April 22

Show Up, Kick Ass

I took Jeanine’s spin class on Monday. I’ve known Jeanine for about 8 years. I first met her in kickboxing and weights classes we take at our gym. In the locker room back then I overheard her say that she wanted to learn how to be a fitness instructor but lacked experience. A few days later I noticed her in an empty classroom at the gym talking to an instructor about how to structure the kickboxing class she wanted to teach. They waved at me to come in the classroom. I went in and Jeanine asked me if I would be her guinea pig and see if I could follow her routine. I agreed to.

About halfway through she got flustered and lost her count as well as her confidence. She told me she was worried about messing up in front of a lot of people and whether people would think it was crazy that she was trying to transition to teaching fitness classes. I very clearly remember saying to her, “No. You’ve got it all wrong. Everyone wants you to succeed. Everyone is cheering you on. But you have to believe. You have to not psych yourself out.”

She taught her first class and it was a bit bumpy. Her friends told her to shake it off and keep practicing so her nerves wouldn’t get the best of her. She began teaching at another club to gain more experience. Periodically I’d take her classes and they were great.

Management changed and she switched to teaching spin classes which I would take from time to time. During Monday’s class however, I flashed back to that day practicing kickboxing in the empty room. Then I looked over at her all these years later in total command of the class. She was positive, relaxed, confident and teaching a fun and motivating class. How joyful it was to see that she had grown into the job she wanted and she was great at it. I remembered back in that room thinking that she didn’t see her potential but I did. I am 10 years or so older than Jeanine and maybe that additional life experience was enough for me to be able to see that she had it in her to become who she wanted to be. She hadn’t seen it though. Sometimes we need others to see potential in ourselves that we can’t see. I think it’s fear that blinds us to our potential but as Jeanine said in class as we were heading into a long climb on our spin bikes, “You gotta show up and kick ass.”