How do people talk about you?
As a fitness instructor you are always trying to discover new ways to motivate people when they are working out. Over the years I’ve developed a toolkit of motivational techniques to help people find new levels within themselves when they are exercising and when I’m teaching a session I try to figure out which tool is best to use at different times within the workout. When I get it right I look up and see a group of people working to levels that they normally wouldn’t achieve, this is a very satisfying moment.
The other night I was teaching an RPM class, which is Les Mills’ cycle class, and I discovered a new tool to add to my motivation toolkit. There was a drop in the music which subconsciously told my class it was time to recover but at the same time they needed to prepare for a hard working section. This was my moment to say something that could inspire them as they headed into the challenge they were about to face, I said;
‘Many of us worry about what others think about us, we are concerned about what they say about us and how it might be bad, but what we sometimes forget is that many see the good in us. When people think about you they see the great things, when they talk about you they share these with others. What are the good words people say about you? What are the things in you that others admire? Why are other people’s lives better because you are in it? In this next working section I want you to show me your good, your great, the sides of you that others talk about with admiration.’
I set them off on their working section and suddenly I was faced with 50 people destroying themselves. They were all displaying the great side of themselves, I was loving it.
We can be very unfair on ourselves when we consider what others may think of us, it’s probably our own insecurities that are to blame as they have the ability to magnify the areas we struggle with within ourself. This focus on our struggles can lead us to think that the whole world only sees this side of us, we then put too much attention on this particular area and expend a disproportionate amount of energy into trying to disguise this part of ourselves to the world. The reality is that while the world may see this side of you they are much more open to the whole you, all of the different parts of you that make you you. Sure, they may see the areas you struggle with but they also see so much more, including the good.
A good thinking exercise to do around this topic is to consider how you think about other people in your life. Think about one of your good friends, how do you see them? Do you only see the bad?
When we think about our own insecurities our job is to work on them in a way that allows us to move both towards and away from them. We need to gain a deeper acceptance within ourselves around these areas but at the same time we need to make sure that they don’t become all-consuming. They will remain part of us, they make up part of who we are but we don’t want to let them completely overtake our lives as this can be both restrictive and destructive.
One approach that can help at the times where we find ourselves consumed by our own insecurities is to allow ourself to see the good that others see in us. Sometimes we think that if we put all our focus on what is wrong within ourselves this will motivate us to change but my question is ‘how has that approach worked for you in the past?’. If this approach hasn’t created the change you desire it’s probably worth trying a different approach.
As I was looking up at those 50 people absolutely destroying themselves in my RPM class I learnt that by allowing ourselves to see the good within us, we can be inspired and motivated which can take us to a higher level.
Next time you catch yourself being concerned with what others think about you, maybe you could stop, turn it around and allow yourself to also see the good things that those same people see.
This piece orginally appeared in The Press
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