Today’s Thought of the Day is on:

Self-Expression. CONFIDENT self-expression.

One of my favorite shows “growing up” (when I had cable at home) was Russell Simmons Presents Def Poetry. I absolutely loved watching the “Spoken Word” segments, watching how people got on stage, grabbed a microphone and just talked. About what THEY believed in. About what was IMPORTANT to them. Man, that is such a powerful medium to express yourself!

There is one video, from Taylor Mali, I remember explicitly from my time watching the show:

I remember it so clearly because I got yelled at a lot growing up for, “Using the word LIKE incorrectly!” Soooo funny.
But hearing Taylor talking about the fear our culture has seemed to impose on people for speaking their mind and MEANING it made me stop and think. Why? Why don’t we use the incredible individuality we’ve all been given to express ourselves. Not the things we think OTHER people want to hear us say, but the things we truly feel.

That entire concept translates over into MY “job” (I feel weird calling it that because I absolutely love what I do) as a “personal trainer.” I hate that term to describe a CrossFit Coach. I think it’s because I put so much more responsibility on myself to try to help people change their lives for the better. By default, in my mind, I think the stereotype of a “Personal Trainer” is the overweight, out of shape person who sits there reading a magazine while his athlete walks slowly on a treadmill. My point = The stereotype makes me think of Non-Effective Change Agents in the lives of their athletes.

The Self-Expression that I’m talking about is being able to say that I consider myself (and try VERY HARD to be) a TEACHER, a COACH, a POSITIVE impact on the lives of people who I come in contact with.

But you know what? It’s not always “sexy” to say you’re a personal trainer.

What do you do? I’m a Doctor.
What do you do? I’m a Lawyer.
What do you do? I’m an Architect.

Those professions, to me, lend more to our American Culture’s “expectation of impact” that we all “should” have.

What do you do? I’m a personal trainer.

I feel like that warrants a response more similar to, “I got a puppy this weekend” ~ “Awwww, how cute!” than “I perform complex surgeries” ~ “Wooow!”

But you know what? I’m ok with that. I don’t do what I do because of what other people will think about me. I coach because it makes me feel GOOD. It makes me proud to help people identify and THRIVE on the potential they (many times) never even THOUGHT they had! I’m smiling like a goon here thinking about those moments as I type this post!

So, when I saw this video below, also by Taylor Mali, I smiled, I got goosebumps and I HAD to write this.
I am a personal trainer, a CrossFit coach and it FILLS me with PRIDE to say that.

Self-Expression at it’s finest.


Anything like that in YOUR life?

  1. Heather Beck says:

    Great post! Indeed my choice to be a stay at home mom, gets the same reaction. I feel like people assume I sit on the couch all day watching TV while my kid’s run a muck. We made a decision to have children and we made a decision to have myself stay at home with them.

    Last summer I decided to return to work for about 6 months… Can I just say WOW what a great break that was for me! I had a lunch hour and 10 minutes here and there to make phone calls, no co-workers barged in on me in the little girls room, no one yelled at me and told me I was “not fair”! It was a much needed 6 month break BUT I saw things going on in my little people’s life that I wanted and longed to be part of. I am the room mom in both classes and I love it!!

    My passion is children, especially my 3 😉

    • Smashby says:

      Thanks, Heather!

      I don’t know how you were at your job, all I know is that when I had the pleasure of meeting your wonderful kids, you’re OBVIOUSLY great at being a mom!

      Keep it up 🙂

  2. “I’m just asking you to, like, join me on the bandwagon of my own uncertainty?” Ha!

    I saw this video six months ago or so, and was INSPIRED. Just watched it again, and had the same reaction. This is just brilliant, and so true!

    “You can’t just question authority. You have to speak with it too.”

    Like, totally.

  3. stacy j. says:

    Am I allowed to post twice? Hope so!

    I reread this, because I’ve been thinking about the whole “saying what other people want to hear, versus what we really feel” thing. But mostly about what you said about your job, and how it’s perceived by people who do not understand the intensity and passion (and joy!) that good coaches put into it.

    I think I’ve mentioned before that I’ve never been “coached” in anything other than Crossfit. The coaches at Crossfit Lakewood have been such a huge positive impact on my life, and you all have definitely helped me achieve potential I didn’t realize I had. Nothing big necessarily (other than those pesky 27 pounds I’ve gotten rid of!), but just in terms of endurance, and strength, and mental focus. Maybe I’ll never do a muscle up, but that doesn’t really matter. Because you, all of you, have taught me things about myself, and changed my perspective on myself, in ways that no one else ever has. I am strong. Mentally and physically. I am up for a challenge. I ENJOY a challenge. And do you know who gets the credit for helping me realize those things (and I’m betting everyone at CFLW would agree with me on this)? You guys do. You, and Orion, and Chrissy, and Megan. You are molders of men, and women. You’re not just strengthening bodies, but more importantly – minds and hearts.

    I am so grateful for the passion and enthusiasm and support that I’ve found here. I was telling a friend today what an amazing experience it is to find what you were meant to do. My body, my big-boned, midwest farm-stock, hay-bale-lifting body that I’ve been horribly self conscious about for as long as I can remember – it has found its purpose – it was meant for Crossfit. And it’s AMAZING to have had such great coaching as I start to really realize that.

    Thank you. 🙂

    • Smashby says:

      Stacy…. You’ve left me speechless. That is one of the kindest things anyone has ever said to me. Thank you so much for that incredible compliment.

      I truly hope that the post didn’t make it seem like I was trying to “fish for a compliment”, though! I was actually trying to do the OPPOSITE of that. Instead, say… even if no one ever says anything, I still feel GREAT about what I do!

      To reply to your post, I have two things to say… 1 in agreement, and 1 to disagree 🙂

      #1 – While the coaches at CFLW may be amazing (I LOVE my co-workers!!!), I think it’s YOU GUYS that are the amazing ones. We merely lead a few classes per day, and try to help people get a little more fit. YOU ALL are the ones who come back time and time again, who adjust your diet to be a little bit (or sometimes a LOTTA BIT) healthier so you can see more results, and who are actually IN THE MOMENT… pushing a little harder than you thought you could. I can’t count the number of moments that I’ve experience there… where the light bulb just goes off! Gosh, so inspiring!

      So, the thing I “disagree” with (although that sounds awfully negative, I don’t mean it that way at all) is that the athletes.. our CFLW FAMILY… you guys are the inspiration. Twenty-seven pounds?! Are you kidding me? That is INCREDIBLE, Stacy 🙂

      You all bring such positivity to our four walls, that YOU are the ones who keep that place surviving… and if you ask me, THRIVING.

      I truly feel blessed and honored to get the chance to work with you all. It is literally the best part of every one of my days when I get to coach there.

      Thank you again for your amazing words, I really appreciate it!! And thank you… thank you all, for everything YOU do for ME!

      -LOVE my job!

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