Show­case: Go For It—live Your Dream

For this mother of four, over­com­ing a child­hood trauma led to kick-box­ing, po­lice work and, ul­ti­mately, a new life as a busi­ness owner and fit­ness trainer

Our Canada - - Contents - by Nichelle Laus, Toronto

Meet an in­spir­ing and en­er­getic former po­lice­woman and mother of four, who rein­vented her­self and is now help­ing oth­ers do the same.

Iwas born and raised in Chateau­guay, a small­town sub­urb of Mon­treal. I was al­ways very ac­tive grow­ing up, play­ing var­i­ous team sports. I went through a trau­matic time in my life, af­ter fi­nally broke my si­lence about a long-en­dur­ing child-abuse ex­pe­ri­ence in­flicted by a per­son of sup­posed trust. I turned to kick-box­ing as an out­let. By chan­nelling stress, anger and neg­a­tiv­ity into some­thing pos­i­tive, I was able to get by day to day and learn to help over­come a lot of demons, stress and pain. I com­peted in kick-box­ing, and later box­ing as well, for many years af­ter­wards, as the gym walls be­came my safe place, my sanc­tu­ary. Af­ter break­ing my si­lence, I wanted to be a po­lice of­fi­cer. I wanted to give back. I wanted to help oth­ers the way I was helped dur­ing that aw­ful time in my life. In 2000, I was hired as a po­lice con­sta­ble near Toronto, so I packed up all my be­long­ings in my car and drove down the high­way to­wards my new and ex­cit­ing life. My life in Toronto has been noth­ing short of amaz­ing. I met my hus­band, Dave, who was also a po­lice of­fi­cer, and we now have four hand­some boys— four, seven, nine and 11 years old. Af­ter we started our fam­ily, I found the train­ing de­mands for a kick- box­ing fight or box­ing match were far too in­tense and time­con­sum­ing. I de­cided to com­pete in

fit­ness com­pe­ti­tions in­stead. Train­ing can be done on my own time and I can still have the com­pet­i­tive edge.

I started coaching a short time af­ter­wards, and by word of mouth my on­line train­ing busi­ness started to grow rapidly. The shift work and sched­uled days off as­so­ci­ated with be­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer made it some­what eas­ier to pur­sue a sec­ond job. But af­ter a while, all my time off was spent work­ing on my on­line train­ing busi­ness.

At the same time, my hus­band also started work­ing a sec­ond job, as a fit­ness pho­tog­ra­pher. Our pas­sions for what we did shone through and as the years went on, our sec­ond busi­nesses be­came so suc­cess­ful that we de­cided to take it to the next level. Af­ter a few con­sul­ta­tions with some busi­ness men­tors, we de­cided to open Op­ti­mum Train­ing Cen­tre ( OTC), our 6,000- square- foot per­sonal train­ing stu­dio in Toronto.

In or­der for us to run at our full po­ten­tial, we de­cided that we had to make an important, risky de­ci­sion. Af­ter 15 years as po­lice of­fi­cers, we both re­signed to nur­ture our newly opened busi­ness. It was very hard to leave my com­fort zone. I had a se­cure job, with great ben­e­fits and a pen­sion. But in life, you must take risks to get ahead. You must fol­low your heart and your pas­sion, and re­al­ize that other great things are meant for you.

Be­ing a mom to four lit­tle ones and own­ing a busi­ness is pretty hec­tic. Some­times I don’t even know how I fit it all in, but I do be­cause I have to. There is no other choice, and to make things hap­pen, you have to hus­tle. You can’t sit there and dream about mak­ing things hap­pen. You have to go out and make them hap­pen!

My typ­i­cal day starts early in the morn­ing. I usu­ally get up at 5 a.m. and hit the gym by 5:30 a.m. for my daily work­out. I like to get it done early so it doesn’t in­ter­rupt fam­ily time. It also means I don’t have to worry about find­ing the time dur­ing my busy day to squeeze in a work­out.

Af­ter get­ting the four kids off to school, I head to work to train clients for part of the day. Then, of course, I work on all the ad­min­is­tra­tive stuff that comes along with own­ing your own busi­ness.

Af­ter 3:00 p.m., I go into full-time “mom mode” again, which in­volves af­ter-school ac­tiv­i­ties, cook­ing, clean­ing, laun­dry and snug­gles. Once the kids go to bed at night, I re­lax by hav­ing a bath or shower, then work on my on­line busi­ness.

Sched­ul­ing and con­sis­tency is key to jug­gling it all. Ev­ery­one knows their daily roles and rou­tines in the house. As for me per­son­ally, I al­ways keep an open mind as well as a flex­i­ble sched­ule. Any­thing can change at any given time. Al­though I do wish I had more time in my day, I man­age to get most of my daily tasks done. And if I don’t, I pri­or­i­tize it for the next day if needed. A daily to-do list and learn­ing to multi-task is ex­tremely important to mak­ing all the pieces run smoothly to­gether.

Never give up if you have a dream! Jump. You will find your wings along the way.

Find out more about Nichelle and her train­ing pro­grams at www.nichel­le­laus.com.

Clock­wise from top: Nichelle with just a few of the women she trains; Nichelle with her hus­band and busi­ness part­ner, Dave; Nichelle and her four boys (clock­wise from top left)— Ethan, Evan, Troy and Jax­son.

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