I remember having just graduated from the Seminary and heading off to my first pulpit in St. Louis. I had been through six years of Rabbinical School, served as a student rabbi, and completed an internship, but I was still totally anxious about making the transition.
Once I arrived, I jumped right into the work, but I did not really feel like a rabbi. It was similar to the feeling that many parents have after their first child is born; I felt like I was playing at being a parent, but it did not seem real. The same was true in the rabbinic realm; others saw me as a rabbi, but in my mind I was still the college kid drinking beer on the weekends or the seminary student making the most out of my time in New York or Jerusalem. I may have been playing the part with a new title before my name, but I felt like an imposter.
It was not until a couple of years into it when I was called upon to perform a funeral for a young medical student whose death was accidental and unexpected, that my view of myself shifted. The senior rabbi was out of the country; the family and congregation looked to me for guidance and support. They did not know about my own insecurities; they saw me as the stable presence, helping them through a terrible tragedy. It was that experience and others that convinced me that I was, in fact, a rabbi…and a good one at that.
Tomorrow will be my last day working at the Mandel JCC in Cleveland. I was hired as a Personal Trainer in August of 2018 having gotten my certification just a few months earlier. It was all very exciting and scary as well. It took a little while for me to acquire my first few clients and build my confidence. Bit by bit, I got more clients and members even began to ask for me. It is funny that no matter how insecure I might have felt about my role, others seemed not have picked up on it at all. It some point, I reached the point where I realized that I was a Personal Trainer…and a good one at that.
Leaving the JCC is a bittersweet occasion. It is time for me to move on and focus on my own business, At Home Senior Fitness, LLC. I am excited about the future (and a little nervous too!). I will miss my clients, some of whom I have been training for the majority of my tenure at Mandel JCC. I will miss my fellow trainers as well; they were so helpful as I was making my way into a new industry.
I know that I have a lot to learn as a trainer. I am slowly working on my next certification: Post-Rehab Specialist. I can always hone my techniques with exercises. I have to get up to speed on running my own business (so far, so good!), and make decisions about marketing, technology, and investing in the right ways. Starting this new phase in my career is not without its apprehension, but I go into it knowing that I can do this. I got this.
To paraphrase Stuart Smalley, “I’m good enough, and I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me!” Here’s to stepping into the future! And here’s to all of us who have ever taken a risk, felt like an imposter, and found our authentic selves somewhere along the way!