When I was fifteen years old, I got obscenely drunk on New Year’s Eve. When I finally went to a friend’s house for the party where I was supposed to have been but had decided to skip in order to get drunk at my own house since my parents were away in St. Croix, I threw up so much and proceeded to pass out so hard that my friend’s parents had to call my older sister to come get me.
Almost three decades later, those memories have faded and I’ve now been sober for over a decade, but I still distinctly remember waking up in my own warm bed, thinking how comfortable I was and how wonderful it was to be home…right before a wave of immense fear and anxiety washed over me as I realized that something bad, something very bad, had happened and I was in for a world of shit.
When my mom and dad got home from vacation, I had to come clean to them before they heard about it from the parent network, which they undoubtedly would have. The punishment was swift and practical.
I tell you this story is not for the details of what I did or to explore the outcomes but to get us enough exposition to offer context to what my mom said to me a few days later when I finally had to go back to school after the winter break and she could see that I was embarrassed and that I was dreading going into school and feeling like people were talking about me.
She looked me in the eyes, and said, “Jack, no one cares. People may know, and people may not know what you did, but the reality is everyone is so wrapped up in their own crap that if you think they are talking about you, believe me, they aren’t. And if they are, who cares…at least you did something interesting enough for people to talk about and in my book, that’s better than being so boring that no one ever wants to talk about you. So go to school and just be you.”
When I coach, I find that the classes that leave me feeling like a shitty coach are the classes when I think, incorrectly, that athletes aren’t listening because they don’t like the way I coach, or that they are purposefully making things difficult, or that they are asking questions just to annoy me.
- Sometimes I get mad.
- Sometimes I get sad.
- And sometimes I lash out.
That’s not good. For anyone.
See, it’s in those moments that I have forgotten that wonderful piece of advice that my mom gave me three decades ago:
It’s not about you.
And so I pass that little piece of advice on to any of you who may find yourself feeling a sense of anxiety, or worry, or trepidation, or uncomfortableness at the gym when there’s something that makes you nervous, or a movement that we have programmed that scares you, or a workout that looks just too damn hard for you to do and you feel like that if you do it incorrectly, or if you fail, or that if you have to ask a bunch of questions, that everyone is going to be looking at you…
Because, it’s not about you.
No one is thinking about you or your fears, or your anxiety because we are all too wrapped up in our own heads worrying about our own fears and anxieties and insecurities and no one has enough time to be thinking about you.
So, if we all just take a second, sit down, take a breath, and be with each other as we are being with our own thoughts and musings…
…then I guess I can, after this brief trip down memory lane and the quick little personal therapy session, stop worrying about whether all of you are worrying about me and I can start spending more time doing my job making your fitness journey as enjoyable as possible.
See you on the Creek.