This post has been on my heart all day. In the last few weeks, I have heard of co-workers breaking blantant rules in pursuit of class numbers. It undermines us all as fitness instructors. To me, it is not, can I get away with it, can I talk my way out. It is, the answer was no, end of story. More shocking to me is alot of this behavior is coming from people who are parents. I don’t know about you, but when I tell my kids no, I mean no. Not, don’t get caught. Not, as long as I am not looking. No means no. If you are not living life with integrety, how will your children learn integrety. As I see this behavior, I remind myself to stay in my lane, to choose the right path. I take my job to help people reach their health and fitness goals very seriously. I am not interested in being “fitness famous”. I want the people who trust me to take a class to be able to play with their grandkids, strengthen their heart, make their brain stronger, enjoy a physically fit life outside the gym. If that goal includes getting into that summer body, that is great too. But it is not about packing my class by bending rules, getting YouTube followers or putting the safety of my class at risk. Making decisions that make me popular but my class unsafe, is just not an option for me. I worked hard to get certified. I do my research all the time on how to make my classes more effective. I am honored for every person that walks into class trusting me. I feel beyond blessed to get to watch the community of love and support that happens in class, not just between the regulars, but how they embrace new people to make them feel comfortable and part of our fitness family.
I am inspired by the integrity of my co-workers that mentor and give the best of themselves every day. I am inspired by class participants that come to to lift each other up to become better. I am beyond grateful that I can choose integrity. That I live a life I am proud of and I never have to worry who is watching. I am watching.
This weekend take some time to….
The past few weeks my son has been home on leave for the 1st time as a Marine. I am guilty of several things on this list and today in the market I can add “hiding your tears in the market as you shop for Sunday dinner, because you don’t know when the next one is”. Parenthood is hard. Motherhood is hard. Being a Military Parent stretches and challenges you in ways you can’t imagine until you are there. You are filled with so much pride, yet this child you love more than anything puts themselves through brutal training and challenges to be ready to protect and defend at a moments notice. Our job as parents is raise our children to grow into confident, independent, young adults ready to conquer their dreams. Raising a child who’s dream is to defend an entire country and adopt a new family to fight side by side with, makes you realize you really rocked at your job, and you have a truly amazing kid. So hug your babies while they are home. Smaller or taller than you. Say ” I Love You”, listen to their stories, they are your heart. As they venture out into the world, no matter what path they follow, time is all you want. To hug, to listen, to love.
As we roll into the Holiday season it is easy to get caught up in the perfectionism of the season. Worrying about how Insta worthy our holiday pics are. Letting judgements of our relatives get the better of us. Allowing stress take our joy. Behaving in immature ways we don’t do any other time of year. We let food and drink be our crutch to “survive the holidays” and derail goals we have worked on all year.
Most of us have Mantras we rely on daily or some we pull out just when we need that extra push or moment of patience. This morning I took an online quiz to see what mine was and it was correct, “Be the change you want to see in the world.” I live by this most days but it got me thinking, what if I broke it down further. What if I was the change I wanted in my loved ones lives. That I showed more compassion, more understanding and stepped back before I took a comment personal. That I embraced all the things I wish for my family and friends everyday. Show my daughter that connecting with your family is the most important thing and not getting a perfect picture and missing the moment in the process.
Now this Thanksgiving I do have an advantage. I am traveling to spend time with my daughter her first year as a mother. We are staying with her and her in-laws and space will be limited. I also am unable to prepare the meal I usually would because it won’t make the 7 hour drive. So we have planned a scaled down, simplier meal to prepare. There will be favorites my kids have requested but let’s just say that I am going to accept the shortcuts this year as needed and if something is not from scratch, its okay. I am even going to do paper plates. This is the 1st year my daughter will look at this holiday through the eyes of being a mother. She will be looking to me as the example of how she now brings holidays to life for her family. Instead of nagging her to stay off her phone or question why she is not helping in the kitchen, be the example and set my phone aside. Let her enjoy a little peace as a new mom, let her relax and take notes on recipes she may want to pass down. Soon enough it will be her turn. My being calm, keeping it simple, putting the focus on spending time with each other will help her create peaceful, meaningful holidays for her and my grandbaby. When I was a new mom I stressed about everything being perfect, but as I know now, the holidays with the best memories and stories are not the perfect ones. I have had those Holidays where everything finished at the same time and looked beautiful, but more often, nope not even close. There has been family drama and broken reindeers. Even a fried turkey that never made it into the house and was eaten in the garage. Fortunately, I had a back-up turkey in the oven. Then the holidays we didn’t even get out of our jammies and watched movies and ate all day.
When things start to derail, we need to pull out that favorite mantra and remember why what we are doing is important to us. We need to focus on what we will gain. Anytime in life we focus on all that can go wrong, we miss the moment right in front of us. Sometimes a simple “thank you” repeated over and over is enough to remind us. Maybe with certain family members “I am enough” is the mantra you will need. My other favorite “You can do anything for 10 seconds” might be enough time to stop an eye roll or sarcastic comment. Some of you shared your favorites with me as I posted this was today’s topic. “Do your best with what you have at each moment.” “Own who you are.” “Unapologetically me.” What mantra will you choose?
As a fitness instructor, I put myself out there to encourage others to enjoy their workouts, have fun, and help them reach fitness or health goals. When someone shares a story of how their workouts have helped them not just physically but mentally overcome depression, loss, stress, loneliness, the magnitude of how blessed I am to be able to connect with people and be part of their story, is truly humbling. As we all know, anytime you open yourself to the world, there will be people ready to knock you down.
I see it in the gym when friends who started working out together, stop being supporting of one another when their goals or their progress shifts away from each other. The looks of judgement when someone is new and trying to find their footing starting their fitness journey. When cliques develop over certain workouts or classes, not recognizing one shoe does not fit all.
I would like to say as instructors we set a better example, but sadly I know this is not true. We judge each other on class numbers, social media following, if our format is better, how expensive our shoes and workout clothes are. We question if our body is in good enough shape to even be in front of a class, if we are talking enough or too much, if the critics are right.
Standing in front of groups of people, several times a day, eventually criticism will come. On the days it is constructive, I am grateful. I embrace the opportunity to grow as an instructor, to provide better classes and better experiences for my participants. At times, it is not, and I challenge myself to remember the way my light shines is not for everyone. I might be the sun and they need the moon. When I encounter another instructor not creating the kind of positive, supporting, uplifting class I think is important, I remind myself to stay in my lane. If I stay true to me, I will get to my destination and I will have a tribe with me that is excited about sharing the road together and letting each other shine. Each person deserves to find their lane, their light, without our judgment or harsh comments.
When we are on the end of criticism, we have an opportunity to grow, to let our heart become kinder for when we feel we need to offer guidance, to become stronger by standing up for ourselves when needed. The moon can shine in the dark and so can we.