Deb Roach “Leading The Way” Filex 2012

Billed as the health and fitness industry’s #1 event in Australia, Filex, once again, offered an impressive array of seminars, talks and sessions in 2012. What perhaps stood out most to me on my first (and only – thanks to my broken foot swelling up to ginormous proportions) day at Filex was a glimpse at the story of Deb Roach.

Deb Roach

The vivacious alternative-looking brunette with facial piercing, hair in ponytails and sparkling eyes who called herself Debzillah only gave a short thank you speech for her award as “Most Inspiring Athlete”. Reading up on her story on her blog, I loved where she found her inspiration to change her life around: in a circus act.

I’ve always loved the circus myself and would have probably run away with the circus at age 3, if I’d had a tad more of a rebellious streak. Circus acts make you leave reality, even just for a fleeting moment and make you dream. They often defy logic or seem to break conventional laws of physics. The inspire the child in us and set our spirit free.

For Deb, it inspired her to reinvent herself, create a whole new life. The one-armed deskbound IT worker, suffering from anxiety and depression, started dreaming big- one pole dancing competition at a time. Winning against a host of talented, able-bodied fellow amateurs in 2009, three years after seeing the circus act instilled in her the deep belief she’d be able to do anything. In her own words it showed her “that possibilities are limitless. More often than not, the thing holding us back is inside us. We just need to choose differently!”

And so she did, over the course of several years trasnforming herself from nerd to PT to fitness ambassador, pole dancer par excellence and national bike racer. Her past 12 months must’ve been truly amazing. Deb now hopes to compete in the Paralympics – after only learning how to ride 16 months ago -, took out her division in the International Pole Dancing Championships last month and participates in Leaders for Tomorrow, a national disability development program. But, after opening herself up to the world and its endless possibilities, her next step will be to share her love for movement with the world at large and inspire others to do the same:  the seemingly unstoppable Debzillah is looking to open her own healthclub, Accessible Wellness, exclusively for those with physical disabilities in 2013.

To me, Deb’s story is one that highlights the positive (or negative) impact your headspace can have on your life and the incredible transformative power of the human spirit. Living your dreams is possible, you just gotta believe in yourself and grab destiny with both hands.

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