Anna* was an old friend of mine. We had met during admin week at our college when we both realized we were in the wrong auditorium. She was a bubbly brunette who’s contagious laugh made everyone smile. After college, she moved to New York City and started working at an amazing financial firm. However, through all the stress of work, 50 hour work weeks, she began to gain weight. She was also in a very unhealthy relationship where her partner was verbally abusive and would put her down. It got to the point where she began to underperform and was given a stern warning that if she didn’t get her act together they would not sponsor her to get her MBA.
I coincidentally was visiting New York during that time and had reached out to Anna as she was the only person I knew in NY at the time. We got lunch the week she got her warning. We hadn’t even gotten through our appetizers when Anna began to reveal all her troubles to me. The moment I saw her I knew something was off, but I didn’t know the extent of it. The more she revealed the more I wanted to help.
We quickly got through lunch and we headed back to my hotel (it was a Saturday). It took a few hours before we were able to lay out a plan for her. We knew she had to get rid of the abusive boyfriend, so I extended my trip to help her move out of his place. She knew she had to take care of her body. As a result of the weight gain she was more sluggish, didn’t feel as sharp or attentive as before, and it had also affected her confidence.
We laid another plan to help her start working out 3 times a week. Something that she thought would be nearly impossible due to her hectic work week. After naming all the successful businessmen and women who start off their day with a workout, and showing her how she could better manage her time to make room for a workout she reluctantly agreed.
We laid out a 1-month plan, a 3-month plan, and her 6-month plan. I would check in on her three times a week, to make sure she was keeping up with her plan. Each time I talked with her, the happier she seemed. Now, Anna has run two half-marathons and received a full sponsored scholarship from her firm to pursue her MBA at an Ivy league school. She started last month, and she could not be happier.
By following each plan we laid out, sticking to her intentions, and visualizing what her end goal was (business school) it helped Anna maintain her focus. It allowed her to go back to her bubbly confident persona. The one who lit up a room each time she walked in. When a person sets goals and visualized their end-goal they are more likely to stick to the plan. That’s exactly what Anna did and now she’s where she’s always wanted to be.
*Name has been changed