I first and foremost want to dedicate this website with all of my heart, mind, and soul to my mother Kimberly who is now guiding me in Heaven, my Father Henry, my brother Matthew, my extended family and friends- for without their love and support I would not be the person that I am at today.
I finally feel that I am figuring out who I am as a person. It honestly took the loss of my Mother for me to truly realize what I wanted out of life, what happiness meant- she brought back my passion and purpose in living. Growing up I thought that I needed to have a certain life by a certain age. By 27 I was determined to have graduated with a degree, work in a fancy corporate setting, be married, have children, buy a home- I suppose I was chasing the American dream as well as living up to the Asian standard of what a woman should accomplish before 30. However as I got older, I became more aware of my mental and spiritual well-being, I questioned what was my purpose in life.
At 23 I was working at a mortgage company- well paying, benefits, glamorous; I thought that I had “made it” in life. It was ironic though because I had a business degree in Entertainment and Tourism Management yet I wasn’t using it. Mortgage was not the path I thought I was going to go after college but it paid well so I ran with it. I worked 8:30am-6:30pm Monday through Friday and occasionally on Saturdays. Days turned into weeks, weeks into months, months into a year and a half; before I knew it I felt burnt out. I was doing the same thing day in and day out, for what? There was no purpose in what I was doing, the high from my paycheck had gone away. I felt like I was wasting away my life in a cubicle..and I was. I vividly remember talking to my coworker Vanessa and told her that there has to be more to life than what we were doing, that we were put here on this Earth to do more, to be more. The only thing that at the time that was my outlet was working out, I then had the crazy idea to pursue fitness. As I was looking for another job, my employer let me go. They said I wasn’t performing to their standards which was true, I had no passion in sorting paperwork on a computer screen anymore. I first decided to go the business route and became an admin at a local gym. I understood the business aspect on how to run a gym, how to manage employees, how to obtain sales, so on and so forth. However as I was working there, I noticed how the reason behind everything was money. Some of the trainers there cared about their clients but for the most part the intent was to get clients and hit numbers for the month. I did not like that and it was during those two months that I made the decision to pursue becoming a personal trainer and to do it my way.
During that time of studying to obtain my personal training certification, I made the decision to compete for the title of Miss Vietnam of Southern California. It was always something on the back of my mind but I never pursued it because in my mind I wasn’t Vietnamese enough to compete or even win the title. The cut off age to compete was 26 and I had just turned 25- I honestly figured if not now then it’s never. I completed the application 30 minutes prior to themidnight deadline. Competing and winning the Miss Vietnam title has been a blessing for it has taught me a lot about my culture, my beliefs and who I am as a person. Going into the pageant I did not care if I won or not, all I knew was I was going to be myself on that stage and that I would not sacrifice my integrity for a title. Winning the crown has not been all glamorous, I have been challenged numerous times, disappointed by the lack of support of my community, been judged for my body/looks/profession. Even though my feelings has been hurt, I most definitely have not been broken. What does not kill you honestly only makes you stronger. I want Vietnamese women all around the world to know that we do not to live up to anyone’s standards, be proud of who you are, what you believe in and never ever settle.
After winning the Miss Vietnam title, I continued to pursue my personal training certification. The first time I took my exam, I failed by two questions. I was extremely disappointed in myself but I took it as a learning lesson to be more focused on my studies. I passed my second time around and became a personal trainer in May of 2014. Starting off as a personal trainer honestly was not easy. I barely had 3 clients, one of them being my cousin. I was not making enough to make rent and had to use my savings and credit cards to take care of bills. Even though I was financially struggling, I felt more happy than when I was at my corporate job. I finally felt like I was making a difference with my career. Gradually with time I was able to build my clientele and in September of 2014 I dropped my first bootcamp class. Fast forward to January of 2016 I am proud to have had 10 editions of the bootcamp and over 100 clients. #annesarmy has been truly such a fulfilling blessing in my life. Growing up I never thought that this is what I would be doing with my life and what I want to do for the rest of my life but what I learned through all of this is that you will never know what your calling will be- it just comes to you.
In October 2014 I started working for a fitness apparel company as I was doing personal training, we parted ways in December 2015. During the time I worked with them I learned a lot about the fitness industry, the apparel company, fitness expos. With the passing of my Mother in February 2015, it made me rethink about what I wanted out of life, what I was doing and it really made me question if I was happy or not. The answer honestly was: no- I was not happy. It’s easy to look at someone on social media and assume that they are happy due to their posts but the truth of it all was I was merely existing, I wasn’t living at all and absolutely not living for myself or my vision. When I entered the fitness industry it was to become a personal trainer, to connect with my clients, to build and have genuine relationships. I really regretted working so many hours and not spending enough time with my family and friends. I am still working on not living with guilt and regret of not being around enough for my Mother which I know will take time. That is why now I am focusing on having balance between my work life and personal life. My clients honestly are what brings me the most fulfillment and I am blessed to be personal training full time and working for myself again.
In the past 10 years of my life, I am thankful for all of the prior jobs that I have had. From mortgage loan processor, assistant, telemarketer, retail representative, front desk administrator- for each and every job has taught me valuable lessons. Now more than ever, I have realized that I am not meant to work for anyone- that I cannot be confined to set times, set holidays, permission to have time off. I am a business minded individual but corporate business settings are not for me. I will always recall the moment that I heard human beings, including myself, be referred to as expenses and money-makers. Success to me is not defined by how much money I make, how many materialistic items I possess, how many followers/likes my social media platforms have. Success to me is making a positive impact on this Earth amongst my family, friends and those in need. Success to me is living and working with a purpose, not for a paycheck. Success to me is being able to wake up every day and love what I do. Success to me is helping others succeed. Success to me is happiness, whole-hearted genuine happiness.
I’ve had quite a few titles in my lifetime so far, if you were to ask me what I am and what I do for a living- I honestly wouldn’t know exactly what to tell you. Although fitness is my passion and what I do for a living, I feel that my life is much more than just fitness. I realized that I hate being confined to just one thing, I am definitely a free spirit and love exploring all of the amazing opportunities that life has to offer. I want to thank you so much for taking the time to read my story, there is much more that you will be able to get to know about me on my journey with my posts that will be in #coffeeANNEthoughts.
Thank you so much to my amazing team, PBM, for working with me to build this site, I couldn’t be more grateful to you! To my parents, family, friends, boyfriend, #annesarmy, and supporters from around the world- I love you all more than words can ever say!