We don’t often understand how much our ego can hold us back. Of course it is always there, operating behind the scenes. But usually when we make a decision NOT to do something, we wouldn’t attribute it to the preservation of our egos. Instead it might sound something more like, “I don’t have the time,” or “Well that won’t work for me because…”
But the hidden subtext of those thoughts is often closer to, “I’m afraid to try something new because I might fail.” And perhaps the biggest subtext of all, “I’m AFRAID of how this will make me look to other people whose opinions of me are important.
It’s because we’re social creatures. We’ve evolved in part by not stepping too far in any direction outside the accept norms of our social groups. In other words, taking steps that deviate too far from “what everyone else is doing” can jeopardize our standing within that group (and 100,000 years ago it could’ve left you outside the safety of your tribe to starve to death!).
Specifically, as it relates to fitness, the number one instance of this fear is the refusal to ask for help from those who are experts. We just won’t allow ourselves to stand up and ask for help, because it implies we’re weak or “less” than someone else. Instead we’ll google every get fit quick scheme we can find to look for another way. Or worse yet, do nothing at all to improve.
So for those struggling with their health and fitness I offer the following suggestions to learn from others you encounter who can help you on your journey.
1) Ask for help one-on-one from someone you admire. Start with a compliment.
Everyone enjoys a genuine compliment. So find that person in the gym, or your office, or wherever it may be (wait until you get a chance to interact one-on-one) and genuinely compliment them. “Hi, I know this sounds crazy but I just wanted to say that you’ve really motivated me to improve myself.” Or, “I can’t believe you make it to the gym every morning before work, what’s your secret to staying motivated?”
If you’re genuine in your admiration and your compliment, the other person will absolutely be receptive. You’d be amazed at what you can learn from someone who you’ve just shown genuine respect towards.
2) Email/Comment/Connect online with authors you respect.
When was the last time you read an article or blog or post and took the time to say thanks? The first instinct is to just click “like” and move on. But you’re selling yourself short. If you don’t want to comment publically you can always email the author directly (me, for example, RJ@indyathomefitness.com). Show the person you’ve read their work closely by asking specific follow-up questions to the content they’ve created. Introduce yourself and describe your situation. Ask for their opinion, “I’d love any feedback you could provide or suggestions for additional reading/instruction you think would be relevant.”
3) Make it easy on yourself… subscribe/follow/automate information to yourself
Did you watch a YouTube video that really hit home? Subscribe to that channel. Read a blog that you enjoyed? Sign up for the mailing list so that a week or a month from now when you’ve long forgotten about it, new work will find its way to your inbox. Sign up for free materials. So many authors and sites now offer free email courses, PDF’s, video tutorials. Sign up for them and save a copy on your device. The internet offers an unlimited supply of information, you owe it to yourself to collect as much as you can, but you’ll never get the most out of just one view/read. Start your own personal library of material that you’ve deemed worthy.
The reality is that smart and successful people (in any endeavor) are willing to be a beginner and learn from those who are further along. When was to last time you “raised your hand” and asked for help? If you can’t remember, would you be willing to admit to yourself that ego is probably playing too big a role in that limiting belief?