I started teaching dance fitness classes about 1,5 years ago. It has been a very rewarding and enriching activity in many ways. One of them is the opportunity to experience first-hand how people react to challenges and change. That, combined with the fact that my class participants are from different generations and cultural backgrounds, makes teaching an even more fascinating experience full of simple, yet eye-opening stories like this one.
A friendly German lady (probably in her forties) approached me before my class last Monday to ask if she could join. I welcomed her as I usually do and wanted to know if she was familiar with the class format. The question made her nervous and she responded hesitantly that she had taken the class once at another gym, but was in no way experienced. I assured her that this was not a prerequisite at all and kicked off the class. To my surprise it took her not more than a few minutes to be able to completely follow my cues and enjoy the class without any hesitation or difficulties. Admittedly, it’s a fun and easy-to-follow workout, but you can always tell if someone has experience in taking group fitness classes or not. And she definitely had.
I’ve come across this discrepancy between our perceptions and the reality of what we can do quite often. There are so many factors playing a role here – personal, cultural, circumstantial. I don’t want to generalize or jump at conclusions, but I am convinced that we would be better off if we could pay less attention to our (often self-created) doubts and (often self-imposed) restrictions on our abilities. In fact, I am sure we can. Are you?