Published on April 23, 2015 11:22 am, by Jemma Enright
I love this crazy gym class called BodyAttack. If you haven’t heard of it, it’s a high energy aerobics class which is an amazing all-over workout of about 10 different sets to work every, achy bit of you.
I’ve been going to this class for more years than I care to count and it struck me the other day that my journey through this gym class has some similarities with my journey through life, some of which I have not grabbed to the extent I could have.
If you are looking through the glass of the studio from the outside you see a whole bunch of women (and some men) looking similar in their gym gear; sweating it out with jacks, lunges, claps and every so often, a grapevine (yes, it still exists). But on the inside of the room, the women are not the same.
At the front of the room is a group of women who mostly seem to know each other and relish in the ten minutes before the class starts (yup at 6.05am) to have a chat. They seem confident and they kind of claim their place, the same place, every class without ever a contest from others. At the back are a group of women who, even though they come in early too, linger down the back keeping to themselves. And then there are the women in between. They might pick up a place left by one of the front women not showing up, or position themselves comfortably in the middle with a good view of the front. Sometimes they have a pleasant chat with a familiar face but they’re happy to just lose themselves in their thoughts too.
What strikes me is the parallel between this division and the one that exists in other parts of our lives, especially our work lives. It occurs to me that I have identified myself with at least two of these groups, if not all of them, at some point during my BodyAttack journey as well as through life. I’ve been the woman down the back who doesn’t want to draw attention to herself, worried about getting the moves wrong or accidently standing on someone else the toes. I’ve been this way sometimes at university, in social situations, almost always when I lived in Germany (and if you don’t stick up for yourself here watch out) and many times in my career.
So what’s wrong with that I hear you say?
Lots. I am now one of the ones up the front of the BodyAttack class, not in the cool group, but close enough to feel their energy. I work harder up there. There is nowhere to hide. The instructor doesn’t mind pointing out when I get a move wrong too, which happens less these days but it still happens. Basically, I perform better up there and I leave a class feeling awesome for it.
I think about all the times I have put myself out there at work, terrified but brave. I performed better. I take note of some of the teachings of Sheryl Sandberg when she talks about “leaning in”, creating and taking advantage of opportunities when they present themselves instead of being fearful and feeling like we are not up for them or don’t deserve them.
Now I say “yes” to an opportunity and then worry about how I am going to perform, instead of the other way around. Claiming the space actually drives my ability.
If you are down the back of the class you can’t be your best. Really, you can’t. Get up the front of the class (or at least a good middle spot) and you will see the transformation – in your performance but more importantly in your mindset. You deserve to be there as much as the next person and this mindset will give you much more than any amount of BodyAttack-from-the-backseat can give you.
Change your position and you change your mind. Change your mind and you change your life.
Jemma is the CEO and co-founder of MoneyBrilliant. She understands and cares about the financial wellbeing of women because she believes that every woman deserves the opportunity to live life richly by living money well.