I first became a health coach about two years ago, and as I think about what the experience has been like, I’m really thankful for everyone who’s been supportive of the journey. Whether you’ve tried Shakeology or a new fitness program, joined a challenge group or simply liked my Facebook posts, I appreciate you. And if you’ve been critical or made fun of it, I appreciate you too, because you made me stronger in this process.
When I started out on this path, I had no idea what I was doing. None. I’d discovered some fitness tools and products that made a huge difference in my life at a really critical time, and I knew that if I became a coach, I could get a discount on them, so I signed up. That’s the truth, folks. I wasn’t sold on the actual coaching aspect at first, but I did think it’d be cool to share what had worked for me with others.
Flash forward to now, and my role as a coach has become a bigger part of my life than I ever imagined. Coaching has filled a gap left by my traditional jobs and forced me to be way more of a leader and self-starter. It’s also pushed me to be way more vulnerable than usual, because really connecting with people means baring parts of yourself that aren’t typically on display.
And at first, it all made me uncomfortable as hell.
Was I nervous to be part of a multi-level marketing network? Averse to selling things? Afraid to crash and burn? Yeah, all of those things.
But sometimes fear and discomfort are the biggest signs that growth is coming. And if you’re willing to grimace and be sort of nauseas and sweaty as you navigate through those feelings, some pretty amazing stuff can happen.
So a few months in, I said F it, and decided to really give it a shot. I told myself that if I hated it after a year or so I would stop, and committed to sticking just to the parts of the business I enjoyed rather than striving for income goals or the highest ranks. My first goal for myself was literally just to not quit (bold, I know).
I quickly learned that one benefit of coaching while working fulltime was that I wasn’t driven by income – I had that already – so I was able to truly act in the best interest of anyone who asked for support (which is definitely NOT to say those who coach exclusively are money hungry, just reflecting on my personal experience). I also learned that no one wants to be “salesy,” and no one wants to be “sold” anything, but that sharing openly is how real connections are formed.
On a personal front, coaching introduced me to a new way of living. I feel better and stronger. I’ve stopped a toxic love/hate relationship with the scale and learned the right ways to measure health and progress. I’ve traded the satisfaction I used to feel when I could fit into a certain size of clothing for the pride I feel when I kill a tough workout. It’s not a walk in the park – I still have food guilt and obsess over my appearance certain days, because society is rough, man. And body image struggles are way more pervasive than any of us wants to recognize. As parent, I’ve starting making it a point to alter my own language and habits to set a better example: I don’t have to work out, I want to work out. I’m not “being bad” when I eat dessert, and I’m very careful with the adjectives I use to describe physical appearance.
This journey has taught me a lot, especially in how I share it with others. There’s a great deal of misunderstanding around the blurred lines between being an encourager and being disrespectful to different body types. What I’ve realized is that not everyone will get it, and that sometimes the most well intentioned messages are interpreted in a way you never intended. And unfortunately, as with any business in the world, the bad stories tend to make bigger headlines than the positive ones.
But most of all I’ve also learned that a lot of us – most of us, in fact – are scared of making changes. Because we might fail, or we failed before, or we just don’t know how to ask for help. And this is so completely normal.
When it comes to making healthy lifestyle changes, I promise you can do it. Even if you’re super busy, or had an injury, or don’t have extra money to spend, or aren’t a shake person, or have tried and failed, or don’t have childcare, or have a longer way to go than you’d like; you can still do it.
You can still do it.
I know a lot of us are thinking about healthy changes in the New Year, and if I can be of any support, please don’t hesitate to reach out. It might be the conversation that changes everything.