This morning in my exercise class, Jenny Schatzle—top fitness guru, motivational speaker and today’s lead trainer—shared an inspirational story that I believe bears further sharing. Here goes.
A regular participant in Jenny’s exercise program went on a cruise last week. One day aboard the ship, this man joined an exercise class. During the class, the trainer challenged the class to hold a “plank” for as long as possible. There was a 78-year-old man in the class who didn’t even know what a plank was. So, the trainer demonstrated. Soon after, each class member assumed the position. One by one, each person in the class dropped down from his/her plank. Ultimately, the only person remaining in the plank was the 78-year-old man who held his plank for 14 minutes! The trainer and classmates were incredulous; no one had ever seen anything like this. When asked how he was able to hold his plank for so long, the older man responded: “I’ve never done a plank before, so I didn’t set any limits on myself.”
This was an “A-ha” moment for everyone in that cruise ship exercise class and for everyone in my class (including me) this morning. After sharing this story, Jenny challenged us to refrain from the boundaries, limits and preconceived notions we impose on ourselves—not just in the gym, but at work, in our relationships and in all aspects of life. We were encouraged to look around the room, as Jenny pointed out the wide diversity of people: young and old, tall and short, some super-fit, some not-so-fit, a variety of jobs and professions—from CEO’s of major corporations to janitors, bus drivers, teachers, homemakers, doctors, students and everything in between.
In Jenny’s classes, there are no judgments or comparisons of who is better or worse—only a group of individuals who are fulfilling their potential each day not just to be stronger, faster and fitter, but also, to be better, kinder, friendlier people.
Living life without self-imposed limits and expectations of who we should be is very liberating indeed. It frees me to be my best self, whomever I choose to be… today and always.