Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Thoughts on Failure to Launch (not the movie)

Once upon a time, I wanted to be a personal trainer. I studied hard, I took workshops. I passed the exam, earned a certification. I bought liability insurance, took on a client. Gave free advice (lots of free advice). Applied for jobs in big-box gyms and small independent gyms alike, with zero bites. Hit a busy time with my day job and personal life at the same time, and just couldn't keep up with the persistence required to launch a new career.

I still want to be a personal trainer. I'm keeping my certification current and continue to train myself all the time. Sometimes my dream feels like just that: a brief vision from weeks ago, fuzzy which maybe didn't exist at all. Other times, I kick myself for not maintaining the enthusiasm I had when studying for the exam and not going for it full force. I know my style of "full force" can get me anywhere, so the question of why has burdened my mind lately, especially as I once again experience malcontent with sitting at a desk for hours a day.

Fear is definitly playing a role, but it's not fear of success. It's fear of budget uncertainty. The real problem arises when I do a little math and see that to go full force toward this new career would lead to a budget with more holes in it than the great state of Minnesota's. And it's not just my pocketbook that would suffer, as an attempt at two jobs at once (especially one on top of my mentally demanding day job) would leave major holes in my energy and sanity budgets. While energy and sanity are not tangible, they are real. I know from experience when I start messing with those budgets, especially the energy budget, I have to give it all up simply to recover.

I also have a basic philosophical difference with gyms: I'm not into selling memberships. I'm into helping people make wise, healthy decisions with regard to their physical fitness and wellness. I want to help people understand their bodies and how capable they are and how, if one is patient and puts in the work, transformation will happen. That type of change doesn't come from a gym membership, it comes from someplace special inside the heart. It's tempting to "fake it" and pretend like I'm all about showing clients the yellow brick road to fabulous beach bodies via elliptical machine and weight-room dependence, but I just can't do it when I know deep down it doesn't work. What works is the teaching of a variety of methods along with genuine support of each unique journey.

Despite all this self-reflection, it still leaves me in my day job, staring at the skyline between emails, wishing I was leading a client on a challenging run up the River Road instead of answering compliance questions. I've kicked around becoming a group fitness instructor, with the hope of finding one or two slots a week to teach a class just to be in the fitness industry as a professional, or pursuing free-lance fitness writing. I'm reserving hope that my failure to launch is more about right action and right timing than it is about a true failure on my part. They say everything happens for a reason and the Universe opens doors when it's time to walk through them. For now, I'm watching for the open door.

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