Say it and display it!
Recall a time when you set yourself a goal to achieve something that felt important to you. It can be any goal. Have you got one in mind? If yes, read on.
What kind of effort did your goal require of you? Who was alongside you supporting you to achieve it? How did they support you? Did their approach ‘feel supportive’ to you? Hold that thought. this will begin to make sense in a bit.
Today was my ninth spinning class – yep I’ve been counting. I had promised a girlfriend that I would pass my training log on to her as she plans to do the same ride next year, so I’m tracking my progress and activities.
This thought of goals and what helps us reach them was prompted this morning at my early morning, hour-long bike spinning class. My goal is to build my endurance so I actually make the 240km ride I’ve committed to doing in June. And this is where Sarah comes into the picture.
Sarah is our Thursday-morning spinning class trainer. She’s like pure sunshine the moment she steps into the gym. Her bubbly energy is contagious.
Above the music Sarah calls out the instructions with enthusiasm: ‘We’re building endurance today, so we’re going to climb. Find your 6’th gear. We’ll start with a warm-up: 45 seconds in the seat, then gear up a quarter turn and hover and then back on the seat, keeping the same speed, if you’re able to. We’ll do this for four sets. Okay, ready in ten seconds. Let’s go!’ The direction and expectation are clearly set.
I notice that I feel encouraged by the manner in which Sarah has set mini-milestones for us to reach. But even more than that, I notice how her full commitment to the goal herself, serves to encourage me to stick with the program. How do I know she’s fully committed? Because I can see the amount of resistance her legs are pushing as she powers through her pedals.
Perhaps I should explain the set-up in a spinning class, as it’s occurred to me that not everyone has necessarily participated in one of these. The instructor’s bike is set on a raised platform that has a mirror behind it. This helps riders around the room have a view of the trainer indirectly if their vision is blocked. The bike I use is in the back row of this mini-gym. I don’t have a direct view of Sarah, but her reflection reveals her effort. Intermittently Sarah’s voice calls above the music: ‘Drive those legs!’ as she drives her own. Her shoulders are relaxed and down. I notice mine are tense and bunched into my neck. Automatically I drop them down to mimic hers.
‘Halfway there’ she adds with a smile, still pushing those pedals to a steady circular rhythm. ‘Just 30 seconds.’ Beads of sweat glisten on every rider and I’m grateful that the noise of the fans and the music drowns out my effortful huffing and puffing.
‘Just ten seconds, give it your best! Five seconds. Gear down.
‘Awesome everyone! Awesome!’
I feel a sense of deep satisfaction. I actually kept up!
I again hear Sarah’s voice above the din of the music, ‘Take fifteen more seconds and we’ll climb another hill. Find your 7’th gear…’
And so the rest of the class progresses, and for me it’s the very first time that I feel I was able to keep up reasonably well.
Sarah displays what she says. When I see her driving her legs, I’m encouraged to drive mine. When I see her shoulders dropped and relaxed, I’m prompted to drop and relax mine.
Today’s class reinforced the importance of congruence, especially from those who teach or lead. Leaders and teachers who ‘Say it and display it’ gain far more trust and respect than those who do not.
So, here’s a related coaching question for you to reflect on:
In what one area of your life do you need to align what you say to the actions you display? Pick just one. Stay open and curious about how you can ‘Say it and display it!’