A few weeks ago I was stretching at the end of a fitness style boxing class – I was attending, not teaching – and I was completely lost in la la land. (It happens from time to time, especially after a hard workout.) Suddenly, from the front of the room, I heard the class instructor asking “what muscle are we stretching, the pectoralis major or minor?” It took me a moment, but I suddenly understood that the instructor was staring straight at me. Which meant that question was also for me (that makes sense, since he knows I’m a personal trainer). Fortunately, my answer was correct, but the panic I felt at being put on the spot meant that it didn’t sound confident coming out.
The interaction shook me. I had known the answer, but what if it had been a different muscle, would I have known off the top of my head? Would I have known the less common ones? I read one to two movement and nutrition articles/studies per day. I stay on top of a lot of information so that I can truly be of service as a trainer. I also take online classes and courses as part of my continuing education credits. And yet, suddenly, I found myself in a thunderstorm of internal questions: Was I studying enough? Was I using my time wisely? Was I keeping up to date on not only the latest diet and exercise trends but also actively honing my knowledge of the human body on a daily basis? The answer that came from deep inside was a resounding no. I wasn’t. And that was humbling.
For a solid hour after class I felt both humbled and disappointed. Then I took a step back, and I felt something else start to boil up: motivation. After all, the question wouldn’t have felt scary or stressful if I really knew every muscle by heart and it wouldn’t have felt nerve-wracking if I was fresh on my anatomy! *lightbulb* I assume you can guess what happened next? Yep – I went back to basics and started studying again. Now I use an app and I push myself to learn as much as I can, as often as I can. Why? Because I refuse to be afraid or intimidated. I know a lot, but I also know that I can always learn more. The best part about the experience is that my ability to let me own humility guide me, rather than my embarrassment or ego, turned the situation into a positive growth moment for me. By stepping back and staying humble, I allowed myself to find a solid solution to something that could have become a problem in the future.
The bottom line?
Our actions and reactions write the course of our lives – and we have the ability to choose them wisely.
It’s a lesson I hope you can each apply to your own stories as well. Don’t like where you’re going? Steer yourself in a different direction. The changes don’t need to be mammoth; start small, if you like. Whatever the steps may be, I hope you have the courage to take them, and the ability to learn from whatever you find along the way. And who knows? Maybe, like me, you’re only an app and a positive attitude away from progress!