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Empathy: A Two-Way Street

It’s 2019 and the world is embracing an empathetic existence more and more. From celebrations of identity like Pride and Black History month to practicing mindfulness in our day to day interactions to banning single-use plastics to save the oceans, caring is becoming more and more cool. Great, so why is this coming up in a blog dedicated to fitness? Because in the Flyfeet studio, empathy is an ingredient in our secret sauce!

Flyfeet coaches take an empathetic approach to providing instruction or feedback for Flyers so everyone feels not only comfortable, but empowered, in situations that could be potentially… not empowering. Do you need to scale a movement? Sweet! I’ll will show you options up front. Is a movement new to you? Awesome! A chance to learn. I’ll break the movement down into bite-size chunks to make what is invisible about the technique visible to you. During the work, I’m not going to bark at or belittle you because you had to drop your speed or break in the middle of a set. Flyers are highly motivated people- if you could have ripped out your last four reps, you would have.  I’m going to speak to the headspace you want to find to get you to the end of your set, I’m going to remind you that you are SO much stronger than you think and that your brain is going to be the thing that holds you back the most when exercising. But if the body can’t do it, you don’t need a lecture. You found your edge for that day and that is a big deal. We celebrate chasing the best version of ourselves, inside the studio and out in the world.

This brings me to the role that you, reader, Flyer, student, must play in the empathy game in order for it to land and make an impact. Are you ready? Walk into the studio vulnerable. Ready for something to change. Whether it’s your understanding of a Blugarian split squat or your perception of your limit in a one-minute effort, we’ve got to walk in ready to be changed on a tectonic level.

Why do we push the student/teacher summer special so hard? Because teachers and students already get this. I spent three years as a high school teacher and I had countless difficult conversations with my students. Whether it was losing a grandparent or a parent, not understanding their emotions, or something someone said to them in the hallway, those conversations were only possible because they trusted me with classified information- they were vulnerable. It was then my job as a teacher to put myself in their shoes and help them through some impossible situations because they needed me.

So the next time you walk into the studio, think of yourself as a student. Come in willing to learn or take something your coach says to heart. Empathy is a two-way street and if you come in ready to be vulnerable, the sky’s the limit. It requires you giving everything you’ve got. It requires getting uncomfortable. But you know what? Over time, everything you’ve got changes. That number on the tread will grow. You didn’t change anything, you’re still going 100%. But your potential grew. Because we believed in you and you believed in us.

All Hail the TreadMighty,

Coach Colin