Saturday, December 8, 2012

My secret to passing the ACE exam

I will cut right to the chase, my secret is that I got to a point that I decided I deserved it.  I have wanted to pass this exam since I was 21 years old.  For the last 13 years I have thought about this test in some way.  I remember the first time I bought the materials, I was young and impatient.  I spent my $300 on all the books, I even registered for the test.   I opened the books and was overwhelmed by muscles, bones, nerves, blood flow and I decided that I just couldn't pass it.  WITHOUT EVEN TRYING!  Somehow I convinced myself that I didn't need to follow my passion.  There was no way I could ever pass a test like that let alone work with Fitness Trainers. 

I have bought these materials a couple of times in my life.  Thinking maybe this time, by some miracle from God, I can pass it.  Every time until recently, I quit WAY too early.  Like after page 5.  I would buy the books, open them, doubt myself and move on. 
I would look at Personal Trainers everywhere and wish I was them.  It is funny because that is such a huge sign of my path but I think until recently, I just wasn't in the right space to take it on.  I continued training myself and learning as much as I could about workouts, the body and the fitness industry, just because I thought it was fun.
Two years ago, I reached a point in my life and in my journey of self discovery when everything changed.  I think the stars were aligned, Traci (my current boss) took a chance on me and became someone who taught me about inner strength.  She really helped me continue to step into myself enough to believe I could stop freaking out over so many things and just have fun going after a career in fitness.
In the last two years I have gotten many fitness certifications but was still delaying the ACE exam.  I still had so much fear surrounding this test that even when I told Traci I was going for it, I was scared shitless.
I did not buy the book this time, I borrowed it from one of my fellow Fly Instructors.  When I opened it, everything  in my brain was different.  I actually knew so much of the material already and felt comfortable reading it.  I was shocked!  I found it interesting and started to use what I was learning in classes or with clients.  I studied off and on for about 9 months.  This was my little fitness exam baby.
The day of the test, I was freaking out.  Whenever I would think the word TEST or say ACE, I would get this wave of nausea.  Like, "shit.  SHIT.  I am actually taking this test that I have been  wanting to pass for 13 years.  No big deal."
I decided it was time to talk to myself in front the mirror, literally right before I went into the exam room.  If you have never tried this, it is actually really awesome.   I went into the restroom and  said out loud to myself, "Casey.  You deserve to pass this test." As I said it, I realized how unsure I was of this truth.  For a second, I thought, "I do??"  I just kept going saying, "you have studied for this.  You are a good person.  You DESERVE THIS.  You do and I love you."  I was shocked at how much this helped me.  I felt a difference in myself and was ready.

The test was Fing HARD.  For alot of the questions there seemed to be two right answers but they wanted the MOST right.  How annoying is that?!  I was also so pissed because alot of the things I spent alot of time studying were not even on the test.  Can you see how fear can disguise itself as anger?  I was literally pissed with fear.  I got halfway through the test and decided I had to accept failure.  I was sure there was no way I would pass this fucker. (sorry for the f bomb but I was heated at this point)  No way.  I knew that no matter what happened I would not stop taking the test until I passed.  If I failed, I failed but atleast I studied my ass off.  Even if I had to take it five hundred times, I would get this certification.  I felt like I was taking this thing for an eternity.  I just wanted it to be over but I also would not give up.  I did my best on every question but also started talking back to the test.  I would read a question and find myself saying "are you kidding me?  come on!"  I had written down about ten questions that I thought I should go back to and double check at the end of the test.  I started this process and got through two of them before I said to myself, "you know what?  I am done.  I did my best.  I can't look at this thing for another second.  Just be done."  So it took all my courage to click SUBMIT TEST.
I held my breath, I started to feel the panic flow through my body. 
When I finally saw the thing say that I passed, I almost passed out!  I really could not believe it.  I was so happy and I really felt so proud of myself.  It felt amazing.  I realize that all that stress, all the nerves, they were so worth it.  In a way, they were kind of fun because I definitely felt alive.  I noticed that throughout the rest of that day the feeling of bliss started to fade quickly and I was back into myself.  I want to share this because I felt it was actually pretty eye opening.  This test didn't define me.  For the last 13 years I thought if I pass this test, I would be amazing, I would be different somehow.  What I realized by actually passing it was that I was already enough.  I am the same person after the test as I was before only now I am someone who will go after what she wants and I highly recommend that.  I already have a few new goals set for myself because I never want to stop.  I keep on keepin on and that is what makes this life feel more like a playground.  The journey is always more fun.

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