Last Thursday, I boarded a plane to attend a training conference. This is not a new occurrence for me. I’ve traveled quite a bit for work throughout my career and I’ve attended several training conferences as well. You know how it goes… you have to go to a seminar to get continuing education credits or you have to attend some training that is required by your job. These seminars are typically held in some great location (this is done on purpose to entice you to go!) and you spend the entire time you are in the training daydreaming about what you will do as soon as you bust out of that joint! If you can get away with it, you might even skip some of the sessions. Typically, we are more excited to go wherever we are visiting than we are the actual training conference. As a tourism professional I absolutely condone this behavior and will tell you I engage in it too, but last weekend was different for me. I didn’t go to this training conference because I had to, I went because I wanted to. It was held in Chicago, which is my favorite city, and I never went into downtown. I stayed glued to my hotel and conference for three 10 hour days and I didn’t want it to end. As I was flying home this morning, I kept going over everything I learned and experienced. I can honestly say I feel like today is the first day of my life that I have been totally in control and it’s so empowering. A little over two months ago, I was at rock bottom. I was drained emotionally, physically exhausted, guilt-ridden, and an all-around miserable person. I now realize I had felt that way for several years. I’m a pretty tough gal, so I have the strength to work through a lot of things, but I’m not super human. My strength was completely gone. Today I know it is coming back!! This past weekend I attended a training seminar to begin the process of becoming a certified life and business coach. It is the best thing I have ever done for myself! I learned that I’m not crazy or weak and that my feelings are normal for someone that has gone through the life experiences I’ve had. Most importantly, I learned how to recognize and own my feelings and emotions so that I can control how I let them affect me. Over the years, I’ve developed one hellavu poker face to hide how I truly felt inside. I’m not going to need it as much now. I hate to lose that skill so does anyone want to start playing cards?!
I want to share one of many stories to let you know how great this weekend was for me. Those of you that know me know I used to be an avid cyclist, marathon runner, and triathlete. A result of my sad state of emotional affairs is that I am now over-weight and in the worst physical shape of my life. There is still a vain side to me that doesn’t want anyone to know how I look in work-out clothes or to see me struggle to walk on the treadmill. I want you all to think I can still kick a little butt. So to hide this, I stopped working out at gyms and participating in group athletic events. That eventually led to me not really working out at home either. Of course, this has been fantastic for my self-esteem – NOT! I had made my mind up that while I was at a hotel with a gym, where no one knew me, I was going to work out every day that I was in Chicago. On Friday morning, I headed down and got onto the elliptical. They gym was pretty full and I was self-conscious. I didn’t have a lot of energy but I made myself power through 30 mins of cardio and went 3.1 miles. I tried to do some weights but I saw a couple of hot chicks working out and I was embarrassed, so I left. Not the best results, but day one was accomplished. I showered and headed down to the training conference only to find the two hot chicks were there for the training too. Insert a sarcastic GREAT here. The negative thoughts started and I feared I’d be too embarrassed to go back to the gym in the morning. The training began and one of the things we learned hit me hard. It can be summed up with this quote: “We do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” – The Talmud. Hmmm….. I assume everyone sees me in the negative manner I see myself. A little later in the day we broke out with partners to practice coaching. I was paired with one of the hot chicks. Insert another sarcastic GREAT. Much to my surprise, a pretty fabulous thing happened. I got to know her and found out that over the past year she has lost 64 lbs. Wow! She had worked her butt off – literally! Same kind of story for the other hot chick. Let’s get back to that quote now. If I judged them for being fit, what did that say about me? How did it affect me? I had considered not going to the gym the next day. Now, I was determined to go. I took this “seeing thing” pretty seriously. On Saturday morning, I prepared for the gym. I made an upbeat playlist and put on a cap that I pulled way over my eyes. I walked into the gym, did not look around, and went straight to the elliptical. I cranked up my music and started moving, but this time I did something different. I closed my eyes and kept them closed! I got lost in the rhythm of the music and my cadence. I did not “see” anything. It was fantastic and so freeing! After 30 minutes, this time I had covered 3.8 miles. Now that’s more like it! I went over to the weights (beside the hot chicks) and did my work-out without hesitation. Sunday morning, I did the same thing. I spent 30 minutes on the elliptical with my cap pulled down, my music cranking, my eyes closed, and pumped out 4.2 miles. Now I am sure I looked a bit silly with my eyes closed, sweating, smiling, and bobbing my head to Meghan Trainor. I kind of wish I had a picture of it! The See No Evil emoji keeps coming to mind! Seriously though, the truth is that I stopped assuming everyone sees me as I see me and I stopped looking at what I wish I looked like. The results were an improvement of over a mile in just two days!! As I apply the things I’ve learned this past weekend, I know that the improvements I will see in every aspect of my life will be this dramatic. I will no longer say that I look forward to being myself again. Now I’m looking forward to the person I am about to become!