I’ve been afraid all my life.
I was afraid when I started my first varsity high school football game because I was scared I’d make a fool in front of my friends and family.
I was afraid on my first day at a college campus because I knew I looked like a lost freshman gawking at signs and maps around campus.
I was afraid of doing my first bodybuilding competition, especially during my freshman year in college, because I had to get up on stage in a thong, covered in tanning products, and flex for an audience where they could see every imperfection on my body and then get judged by a professional panel on how well I looked.
I was afraid of switching my major from kinesiology to dietetics because I always thought I was going to be a physical therapist.
I was afraid of doing a second bodybuilding competition because everyone was counting on me to win this one and become a pro.
I was afraid of becoming a coach because I didn’t believe I was good enough to be a coach and I feared that amount of responsibility.
I am afraid of putting out my thoughts and feelings on social media because it is out there for anyone to judge me and talk shit about me.
I am afraid of putting out content and articles on diet and exercise because I feel like I’m not smart enough and someone will accuse me of being a fraud.
I am afraid of being an entrepreneur because all the success rides on my back and whether or not I make money for my family is totally on me.
I am afraid of writing this blog post right now because I am not a writer and I have no idea if people are going to love it or hate it...
...but I did it all anyway.
I am just like you.
Everyone is scared of failing or being judged by others.
Did you know the number one fear for people, even over death, is our fear of public speaking and feeling rejected?
Literally, people would rather DIE than speak in front of a crowd. Mind blowing.
Then again, I completely understand it. When you put yourself in a position to be judged, you are vulnerable.
Let’s take social media, for example:
When you look at someone’s Instagram, what do usually see?
It is usually how AWESOME their life is. Their highlight reel of when they look their best and are doing all kinds of cool things.
Full of smiling (usually whitened), clear skin (gotta remove those blemishes though), tan skin (turn that saturation up just a little), defined muscles (structure and sharpen, maybe?), and in the most appealing pose possible (anyone have a “good” side?).
Don’t even get me started on captions, either. That could be a whole other 15-20 minutes of brainstorming to get the caption just cool and witty enough to get the optimal amount of likes without showing you put too much effort into it.
I know I’m right because I DO THE SAME THING.
People have given me plenty of slack for posting what I do on social media because they could never fathom putting that type of information, or weirdness, out to the public eye to be judged.
I’m empathetic to this because I don’t believe everyone should do what I do. All I know is that I have a business to run, which involves me trying to gain people’s trust before they start working with me.
Clients don’t work with me because they think I’m the smartest fitness coach ever, they work with me because I’m relatable and personable.
They see that I post pictures on my Instagram or Snapchat of me eating pizza or Chick-Fil-A and realize that I’m still making progress while doing so. If all I did was post pictures of me eating “clean” and “healthy” foods (which I do about 70% of the time) with condescending memes saying “You’re just making excuses.”, then I would likely not attract too many customers because it’s simply not realistic and people don’t relate to that.
I’ve became way better at not caring what people think about the stuff I post on social, but when I first started posting more frequently and trying to help people through my posts, it was very difficult to not get discouraged from people putting me down.
“Cool post, bro.”
“Your posting just got to be too much, so I had to unfollow.”
“I don’t get on Instagram to read a huge novel caption.”
“I don’t care about what you ate for breakfast.”
These were all said to me, along with many more.
Even with my higher-than-average self-esteem, these words still got to me. They made me question if anybody liked my posts. They made me question whether or not I was cut out for all of this entrepreneur, fitness coach-type stuff...
...but I kept doing it, anyway.
I enjoyed making these posts and the motivational factor that kept me going more than anything else was when I would see random people out - at the bars, at the gym, back in my hometown, at events, etc. - who said they’ve “really been enjoying my posts”.
THAT was all I needed to hear to keep me going.
One person said they’ve been enjoying my posts and learning from me.
That’s how I knew it was all worth it. That impact on someone else’s life is absolutely priceless.
As soon as I had one person’s validation that it helped them out, I could “block out the haters” with ease because my response was always the same:
“YOU may not enjoy my posts, but there are many other people who find them helpful, and that’s what I care about. I make my posts for them.”
I told you all of that to say this:
If you are somebody who wants to accomplish something in your life, but the opinion of others is what is holding you back… do it. You owe it to yourself and no one else. You’re looking for permission from someone else to do what you think will make your life better. This article, right now, is your permission to start. Looking back with regret is the absolute poison of life.
Let’s take a very practical example, one specific to some of you who may be reading this.
Let’s say you’re wanting to begin a new diet and start going to the gym more consistently.
In the beginning, everything is going great.
You went to the grocery store and stocked up on tons of wholesome and healthy food choices. You made a workout plan for the week or you found one on the internet that you’re really pumped to begin. You blocked out a time each day or a few times a week to get your workouts done and, hell, you might have even meal prepped on Sunday and have your meals laid out for the next few days.
You tell yourself, “I got this shit. Spring break vacation here I come.”
You crush the first three days. Workouts, conquered. Pre-prepped meals, eaten. Feeling great.
Thursday rolls around. Your friends want to go out and get a few drinks and eat at your all’s favorite restaurant. Let’s pretend you usually get a bacon cheeseburger with fries and a soda or alcoholic beverage.
“Okay,” you think, “no big deal. I’ll just simply get a grilled chicken salad with some light ranch and a diet coke and I’ll be fine.”
You get to the restaurant. Everyone orders their regular order.
The waiter gets to you and you subtly order your grilled chicken salad with light ranch and a diet coke…
Instantly, one or two of you friends give you a weird look and a small chuckle, “Pshhhhh, what?! Are you on some big health kick again? You only live once, you should enjoy yourself every once in awhile! Don’t get that rabbit food.”
At that split second you have two choices:
Tell your friend to shove it (or more nicely?) and get the salad anyway because you made a commitment to yourself to improve your health.
Say “Ah, screw it, you’re right. Give me the bacon cheeseburger with fries!”
With choice number 2, you justify your choice because of your previous few days of strict eating and crushing your workouts.
“I deserve that burger and fries.”
You savor every last bite and finish the whole entree. You’re completely stuffed and the instant gratification of the dopamine-filled rush slowly starts to diminish.
Then, it creeps in.
You feel guilty for breaking that promise to yourself and over-indulging. You cheated on your diet because you listened to your friends instead of yourself. Now you’re paying the price by battling your own consciousness.
I know all of these feelings and emotions so deeply because I’ve done this same exact thing, numerous times.
This is why I empathize with my clients who this happens to, quite frequently, because it’s hard and I know it’s hard.
Change is hard.
Change becomes even harder when you have your friends and, many times, your family members, bashing you for doing something you don’t normally do.
*Side note: Steven Pressfield has an amazing book, called the War of Art, where he would describe this as “Resistance” (I highly recommend reading it if you struggle with this). This resistance is what you are going to encounter whenever you’re trying to reach your goals.*
When you aren’t known as the “fitness guy” like I am, you don’t have the free pass from your friends and family whenever you decide to make a diet and/or exercise change. It’s expected from me if I do it, but when you do it you’re going to catch some slack from your friends and peers.
I don’t think that’s the way it should be, but it is.
What I ultimately want you to take away from this article is that it’s okay to want to make this scary change.
Whatever that scary change is, it is going to be difficult. You have to be ready to block people out. Negativity, pessimism, and criticism are going to be likely. Sadly, a large amount of it may come from those whose opinions you care deeply about: Your family, your spouse, your girlfriend/boyfriend, best friends, etc.
The saddest part, and the reason why you should maybe send this article to them, is that they wish they could do the same thing as you.
They wish they had your bravery and courage to make a change to your life for the better. So, instead, they try to criticize you to bring you back down to their level because it makes them feel better. They may not realize this is their intent and they still can genuinely love you while doing this, but at a subconscious level, they envy your drive to change.
Then, the best part comes.
Once you push past this initial barrier of criticism and you actually start to succeed, they’re going to slowly start asking subtle questions about what you’re doing. They’ll start to compliment you and tell you they’re proud of you.
One day you might even have someone come up to you and tell you how much you’ve inspired them to make a change for themselves.
That feeling is what I talked about in the beginning. That addicting feeling is what I’ve been chasing ever since I got into the coaching business.
This feeling is what will make it all worth it.
All the criticism, all the negativity, and all the pessimism you receive from people will be worth it once you’ve developed into the person you wanted to be since you started.
If you’re looking for it, use this post as your permission to start.
But just remember, the only person you need permission from is yourself.
Get started today.
*If you’ve read this far, thank you, and I would love for you to do me a huge favor and share this with just one person who may need to read this. It would mean the world to me. :)*
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