Wednesday, November 18, 2009

YOU'RE NOT MOST PEOPLE'S CUP OF TEA

The truth of the matter is that most people aren’t going to think you’re “the bomb”. At best, most people will find you likeable, tolerable, nice, efficient, a good worker, decent person, helpful neighbor or maybe a friendly acquaintance. Yet when it comes to choosing their all time favorite, it’s probably not you. It ain’t me either! Don’t take it too hard. In fact, we should be contented. Think about it. We only have enough time in our day, week, month, year and life to devote meaningful time to a small group of amazingly important people. Too many people live their lives desperately controlled by their need to have, not just approval, but the adoration of everyone they meet. Some are certain others will reject them if they are “just” who they are. I suppose we’re all guilty of meeting someone so remarkable that we find ourselves in some small way longing to be more like them.

When we held auditions for the cast of Turbo Jam® I asked people who I know and adore audition for the director. I invited people who I would want to spend time with. I think 40 auditioned. There was room for 8. It was difficult to help those I know so well, understand it was “nothing personal" if they were not selected. I assured friends that we may have needed a certain look, a white 40ish female, a muscular black male, tall, but not too tall, a red head with pierced ears or a petite green-haired alien with high kicks. Yet, I found even the most self-assured of my fitness friends questioned their physique, their experience, the outfit they wore, their hairstyle or energy level that day. Quite simply, they weren’t what she (the director) was looking for and there was nothing anyone could have done differently to be selected.

The point is that most of the people who cross our paths in life have their own agendas. They are looking for someone other than us. For them, we are too short, too tall, too quiet or too loud. We are too young or too old, the wrong sex, or the wrong body type. They are looking for someone easier to dominate or someone less intense. They aren’t looking for us. The solution:

Get very good at being
exactly who you are.

This principal applies personally and professionally. When I set out to make a fitness program most people told me I needed to be more drill like, more like Billy Blanks, if my classes were going to have as much appeal as his. I tried for a while, but that didn’t fit me. I like to groove. I watched a hundred fitness videos trying to figure out which traits I could pick up on. I didn’t much look like any of the tall, lean, graceful beauties I had come to know in fitness videos. I’m short, stubby and a bit of a spaz. Each time I heard a critique of my programs or my style, I jerked to attention and wondered what I could do to appeal to that “one” person. I started to drive myself crazy. Somewhere in those early years I came to terms with the notion that I was not going to be everyone’s cup of tea.

Have you ever taught a packed class, received praise from dozens, felt the joy and energy in the room, yet the one person who walked out early with a snarled look on her face still haunts you days later? Maybe you weren’t her style of instructor or maybe she had to leave?

You don’t need to be everyone’s cup of tea. If everyone was looking for you, then you wouldn’t have enough time to devote to the people important to you. If it were possible to please everyone, there would be no Pepsi, only Coke.

You need to know who you are not, in order to know who you are. Be you times two! Don’t doubt yourself, or hold back. Those who do are tolerable, nice, average, boring, or nondescript are also not memorable. I’d take the comments of a legion of critics; if it meant I could connect with a modest group of people that would find, in me or my programs, “exactly” what they were looking for. Hooray! We found each other. Think of your favorite people - those who really leave their mark on you. Picture the quilt of characters that forms in your mind, each person wildly different than the next, but each uniquely engaging. As amusing as you find them, you’ve probably introduced them to others who do not see the appeal. Don’t change to be more like anyone other than you; just get better at recognizing the best parts of you.

Boldly be you, the real you, even at the risk that many may not care for “your type”. Be the person you are when you’re around the people that find YOU amusing. Those who are looking for exactly what you have, need to be able to recognize you when they find you.

3 comments:

Ninotchka said...

Boldly be you, the real you, even at the risk that many may not care for “your type”. Be the person you are when you’re around the people that find YOU amusing. Those who are looking for exactly what you have, need to be able to recognize you when they find you.

I adore this entire post. So true! Thank you for writing it.

leannwoo said...

You just said a mouthful!

I really appreciate this post. So many times we try to be everything to everyone only to fail miserably!

Thank you!

Candy said...

Great post, Chalene! You're very inspiring.
LOVE turbo-jam by the way, thank you so much!