Sarah & The Potato Chip Bag - a cautionary tale
For the first time in 8 years, I’m not in training for something. It’s a weird place to be lemme tell you. But I decided that I’d see what it felt like to just exercise because I like it. Because it makes me feel good. Not because I am working toward something. I believe in goals. I like goals. It keeps me focused and moving forward. But sometimes, you just gotta take a BREATH.
Last season I was all about GOALS. Time goals. Up until then, I’d just tried to complete or try something that made me really uncomfortable (I believe growth comes in that discomfort.) But last season – I.Had.Goals. In my pea brain I thought that since I’m a trainer, I should be able to PERFORM really well in these events.
The irony? It sucked every bit of pleasure out of doing what I love – exercising. It made me feel BAD if I didn’t meet my goals. Yeppers. I felt bad. More irony? I got slower and slower and slower. And I enjoyed doing something I love less and less and less. No fun.
It made me question what I do. It made me question my ability to train people. (If I can’t train myself, how can I train others?) It made me feel really, really icky.
And where did I find solace? The bottom of a potato chip bag. It’s true. I thought the answers were down there…ha!
But no. They weren’t.
So now, I climb my way out.
What have I learned? I learned what I hope makes me a pretty good trainer – that I’m human. If you want a super-human trainer I can send you to a few I know. But I…Am. Human. So here we go:
1) The answer is not at the bottom of a potato chip bag. 2) Exercising is to be pleasurable. Challenging sure – but it should ultimately bring you pleasure and make you feel good. 3) My work and serving others brings me deep satisfaction and joy. 4) I like to do events – especially with people who are doing them for a first time. I love to cheer them on and watch the look on their face when they finish. I could cry thinking about it. THIS was the most fun thing about doing the events I did last year. Watching other people finish. 5) I am done, for now, worrying about time. Because the joy (for me) is in the simple process of training and completing an event. I may revisit this later. But for now – I’m going to just enjoy. 6) I am human. And I am ok with that. I am not an elite athlete. I am 44 years old and I am ok with where I am in the world. If I can do a pull-up by year’s end – I’ll be satisfied. 7) I’m not competitive. I am collaborative. Competition makes me a little sick to my stomach.
Why am I telling you my story? Well – for some of you, you know me and have worked with me. And for some of you, you don’t. But I think that it’s important that you know something of your trainer. You should know what they’re about a little. It’s taken me some time to sort out who I really am in this whole Fitness Instructor thing – not who I’m ‘supposed to be’.
I am just like you. On the road and trying to figure things out. And I don’t have all of the answers, especially for myself. But I have some and I am learning more every day.