Corinne Newell, Guest Contributor

Just Start. – By Corinne Newell

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We’ve all experienced it – the dread of starting something new.

“What if I fail?” you say to yourself. “How will I be judged on this? What if people laugh at me?” It can be paralyzing.

In my 50 years on this earth, I have gone through many changes.

Many times when I’ve had to “start over”. Many times when I’ve had to weigh the pros and cons of staying where I am vs. venturing into the great unknown. Scary as hell.

In my younger years, it meant leaving an abusive relationship (yes, it’s scary to do that). Then, making the choice to leave my family in Edmonton and move to Vancouver, be completely on my own…for the first time.


In the past 15 years it has meant having faith in my gut instincts and starting a family at 38. In the past 5 years, it has meant developing a completely new career path, adding to my repertoire of working in the TV news industry, and expanding into the fitness industry.
Making change in our lives, as much as it scares the crap out of us, can also be exhilarating. One of the best things I’ve done recently is to become a Zumba fitness instructor. Yes, that’s right. At the age of 45 and with 3 kids under the age of 7, I added a second job to my life teaching the crazy fun Latin dance fitness program, Zumba. So. Much. Fun. (STILL terrifying!)

What the heck was a 45 year old mother of 3, with a full-time job doing teaching fitness? Good question, one I asked myself many times!

I had ZERO background as a fitness instructor. I did, however, have a passion for dance, I absolutely LOVED Zumba, and I thought to myself, “what the heck…how hard could it be?” So I studied the group fitness program, got licensed to teach Zumba, closed my eyes, and jumped.

My first job was as a sub for an established instructor at a small dance studio.

My first class was a disaster.

Oh, not by some people’s standards, I suppose, but by mine it was. I had a small group of about 7 women who looked at me like I was showing them how to clean a toilet. My music and choreography were fine, but I lacked the skills or the confidence to know how to motivate them. Fun? Well, yes … it’s Zumba, after all! But when the class is looking at you like you have 3 heads, not anywhere near as much fun as it should be.

It’s hard to be a sub, even as an experienced instructor, everyone wants you to be like the person you are replacing, which is impossible. As a new instructor, I didn’t have any chops to draw from, so I fell flat.

My next class had 2 people. I was fired the following week. Oh, I took it VERY personally. But I did not quit! I kept working at my skill set. I kept putting myself out there. Kept networking with other instructors, attending other classes, learning, struggling, failing, improving, teaching, failing, and improving again. It took 2 years before I felt like I really knew what I was doing.

Today, I am proud to say I have solidly established classes where attendance is consistent, and I have lots of “regulars”! My Saturday class is always packed and MASSIVE amounts of fun! Oh, and now when I sub someone’s class (which I get asked to do OFTEN), it fully rocks, and the participants want to know where I teach. They want me to come back.

I’m now venturing into a new mentoring program as a fitness and nutrition coach with the health and fitness giant, Beachbody. It’s scary, again, because I have to learn another new set of skills. It requires me being vulnerable to some extent because I need to share my own personal journey in order to inspire others.

Once again, I’m on a learning curve where I have to risk failure, judgement and scrutiny. But I also have to trust my gut. So far, I’ve had pretty good success with it. I think I’ll keep going.

There is always an element of fear in change. There has to be. What fun would it be without it?

Two of the best words of advice I ever heard were “Just Start”. There is no way to know if you can succeed, unless you start….and then, just keep going.

About Corinne:

Corinne is a mother of three, who works for CTV Morning Live in Vancouver as an Editor.  We worked together back in the VTV days — we were roommates for a bit, have been friends for EVER.  Corinne has a great story and wants to share in #mybackyard.  Proud to have her strong voice of motivation here.

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