Sunday, April 17, 2011

Lessons from A Legend: Sweating Sucess with Richard Simmons

Last Saturday, I experienced something beyond my wildest dreams. 

I worked out with Richard Simmons, (yes "Sweating to the Oldies" Richard Simmons), at his studio in Beverly Hills, CA.

Eight days later, I am still in shock that I was able to experience a Richard Simmons workout live, no VHS tapes or DVD's present.

And in one hour and fifteen minutes, not only had I worked up a sweat and burned approximately 400-500 calories but I stood in the company of greatness. Throughout the entire workout, comprised of leg lifts, cha cha's and jumping jacks, I watched an entrepreneurial living legend of success and individuality smile at myself and nearly 65 strangers as we worked our cookie consuming butts off. And it was through this living legend that I was reminded about the importance of positive energy, helping people and having fun while on the path to achieving one's dreams. This, ladies and gentleman, is a lesson I'd like to share with you.

Richard Simmons and I have a lot in common
Ever since I was a child, it has always been my desire to be a true Hollywood celebrity inclusive of a star on the walk of fame, famous friends and owning a profitable, celebrity brand business. Wow, you might say to yourself. Why all the glitz and glamour?

For me, it was never about fame or wealth--it was about the possibility of performing and bringing happiness to people. I had always wanted to pursue a career that would remind me I was alive everyday by allowing me to sing, dance and have fun for a living.

Richard's not the only one who likes to dress up
The Jaclyn of All Trades, sometime in the 90's

At twenty-nine, things aren't quite as I had envisioned them. They are still a work in progress. A big, huge, daily work in progress--something I had not considered when I was a child. With maturity on my side, I look back and realize that many a time throughout my twenties, I have taken detours to my dream.

As a matter of fact, yesterday, I read some of the journal entries I've been carting around for ten years and am surprised at the consistency of patterns towards achieving my goals.

"This year, I want to take more dance classes."
"This year, I will write and record more songs."
"This year, I will sign up for acting class."
"This year, I will build a blog."
"This year, by golly, I will be a successful entrepreneur."

And if it wasn't for the encouragement of Richard Simmons last week, I'd probably continue to be frustrated with myself and dissatisfied at the amount of time it is taking me to make my dreams come true. When wise people say, "patience is a virtue" they should follow that up with "which will hopefully pay off over the investment of it in another 15 years."

Words of Wisdom from Richard Simmons
Almost everyone over the age of eighteen knows who Richard Simmons is and why is that? Because he has done such a great job of establishing his identity and individuality! As soon as you hear that name, you think of this energetic, daisy duke wearing dude who is famous for helping people lose weight.

And talk about being a successful entrepreneur. Richard has been touted as one of the Top Ten Pitchmen due to the success of his aerobic videos, books, apparel and appearances.

Despite his rise to fame occurring in the 80's and 90's, these positive associations with Richard Simmons still ring true in 2011. He has not allowed critics or people poking fun at him change who he is and his fans love him for that. The hair, short shorts and signature energy have not changed one bit at all no matter the decade.

For that reason, it came as no surprise to me last Saturday to arrive at the "Slimmons Studio" and find 63 people waiting before me. The place was packed and as soon as the magic doors to the exercise room opened, everyone ran like race horses to get in.

My roommate and I secured a spot towards the back of the studio, right under the shiny, swirling disco ball. Richard, dressed up as a pink poodle, greeted the whole class with amazing energy and presence (not to mention body rocking, bass pumping music).

For a second, I totally forgot I was in a workout class and felt more like I was in a music video. This thought seemed to be the group consensus--people of all ages, sizes and genders were smiling from ear to ear despite the river of sweat running down everyone's bodies. And that's when I got it, the secret to Richards success. He has and will always be true to himself and his way of being which is why people gravitate towards him. There are only so many ways we can workout--the Richard Simmons way includes his sense of humor, rhythm inducing pop music and connecting with other people throughout the process. Out of all the workouts I have ever done, Richard's was the one I will remember most and long to do over and over again. Following the killer cardio combo came weight lifting, push ups and words of wisdom.

"Don't let anybody kill your dream," he said to the class as we sat down to stretch. "It was my dream to help people, open this studio, to write books and I wasn't initially accepted in Hollywood. But I had hope and didn't give up. Neither should you."

I never thought a workout with Richard Simmons would occur in my lifetime but it sure was a fitting experience given my childhood dream. As I sat there staring at him in awe of what he had done for my body and my soul that day, I realized that we never stop living our dreams. Here was Richard Simmons, quite possibly sixty years old and extremely successful, still pursuing what he loves; still living his DREAM.

And maybe, just like me, you feel that your dream hasn't happened....yet.

Or maybe you gave up on it a long time ago. Maybe you wonder why I always blog about dreams and goals and inspiration? And the answer is that this blog acts as my compass and map. One day when I make it, I'll have the proof that hard work pays off. I'll have hoped by then that you've simultaneously achieved your dream too.

Richard Simmons, with his signature style and music and dance moves, has managed to remain relevant and influential after all this time. And maybe, just maybe, it's because he continues to believe in himself and refuses to give up.

Thank you Richard for getting me back in touch with the little girl who wasn't afraid to put on a pink tutu and dream big. I'm going to keep at it, whether I am 29, 39, or 59. Thank you for wearing that pink poodle outfit last Saturday which reminded me of her.

And for the people that read this blog, I hope this post recharges you. Go out there today and give life your very best. Pump up that bass filled music, add a little sparkle to your outfit and push yourself to make the routine of life just a little bit more fun.

Signing off this "sweat success" Sunday,

The Jaclyn of All Trades

In an effort to provide you with more content, I will be featuring guest posts from other entrepreneurs and bloggers in the upcoming few weeks. Everyone has a story, I am happy to share them with you! If you are interested in guest blogging, email: or follow me on Twitter @jaclynmullen

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