When I first started coaching and teaching fitness, I learned that there needed to be a distinct boundary between me as coach and “them” as client/boxer. My interpretation of this idea left a lot of my true personality out of the picture and interactions. I felt as if I had to present a certain “look” versus be uniquely me. I really believed that my actual moods, character and feelings were hidden from the people who attended the classes I taught. Yet, I felt like I could always read theirs. I look at that now and think how amazingly arrogant and silly that was. My moods affected all the people I coached as much as their moods affected me. It was exhausting trying to keep a distance from people and it wasn’t very efficient in accomplishing much advancement in their skill or mine.
The people that interact with me daily can totally tell when things are going well, rough and everything in between. I have visible ranges just like the distance between two boxers. Since I’ve opened this gym, I made a commitment to myself to be more vulnerable and open with people. Sometimes that means I don’t look so good in front of others. It’s not a fun experience, but it is real. My experience so far is that I think people seem more relieved and more relaxed with me putting on less of a front. I find it a little easier to listen (except in my not looking good times). I also find that people are more willing to share with me their true experiences and the boundaries between us are actually clearer and easier to maintain. They are also more willing to share advice and anecdotes with me that I find helpful. It’s a lot less stressful to be ok with not being so great sometimes and as has been the theme of many of my blogs, conflict and discomfort reap the most rewards if one can be open to them as a learning experience.
I have a definite vibe I’m going for at this gym and I’m thankful for everything that each of you who box here contribute to making that vibe happen. I’m forever grateful to Jen Hamann for being so opinionated about the vibe created at Arcaro as she experienced my standoffish phase for years and sometimes still does. I am thankful to gym members who were open to giving me another shot at working with them and sharing my growth. I share many concepts and beliefs because they are usually ones I am striving to implement and often fail at. I share these ideas because I want others to feel encouraged to share their story. It’s relieving to me to know we all struggle in many of the same ways and we all have our own unique perspectives for what works and what doesn’t. For the first time in my life, I really don’t feel alone and isolated. I belong to this gym community as much as you all.
The only way our perspectives matter are if we have a medium and community to express and share with……..that IS what this gym is for…….
I feel lucky to be involved in a sport that encourages passionate expression whether you are on your feet or hitting the mat.