Best Nine in 2016

Around this time of the year you start to see everyone's Best Nine on Instagram. I looked up mine and as amazing as it was to see that my progress photos got a lot of love, I was also really disappointed. It's great that these fun tools can provide us an insight on what the best liked photos were for the year, but on the flip side of things it doesn't quite show us the moments of our lives that we define as our best. So I decided to create my own.

In order from top left to right

1. In the beginning of the year I met some pretty amazing women and together we started to build one of the largest fitness communities in the SF Bay Area that's continuing to grow. Throughout all of my life I've had a hard time feeling like I fit in and 2016 was the year I finally let go of expectations of having to fit in and found my tribe. I realized by the end of the year that my tribe may not be one particular group of women, but maybe they are groups of women who represent the parts of my life that need nourishment in different ways. I've realized that the women I surround myself with are women who make me feel like I can be authentic and real to myself, my emotions, and my journey. My tribe comprises of women I've met, grown to love and learn from,  and who have helped shape me to become a better version of myself this year.  

2. I continued to refine my blog and grow my personal brand. It wasn't my intention to grow GOFITJO into a brand, but something that just happened organically. This year I worked with some incredible brands that wanted to highlight my story like Muscle Milk who came and film a 2 day video that was a pretty accurate representation of a day in the life of Joanne. I'm learning what collaboration looks like and seeing what opportunities this can mean for my brand and future business as a health coach.  But more importantly I've created some pretty incredible relationships with brands I love to support and who support my journey and that alignment has been the best feeling.

3. This year I wanted to get over my fear of public speaking and my first speaking engagement was at VSCO. I shared my journey to my co-workers and that was an experience I'll never forget. Getting vulnerable with people you see daily on a professional level tests your courage and bravery like no other experience and it was amazing to not only know that my story impacts my world on Instagram and social media, but to feel it in the workplace too. This was the moment solidified my belief that vulnerability is the birthplace of evolution and change. 

4. This is the moment I realized how much love I had for the woods and a weekend spent with the family in this tiny yellow cabin in Cazedero that we spent building fires, making s'mores, and enjoying unplugged moments together. So much of our lives are spent connected to a digital world and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that, but balance is the key. This was also the weekend where I discovered the important of meditation and my obsession with creating mindful moments in life began.

5. My husband and I went to Kauai for the first time in our lives to shoot another Hawaii wedding wedding. During our trip we got to sail and fly over the Napali Coast an experience I will never forget. Swimming in open sea caves and jumping into the Pacific Ocean along the Napali coast is a memory that will go down as one of the best of 2016. We met people who quickly became Ohana to us and now we're planning for our next trip to bring our girls on the same adventures we had. 

6. Creating more family memories by adventuring up and down the Pacific Coast in Northern California. We didn't get to bring our daughters to any of our travels this year, but we wanted them to experience adventure in their own backyards so that they didn't take for granted living in beautiful California. 

7. This year I was asked to speak at Nine Retreat. My first speaking opportunity of the year as Founder of GOFITJO. Nine Retreat was more than just a retreat, it was a place of really deep growth and connection. I came out of that retreat feeling like a different woman, seeing the way my life could grow on a personal and business level. I thrive on deep connection and that retreat really provided a foundation for that. 

8. 2016 tested my marriage like no other. My husband and I have been together for 15 years and married for near 8. Challenge and growth is something we've experienced for a long time with one another by each other's side. At some point this year we faced the truth that life was growing us apart and that we were no longer as connected as we want to be. This brought us to making more intentional decisions in our lives that would require open and honest communication with a side of compassion and empathy. Like I say all the time on my Instagram, marriage isn't a fairytale. Marriage is not what everyone thinks it is. It's not waking up early every morning to make breakfast and eat together. It's not cuddling in bed together until both of you peacefully fall asleep. It's not a clean home and a homemade meal every day. It's someone who steals all the covers. It's slammed doors and a few harsh words, fights and the silent treatment.

9. October of this year, I left behind a very stable career at VSCO as the Director of Community/Curation for a world unknown. I was laid off and it was and still continues to be a very hard transition to move past. I know its in the right direction as I'm now enrolled at Institute of Integrative Nutrition to get my International Health and Nutrition Coach Certificate. Although getting laid off was slightly unexpected, I know that its the best thing that can happen for my life. It's propelling me to pursue my dreams with relentless force. There's nothing left holding me back, but myself so its time to really step into 2017 with my whole heart. 

 Based on 2016BestNine, this is what my 2016 looked like. 

For me, there's so much more of my story than a before and after picture. There's so much more to GOFITJO than someone who works out for aesthetics or weight loss. Life's challenges comes in different shapes and sizes and creating the best moments in your life is up to you. 

A special little love goes out to Keri Berguist (@ravenlovestreasure) for creating her personal favorites of my feed and sent it over to me after ranting about my "Best Nine" on IG Stories.