I have always been fascinated with the ocean and aquatic creatures for as long as I can remember. Maybe it has something to do with growing up on a tiny island, but it has always been an enigma to me. I remember being told as a child that growth of the goldfish is dependent on its surrounds so if it is kept in a little bowl and not fed too much it will stay quite small. If put in a tank and fed a little more it would grow even bigger and, in a pond if they are fed well and taken care of they will continue to grow. In a way I believe people are the same.
I grew up in a cottage in the tiny island of Ireland and I started travelling at a very young age with my family. My grandmother lived in Jamaica and I remember visiting her at the tender age of 7. There is an interesting bug that resides there which can also be found in most corners of the world. It tends to bite curious minds and one single bite is strong enough to transform the mind and life of its prey forever. You may have heard of it before, I am referring to the ‘Travel Bug’. It watched me as I thanked the beautiful air hostesses in their colourful uniforms for spoiling me with fruit platters, saw my eyes sparkle as I searched the clouds for ‘Care Bears’, then as I stepped off the plane and that warm breeze enveloped me the ‘Travel Bug’ hit and after that I would never be the same.
Fast forward a few years and every time I saved up a few pennies they would quickly be spent on plane tickets. I yearned to see more places, meet new people and listen to their stories. I loved how instead of feeling lost in the unfamiliar surroundings I felt as though I was finding myself (I know that sounds super cheesy but I honestly don’t know how else I can describe it). I was discovering new passions, likes/dislikes and learning more about the kind of life I would choose to lead instead of staying in my comfort zone, my personal fish bowl, and just settling for the easiest option.
At the age of 25 after working in the fitness industry for a few years, I was introduced to CFM. I was blown away by the concept! I could not believe that a company would be willing to invest to much in to a small independently owned gym with no assurance of a reward. The fact that the first line of our mission statement is ‘To primary encourage the non-active segment of the communities we work in to make exercise part of their lifestyle’ really struck a chord with me. I stayed in Europe for my first year and then chose to transfer from my little corner of the world to Australasia fuelled by the confidence and passion instilled in me by CFM and the people I had met through work.
If we take a moment to think, I believe we all know someone personally whose life could be positively affected by exercise whether it be physically or mentally. My own parents suffered with arthritis and a bad back and I saw how it depleted their self worth and stopped them doing the things they loved like walking the dog or travelling because they could not bear to be seated on a plane for so long. Unfortunately change is hard and people tend to fear the unknown so find it difficult to start exercising. Therefore, they give in to the slow decline getting more bitter as they give in to the discomfort that goes along with not taking care of your body. This does not always have to always be the case though and with little encouragement they can get over that first hurdle, embrace a new experience and continue to grow. In my opinion, CFM is a catalyst. By encouraging people to commit to a healthier lifestyle CFM are not only encouraging them to be physically and mentally strong but also nurturing them and allowing them to realise dreams that they thought were beyond them. After several gentle nudges my parents started exercising again and they are like new people now. Lenny (our rescued American Pitbull) is getting all the walks he needs, they were able to explore Spain thoroughly during their holiday last year instead of being confined to pottering around the pool and they made the 31 hour journey from Ireland to Australia to attend my wedding to a fellow CFMer.
I am honoured that my job is to travel around Australia and New Zealand helping people in smaller communities build the strength they need so that they can continue to run their own business to support their families or lose weight so they can get pregnant after years of trying or build their self-confidence so they don’t hate the person who looks back at them from the mirror. Instead of allowing them to stay stagnant we personally reach out to these people and help them push through that ‘glass ceiling’ so they can develop and become exactly who they want to be instead of just accepting their lot and staying in their little bowl.
When people ask why I choose to dedicate my time to CFM. I can say without reservation that I am honoured to be part of the movement currently sweeping through Ireland, the UK, Australia and New Zealand. CFM has provided a platform from which I can grow as a person while helping other people to do the same and that has changed me for the better. I have been drawn from my shell and hardly recognise the shy, insecure girl I once was. This job and my new lifestyle has made me adaptable, assertive and unafraid to be my true self, someone the 7 year old Jahna could be proud of.
Getting back to goldfish, they are in fact, like most fish, what is known as indeterminate growers which means they grow until they die. Though physically we cannot say the same I feel if throughout our lives if we continue to challenge ourselves, keep getting out of our comfort zones, throwing ourselves into new experiences and exploring new ideas we can continue to grow indefinitely. That is exactly how I plan to live to rest the rest of my life thanks to CFM.
written by Jahna Gilham CFM Marketing Manager
Jahna Gilham is a CFM Marketing Manager and two time top producer. She has worked for CFM across two continents over the span of 3 years. Starting as a CFM Sales Consultant in the UK before being promoted to Marketing Manager and moving over to CFM Australia in 2016. Jahna is a cultural leader and an asset to CFM.