Going Through The Motions

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I’ll admit it. I sometimes have difficulty getting motivated in the winter. I’m not saying that I totally let everything go but I can sense that I need to push myself harder to be productive than at other times of the year.


On that note, I was at the gym bright and early this morning, knowing that an intense workout would help me stay focused and productive the rest of the day. I was conscientiously doing my planks when I spotted two women on the treadmill. I had seen them here many times before and knew that they were regulars. However, what caught my attention was the younger of the two. She was moving slow while keeping up a vibrant conversation with her friend. As I watched these two interact, I realized that she was doing a lot of talking. In fact, she was doing much more talking than moving.


When I say that she was moving slow, I mean REALLY slow.


To put it bluntly, she was just going through the motions.


Yes, she was exercising, but she was barely moving and she wasn’t impaired in any way. She just wasn’t pushing or challenging herself. She probably came here on a regular basis and felt good because she had accomplished her workout and knocked if off her to-do list. She also probably wondered why she wasn’t meeting any of her exercise goals.


From time to time, I find myself falling into this same pattern: feeling productive about accomplishing tasks without really doing my best. Every so often I find myself just getting through the experience or responsibility without putting my all into it. When this happens, I massage my guilt of not doing my best by reminding myself how much I have accomplished.


Recently, I had a networking appointment that didn’t go as well as I had expected. He was pleasant, professional and appropriate; however, I couldn’t put my finger on what was “off”. I had difficulty keeping the conversation going and that never seems to be a problem for me. The whole experience seemed very one-sided— I was exerting all the energy. After much thought, I came up with the answer.


He was really just going through the motions.


Maybe he realized this, or maybe he didn’t. If he didn’t, he probably felt pretty good about fulfilling his responsibility of attending his appointment. However, I saw it as a lost opportunity for him.


We all have days where we’re content with just going through the motions. With our demanding careers and personal responsibilities, each day can be overwhelming.


However, I know you’re striving to be successful, productive and happy. I can promise you that you won’t get there by going through the motions. The path to achieving your dreams is not reached by kidding yourself into thinking that you’re really working hard. It’s reached by being honest with you.


Are you showing up with your best self each day?

Be Yourself!

I was looking out the window while on the treadmill at the gym. I had tired of the usual morning shows on the TV and was enjoying my music. I noticed that a car had pulled up with a mother and her young toddler son .The mother went over to the other side of the car to get her infant child out of the car seat, and Adam immediately found something to keep himself busy.


As he stared at his reflection in the car window, he flailed his arms and began to make funny faces.  He contorted his body and eventually went into a full-fledged dance. Disregarding anyone else, he passionately danced, gyrated and stared at the effect in the car window. The mother got all the way to the door to the gym before she realized she didn’t even have her son in tow.  She yelled to him and he scampered over to catch up.


I watched with amusement as this whole scenario played out. This little boy was totally uninhibited and in the moment. He gave no thought as to how his wacky behavior appeared to others. He was absorbed in his own enjoyment and did exactly what felt right at that minute. The reality is that Adam doesn’t have many years left before he learns that his behavior in the gym parking lot and many other places is unacceptable in society. I bet that by the time he reaches Junior High, Adam will take the utmost care to say and do the right things to get along, be accepted and fit into the world.


If only we could all live our lives with such abandon and joy! The truth is that as we grow up, we learn what’s appropriate behavior and what is not.  We internalize what is expected of us, and the roles that we’re suppose to play in our families, school setting, workplace and the world. To find success in life, there are certain standards of behavior you have to meet, and most of us can tackle this requirement with no problem.  In fact, turning the off switch on that mode of thinking can eventually become an issue in your life.


I coach women that struggle with understanding who they are beyond their roles and expectations in life.  Many have succeeded in numerous arenas, wearing several different hats, but at some point in their life, they realize that they’ve become disconnected with who they are at the core of their being.  It’s possible they’ve spent many years denying feelings and desires in order to accomplish their goals and meet their expectations. Like an athlete, they kept motoring forward toward the finish line. However, there’s a price to pay for following that path in life. Eventually, you can lose touch with YOU and find it difficult to ascertain who you are and what you truly want and need— separate from your many roles and expectations.


The day I saw Adam dancing in the parking lot, he was just being Adam. He knew what he wanted and he didn’t really care what anyone else thought. He wasn’t aware or bound by any expectations— yet. It’s not realistic to think that as an adult you can live like Adam. However, make it a point to incorporate just a little bit of “Adam” into your life every now and then.