This past weekend I attended the Perform Better summit in Southern California where I have been fortunate enough to meet with some great industry leaders and inspiring strength & conditioning coaches. Most of the classes were over my head as I don’t understand the first thing about High Triplexity Training or the reason elasticity can transform into more power but I did get to attend a few business classes which I highly recommend to any new trainer or gym owner to attend.
But I’m not writing today to talk about the summit itself. I want to talk about a personal situation that I had found myself in while attending the summit.
On the second day of the summit I was beginning to notice how opposed I was to attend. I get this overall sense of just not belonging. There was one lecture/hands on where I thought that I had actually stumbled across a cult meeting or indoctrination. The leader and the followers were chanting, playing loud music, they were panting, saying weird shit like “I’m a warrior” and then they would roar, and they did all this while working out! What the fuck am I doing here? That’s the only question I had on my mind.
I’m not a trainer, I’m not a coach, I don’t own a gym, and I don’t even really have an interest in fitness. Well, why was I there then you ask? Just so happens that I do work in a sports performance gym….. As the office manager.
Now being an office manager is right up my alley. Work on computers, file paperwork, design websites, post on social media, talk with folks, those are all things that I’m used to and I have the body to prove it! My gut is a little thicker, my back hurts most days from sitting on my ass, and my right shoulder has a constant pinch from smashing my mouse all day.
But why was I opposed and a little nervous at attending this summit?
Was it because of my looks? After all a keyboard warrior does look a little out of place in a room filled with folks who dedicated their lives to fitness. Couldn’t be though, I put those fears behind me a long time ago (if you don’t believe me ask my friends on my fashion sense). Was it my lack of knowledge? Did I feel inferior? I don’t believe it was that either as I like to think I’ve always been a little open to learning new things and it’s good to know the how & why your athletes are able to perform like they do. I kept asking questions and finding no answers.
As it ends up, I had a great deal of time to reflect on this question while enjoying the beautiful views of the harbor that Long Beach offered. But I couldn’t figure it out until I had a call from one of my former students on the last day of the summit.
She had called me in need of some career advice. She had been offered a position at two different baseball teams and didn’t know which one to pick. One job was at a team she had already worked for and she would be returning had just previously left cause she felt underwhelmed. The other job was one of uncertainties but it paid more, she would be meeting new people, starting a new position, starting up her own programs, enjoyed the meeting the boss, and while there is a commute; she believed that she would be happy there.
When talking with her on the phone though you could tell she was having a hard time deciding. She was leaning towards the path of the new job but something kept holding her back not letting her to make a decision and I knew exactly what it was and then realized it was the same thing holding me back.
The fear of change…..
One of the greatest tools of self destruction and unhappiness. It’s easy to see the map and tell someone where to go but you also need to keep in mind that you’re not the one who has to make the journey either. It’s like being Elrond in Lord of the Rings, you can tell those little hobbits what will happen and where to go but you don’t have to endure all the pain and suffering that comes along with it.
Back on topic, I asked her what was holding her back the most; the fear of change or something else? She admitted it’s easier to go back to something familiar but she also mentioned that her friends and family were telling her to return to the crappy job. Why? Because they were scared of change too.
The old job is familiar to them, their daughter/friend stays close to home, and there’s no commute! Of course they want her to stay. Because if she leaves then their lives change too and they don’t want to deal with that.
The same thing was happening to me at this summit. I was scared of change. The whole time I was thinking to myself “why am I here? I’m a graphic designer by day and an office manager by night. I don’t need to be here.” I did the whole thing where I started justifying my feelings too, “I built a hockey team from nothing, I went to school for sports marketing, I have a hockey jersey in the Hall of Fame, I should be at comic-con not workout-con.” I would just go on rants to myself.
But you know what? It was all bullshit. I knew that none of my former accomplishments would have any weight or value here. I was basically just trying to give myself a mental hug and tell myself that everything was going to be okay.
I’ve known things were changing these past few months. I could feel it within myself and in my work. But I hadn’t really seen it until I was 4 hours from home and sitting in a convention center filled with dudes who had biceps the size of my head and thought that the McRib wasn’t a masterpiece but a horror show.
It was this change that was happening in my life that I was opposed to not the workout summit. Although those one dudes were definitely in a cult or something, nobody yells that much and calls each other big boy.
I had a decision to decide on. It was a decision of change, one that will lead me down a path I already knew or one that was unfamiliar. I’m sure you the reader can see the map as clear as day and know the path but I’m the one on the journey if you’ll remember and right now I’m feeling a little adventurous.
So I’ve begun walking down an unfamiliar path but I’m still looking back every once in awhile at the fork in the road. Eventually I won’t be able to see the old path anymore and eventually I’ll come to a new fork where I’ll have to make a new decision about change.
I like to think I’ll always choose the path of change though because at the end of the day change is often good. Change can make you a better person both on a personal level and professional.
So stop waiting, stop hesitating, and take the chance! Pursue a life where you are not afraid of change for if you do, you will be open to a world of new opportunities and a life that will feel meaningful.
You guys watch Stranger Things? I’m betting you do. You know Mr. Wheeler, Mike’s dad? I bet a lot of you guys just went “oh yeah, that guy”. That is a man who did not choose change but chose comfort and he is the wettest blanket I’ve ever seen. Literally nothing going on in that man’s life.
Don’t be a Mr. Wheeler.
As the great Sam Witwicky once said “Fifty years from now, when you’re looking back at your life, don’t you want to be able to say you had the guts to get in the car?”