Communication is key to a good relationship, right? So that’s why I like to keep in touch with our Bodysmith members. For example, one way I do that is by sending them a quick message each week. It’s usually nothing fancy, just a quick “hi,” or a quote I hope resonates with them or encourages a conversation.
So last weekend I sent a short note to a member who is grappling with making changes to her life. We’ve talked about what’s holding her back and how she needs to move forward, so she knows what she has to do. The message was brief: “life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” Sure it would sound good on a poster, but it is also true. If we want to grow…explore…transform…we need to stretch ourselves. In fact, it’s an old saying that we throw around in fitness to help people realize that change is rarely easy or comfortable.
So there wasn’t too much original about my letter to her. Heck, if you been reading my blogs, I’ve used it before as a springboard for my ramblings. But the reason I keep coming back to it is that I am finding it to be true again and again. Here’s an example of my own…
You may not know it, but I live a professional double life. I am passionate about fitness and own the best gym in town (if I do say so myself😉). But I am also a musician.
And this is where things get scary.
Fight, Flight or Freeze?
A few weeks ago, my band had the honor of performing with the Omaha Symphony. I’ve been playing on stage for more than thirty-five years, and I can count on one hand how many times I’ve had stage fright. In fact, before now I couldn’t tell you when the last time was. But, this time was different. Not only were we being backed by sixty-plus musicians (a new experience), but I was assigned to sing a song as lead!
I’m not the greatest singer and that’s why I’m usually support vocals. This time I would be singing in the fantastic acoustics of the Holland Performing Arts Center in front of a sold-out crowd of two thousand in an outrageous 1970’s outfit with no bass guitar to hide behind. Eek!
So, that’s the main reason why, in the weeks leading up to this performance, I had some bouts of real anxiety. What if I forget the words? Sing off-key? What if I stumble? Pass out? I had a lot of “worst-case scenarios” running through my head.
What were my options? I could quit. I could do nothing. Or I could fight through my fear.
So the show came and went. I sang my lead vocals managed not to embarrass myself or the other musicians on stage. In fact, I would say I delivered a strong performance and grew as a musician and person as a result.
So when I look back at how I was able to pull it off, it wasn’t prayer (though I did pray). The only reason I pulled it off was that I fought through my fear with practice and the support of my teammates.
Practice included singing in my car, and in the gym on weekends when no one was around. I subjected my bandmates to more than a few shoddy rehearsal performances 🙂
But no matter how much I practiced, I wouldn’t have been half as good without the support of the musicians in the band and orchestra. They indeed carried me to success.
Now, back to my conversation with our member and stepping outside the comfort zone.
It’s A Matter of Time
The changes she is attempting are not small. Years of habits, behaviors, conditioning, and self-doubt have made a very comforting, if not comfortable, comfort zone. Regular exercise and sensible nutrition have been absent from her life for many years, and she’s facing severe health consequences as a result. Despite the promise of a better life, she will need to fight through her fear and apply the same two techniques I did to become a passable vocalist.
- Practice. Success is never a straight line, and I can’t count the number of mistakes I have made in my life, but you can’t let it stop you. This one is pretty much all on her to make happen. Change is uncomfortable and takes a measure of consistent work regardless of how small. There are going to be mistakes and even outright failures, but how she responds to them will determine her success.
- Support. Our member has a great family that loves her and will do whatever they can to help. She also has a gym community at the Bodysmith that will be right with her every step of the way. Without judgment.
I hope she reads this post because She’s one tough cookie, and I’m confident she can become what she wants to be.