canada and in seven months I launched and ran the Canadian Region. BOOM, that was fast! I launched in October. I was so excited that day, learning my first lesson about embracing the journey and not the end goal.
Many life and business lessons presented themselves from there on. I travelled to pop-up classes that very few people attended. I said, “well, that sucked” and in return my son asked “what did you learn, mom?”
I was upset with myself for thinking I failed. He asked me what I learned and reminded me that it was not a “fail,” it was a lesson and it would be one of many. Yes, he is a clever boy!
I focused on certifications across the country, then I began teaching more classes. I thought it was time to open our first flagship location. The day the government shut down gyms across the country I was standing in our potential new space. I left thinking “first things first, I needed to get my current clients online ASAP.” Within 48 hours we held our first online training. I had always taught online and by chance revamped it in December 2018. Online would become part of our new hybrid model, but I had to decide on the space. I am a big believer in moving forward. Stopping or stalling makes life stagnant, and I am a doer!
Three months later KBKB Studio was born, not only out of my own story but from the stories of my clients. Our studio is kettlebell training with the mindset of building up individuals so they can get stronger physically and mentally, so they can help others inside and outside the studio.
As our online grew I became connected with an Ex-Navy SEAL who trained in our program regularly. He thought I would be a great fit to do mobility training for his non-profit organization, the SUPVETS. In April 2022, I flew to Punta Mita to train active and inactive US Military personnel in mobility before they went out into the ocean. This organization focuses on mind, body, and soul and it fits with my company’s values and beliefs. They were building camaraderie and a connection with the ocean and implemented my online training to prepare for the trip and to do mobility before entering the ocean. It was incredible to be around such an amazing group of individuals who were creating such a valuable experience for the Vets.
I also joined in a couple of Zumba retreats and then began thinking about my own. In 2023, I launched the start of our Rest, Reset and Restart Retreats and executed our first retreat back in Punta Mita. The retreat allows individuals an opportunity to remove themselves from their daily lives to embark on their journey. We trained in mobility, kettlebell, and mindset on our retreat.
Now we are looking at growing these modalities, along with our online and in-studio programming. The business model grows, pivots and changes yearly, teaching me that nothing is set in stone. If you want something badly enough you will need to put in the work, but it can be done!
Training has taught me a lot about how to navigate my life and my business. I will tell you that I am a work in progress. One day my daughter asked, “will you ever leave the self-help section, mom?” I replied, “I hope not because if I do it will be the moment I likely need to be back there the most!”
Training is about being committed. Over the last six years training has been my one constant and will continue to guide me, my life, and my business.
This journey has just started for me. I write about it to remind you to believe in yourself, no matter what the non-believers say. Dream big, then start! This doesn’t guarantee success, but without this quality, nobody would start anything new. Now, years later, the essence of my dream has been achieved and I continue working to help people make stronger connections between their minds and bodies.
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