Pass or Fail

I pressed submit and then walked up to the lobby. I got my belongings out of the locker and waited patiently by the other nervous test takers. It was one of those moments in time that only really lasted about 10 seconds, but it felt like an hour’s wait. The proctor retrieved a piece of paper off the printer and announced,

“Mindy Irish, please step up to the counter.”

The time had come. I had spent the last nine weeks studying 15-20 hours per week for my National Academy of Sports Medicine (NASM) Personal Training Certificate. All those hours of invested time came down to this scene and resided on two very simple words:




When you take this 120-question proctored exam you have to score 70% or greater, BUT the system keeps no record of your wrongs. There is no review, a reference to where you could get the correct answer, or a tally of your final score. It simply records whether you pass above 70% or fail below. If you fail, it’s back to the drawing board to restudy and hope you do much better on your retest next time.

So when I stepped up to the counter, I stood there hopeful for good news, but realistic to either outcome. With my eyes wide open, I watched him lay the paper down on the counter, slide it towards me, and with a stoic facial expression he said,

“Congratulations, ma’am, you passed!”

All the emotion, excitement and anxiety that I had built up over the past few weeks was released in that instance. Tears flooded my eyes and my very first response in a loud, disturb-the-waiting-room voice was,

“Oh YEEEESSSSSS! Can I give you a hug?”

It’s like those words just came out of my mouth and I said them without thinking. With no hesitation the proctor issued me a big smile and came around the desk with open arms, hugged me, and said,

“I wish you the best, Mrs. Irish!”

I walked out the door with my confirmation letter in hand and then laughed at myself all the way down the hall. Joy and amazement flowed through my body as I realized,

“Did I really just ask that man for a hug?……Who does that?!”

Completing this program was a long-time goal of mine. As I traveled on my fitness journey over the past five years, I was often asked if I was a Personal Trainer and I realized it was on my bucket list and in my heart for someday. However, for many years I found excuse after reason of why it was not time to venture in to such a task, but most recently I was out of one-liners. Over the winter I decided the time had come to slow things down and tackle the CPT program and I needed to make it work and fit this in amongst life as usual. My kids, business, and fitness goals didn’t stop, but my studies had to establish their space and become part of my day to day.

When I got to my van, I notified waiting friends and family of my good news and then it suddenly hit me. Much like after you have a baby or a long-awaited event like your wedding, you embrace that moment of,

“Did that really just happen?”

When you’re in the middle of it you don’t realize how challenging or involved it is until AFTER it’s over and you can process all it entailed. If one were to lay out all details for any big life event, challenge, or venture, most of us would likely not go through it. It’s when we get through our experience, process it and then wonder,

“How in the world did I pull that off?”

This was one of those instances, but more importantly I realized that what is meant for us in this life cannot be taken away. What we are meant to do will find a way into our lives and we’ll be granted the ability to make it happen, but it’s up to us to realize and activate that. Additionally, what is not meant for us cannot be kept, no matter how hard we try or what angle we spin it.

I’m entering a new season of life ending 12 years of launching my children from the nest. All of my babies will be in school full time in the fall and new opportunities and callings are upon me. My next steps are not laid out, but I know open doors and likely windows await all in perfect timing.

I don’t know the goals you have, the dreams you desire, or the ideal that you’re going for, but I can tell you you’re capable of doing just about anything. That sounds so cliché, but really, you are. When you find your passion, when you apply your given knowledge, and when you make it a priority to fit the important into your life, doors will open to your advantage and you too will hear someone say,

“Congratulations! You passed”!

…..but hugging the proctor is totally up to you!

Fill Your Bucket

Mindy Irish

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