Sydney Challenge Winner

Living my “best life” always seemed out of reach. My dreams for the future were always framed in the caveat “once I...” or “when I....”

I never quite felt like I had the strength or willpower inside me to steer my own life. My health, my fitness and my confidence always seemed at the mercy of the current situation, and I used it as a crutch and stood in my own way.

When I stumbled across the JSA, what really struck me the most was honesty. For the first time, there was no false hope, no quick fix, just a dose of reality and the tools and support to achieve what had always been in my power.

I signed up for the first challenge, thinking it would be a good way to stay accountable. Although I had some rocky patches, the tools I learned gave me the flexibility to ride the tricky times out, and as I started to take charge of my own fitness, my life followed suit. The “ifs” and “when’s” became “now” and “I am”. I started to put my focus on balance, and what used to take up 100% of my thoughts and worries became a sustainable 20% of my daily life.

To my amazement, I won the first challenge and was given a trip to Sydney to meet the JSA crew and celebrate my journey. The whole time, the focus was never on how to strive for perfection or on the “what now”. It was really a chance to reflect on how I had gotten to that place and the opportunity to be mentored by people who were living “their best life” and blazing the trail to have balance, purpose, and the courage to step out of a comfort zone to peruse one’s passion.

The trip itself was once in a lifetime— I was treated to so many experiences I would have never gotten to otherwise, and I felt so valued by both the JSA team and the larger JSA community. When I met James at the airport, I was welcomed like an old friend, and felt genuinely cared for. I can never thank the team enough for all of the incredible dining, wining, and opportunities to see Sydney from every angle: car,train,boat and even private seaplane, to name a few!

I never knew that by signing up for a fitness challenge, my life could be so impacted. When I got home, life resumed. My health continues to test my limits and there are times I question my abilities; but, the tools and experience I have keep me going, and I wake up every day feeling like I can live my best life, here, today, and now. And, in those moments I have doubt, I have a whole JSA army behind me to lift me up!

I will forever have a special place in my heart for Sydney and all that experience taught me, and of course, I will bleed JSA for life.

- Savanah Hope