You have permission

December 2015, I decided it was time to put videos on YouTube.

Given my goal (create digital products and help get better fitness information out into the world), this made sense.

However, I had a problem. I’d never really shot a video where I was talking, I didn’t know how to edit, and I haaa-aaated being in front of the camera.

So, I did what I always do when I want to do something and I’m terrified of it. I poured a bunch of money into it, so there was no way I could back out.

I enrolled in a stupid expensive course that taught you how to shoot and edit professional looking video using an iPhone and then showed you how to put it on YouTube so it would get a bunch of hits.

The first video I ever shot using the advice from this course was called “3 best hip flexor stretches to release tight hips.”

It was a flippen mess.

My basement studio was still under construction (think 85% debris + exposed cement), so I had to line up flooring along the back wall to hide all the exposed nails.

The camera was legit crooked, so I looked like I was falling down a hill. I didn’t know how to edit it to make it straight, so I left it that way. I had on wayyyy too much blush (and I don’t even wear blush!). The lighting was overexposed. I also cried my eyes out as soon as I was done filming.

Despite all this, I posted it anyways.

Now that video has 333,680 views. It’s the MOST VIRAL video I’ve ever created and I can’t even bring myself to watch it, it’s so bad. #irony

Fast forward to today.

I’m a finalist in the Next Pilates Anytime Instructor Competition, which if I win, means I’d have a chance to film classes for a site that hosts some of the best Pilates teachers in the industry.

And I got there by submitting a video teaching exercises, not unlike the one I posted to YouTube in 2015.

2.5 years makes a big difference. Yes, that first attempt was pretty terrible, but who cares? The point is I started and then I kept practicing.

I share this to say that you don’t have to be good at something to start. You don’t have to wait until you lose 10 lbs, get rich, get your life together (whatever that means), or anything else.

Want to do something?

You have permission to do it. Right now.

This applies to fitness. And business. And pretty much anything else in your life that you can think of.

No one is good when they start. You become good at something by doing it. There’s no shame in trying and not being very good on your 1st, 10th, or even 100th attempt.

If you enjoy or you want it, keep trying and learning, because I am proof that if you try long enough, YOU WILL GET THERE.

I’m not special.

I don’t say that to say that I’m not deserving. Just that I’m a normal person who decided I wanted to do something, so I showed up and did it. Consistently.

I entered the Next Pilates Anytime Instructor Competition FOUR YEARS IN A ROW before I made it to the finals and if I’m honest, I never thought this would happen to me.

But now that it’s here, I have so much gratitude for everyone who has supported me on this journey AND for person I was in 2015 who was willing to just put it out there, so matter how afraid I was to do it.

I think we all have a “thing” we want, but are scared to go for.

I don’t know what your “thing” is. What I do know is that if you want it, you should go for it, because you never know the ripple effect it will have in your life…or someone else’s.

Case in point, that hip flexor video. It’s still helping people. Just the other day I got this email.

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your helpful hip flexor stretches Youtube video.

As Youtube comments are unavailable, I feel strongly to reach out to you about how talented an instructor you are.

I had a couple lower back surgeries in the 90’s, several steroid injections and a few serious muscle spasm ER visits over the years.

Just one instance of this stretch made an incredible difference for me for the past few months.

I have been fortunate enough to have a great physical therapy center in my area, but even they never covered this one.

~ Ronnie, Mineola, NY”

To me, this email makes that video + the entire process worth it and proves to me how much better the world would be if we all shared more of ourselves without the the fear of judgement or failure.

Screw being perfect or special enough. The only requirement for doing is…doing.

Just remember that. You are enough. And you don’t need mine or anyone else’s permission to go for it – whatever it may be.

Going for it might change your life. It might help you reach + help people in ways you never thought possible. It did for me.



P.S. As I mentioned, I’m a finalist in the Next Pilates Anytime Instructor Competition and honestly, winning would be pretty much the most #amazeball thing ever for me, because I’m on a mission to make the Pilates + fitness world a more fun and inclusive place (and help other instructors rediscover that same joy, because sometimes our job is really hard).

Winning this would help me do this, so if you have a Pilates Anytime account and haven’t voted yet, I would be so grateful if you’d consider voting for me.

You can cast your vote here.

P.P.S. Already voted or don’t have a Pilates Anytime account, but want to support me? If you have a friend or two in the Pilates Community who might have a Pilates Anytime account, please invite them to check out the voting link and consider voting for me.

You could also share this blog post 😉

Also, have I mentioned how much I appreciate you?! Because I do! You. Are. The. Best! Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!


There are 2 comments on this post

  1. Elyse
    4 hours ago

    Really nice blog. Adults really struggle with thinking we have to be good at something immediately, before we’ve put in all the awkward time learning. And, by the way, that video is not bad at all. Sure, you are sliding down hill, but the information is delivered in a clear, and helpful manner. I can feel your authenticity. I’m sure that matters much more than slick production!

    1. Nikki Naab-Levy Author
      5 hours ago

      Wow, thanks for your kind words, Elyse!

      You’re right that the video is fine, but I think the reason why I struggle to watch it is because I remember the headspace I was in when recording it and man, it was a struggle! Yet another example of how it’s much easier to be hard on ourselves while being able to offer compassion for others. Appreciate you taking the time to comment! xo Nikki


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