Tips From the Tightrope

Reformed Gym Class Wallflower: Creating Achievement Opportunities Instead of Excuses

 

From January 2013:

Oddly, now that I’m waddling about in a walking boot rather than swinging along gracefully on crutches in a leg cast, I blend in a little better at the gym. Doing pull-ups in my burgundy cast took a lot more confidence than I ever had in my former life as a gym class wallflower when my dominant desire was not to be noticed. Back in high school, my cast would have been a great excuse to hide in a corner with a book. Thankfully, this wallflower got legs.

I don’t get quite as many offers of help now—which is fine— I’m pretty capable except for occasional wobbles on this round-bottomed surgical boot I’m wearing. I do get a lot of comments on my “dedication,” however, and feel compelled to explain that it’s not so much about commitment as it is a simple, selfish desire to feel my best and get out of the house.

Accomplishing my normal tasks on crutches or one foot effectively blended regular and intense exercise into my day-to-day living. Just getting breakfast for me and the dog was a pretty intense workout. The gym? That was just for fun.

You see, several years ago I recognized that the “gym class wallflower” I once was had missed out on a lot. Perfectionism, fear of failure or a plain old lack of confidence? It was probably an unlovely blend of all three that prevented me from trying new things and enjoying physical challenges. But it was like waiting to live until no one was looking. Now? I always like to try. Success or failure is simply information about the interaction of my abilities with circumstance and environment at a particular moment. It’s changeable, and I can change it. Knowing this alleviates the pressure and amps up the fun.

The best thing about approaching life with a “let’s see what I can do” attitude is that it tends to pull others along to a higher level too. When I step up to the pull up bar, whether in a cast, walking boot or, someday soon, in a running shoe again, I’m rarely alone for long. I like to think the mental head talk goes like this: “If she (a 5’4″, 110 lb woman) can do pull ups, I know I can!

And yes. You can.



Your thoughts? Comments?