Near miss…


So today was the day I began to give notice to most to my clients – yet again.  More on that later…

Cyber-archeology…

I have 4 Facebook friends who are now dead, but still have active Facebook pages.  This haunts me, ongoing.  I check those pages periodically.  Not with the expectations that my friends will come back to life, but as a way of keeping their memories alive in my heart.  Maybe this is one of the more useful aspects of Facebook.

I read recently that with the increasing decline of new Facebook users, that by 2090 everyone on Facebook might actually be dead.  At that point, and when blogging has run its trendy course, all I have spat out through the years by way of social media will simply be a silicon fossil to be someday excavated by a cyber-archeologist.  This may or may not be my last essay. We’ll see.  If it is, it’s been a fun few years.

Through it all I have thought to share some ideals, and values as they relate to fitness and exercise, that they might be relevant to the lives of others.  Of course I have shared some non-fitness ideals as well. Perhaps years from now if the content I have written is excavated and studied, it may actually mean something to people who may be interested in what I have had to say.  I’m pretty sure the readers of today though, aren’t committing my shtick to memory.

 Leading, And Futility…

I’m basically I’m no longer comfortable with a leadership role in fitness and exercise.  Certainly not in the social media anyway.  This isn’t a joke.  I almost walked away from my business entirely today.  However, a friend and client convinced me to sleep on it for a year or two, and reminded me that social media is my fitness hobby, not my fitness livelihood.  We sat by my fire pit, and talked about the upsides and downsides of me walking away.  Once he got me to listen to my own words, I realized how fortunate I am to have the business, the lifestyle, and the clients I have.  The state of my industry though, has changed dramatically in the past decade, and has done very little to improve on itself.

Unrealistic expectations cultivated by social media, in my estimation, is a cancer attacking good fitness intentions everywhere.  What the general population wants from fitness leaders and resources is this; exercise that cures aging, prolongs youth, and fosters hotness.

News flash:  Youth is a synonym for history.  Aging is inevitable.  Hotness is little more than an interruption in getting more familiar with someone who we might love more deeply if we only choose to look more closely.  Clearly the majority of my social media audience and I are on different pages when it comes to these.  I’m just not willing to play the looking good game anymore.  Both in teaching and in writing, espousing exercise for the sake of hotness is something I’m no longer willing to participate in, even if I do practice it to a degree.

Almost...

Almost…

I have written and taught for years that we have a responsibility to age.  Though I believe we should attempt to do so with the best intentions, and under the best possible circumstances, we should proceed with caution, and respect the historic record of aging – for it is a requirement of living.

Gray hair. Wrinkles.  Sagging boobs.  Woodies gone south.  Skin that bruises ever easily.  Crackling bones.  Shifts in posture.  Loss of bone density.  Belly fat.  Memory lapses.  Hair loss.  Waning aesthetics.  Lethargy. Veins, and not the good ones.  All of these can be met, and addressed to a point with exercise, but none can be avoided.

Jhciacb; Part Ricky Williams, part Syd Barret…

I confided to my friend today that I have been approaching critical mass in my career path for a few years.  He, and I sat by my fire pit, and talked about whether or not I’m burned out or really willing to call it a career.  He asked me what I would do if I walked away from this.  I suggested a job at Home Depot, or an assembly line.  I have no debt so I don’t require much money.  When he was done chuckling, he just made sure I listened to my own words, and then made sure I listened to them again.  I did.  I walked away from our meeting realizing that I’m here, and in this for the long haul – but in a functional, and in person kind of way.

I will no longer attempt to use social media to steer the good ship, Fitness.  Fitness is in rough seas, and has a minimum of lifeboats. The passengers can’t make out the horizon, and the pilots can only describe a horizon that isn’t really there, and that is a horrible combination.

Yes, I am experiencing some degree of burnout, but I still love what I do.  I am now just going to increase the focus on my analog clients, and devote less time to promoting my values by way of social media.

As one client put it today when I called to tell him I was through,

“I depend on you.  Without you, Roy, there would be no exercise in my life, and I don’t trust any other trainer.”

I’ll take 28 of those, over a million Facebook likes who aren’t listening any time.  Be well…  rc

 __________________________________________________________________________________

Please check back at some point to see what happens when I hit the stop button on the blender in my head.  Oh, and there’s this from The Stone Roses. Enjoy…

19 responses

      • When I first joined the Gaurd and was trying so hard to learn all I needed to know to safely get a man up into the air and back on the ground again, I often ended up in tears…which I tried hard to hide…the crew chief I was assigned to asked me that question when ever he saw my eyes well up. It always solidified my resolve to work it through.

  1. Don’t blame you at all for feeling like nothing is ever enough. That the posers will always outnumber the authentic ones. But always remember that YOU are everything to many clients. I hope this isn’t your last post.

  2. I so get this Roy!!! I have a post tomorrow on social media telling us is is not OK to be sad or hurt or unhappy.. the whole things drives me crazy at times & the fact that the people behind the social media name (meaning us) or even their message is not as important as what the company wants – all about them for no money or anything else… HUGS! You are cared about!

  3. So imagine for a moment, you at your firepit, me at my Glinda room, both comfort in our own space. (oh better grab a beer, this might be lengthy) A computer screen to bridge the distance gap. THAT is the social media I enjoy. PUTTING more emphasis on the media than the social. I just wrote, after a little unplugging, “but I am a person, not a brand” , and the gist of whether to blog or not anymore. So, if I was that friend on the other side of the fire pit, I would say this to you…..
    YOU are the change you want to see in this world. YOU show that to those of us that want and CRAVE it in your actions and your words. While the masses go on their social way, you inspire 29 people (I added myself to your 28) I have spent an entire lifetime searching for my own definition of health, well-being, and fitness with finding that deeply hidden want to beyond social opinions. YOU lit the way for me.
    As you know, as I was just starting to gain a little confidence, and “hit my beginner’s stride”, I, once again, had an injury. Yes, saddle in the foot boot. THIS is a familiar pattern for me. My largest fear and stopping block for years. Each and every time, I found the “want to” motivation about my health, within a month an injury STOPPED me dead in my tracks.
    First time ever, it didn’t stop me, quite the opposite. It motivated me more. I wear my boot proudly so I can continue to walk my now habit of at least 7500 steps a day.
    and more food for thought…….there are a ton more contemplative people out there than we know..just because of the nature of contemplative people. We read blogs. We watch videos. We write. We live our inner lives of character more than personality.
    You are spoiled Roy. Just like the rest of us. You run a business where you receive the instant gratification of results…..within the small steps of physicality AND confidence. You get the gratification of close, deep connections. The thing about online….is there are so many more that benefit from your words, your videos, your character…BUT you will NEVER know that. Its the nature of media. Your work is like an artist’s song. It affects people with music, and soul, and words but they have NO idea the masses they affect.
    You don’t need to promote yourself. PERIOD. You’re wisdom is what many truly want.. you just always don’t get to see it.. Isn’t THAT truly what is meant by being the change you want to see……
    with utmost respect and friendship…..(now have another beer and ponder this) thanks for the visit at the fire pit.

    • Don’t even know where to begin here, Julie, but thank you. I guess on some level I recognize that I can/do make a difference. Maybe that’s the context of my meltdown; all the differences I haven’t made.

      I remember talking with you on the phone years ago, having never met you, hanging up and thinking to myself, “ok, she gets it”.

      Looking forward to our next chat/catch-up. I’m glad you’re not letting the boot get you down. Give me a week or so…

      Peace

  4. Hidden (or not so hidden) within everyone else’s comment is worry. I can sense it.

    I don’t blame anyone. My first reaction, reading your post, was also worry.

    I want to think that you are making those – sometimes big – decisions with a clear head and decisiveness, and that you are feeling great about it. Please reassure me that it’s the case? (And if not, we will have to talk! – in a good way.)

    Peace to you. :-)

    • Here’s you reassurance, Julie, a letter I sent to my clients yesterday. So far it has been favorably received. Thank you for caring :-)

      Dear Friends,

      I want to apologize for my absences during the past couple of weeks. As many of you know I have battled insomnia, often profound bouts, for much of my adult life. Despite many of the measures I have taken to address this, in recent weeks it has gotten the better of me and those measures have not worked.

      In an effort to address the root of the problem, rather than continue treating it unsuccessfully, I have taken some time off out of town with the intent of reframing my mind, which includes reframing some aspects of my life, my business included. My business, and my non-business life seem to have become integrated in a way that has become counterproductive.

      I want to address this first by stating that each of you has a value in my life, and given a choice, I wish to continue working with each of you. For anyone to trust me with their fitness values is the highest compliment I can receive. I am humbled, and grateful.

      Some of the changes I will be making will include narrowing my schedule, and quantity of sessions per week, as well as the length of my workday. This may effect some, but not everyone. I will also be enforcing the 55-minute session limit to ensure a buffer between sessions which is increasingly necessary.

      The largest change though, will be about session content. In recent years I have become more than a trainer to most of you, and you have become more than clients to me – we have become friends. Because I have come to value those friendships greatly, I have often let the friendships become primary in the training sessions, and acted as trainer secondarily. In doing so I have failed each of us, and this haunts more than I have let on. Reconciling this conundrum has been forward in my psyche for several months – to a point where I had even considered closing up shop, for not better fulfilling my responsibility to you.

      Going forward I am asking each of you to bear with me while I transition us into a greater balance between trainer and friendship. This should require more effort from me than from you, but with your patience, I believe we can fulfill the facetted aspects of the client/trainer relationship, but the workout, and proper execution of the workout must be central to the experience.

      I am of the sincere belief that if we can stay committed to this transition you will find that my ability to help maximize your fitness goals, and improve your overall physicality will improve. I am intent on refocusing the emphasis of the sessions to a very specific skill set in which I excel. Strength training isn’t rocket science, but when it is applied mindfully, and practiced correctly, it can offer many benefits too numerous to list here.

      For some reading this, you may not wish to work with me going forward. If that is the case, I will respect and understand this. If there are funds due back to you, I will repay them within (7) business days.

      I want to ensure all of you that I am going to make proper sleep a greater priority. This may take time, and may never fully manifest, but I hopeful with a few changes, it can at least be consistent.

      Lastly, I just want to thank you for taking time to read this, and ask that you reply honestly.

      With great respect,

      Roy

  5. Roy, I haven’t been following your blog that long in comparison to how long you’ve been writing it, but from what I have read, I consider you to be a deeply thoughtful person. As a fellow thinker, I can tell you, sometimes you can think too much. Sometimes it’s overwhelming to listen too much. Social Media, of which I personally do not consider blogging itself to be a member, is an unwieldy beast. Sometimes you feel your voice is getting lost. I made the decision I’m not capable of participating in social media at this time in my life. I only have the capacity for one outlet and that is writing my blog. I almost said “blogging”, but these days that word seems to entail more than merely writing.

    Your idea of someone discovering our blogs sometime in future history, is one of the main reasons I write. To say I was on this earth and this was my life and how I felt about it. If I happen to entertain or help anyone who reads my stories along the way to that great cyber-archaeological dig, so much the better.

    If you choose to focus on your analog clients, they will no doubt benefit greatly, but whatever outlets you feel are right for you at this time in your life, I hope you continue to let your voice be heard through your blog. Blogging may indeed be trendy, but I know to be trendy is not why you write. And I know those of us who read your writing will benefit from your thoughts, however you choose to focus them.

    • Thank you for the lovely comment, Shannon. You are dialed in to where I need to go next; that Facebook be used only as another means of distributing my blog — and that’s it. I’m not there yet, but this comment took me a hell of a lot closer.

      I once compared leaving Facebook as jumping onto a cliff from the reverse perspective; that from the disasterous outcome, one rises upward to land on solid ground, and intact. This is my next step.

      On writing: Author, Ari Goldman, once told me that “writing is simply the act of putting a message into a bottle. One never knows who’s gong find it, and how it will impact them.” That’s why the blog stays. It just won’t to too fitness-centered any more.

      • I have been in a disconnect process for a while. First the television, over two decades now, then the land line, then facebook and recently the blog. The last one is the toughest, Facebook the easiest. The only thing I miss is you, your brother and Vandenberg. But so much great material got lost in the ether and it was a real time waster. With the incessant social sharing, it is important to set strong boundaries in order to reclaim our lives. Good luck to you, Roy.

  6. Roy, So I’m a little late to the party, but just read this today. I just wanted to comment and let you know how incredibly thankful I am to have found you on social media. So many of your articles have left a lasting (positive) impact on me, and others as I’ve shared with friends about things you’ve written. I also enjoy your humor. I’d say it’s your vast knowledge, life experience, goofyness, (is that a word?) and thoughtfulness and mindfulness that sets you apart in this crazy social media world. :)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s