You’re not failing me by not making it in for your workout. You can’t let me down by missing a rep on an important exercise. I’m not disappointed in you when don’t track your food, and I’m certainly not mad if you eat a whole plate of nachos while you’re at a happy hour with your friends one night.

You see, you can’t fail me. This isn’t about me. It’s about you. And I want you to know that I don’t buy that you can ever fail yourself either.

I want for you to have massive success– whatever that may mean for you.

I didn’t get into coaching to punish people for eating a slice of bread or oversleeping and showing up 5 minutes late to a class. I got into coaching because I believe that any one of us can have whatever it is that we want, if only we employ a strategy of taking consistent action to get there. I got into coaching to help other people reach their goals by showing up for themselves.

So it really doesn’t bother me when you behave differently than you meant or wanted to. I believe that you’re human, like me, and you’re going to have good days and bad ones. Some days you’ll get to the gym early and crush those sweet lifts with time to get home and make a balanced breakfast and shower before you get to work. Other days, you’ll wake up feeling like shit and when you get to the gym things that are normally easy for you will feel hard, and maybe you’ll leave late for work and without any food packed for the day. That’s okay. I’m here to help you see that one bad day (or even many) doesn’t mean you’ll have a bad life.

An idol of mine, Les Brown, sums this up perfectly: “Don’t judge your circumstances and the possibilities for your future based upon what you have now.”

This is one of the truest things I know. Your past does not predict your future– and it especially does not guarantee it. The belief that change is possible, for myself and for others, is the biggest part of how I got where I am, and it’s why I believe I will get to where I want to go. Our community is not just a place to swap smoothie recipes or talk about how sore your glutes are after a heavy squat day (though it is also that). It’s a place where everyone is striving to embody the belief that change is possible.

It’s also part and parcel of why I got into the coaching business: because I believe that each of us has the ability to create a better life for ourselves. Let me be clear: when I tell those daily motivational stories about self-improvement, I’m not fucking talking about your ability to get visible abdominal muscles. I’ve got your back if you want abs– yes, we can totally do that. But just so you know, if you can’t be proud of yourself just for being on the path to a better you, I can tell you from experience that having washboard abs isn’t going to give you any more self-confidence.

And I know that it’s easier said than done. Most people don’t simply wake up one day feeling totally at peace with exactly where they are right at that moment. Even if you do find that kind of bliss all at once, it’s not something that you get to keep, per se. There will always be more struggles, and you will have to practice getting back to that place of self-compassion and forgiveness and self-love over and over again.

So yeah, if you want to be a you that eats nachos, okay. Why not? But you can’t also be a you that beats yourself up every time you eat nachos– that’s where I draw the line.

Miss as many workouts as you have to. I’ll still be at the gym waiting for you every damn day. Not because I have to be. Not because I want to guilt you. But because I’m here to show up for you unconditionally.

I hope that you will also practice doing the same for yourself.

In the end, getting anything you want in life is about being able to bounce back from failure after failure (again, whatever that means to you). You know that failure is going to happen, and it’s going to keep happening throughout your life. But as Zig Ziglar says, “failure is an event, not a person.” The ability to learn from mistakes–while also having compassion for yourself for making them–is resilience itself.

My purpose is to demonstrate for my athletes what this unconditional self-compassion looks like. You cannot let me down. As long as you’re engaged in the process, I will be engaged in helping you to change your health and your fitness and your life. I will always have one more idea, one more workout, one more adjustment, one more nutrition program, one more book recommendation, one more way that we can try again just a little differently.

I believe in you so much that nothing you do could possibly let me down. I see the light in you. And that’s all I see.

photo credit: Had a bad day via photopin (license)

Emily is the owner of Bold & Badass Fitness, as well as one of the gym's coaches. She is passionate about social justice, powerlifting, science-fiction, and her chirpy calico cat, Koshka.

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