Sunday, April 15, 2012

why I do this

I've just come back from my 5 day skiing trip in Austria.  We had a wonderful holiday with lovely friends, good skiing (surprisingly good snow despite it being April) 
my goggles are crooked and the angle doesn't flatter me but hey - check out that run! 
and a very carb-heavy diet (do they even have vegetables in Austria?).  I developed quite the passion for Kaiserschmarrn which is a messy mixture of butter-fried dough, stewed plums and whipped cream.

and here I thought that I didn't have a sweet tooth.  It takes more than a few hair raising black runs to make up for this.  
One of my favourite things about going away is the opportunity it presents to look at your life from a distance - to contemplate where you are, where you're going and whether you are happy with the overall direction of your life.

And I've come back very happy with everything. I was happy to be skiing, but also very happy to come home.  Not everything is perfect in my life (thankfully) but I'm lucky and happy and things are beginning to come together for me professionally.

Getting to 40 has been an interesting journey.  The one area of my life where I have not felt I have ever found much contentment has been my professional life.  I have jumped all over the place in my life (BA English Literature, MA American Studies, then I worked as a commissioning editor for an academic publishing house, an IT trainer for a management consultancy, a web designer for a news website, a marketing director for a law firm).  Nothing has ever felt "right", which is not to say I haven't enjoyed the jobs themselves.

I have written before - many times - about the mental shift that has accompanied training as a PT. Becoming a PT has been the culmination of a major personal journey which started with me taking up running as an overweight, direction-less new mother.  And I know I keep banging on about this, but the mental shift has been the most enormous thing and I realised on this holiday that I am still struggling with it.  I have some confidence in myself intellectually, but still lack it when it comes to being a PT.  Maybe this is because I was never a confident athlete as a child (I was not athletic, nor very competent) and maybe that's the time where our fundamental sense of who we are, or what we are good at, is shaped.  I grew up expecting to make my mark, professionally, in some kind of academic field - as a lecturer or a writer or an academic.  To find myself at 40 with a PT qualification is completely astonishing to me.  Or - in all honesty - getting the qualification was hard for all sorts of mainly practical reasons.  Actually starting work as a PT is much harder because I am putting the brakes on myself.  If I really look at myself - and stepping away from my day to day life on holiday allowed me that - I can see that I still lack the confidence to actually feel that I can help others, that I can tell others what to do when it comes to personal training.

And I need to get over that.  And myself.  And believe in me - believe that I can be of help, of support, of use to others in their journeys to personal fitness regardless of their goals.  And belief is just that - there does not need to be proof, I just need to have faith.  Hmmm.  Tough. ( I have been trying to read The Secret and just cannot get through it - does anyone have any tips on something I can read which motivates, encourages belief and faith and doesn't sound so sappy?  I know this book has worked for so many people I respect and value but I just cannot take it seriously. )

So why do I do it?  This training, this PT business?  Because, fundamentally, I believe (there we go again) that it is good to move beyond what you know.  Because it is exciting to see what you're capable of beyond what you thought you were capable of.  Because that is always true.  There are always places beyond your comfort zone where you can go and find a new aspect of yourself.  And that's not always going faster, or harder.  Sometimes just different.  My current personal mental block is core strength exercises.  Sometimes it just feels too much like aerobics - too many memories of the 80s and early 90s.  When I didn't exercise at all.  And I need to get over myself, once again.

I do this - the training, the business, the goal-setting - because I love figuring out all this new stuff.  Finding new ways of coping (and often having to find a few different ones before one of them works).  The struggle to get over myself and beyond who I think I am is incredibly invigorating and energising as well as frustrating and difficult.  More than anything else I have done with my life, I feel I am working towards the essence of me.

And then there's the community.  You!  All the people I meet, virtually and actually, who share my desire to push beyond what I think I can do and who want to motivate others to do the same.  I have held back on joining any organised communities for a long time, but I was recently approached by Jamie and Alyse from Fit Approach and asked to become an ambassador for them.  I have been reading the blogs on their site for a while and love the multi-faceted aspect of fitness and health they espouse and the honest and direct message they share about being and staying fit and healthy.

Fit Approach Sweat Pink Blog Badge

There are lots of us ambassadors - plenty of opportunity to shop around and find someone who appeals to what you are looking for.

After my 6 days off training, I'm back at it this weekend and I have a 9:30 hour training week ahead of me (ooph!).  Wish me luck!


Susan said...

Well said. Honesty breeds progress.

Cotter Crunch said...

this makes me happy, that you are happy. and it all stems from accepting reality with confidence. Which you have done. Congrats on being an ambassador!

Tasha @Healthy Diva said...

Looking forward to getting to know you Petra. Have a great week!:-)

Meg said...

"...working towards the essence of me." I love that. It seems like everything we do both big and small seems to move us in that direction. I haven't ever really been able to articulate just what/why we move forward as we do but you worded it perfectly!

I'm going to send you an article that reminded me of this post. My good friend just sent it to me this morning...kind of inspiring and also, very helpful.

So happy you had a wonderful vacation, what gorgeous snow!


getfitchick said...

What a wonderful post! I'm looking forward to getting to know you and reading your blog. Thank you for participating in the bloghop! New follower from sister SPA!

.:Ash:. said...

You write the best, most relevant self-discovery posts! Every time I read something here, I'm able to see a correlation in some way to my own life. Fantastic stuff!

And, I never read The Secret. But, I worked in an office long ago that encouraged everyone there to read it at one time. The boss talked about it as if it were more profound than any religious text ever written. I was happy to leave that office soon thereafter.

Kari said...

Great to meet another ambassador - and what a thoughtful post. I'm glad your time away was so successful in a musing and thinking kind of way (and in having fun by the sounds of it, vegetables aside!).

Emily said...

It is so helpful to take a step back. Sounds like you came to some good realizations. Man, you and I are so alike. EXCEPT, I think your confidence really does show through - and people pick up on that - regardless of what your impression may be of yourself. If you find that Secret book alternative let me know. I want something motivating.

That Austrian gruel looks amazing.

Fran said...

Great post Petra. I'm sure that you are going to be a great PT trainer. In your heart you know it, it's the mind that needs a little push. Believe in yourself, I know I do.

We have 2 things in common: I always reflect my life when I'm on vacation and I wasn't athletic as a child either. The aerobics from the 80's complete went by me. I started a little bit exercising in my 30's but it wasn't till 3 years ago that I really started it. Now I regret it that I haven't started when I was younger.

Jen said...

I love all your "whys" behind what you do. And I love that you were able to take a step back and evaluate everything. Even better that you were happy with it all!
I'm a little late to the blog hop but am excited to "meet" all my SPA sisters!

Jill said...

Okay, sorry girl. I've read this like 3 times and haven't have the chance to comment. Or did and then forgot I didn't comment. You get the picture. I apologize for my delay.

Moving on....

I'm pretty sure Kaiserschamarn and I would be very good friends. And no veggies in Austria, I'm moving!!!

Ever since I have known you, you have been a very deep thinker and always seeking what it is your purpose in life is. You have held some amazing jobs, jobs that I would give my right leg to do, but they didn't fit who the huge-hearted person inside you are. Your "job" in this world is to make others feel better about themselves ... because you KNOW the struggles, you know the pain, you know how hard it is to get the weight off. You care, and that is what's going to make you succeed at this personal training gig. I wish I had money and could hire you to help me virtually get the weight training done because I just STILL struggle with my weight, my depression, my would be the perfect fit for me. Hopefully one day I'll have more funds and we could work something out...until then, keep being the awesome you that you are and you just go and kick some serious butt with your business. I know you will succeed, that's what you do.

Love you bunches and bunches! xo

Jill said...

Oh, and can I just say "The Secret" was a book that just didn't click with me either. Bleh! A book I've been reading that is pretty moving is" Running by The Book, becoming physically and spiritually fit. It's a little more on the spiritual side, but a really great read.

TriGirl said...

I am stopping by to say hi from the Sweat Pink hop :) Looks like a great ski run, and that food looks delicious!