I will admit that for much of my life, I really thought the goal was to be as independent as possible. Asking for help, getting help, or even needing help felt like things that violated the code of Grown Up. And seven years ago, when I first started MommaStrong, you would have found series of self-help and business books near my bedside table all about how to “go it alone” and to “never give up.”
I’m happy to report that that experiment failed miserably. Trying to go it alone was the dumbest idea I ever had and left me at the hands of someone who ought not have been steering the ship all by her lonesome - MYSELF. I made epic mistakes in life and in motherhood and in business that would have never ever happened had I done one important thing: Run it by another grown up first.
Who could have blamed me, though? I don’t know about you, but this “independent success” value system wasn’t exactly subtly pressed upon me. It was HEAVILY suggested in all areas of life. I mean, in my Junior year of high school, my English teacher prescribed a series of acclaimed literature that focused entirely on the single man in an existential crisis. And my life as an athlete and pre-professional ballet dancer taught me that I and I alone had the resolve to be unstoppable and a “winner.”
And while I am not knocking these values in their entirety, I have come to understand that I only got half of the conversation when it came to being a grown up. And the only reason I learned this is because of the failures that developed as a result of living that out. Little did I know that, all along, all I needed was to be a part of something bigger than me. This life is just not meant to be done alone. Period.
When it comes to fitness, I see many women come in with the same “independent success” mentality. We’ve either been trained that way since birth like me, or we have been disappointed by previous communities and people and thus end up choosing to go it alone. It feels easier sometimes and certainly more heroic to make a self-propelled decision to get “your body back” and to show up for exercise and health. But, inevitably, a pursuit of wellness rarely survives isolation. If you have ever tried a restrictive diet, you know what I mean. While the glossy exterior is a promise of a better you, the reality is a compromise of the nurturing aspect of social eating and freedom to experience pleasure. In other words, it sucks.
It feels awful. And, if you’re like most humans, you’ll eventually quit the diet and throw away the restrictions and go back to being a couch potato with a part time job in kettle chip guzzling. You decide that healthy stuff like that doesn’t work and then you feel shame because you assume that it is your fault that it didn’t work because you somehow didn’t have the “willpower” to see it through.
This is the part that is actually totally off-base and needs a reframe. What if the reason it didn’t work is because you didn’t honor the fact that you are a human and that you need/deserve other humans - even if you are a true introvert like me? What if the reason it didn’t work is because you have imagined that wellness has to come in the solo “road less traveled” and often has to include deprivation and destructive terms like “clean living and eating.” What if the reason it didn’t work is because the standard for self-care ambitions these days has forgotten that, from the beginnings of time, community is what saves people - ESPECIALLY MOTHERS.
It’s hard for me to admit, because I am shy and because my fear of help is is strong, but the only way my life has begun to work is that I was forced to not go it alone. I had to give up trying to run this very business on my own. I had to give up thinking I could live alone forever and ever never give my heart to another person. I had to give up thinking I knew best and had to ask wise people for their input. And, when it comes to fitness, I had to realize that the only reason - no exaggeration - that I have managed to be in the best shape of my life and the healthiest of my life is because I am held accountable to other incredible women.
I wouldn’t show up each day without it. I wouldn’t have learned MOST (if not all) of what I teach if I hadn’t let members teach me and provide input. I wouldn’t have a business today if it weren’t for gloriously capable humans coming in, forgiving my trespasses, and helping me back on my feet and into the lane in which I am supposed to operate. And, now, as I head into the postpartum phase of motherhood once again, I know for sure that I won’t survive a damn day without my crew. Maybe not even ten minutes. I need them. I just do. It makes me healthy, it makes me a better person. And it helps me drop the need to be special and extraordinary and instead be powerfully ordinary.
This is the way to health. And I know how hard it can be, especially if you are shy or introverted or have experienced trauma at the hands of other humans you trust. I understand and I see you. So, in honor of the month of May, which celebrates not only Mother’s Day, but also MommaStrong’s 7 year anniversary (on the same day!!), we are running a month long challenge all about how to connect with YOUR crew and create habits in life that equal entry into sustainable, pleasurable, measurable health.
Here are some things we will be learning:
So, the first step to this is that I am going to encourage you to reach out to a friend right now and tell her, hey, I don’t want to do this alone. Send her this blog or the link to the challenge. If you are already a member, get someone new to join. And agree to show up for at least 5 to 15 minutes of exercise a day, with each other's help. It's a just not that big of a deal when you have company.
Let’s all remember that a hero’s journey demands other people. And you deserve that as much as you deserve to feel freakin’ great in your own body.
Starts on Monday, May 6th. Register today. Click here to get signed up, either as a current member or a new member.