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Working On A Dream

Bruce Springsteen released a new album in January, Working on a Dream. Just the other day, I listened to the title track and it got me thinking about a special time in my life exactly ten years ago this month.

It was October 1999. I had just completed a Masters degree in Exercise & Nutrition Science, and had just turned down a full-time teaching and coaching job at a college in Los Angeles. Just for the record, I did it for love. I turned down the job in order to stay in San Diego to be with my then girlfriend and now wife. So, there I was in San Diego, wearing several hats at one time – adjunct instructor, in-home personal trainer, massage therapist and full-time seeker of my professional future. I was “busy,” but not fulfilled. As a matter of fact, for one of the first times in my life, I felt lost – in limbo. I wasn’t tied to a strong purpose. I was driving all over town; taking whatever jobs I could to stay afloat, and searching for the next chapter of my life.

I knew my passions were fitness, massage/bodywork, pain management/rehabilitation, and sports performance. Plus, I knew I wanted to work with people of all ages, sizes and abilities. The truth was – I wasn’t focused. I didn’t know how to take my education, my talents, my experiences and my ideas and develop a vision for myself. Teach and coach? Open a fitness facility? Get into coaching football? Go back to school to get my PhD so I could teach at a university? Man, at one point, I even considered applying to the FBI to see if I should go into law enforcement.

After much contemplation and prayer, I started to listen to my heart, and finally was able to see that the key to my future was to open my own fitness studio that combined personal training and massage therapy – a place where I could transform lives through fitness and bodywork. There it was – a vision. My vision. My dream.

The first big question was – where? It was on October 10th, 1999, that my life changed. I was asked to do a health fair at a local gym in Scripps Ranch (a community in San Diego), where I would be conducting seated massage. Although only 20 minutes from my home, I thought Scripps Ranch was “out in the country.” That day, one of the ladies I treated asked if I knew of a Pilates or yoga studio in the area. I said, “Ma’am, I’m not even sure where I am right now, but I’m surprised there are no high quality studios nearby. It looks like a pretty nice area of town.”

Bingo. That was all I needed to hear. I couldn’t wait to leave the health fair and check out the neighborhood. By that point, I had looked at nearly a dozen different communities in San Diego, and I had a good sense of what I was looking for. Thirty minutes later, I stumbled upon a shopping center where I saw a “For Lease” sign in a second floor window of a building. The shopping center had a quaint, “country” look and I had a great feeling when I drove into the parking lot. I felt my heart begin to race and a smile fill my face. I hurried up the steps, and as soon as I looked in the windows, I saw my dream attach to a physical location: 10006 Scripps Ranch Blvd. Immediately, I knew I was destined to create my studio there. I tried to drive away, but ended up stopping, parking again, and going back upstairs to stare into “my” new space. The vision was clear—and it felt GREAT!

That day, the seed of “Fitness Quest 10” was firmly planted. I had no business plan, no money and no clients within 20 miles of the location, but I had such a sense of peace that I had found the space where I was going to open my “personal training, massage therapy, Pilates and yoga studio to transform the body, mind, and spirit of my clients.” The process had begun and I was fired up!

What I felt that day wouldn’t have been any different if I had put the first shovel in the ground to build the building myself. There was a lot of work to be done, but I was fueled with passion to create something unique and special. I was fired up to get started and my newfound inspiration felt like I was back on track to fulfilling my life’s mission and purpose.

It had been five years since I had felt this kind of drive, conviction and sense of direction. The last time I had felt this sure of my purpose was when I was playing professional football in Europe and dreaming about playing in the NFL. Ten years ago this month, my purpose in life had crystallized again. I wanted to create a mind-body fitness and performance facility that would blend the best of the healing arts and modalities of the East with the best fitness, sports performance and medical techniques and methodologies of the West. This would allow me to combine my athletic experiences and formal education with all the lessons I learned while healing from a career-ending back injury. It would allow me to combine my passion to be a teacher, coach, therapist, entrepreneur and leader. My dream was in front of me and I was ready to roll.

To complete this part of my journey, Monday morning came, and I got a call back from the building owner. After a long conversation, I hung up the phone knowing that the negotiation had begun, and despite never having gone through the process before, I was ready to jump in with both feet! The game was on.

Fast forward ten years and here I sit reflecting upon this time in my life that, in many ways, seems like just yesterday. I can’t help but smile when I look back and remember my wide-eyed enthusiasm and how excited I was to get started. It brings back fond memories. Today, a time of great excitement and opportunity at Fitness Quest 10, is the perfect time to reflect on our humble beginning.

This article began with the story of my dream, but have you ever chased a dream? What do you love to do? What are your passions? True joy in life is found when you believe in something wholeheartedly and then aren’t afraid to go after it 100%. One of the greatest lessons I have learned in my career is not to be afraid to take ACTION on what I NEED to do. There will always be doubts and fears, and there will always be reasons NOT to do something. But, you can’t move forward without taking action. Don’t allow perfectionism to paralyze you and rob you of momentum. When you take ACTION, professionally or personally, you move forward and gain momentum. The key to this is a simple 3-point plan:

  • Discover your passion. Find your dream.
  • Take ACTION. Move forward. You gain nothing standing still.
  • Steer the course and stay the course. Be true to your inner-self and the values that drive you. Your professional and personal lives will be congruent, and ultimately you will find significance. This is the meaning of a purpose-driven life.

Sometimes, we don’t know where we’re going. It’s OK. Keep on searching. Keep on moving. Eleanor Roosevelt said, “…happiness is not a goal, it’s a byproduct.” Find your dream and act on it. Good things will come.

Todd Durkin is a 2 Time Personal Trainer of the Year and Founder of Fitness Quest 10 & Todd Durkin Enterprises in San Diego, CA. He trains people from all walks of life, but is best known for the work he does with over 25 NFL Superstars. He trains the likes of LaDainian Tomlinson, Drew Brees, Carson Palmer, Reggie Bush, Alex Smith, and Donnie Edwards amongst others. His expert staff of 30 trainers, coaches, and massage therapist/bodyworkers perform over 400 weekly sessions and help educate, motivate, and inspire the world to greater levels of health & fitness. Todd has 17 DVD’s on fitness & sports performance and has been featured in many national magazines and media outlets. His ezine newsletter “TD Times” is his way of connecting clients, trainers, coaches, colleagues, and friends from all over the world. He can best be reached via his websites,, or by using the contact form below: [easy-contact]

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