I have two people, two women, as the subject of this blog post. Two women who had a huge impact on my life and who were mentors for me.
We always have an effect on someone. Maybe it’s one person, but more than likely more than that. Young women teaching younger women. Young women impacting younger women. What they say. What they do. Being who they are and not afraid to show up.
This first woman came into my life when I was around 16 or 17 I think. She had the best aerobics studio in town. It was in the Waterfront Center in Pierre, on the top floor. A small space that had room enough for about 12 people. It was so fun. The music was loud. The sweat was running. The energy was amazing. Women kicking ass. Pushing themselves and their bodies to the limit. Working hard and being proud. Butt burners for sure. So many hydrants! Hips of steel.
These classes consisted of the workouts put to songs. Old school. Feel the beat. This was when we had record players with albums. The rest consisted of waiting until the next album and song dropped. Sweat poured.
She taught me how to work hard. She taught me how to keep going when I wanted to quit. She taught me discipline. She taught me how to make my body strong. She taught me that my body could do some amazing things. She taught me to love my body for what it could do. She taught me how to be confident. Whenever she didn’t feel well or had lost her voice, she let me be the leader of the class. She was a role model for sure. Thank you so much for teaching me how to excel. Thank you so much for teaching me that it was okay to be a strong and confident woman. Thank you Diane Friedman. I wish I knew where you lived now.
The next woman who impacted me so positively took a chance on me. She hired me to be an instructor when I was so young, maybe 19 or 20. I taught aerobics. That’s what it was called back then. I just loved it and I love thinking about how fun it was to make up the routines for the songs. Now we had cassette tapes and didn’t have to stop and switch the record after every song. Streamlined for sure. I still can remember a few songs from my class. Walking On Sunshine and R.O.C.K in the U.S.A. were a few. Those were FAST songs. Makes me tired thinking about it.
Her dream became my life. She put her heart and soul into opening The Sweat Shop. I became all in. All consuming fitness. I have been a fitness buff since age 12, but now at this time I was an actual instructor and I loved it. At that point in my life, I knew I would never look back. I knew I would always be involved in some way with fitness and health. Her vision was there. Her dream was there. It was so cool to watch it all unfold. I loved watching all the work go into The Sweat Shop. It was so exciting. Such a great vibe. Such great energy. Passion. Hard work. Perseverance. Fun.
She taught me responsibility. She taught me work ethic. She taught me to be there for myself. She taught me to follow my dreams. She taught me to be confident. She was a bad ass. She still is a bad ass. Thank you Lori Riehle for showing me the way.
When we find mentors in our lives, we need to hang on and learn everything we can from them. Wisdom means something. Learning means something.
So many years later I often think of these two women. I often think of the impact they had on my life. I learned so much and am so grateful they were put on the path of my life. I will never forget their impact.
They empowered me to stand up for myself, to be there for myself and to show up for myself.
Here’s to strong women, may we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.