I'm sure I could list 10 or 20 clichÃ©s that everyone reading this could relate to, but I'm only going to do a couple. “If I knew then what I know now,” and then one of my personal favorites in this genre “You don't know what you don't know.”
Being that this is only my third post, you may not yet know that much about me, so let me summarize one more time. I'm a passionate spinning instructor who motivates through stories, emotions, and what I like to call triggers. I've always felt that the reason people come to my class over someone elseâ€™s is based on my approach and style. I spend most of the time digging around in their thoughts and pulling out emotions that fuel the fire to make them push harder on the bike. I wouldn't say that my stories are always rainbows and roses, and sometimes my metaphors cut close to home……..but thatâ€™s the point. I want to shake them out of the haze so they donâ€™t “spend” and hour with me, thy “INVEST” an hour with me. And I think even the most die-hard cyclist would agree that all the instructions in the world on how to peddle that bike wonâ€™t mean a thing if that person isnâ€™t invested in the workout both physically AND mentally. The bottom line is, if you're going to come to my class or read my posts, then you're going to learn about me and my journey, and I'm not just talking about the good parts. And by doing that, I hope it helps you tap into your entire toolbox of tricks in order to get your class to their highest level.
So back to the clichÃ©. I very recently experienced two very extreme paradigm shifts. One is negative, and one is positive, but they are BOTH going to help me make the point.
Without wasting anymore of your time (my first post summed up my brutal divorce and what it did to me) let me just say this one thing and move on. The year I spent trying to finalize my divorce was the most horrible, brutal, exhausting, and painful thing I have ever done in my whole life. But what I know now is it didnâ€™t have to be. If I had listened, TRULY listened to the people around me then I wouldnâ€™t have almost lost myself in that mess, I wouldnâ€™t have been physically ill to the point that I feel as if 20 years of my life are gone, and most of all I would have been more present to the people and opportunites around me rather than obsessing over things that matter deeply to me (and any parent) but DID NOT matter to the judge (or poor excuse for one). But “I didnâ€™t know what I didnâ€™t know.”
The second paradigm shift I have been experiencing since May 9th, 2011 is with regards to being a parent or as I like to say being a “dad.” If youâ€™re a parent than I could stop right now and you would get it, but if youâ€™re not, let me explain a little more.
I can remember being around 10 years old growing up in a small town in Maine, and in the summer my mom and step dad wanting to walk with my brother and I after dinner. YUCK !! Being seen with my parents !?!?! How embarrassing right ? You probably all remember something similar to this in your youth. But then you have kids and YOU GET IT !! You now understand why a mom or a dad would have this obsession with wanting to spend time with you. You understand to reason they worry when you ask to do a sport or why they look panicked when you come home late. Once you are a parent, you understand (or at least I did) what it means to love someone more than yourself. I could not tell you what I ate for breakfast, lunch, or dinner on May 9th 2011 or April 23rd, 2013 (the birthdays of my daughter Taylor and my son Brady), BUT I can describe for you their first sounds and every mind blowing emotion I had on those days when I got that first glimpse of their beautiful smiles. Had I known these things back when I was that little boy growing up in Maine, maybe I would have cut my mom some slack on those walks and not made sure to be a block ahead of them. But “I didnâ€™t know what I didnâ€™t know.”
These two examples are powerful to me because I lived them, but maybe they arenâ€™t for you so let me try a different approach and then hopefully I can wrap this up in a pretty bow so you can decide if this is a “tool” for your instructor toolbox.
Do you know a reformed smoker who quit because the doctor said they had lung cancer? Do you know someone who lost a massive amount of weight because their doctor told them lose it or you will be gone in 3 months? How about a man or women whoâ€™s spouse said “if you cheat again I am leaving you” and the spouse smartened up? Why is it that we will do things we KNOW are bad for us and hurt others, and we will tell ourselves we “canâ€™t stop,” yet when we are faced with losing everything, even our life, that we all of a sudden muster the courage and strength to give these things up?? I am as bad as anyone. The day after my daughter was born I taught class and I recall saying to them “I get paid to teach here but thatâ€™s not the reason I do. I do because I started having kids late (40 years old) and one day I plan to walk my granddaughter down the aisle one day.” Now for those paying attention, my daughter Taylor is only 4 years old and Brady is 2. So that means I have to do everything I can to stay healthy for probably at least another 50 years !! And if you ask how I know I will have a granddaughter, then ask me about the letter I wrote 20 years ago, mailed it to myself, and is still sitting in my safe. It was written to my daughter Taylor who I described to a “T” right down to saying she was part Asian. I have always known, and one day when she is old enough to understand the significance, she can open that SEALED and Post marked letter and read it herself.
But I am telling you now, I am a hypocrite. I say these things, yet the other day I was told that I need to stop drinking diet coke because itâ€™s poison. I said “I know” but I only drink it when I have a meal. And at some point in that conversation I literally said “well if I found out it was making me sick then OF COURSE I would stop.” Then it hit me…….it is making me sick. One slow day at a time. Just like the person stressing over the mortgage bill is getting sick, and the person who canâ€™t get of the couch is getting sick, and believe it or not, the person or people who are coming to our class and NOT working out are basically wasting their hour and likely on their way to less health, less energy, and less time on this earth with the people they love. Itâ€™s not as simple as “going to the gym.” I know that, you know that, and they really know that……..but if they arenâ€™t really acting on it then the hour at the gym is nothing but wasted time. We need to do more than play the music and cue the sprints. We need to find a way, open a door, to whatever it is gonna take to convince them that this isnâ€™t just a “class” or a place where they meet their friend before coffee and 2 hours of gossip. We need them to understand that this thing we do, peddling a bike for an hour, has meaning and DOES effect pretty much everything they will do that day, week, and year. Work hard, release endorphins and lose weight. Release endorphins and be in a better mood, have more energy, feel better with less aching. All those things will make you a better friend, spouse, dad. Those things will affect THEIR lives. More memories will be created, more love will be shared, more ideas are sparked, more friends are made, more passion is found, more more more more. We owe it to our students to find a way to make them understand this isnâ€™t just an hour to waste. I wish someone had sit me down and slapped me until I understood the damage I was causing to my soul during the year of my divorce by wasting time on things that only mattered to me because I was hurting. I wish someone had found a way to make me understand what those walks meant for my mom because she wonâ€™t ever get that 10 year old boy back. And I hope anyone in YOUR lives right now who is saying “I could never do that” or “thatâ€™s impossible” have someone like you to sit them down and say “Unless youâ€™re talking about WALKING to the moon, then please stop saying thatâ€™s impossible.” The next time YOU teach a class, I want you to pretend ( please forgive the dramatic analogy) that you are their doctor and itâ€™s up to you to convince them that they can no longer take THIS workout lightly and that THIS workout matters because it does and chances are “They donâ€™t know what they donâ€™t know.”
PS My road to quitting diet soda starts this week for my two children and my grandchildren to follow. Happy Spinning!