May I share a secret with you?
I HATE advertising. HATE. IT.
This is likely in part because I’m just not that great at it, and it’s always more fun to do things that make us feel like rockstars, right? But there’s another, deeper reason that I hate it. And it has to do with you.
I hate advertising, because I worry about how I am making you feel.
All advertising works on the basic premise that you the consumer have deep needs/wants/desires in your life, and by tapping into those things, we the marketers can convince you that we have the answers to what will truly make you happy.
Now that may feel a bit shady already, but it really doesn’t have to be. The truth is, I believe deeply in the power of fitness (and the community it creates) to make our lives fuller and better, to help us feel stronger and more empowered. So I try to focus on that, knowing that fitness really can fill an important need in a person’s life.
The problem is, selling personal training or nutrition coaching is just not the same as selling free trade coffee or a photography session. You see, selling fitness gets aaaaaaalllll up in your business and in your headspace, asking you uncomfortable questions about how you spend your time, what types of foods you eat, and whether you feel ready to make changes to support a different way of life than the one you are currently living. That’s a lot. But there’s even more. To illustrate, let me tell you about a different scenario: party conversations.
When I meet someone new at an event like a wedding or holiday get-together, at some point we will likely talk about what we do for a living. This is great - I love talking about what I do and hearing about others’ lives! But inevitably, once I mention I am a personal trainer, the conversation becomes a bit confessional, as if I was a priest and my new acquaintance felt compelled to confess to me his/her past routine, how s/he has gotten off-track, gained weight, and really needs to get back to it.
Even this is not all together “bad”. I’m all for diving in and being vulnerable with others! However, what bothers me deeply is the shame that is always attached to the conversation. The almost-need to apologize to me, a stranger.
Most of the time, I have a hard time responding in a way I feel good about. I try to make sure to say that hey, it’s hard for everyone - these are normal feelings and life situations that we all struggle with. I talk about the power of making small changes, not feeling like we need total overhauls all at once.
I say these things because they are true. I also say them because I feel these words would come off better than hearing a near-total stranger grasping their arm and emphatically replying to them:
“You are beautiful NOW! You are worthy and valuable RIGHT AT THIS MOMENT!”
Folks. THIS why I hate advertising. Because when I talk about personal training or nutrition coaching, I fear it often leaves you with a feeling of shame, like you have messed up, like you are not good enough just as you are.
So can I just say right here and now - and can we all pretend I am on a mountain top, shouting my heart out in a fervent plea that you would hear me and believe it in your soul:
YOU ARE VALUABLE.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.
YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL, WHOLE, AND COMPLETE: JUST AS YOU ARE.
My friends, exercise is empowering. I cannot count the number of times I have been down about everything going on in my life, and after one good workout, my entire attitude changed: nothing seemed insurmountable.
Healthy living brings energy. When I eat well, my body feels and performs better than when I eat crap. I have more stamina and drive.
I truly believe that exercise and eating well help us live more fully into the lives we are called to. To help us more easily be our best selves. To help us more easily help the people we are meant to serve. In short, to change the world.
You are so much more important than your jeans size! And what you offer is so vitally important to this world! Never for one minute doubt your value due to how many times you worked out in a week or whether or not you ate the Cheeto’s. That is never in question.
However, if you want to get into an exercise routine that you can love and have fun doing - if you would like to learn strategies that can help you incorporate healthier eating habits while still taking part in the joy that food brings into our lives - then let’s talk. Let’s plan. And let’s get started!