How Getting Involved in Fitness Made Me a Better Marketer
I hate the gym. Every time I tell myself to go to a traditional gym like Planet Fitness or something like that, I end up sitting in the parking lot for 10/15 minutes beforehand just psyching myself up to go inside. I have a membership, I pay for it, but just the thought of working out in front of so many eyes makes me cringe.
On top of that, I have lacked self-confidence for a long time. From a young age, I can remember not being happy with myself — the way I looked, the way I presented my ideas, the way I interacted with others. My insecurity was deeply rooted and grew throughout my time in high school.
Taking that deeply-rooted insecurity and removing it has been a struggle that has persisted throughout the entirety of college and the beginnings of my professional life. My parents insist, whenever I call expressing frustration, that I am my own biggest critic. I believe it. In fact, part of me wonders how anybody can go through their lives without criticizing themselves. In a sense, criticism is how you learn and grow. But — and this is something that I am just recently figuring out — there is a difference between criticism and belittlement.
The same insecurity that has caused me to worry about the way that I looked invaded my work as a marketer when I first began. Every mistake that I made would be cause to beat myself up over; every time I took an action which someone else determined to not be the most profitable action would cause me to question my choice of career. It became this huge internal struggle — what if I made a blog post that nobody wanted to read? What if my hashtag didn’t help promote our content? What if the graphics that I worked so hard on didn’t end up connecting with our audience, or our ads failed, or my CPC was so abysmal that I was fired on the spot?
The reality is that, no matter what field you go into, you will make mistakes. You will do something that you are wholly confident in and it will turn out completely wrong. There are days when you question why you went into your field. It happens. But realize that on those days, you have control over those insecurities. Pick yourself up and start again.
For me, it was going to the gym that made me challenge these insecurities for myself. After my job downsized in December and I found myself out of a position, I decided to buy 3 classes to RX Strength Training in Somerville, MA. They had fantastic online reviews, great looking classes, and it looked like a smaller gym where I wouldn’t have to contend with the multitudes of people like I would at Planet Fitness.
I put off going for weeks. In fact, I put off going until my class passes were about to expire. At that time, I was anxious, feeling down in the dumps, feeling like my abilities as a worker were never going to be up to par. As silly as it may sound, I worried that my perceived failures in the professional world would translate to my personal life, that I would go to the classes at RX Strength Training and crash and burn. I ended up having to take all 3 classes on 3 consecutive days. By the end, I was tired and sore but I had survived.
Shortly after, I found a new job (and, if you’ve read my last blog post, another since). All of a sudden, I was thrust back into the professional world with companies that believed in me and my abilities, that believed that I would affect them in a beneficial way.
So why couldn’t I believe it myself?
I would go to work and then to the gym, working out my frustrations. But sometimes I had an off day. Sometimes I couldn’t go as fast as everyone else. I couldn’t lift as much as the other people. My first time deadlifting, I was able to do 90 pounds — but I was just angry that I couldn’t do more.
One of the other members saw me once standing by the wall; in my head, I had not being doing well at that class because I was struggling to get my lifting form right. I was watching everybody else with tears in my eyes (I’m an angry crier) when she came up and said to me, “You’ll be alright. Your body is built for strength.”
It was one of the best compliments that I have ever received and one which completely changed my realm of thinking. I began looking at myself in the mirror telling myself that I was made for strength, not that I was weak. I shifted my thinking and began to celebrate my successes rather than vilify myself for my weaknesses. Even if I was only able to add 5 pounds a week to my lifts, it was a change.
I took that new line of thinking into my professional career and began the same transition. No matter how much we want it to, change does not happen overnight. It happens even more slowly if you try to push it.
My body is not the only thing built for strength. My mind is too.
New followers. Content that people shared. Improved CPC on advertisements. That’s just some of what I noticed when I started focusing more on the positive. There are still days when I struggle to see that what I’m doing has a positive effect. But there are other days when I can feel myself slipping back into that, “I’m not good enough…I can’t accomplish anything” mindset and I can snatch myself out of it.
Becoming more involved with fitness showed me that it is just as important to focus on mental health and mental strength as it is to focus on physical. It taught me that failure is not optional, but inevitable, but that it is the way one deals with their problems that really matters. But most of all, it has shown me that strength is something to cultivate for yourself. To be strong, you have to believe and work towards it.
Have you had a similar experience? Tweet me and let me know your thoughts.