It’s Brave to Put Yourself Out There

Two months ago, I was given the wild opportunity to take a fitness format I created and teach it at a club level at the Life Time Ardmore club. Out of hundreds of submissions, only 16 individuals were selected in the company. Not only is it an incredible accomplishment — and one I’m proud of — but it’s also the culmination of work I’ve done over the course of the last two decades of my life, both in fitness and in education. In a lot of ways, there’s a feeling that I’m finally at the place where the rubber meets the road.

Even though things feel pretty magical at the moment, it’s been wild rollercoaster of a ride emotionally. When I was working towards this goal of creating a new and innovative fitness format, I figured that if I was able to birth my idea and bring it forward on some level, there’d be a sense of relief and accomplishment. On some level, my inner perfectionist shrieked with excitement telling me when that happened, I’d finally be “good enough.” Instead, what I discovered is that the excitement of being chosen quickly faded to “Holy Shit! Now I need to prove that this format —and me — is good enough!”

There were weeks over the last two months where I was so solid in my vision and knew exactly where I was going — weeks where there wasn’t a shadow of doubt that was going to stop this dream from becoming a reality. And there were also moments of deep doubt where I questioned, Who I was to be doing this work? My imposter syndrome was LOUD. 

As I was wrestling with my imposter syndrome, it just so happened that I received a call from one of the individuals in my Yoga Teacher Training group. As our 300 hour YTT was coming to a close, we were asked to make calls to each other sharing a quality that we’ve seen develop in them over the course of this training. 

I listened to his voice mail. He recounted memories from training. He listed qualities he’s seen in me over the course of the last five months. And then he said something that I’ll never forget, something that is still so meaningful to me: “I think what you’re doing is brave. It’s brave to be putting yourself out there.”

It’s brave to be putting yourself out there.

He told me it’s not easy to put our work out there, to show up when we’re scared and to keep doing the work when we’re doubting ourselves and he was proud that I was showing up anyways.

I thought about all the times I heard the word ‘No’ and how that word fueled a stronger determination within me to find a Yes forward. 

I thought back to each and every rejection I’ve received. The denials that led to detours. I mean, two years ago I presented the concept for this format and was told there wasn’t a need for this type of programming. Nothing could be further from the case today!  Classes are packed and instructors across the country want to know how they can start teaching this.

It’s easy to put ourselves and our work out there if we know success is likely or inevitable. It’s easy to take the risk if we’ve got no skin in the game. But it’s brave — really freaking brave — to walk hand in hand with doubt and take the next step forward anyway.

We often think of doubt and greatness as two opposite ends of the spectrum. But what makes bravery so bold and badass is there, underneath the courageous act, theres’s fear. There’s a worry we aren’t good enough. There’s a doubt the dream won’t come to life.

Doubt is always part of the process as we work toward the things that are really important to us, the dreams and goals we have. In fact, if there isn’t doubt there — for yourself or the dream — I’ve got news for you, friends: you aren’t aiming high enough. 

I’ve always known this to be true about doubt and this experience isn’t new for me. Eventually the gut-wrenching feeling of doubt and worry subsides into the gratitude that I’m doing exactly the work I set out to do, that I’m living the experience of something that was once a wish.

Last week, I received even more exciting news! I found out that from those 16-chosen feature formats, 7 would move on to the next stage of the process and my format, Band Blast, was one of them.

When the text came through from my studio manager I was speechless. There was intense pride, excitement and gratitude. I immediately sent the screenshot to my Yoga Teacher Training group saying, “OMGGG you guys, look!” as these individuals have been an endless wave of love and support. 

And, then a deeper awareness set in and I arrived at the stage I’m on now. I realized that unlike many great fitness programs that are created and taught on a single-club level or by one person at one studio somewhere, my program is going to reach a lot of people at a regional level. It’s an incredible opportunity and I find myself straddling two very different emotions. I’m feeling as nervous as I do excited. 

I poured everything into this program. Even when this idea was rejected in 2020, I decided I would keep working on it and so I went back to the concept. I read more articles. I tweaked my program with exercise science and I ran the program on myself, trying it out and seeing what worked and made sense.

It was different being rejected then. It was just me. And the people I sent emails to. My program — me — weren’t on the front line baring our soul and work for the world (or at least this region) to see. There’s a piece of worrying what other people will think. There’s the fear that it might not take off at other clubs. I don’t wholly believe that, mind you, but there’s a real piece of fear here and this part of the process makes me feel very exposed, more out there and more vulnerable than I’ve been in quite some time.

“It’s brave to be putting yourself out there.”

I go back and listen to his message, those words over and over again. I remind myself it’s brave to show up regardless of the outcome. It’s brave to put myself out there in a real and exposed way. And I remind myself that regardless of outcome, that my dharma or life purpose its to create and inspire so better to live out my purpose and fail, then try to live out someone else’s dharma and succeed. 

“If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you. If you do not, it will destroy you.”

Steven Cope

What’s within you waiting to be birthed? What the brave thing you’re holding out on doing? And where this week can you put yourself out there to take a risk and be seen?

It’s really brave to put yourself out there and if you’re doing a daring thing this week — I see you, I feel you and I’m walking this path right alongside you.