At some point, everyone has to come to terms with the gap between how they see themselves and how others see them. This can be uncomfortable. Actually, it is always uncomfortable.
It’s hard to find out that you’re not as kind, or as confident, or as unique as you thought.
Here’s where Bang Fitness had to come to terms with that:
We provide a very friendly, utterly inclusive training environment. Of that we have no doubt. Yet, some people don’t feel ready to come train with us. They think that they have to meet a certain standard first. They have to be fit enough. Or strong enough. Whatever “enough” means.
You are enough. You are plenty.
If we haven’t made that abundantly clear, we apologize. We’re working on that. As in right now.
Everything above this line is the short version. If you were wondering, you now have an answer. Please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you.
Everything below this line is the long version.
Now we get to the whys and the hows. It’s like one of any number of business books with a simple premise followed by 250 pages of anecdotes. If you accept the premise, you can skip the anecdotes.
But maybe you like whys and hows and anecdotes. So here we go:
Sometimes you’re not as good at stuff as you thought. True. And that sucks. But there’s another edge on that sword. Sometimes you find out that you’re better than expected.
Far too many people are missing out on the second type of experience. And that sucks.
We know it’s uncomfortable to find out you’re less than expected. But it’s just as uncomfortable to find out that you’re more. Not the realization; the process. It can only come through hard work. Uncomfortable work.
Cue anecdote music.
I first began training in Brazilian jiu jitsu well over a decade ago. It was one of the most important things I’ve ever done for myself. Not because I’m amazing at it (I’m not), or have a preposterous amount of talent for it (I don’t). It was because it exposed a flaw in my self-image. It proved to me that I was tougher than I thought.
For a lot of people, it cuts the other way. They think they’re tough but actually crumble under pressure. Many very talented people shut down the second they’re no longer dominating. That wasn’t my problem.
Personally, I thought I would give up when things got too hard for me. I didn’t think I was tough at all. I started to learn differently via back-handed compliments.
Jiu jitsu guys are good at back-handed compliments. The best, maybe. “You’re really strong” means that you use approximately zero technique. “You’ve got great cardio” means something similar but with less muscling and more dancing around. What I personally heard (a lot) was, “You’ve got a lot of heart.” That one means you don’t give up. Even when you’re really getting beaten up. And that happened more than a little.
I heard that phrase over and over again. It became so frequent that I could no longer brush it off. That helped a lot. It wasn’t a casual compliment. It wasn’t a compliment at all, really. Which is why I could take it at face value. I also demonstrated to myself over and over again that I really did have a lot of heart. That helped even more. Eventually I realized that I was wrong about myself; that I was way more resilient than I ever expected.
This was not a free self-image upgrade. I paid a lot for it in terms of physical and emotional discomfort.
When Bang Fitness began to really grow in the late oughts, I realized that I wasn’t the only one selling myself a false bill of goods.
Why do people see themselves as less than they are? I think there are three main reasons:
1. Other people told them so.
2. They’ve been playing according to someone else’s ruleset.
3. They’ve never learned differently.
I’ll tell you about some of the greatest things we do:
We give people opportunities to see how tough and capable they truly are. To disprove what other people have told them. To build things according to their own personal ruleset. And to show them differently.
It’s a privilege to watch this take place.
The real art to what we do comes through coaching. It’s highly personal and starts wherever you are. Keep it in rotation long enough and you wind up doing some truly remarkable things.
We give people the right kind of challenges.
What’s the right kind of challenge? It’s not too easy; we’re not talking about participant ribbons and gold stars for self-esteem.
But it’s not too hard either. Constant feelings of failure and being overwhelmed aren’t exactly a good time (or good for learning).
The sweet spot is something that you can perform beautifully when you work very hard to do so.
Finding those sweet spots is a combination of experience, knowledge and collaboration. We don’t have all the answers but we have some very good questions.
So if you’re wondering if you’re ready for Bang Fitness (or any challenge, really), you are. The next step in front of you needs to be slightly more challenging than the last one. Not easy. And probably not comfortable. But 100% doable.
We can talk about all the steps to follow from there.