Lesson #1: You can turn your problem area into an asset.
For a lot of my life I was debilitatingly, painfully shy. Although I was never hugely over-weight I was HUGELY self conscious and not the least bit comfortable with my body.
I remember the girls who had hot bodies at school. The chicks I wanted to look like… and the way they looked seemed utterly unattainable to me. I figured I was ‘just meant’ to be chunky on bottom and scrawny on top. I would regularly get around with not one but two cardigans tied around my waist to hide my big butt.
My first job was in an Italian silver service restaurant working in the piano bar. Sometimes I’d have to clear tables which necessitated venturing into the kitchen and the kitchen boys were ruthless.
Each time I dumped my dishes and made my speedy exit I’d be farewelled to the tune my Sir Mix-A-Lot… “I like big butts.” That job actually shook a lot of my insecurities right out – it was sink or swim – and I’ve always been pretty damn determined. Years and about a billion squats, lunges, dead-lifts and step-downs later I LOVE that:
A previous problem area can be an asset.
I don’t care what your body shape is. If you’re not happy and you’re willing to put in the effort, you can change it.
YES, it does take more effort for some of us than for others, that’s life right? If it’s important enough you’ll find a way… if not you’ll find a reason not to.
Lesson #2: Everyone starts somewhere.
I still get surprised when my clients tell me how easy I make training look. Even how co-ordinated or (laugh-out-loud) GRACEFUL (ha!) I am. That is so NOT ‘natural Kate’.
Anyone who knows me outside a gym would be highly amused to hear those words used in relation to me. More believable is the fact that I fell off the treadmill my first week as a personal trainer. In front of both my new boss and the senior trainer at that studio. Every other trainer AND their partners new ‘the new girl had come a gutser off the treadie’ within 24 mortifying hours.
I threw myself back on the treadmill asap… although I’ve never relaxed on one again. Ever. 9 super-over-cautious years later.
Within a few short weeks, I was at it again, providing entertainment by way of adding twice the weight I meant to to the squat rack. I discounted how extra heavy it felt as I un-racked and proceeded to squat. Once. At which point I got stuck at 90 degrees – and yelped out a pitiful “Daaaanny” to get the attention of, Yes, that same head trainer who swooped in to rescue me. For the next week the other trainers kindly mimicked my “Daaaanny’ plea whenever I walked past.
Everyone starts somewhere.
I have so much respect for the NON-natural athlete who sticks with it at the gym. It’s easy to stick with something you’re naturally awesome at… however how limiting would life be if your attitude was only to do that which comes easily to you?
The people I admire are those that weren’t handed success on a gold plater. The people that push through un-coordinated or uncomfortable or just plain UNfun.
Lesson #3: When life is a living hell: Back yourself and keep going.
My greatest ‘failure’ and most valuable learning came in the form of my first business. As an overly idealistic… even positive to a fault young trainer I bought into a business with a distinct lack of due diligence and the highly ignorant belief that hard work and leading by example can fix anything. Not withstanding amazing clients and a rock-star team… this was without doubt the most UNfun 2 1/2 years of my life. The details don’t warrant repeating beyond the observation of my business broker when I eventually embarked on the super-crazy-stressful sale of the business: “This business is like a soap opera – what else could possibly go wrong? Kate, when you finally get out you need to write a book!”
As Winston Churchill’s quote goes, “If you’re going through hell, keep going!”
I escaped that business with a huge appreciation for all that I have to be grateful for. Equally as important I learnt to back myself.
To believe that even if you don’t know what’s in store next year, next month or even tomorrow – you CAN know that you’ll come up with the goods to handle the situation.
Back Yourself and Keep Going.
It’s actually incredibly freeing to know that you don’t need to try and control the circumstances around you. You can let go of that losing battle for certainty in things… and in others… and in life… AND instead chose certainty in YOU.
Lesson #4: Do it for YOU at the right time for you.
Back before my big butt serenades, before I turned gym floor humiliation into a fine art and prior to the biz from hell… when I was very much still that painfully shy young chick, dad and I used to go on skiing holidays. Warm weather loving mum, had decided staying at home was far more enjoyable than the frenzied-Friday-afternoon-mad-rush to drive up to stay with friends in Ohakune (N.Z.) for a weekend of a sport she found supremely unfun. So some quality dad and daughter time ensued.
Dad took it upon himself to turn the car into a Self Confidence boosting machine and would play non-stop self help and motivational CASSETTES the entire 3 hour trip. Ok, I exaggerate – there was a certain stretch of road where John Denver’s ‘Rocky Mountain High’ blared. I have no idea if the love for self help and motivational study I now have has anything to do with dad’s car of confidence, however I do remember being supremely uninterested at the time.
How often have you given something your best because it was what someone else thought you needed?
As a young teenager I was likely at my least receptive, however I was equally unwilling to throw my heart and energy into the gym a number of years later when again, dad suggested “It’d be good for you Kate.”
Do it for YOU at the right time for you.
In my own good time I discovered what a healthy addiction the gym can be. Exercising regularly and eating great food became a part of my lifestyle not because I felt I had to do either. It was more that I got an awareness of the person I wanted to be. The actions to take are really quite simple when you’re clear on the person you want to be. When you’re doing it for you, devoid of any external pressure or expectation, you make the choice once and just do it.
These are 4 of my most valuable learnings. I’m grateful for them and I also welcome the opportunity to NOT experience all the embarrassing, painful and financially draining lessons first hand. Sometimes it’s a whole lot nicer to benefit from someone else’s experience right? I’d love to hear, do you have an unfun, yet valuable in hindsight lesson to share?