Time for some honesty and a little insight in to me.
A lot of people say to me (perhaps you’ve been one of them), ‘Where do you get your energy from?’, ‘You just never stop’, ‘Your life is amazing’, ‘You’re so lucky’, ‘I’m so jealous of you’, ‘My life is so boring compared to yours’, ‘I wish I had half as much energy and enthusiasm as you’, ‘I’m just so busy and tired all the time, I could never do what you do’.
I know a lot of you work part or full time. I know a lot of you juggle a family as well. I know some of you are full time stay at home mums and spend your days running around after children while organising a house too. Some of you may not find parenting such a walk in the park like friends may do, therefore somewhat struggle with this on a daily basis. Some of you are single mums. Some of you are carers for children or adult family members. Some of your partners may work long hours or work away a lot and you can find it hard to cope or to juggle the weekly tasks. I know a lot of you have stresses in your life, which come in a variety of forms. I know for most of you there just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. And I know a lot of you have medical conditions that, well, simply put, can just be a plain nuisance! I hear this all the time, not only from you guys at sessions, but from lots of women in day to day life, and I understand how all these things contribute to a busy and tiring lifestyle. Is it just me, or are you noticing an increasing number of women walking around just totally knackered and in a bit of a daze trying to juggle and cope with everything?
It’s understandable therefore, why you may look at a Fitness Instructor with a slight tinge of longing, wishing you could just ‘have it all together’ with life running like clockwork, with oodles of energy and eating well and coping with everything life is choosing to throw at you.
Now, I quite like that image, (thank you to those people who have expressed this opinion of me – it gives me something to aspire to J ) however, I’m afraid I feel it only right to completely shatter that misconception, the truth is…I also really struggle and most of the time I’m absolutely exhausted! There I said it. I’m normal! Lol.
Why am I exhausted? Well, here goes…… I work – actually I’m self-employed which I find much harder. And not just self-employed but running and expanding a business, in which I feel accountable for, to you the fabulous clients, and also the amazing Chiefs, which carries a certain amount of pressure. This is made even harder because I am also a mum, and do not have regular child care, so I’m constantly juggling and rushing around to maximise every spare half hour, which means a lot of late nights at a laptop! I attempt to run a house (admittedly quite badly). I have family members who are ill and others who need support – both worry me. I have a partner who works a lot. I have someone in my life who is a psychological manipulator which just drains all my emotional energy and leaves me constantly fighting the unjustified feeling that I will never be good enough. I have unfortunately just lost my amazing dad to an unpleasant cancer battle. I have friends who need my help while going through tough times. I have a little girl who looks up to me and sees me as her rock in a very uncertain and confusing world as she grows up (too quickly), which induces that motherly fear of not being able to ‘step up to the mark and deliver’. And I have three (possibly four!) chronic life-long illnesses that cause extreme fatigue and exhaustion among other unpleasant symptoms affecting the brain, heart and peripheral nervous system. I also like crisps and wine too much which zonks my already small reserves of energy!
So you see, I’m not just the energetic mad woman that stands shouting ’10 more squat jumps’ every week. I am not a machine. I am normal. Of course I am. But it pays to remember this. It pays to remember not to compare ourselves to others. We look from the outside, in to other people’s lives and make a judgement. We often decide how brilliant someone else’s life is, without ever knowing anything about it! Inaccurately balanced social media doesn’t help! This self-comparison, self-torture and self-destruction can indeed work in your favour sometimes by resulting in a tinge of motivation to improve oneself, but more often than not it is harmful and stifling. Instead of spending so much time looking at other people’s energy, other people’s possessions and other people’s perceived amazing life, are we not better using this time and energy to improve our own reality? I read a quote the other day which struck a chord with me: “I’m sorry, I have no idea how green your grass is on that side, because I’m too busy looking after my own.” I think we could all learn from this. Myself included.
Some of you (mainly business advisors perhaps!) may think I’m mad to burst this bubble. Crazy for sharing my personal and imperfect life with you all. I know many many many fitness professionals work hard to portray the ‘perfect’ image to you, so they gain respect and admiration for being brilliant in their industry and role modelling, wanting everyone to look up to them and idolize them. However, I’m not here to trick you and insult your intelligence, by portraying this amazing ‘false’ image that your Tribal Chiefs are all ‘superwomen’. They are of course super women in their own individual and amazing ways, but I’m sure they won’t mind me speaking on their behalf when I say, we are all normal women, just like you, who all have our own stresses and struggles behind those energetic smiles. You know this already. But sometimes it can be easy to be swept away with false opinions when they creep in to the old grey matter. It can be easy to somewhat disassociate yourself from someone who is actually on the exact same wavelength and level as yourself.
So I’m not perfect. A lot of the time I am tired, and some days I find life hard. Sharing this isn’t meant to convey a sense of moaning or a ‘poor me’ attitude, but quite the opposite. I have shared this to highlight that although I am also exhausted a lot of the time, just like you, I choose to put a smile on my face every morning despite all the issues and barriers. Everything in life is a choice.
And just like how bootcamp lifts your spirits and gives you a boost of energy and happiness from working out, releasing endorphins and seeing great friends…this is true for the Chiefs too. I absolutely love turning up to bootcamp and seeing you all. It makes me happy to train you hard, to see you make new supportive friends, to help improve your health and fitness, and see you all leave a little brighter with a spring in your step. We have a symbiotic relationship ladies. One big supportive, motivating and happy Tribal family. So please don’t ever feel down, or indeed put yourself down because you think you aren’t as worthy as someone else, no matter who they may be. Because it’s simply not true. Remember, you don’t know the whole story. You are making a judgement call on a snapshot of reality, but their reality and your reality may be very different. The next time you find yourself being envious of someone else’s life, how about asking yourself how many other people look at you in the same way. Cause I bet there are quite a few who look in on your life, your circumstances, your energy, your personality, and wish they could have it all. My life isn’t perfect. It never will be. But I wake up every morning and I CHOOSE to do my best. That is absolutely ALL I can do. There is nothing else I can possibly do. My ‘best’ will be different day to day. But as long as I have done my absolute best, whatever that may be at the current time taking in to consideration my energy levels, my circumstances, my health, my time constraints, and any external pressures, then I HAVE to be happy with that. If I’m not, then I will never be content. Because I can’t do anything other than my best.
So tomorrow, if you wake up exhausted, remember that I probably am too, but wake up and make that choice to put a smile on your face, (actually smile, a really big wide one!), accept whatever level of exhaustion you may be feeling, accept what other barriers may be in your life that day, then choose to see the best in every situation going forward, and strive to do your best. Be content. That’s all we can do. My dad always used to say to me…..you don’t have to be perfect Nichola, you just have to do your best and be ‘good enough’. I’m finally starting to understand what he meant.
Head Chief Nikki