I work out 5 to 7 days per week and have for over 20 years. It’s in my nature to be fit, active and push myself. Right now, I’m on a ‘boot camp’ kick. After trying many of the boot camp classes in town, I settled on the hardest one, run by a former pro-athlete. He pushes everyone to their limits and his classes are always different. I rarely do the same move twice in a 6-week period. The variety, the intensity and the shared pain and camaraderie all work together for one amazing class.
Last week, though, I found myself dreading class. I also noticed I wasn’t working as hard as usual. It’s unlike me to not be extremely competitive with myself and others, so I sat down with a giant cup of tea and tried to figure out why I had lost my motivation for this class.
The answer came quickly.
“It don’t matter what music I play, you ain’t gonna work hard!” Two weeks earlier, during a particularly grueling set of burpees and stair climbers, I had requested some upbeat music (Lady Gaga specifically) and that’s what I got in return: “It don’t matter what music I play, you ain’t gonna work hard.” It demoralized me and it angered me. I should have called bullsh** on the attitude and given Mr. Pro Athlete a piece of my mind, but I meekly just did another million burpees and stair climbers as he yelled to the class, “No one gets to quit this set until Anne-Marie does. And you can thank Anne-Marie for this music!” (as he put on a ballad of Lady Gaga’s, throwing the gym into a somber, depressive pall).
I was embarrassed. I was angry. And instead of galvanizing me, over the next week, I just found myself not caring. Why should I try hard if he’s already pigeon-holed me into being a lazy, sandbagging loser? Why push myself for a teacher that doesn’t acknowledge hard work and publicly tries to take me down a notch? Forget this “You’re doing this for yourself! How lucky are you that you get the luxury to work out an hour a day! Your 50-year-old self will thank you for this investment” pep talk that I usually give myself. I was angry. And I didn’t want to try anymore; at least not for HIM. If I was going to try, it was going to be at another gym, for myself, and with an instructor who believed in me.
All of this drove home an important lesson: surround yourself with people who believe in you; who uplift you and who support you. Believing in you doesn’t mean coddling you. It doesn’t mean letting you take the easy route. But, it does mean supporting you to reach your next goals, telling you that you have one more rep/late night/craft show/sales call in you and encouraging you to reach your best and brightest potential with love, boundaries, and aggressive cheerleading.
Take a look at your inner circle; your support team. Are they all-in to help you reach your next level? Do they have the ability to do it with compassion, determination, and thoughtful feedback? Do they make you want to be a better human being, a better community member, a better parent, and a better businessperson? It might be time to change out some people on your team. I know it’s time for me to change out one person on my team; buh-bye Mr. Pro Athlete. I’ll miss your workouts but I won’t miss the way you made me feel.