I was told that working in a gym wasn't a real job for most of my adult life, but from my early teens the gym was all I knew, it was all I loved to do, it is who I was and who I am today. I also had some of my greatest life lessons in a gym, and because of the gym. I was not a straight A student and I struggled with hitting the books; but, put me in the gym, and I was free to be myself and felt like I was home.
As with every phase of life, it is ever-changing and I found myself a few times running away from home. All in all, I had about 5 do-overs in my life, where I lost my way and gained over 40 pounds of fat. I spent my free-time away from it, making excuses and letting depression settle in. I gained weight, lost all my accomplishments, and felt like a failure. My biggest fear at that point was the fear of stepping back into the gym, the only place that had ever been my safe zone. I was scared to re-enter, because I didn't want someone I knew seeing me and saying, "Oh my, is that you?" I also spent a few trips to the gym just sitting in my car fighting with myself to go inside, because I might just run into someone that knew me when I was fit. Now that I wasn't, I did not want to face the potential ridicule, that I feared most. I knew that the only way I would be able to stop the cycle is to accept that I too, am scared. I am scared every day. I am scared of failure. Yes, I am; I fear disappointing my boss with a bad production day. I fear disappointing my coworkers and not being a team player. Above all, I fear letting down the HIIT studio that I manage, as well as the 40 teenaged swimmers that I coach.
But above all of those mitigating factors, I fear letting myself down again. I fear that I will fall back into old habits that drove me away, I even fear that if I have one bad workout, it will turn into 2, and then 2 weeks, and 2 months and so on. I also fear that when I get up in the morning, it won’t be a good day and life will slap me back down just when I felt I was given a leg up...oh yes, we all know that one too well!
However, fear of failing drives me now...I can’t fail! I have many reasons to get up in the morning, regardless if I'm feeling blue, even if my day’s only big moment is to go to work and smile at a stranger or say hello to a friend. Then I think to myself that this one action might make that person’s entire day, because that person might be more fearful of where they are and what they are doing at that very moment. This one little smile or a simple “HI” might keep that person pushing forward when they want to give up. This saved me a few times.
I try to make everyday matter and know that everyday isn't just about me, it’s about the people I meet and the impact I can make. It’s been done for me, that simple gesture or word of encouragement changed my day, and made what I was doing a bit less scary. Most of us have a support system at home, a loving spouse, and family that depends on them, worries about them, but for some; myself included, I fight the fight alone. So, the next time you are feeling a little "less" than your usual normal, remember this; we all come to the gym to make some kind of improvement in our lives and not everyone knows what they are doing when they go, but they managed to go! A small smile or a friendly “Hi” might mean the world to someone that is in total fear of their surroundings and had to muster the bravery to step outside their normal and try something new. Remember, at some point in our own lives we all had no idea what we were doing either, but we stuck with it. Don't let the fear of failure stop you from your dreams no matter what they may be, and always smile. Because in that one action, you could have done so much by doing so little, to make the gym or anything else, at that moment, just a little less scary for someone else.
Let’s face it; life has a way of knocking us on our butts and fear has a way to keep us there. Find your courage and never stop striving to be the best version that you can be, and never let fear of failure stop you from trying and pushing forward. We all can do anything when we step out of our shadow and not let the fear of failure control us!!