I was going to write about self-doubt…but I wasn’t sure

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One of my clients recently shared with me that they are working on trying to defeat self-doubt–not just at the gym but in life in general.

This struck a chord with me as I think it probably does with all of us. Sometimes we listen to the voices of others who tell us we cannot accomplish something, but more often it is the voice inside our own head that is telling us that we are unable, unworthy, or even unlovable.

As a relatively new personal trainer (only in the industry for about 18 months), I have my doubts as well. I don’t know the name of every muscle. I don’t always know the perfect exercise for every issue presented to me right off the bat. I have self-doubts about the work that I do.

Funny thing is that it is really all in my head. My clients have no idea that sometimes I feel like I’m winging it. [Unless, of course, they read this blog post!] Then I see the results that my clients are getting and I wonder why I am doubting myself; they are making progress that pleasantly surprises me and them. I remember all the studying I did to past the ACE PT Exam, and all the continuing education and reading I have done since them. Then I tell myself, that maybe I actually do know what I am doing.

I realize that some of my self-doubt comes from being new at this. I remember when I first became a rabbi that I had doubts about my capabilities. When I graduated from seminary I was almost 29 years old; what did I know about anything? I would agonize over sermons, eulogies, classes I would teach, etc. Did members of my congregation even know? [Not unless, of course, the read this blog post!] To this day, I am still in contact with friends from my first pulpit and I hear stories about the difference I made. After 25+ years in the pulpit, I felt good about my “craft.” I was confident that I was able to help people and that I was even ready to mentor others. This came with years of experience–not in my first congregation.

I remind myself of this when self-doubt creeps up at the gym while I am training others; I cut myself some slack and tell myself I don’t have to be perfect. In fact, none of us has to be perfect. No one expects it from us: not our families, not our employers, not our partners, not even God. All we have to do is try to be the best we can be; it may not be enough for some, but that is their problem not mine.

Perhaps a New Year’s Resolution for 2020 will be for me to work on banishing self-doubt–not just at the gym but at life in general. As Stuart Smalley used to say on SNL, “I’m good enough and I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!”

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