Weird question right?
It’s a song lyric from the 90’s and it could be taken as being about human behavior and God or the governing forces of the universe or it could be about eating pizza without someone there to confirm that – yes… you just ate that right after you said
you really want to lose another 10lbs.
Either way it popped into my mind randomly after an experience I had when I really thought no one was watching!
I was in Cummings Park attempting to do hills sprints up the grassy hills behind the tennis courts.
Had I ever run up them? No
Had I ever tried? Nope
I wasn’t even positive I could do it without pain in my knees
But I’d been driving by that hill for 2 years and this was going to be the day I found out.
I warmed up at the gym then headed over to the park.
I looked around and there weren’t any other people in the park besides 2 tennis players and 2 guys drinking beer in the parking lot blasting reggae.
No one would be watching me- whether I made it up the hills or not.
And I was totally fine with that! (thinking there was a good possibility I might be rolling down one!)
First hill- ran it slowly and got a little tightness in my knees so I decided to warm up more
Second hill- felt much better and ran it faster
As I was thinking about ramping up my speed each time, I saw a kid wandering over to me and an older woman slowly following him
As I ran down he started running up towards me so I cheered him on and gave him a high five
He was a little startled at this stranger cheering for him, he turned back to run towards – who I soon found out- was his grandmother
I looked up to see the woman ¾ way up the hill
“Great job.” I said
She looked up and smiled out of breath and said, “I didn’t think I could do that, I had a knee replacement not that long ago… and I really didn’t think I could do that!”
I walked over to her and gave her a high five. She said she used to be like me, running all over the place – which made me laugh- but she’d stopped being active and gained a lot of weight (her words)
I said, “well you just walked up a hill today who knows what you’ll do tomorrow!”
She looked at me with kind eyes and a huge smile and said, “yeah you’re right! I gotta get back to it.”
With that her granddaughter walked slowly over and started running up the hill to beat her younger brother who suddenly had the wind taken out of his sails!
The grandma watched me as I completed my set of 6 hill sprints and cheered me on for each one, high fiving me when I ran down.
I was so energized by this interaction and so happy that this woman had walked up the hill and done something that surprised her…
That I was even more shocked on my last sprint when another family, a woman and her two teenage daughters start running up the hill laughing at each other – looking over in my direction
Where had all these people come from?
And why did they start running up the hill with me?
It was hot as hell outside
And none of them seemed like they were dressed to train that day
I thought about it for hours…
It’s like the scene from the movie Dead Poet’s Society with Robin Williams where he takes his class outside
to perform a play and the rest of the class starts clapping along- and he literally asks the question to his students..
why were you compelled to join in?
It’s because we all want to be part of something
And since we’re social beings – we’re influenced and inspired by the actions of others
It’s in our biology to join in and see if we can do it too!
We mimic the behavior of others to show that we accept them and want to be accepted ourselves
That’s why our habits are so powerful to others who watch us everyday like our children and partners
-What we eat
-What we stress about
-How we take care of ourselves (or don’t)
-And how we show love and acceptance of others (or don’t)
It’s what people learn about us, and it’s how kids learn to eat, act, and behave in general
So many people come train with us for our community, and the nutrition coaching and guidance as ways for them to help themselves but also to learn how to help their kids get healthier too
And the secret to success is the same reason those people joined me on a 92 degree day in the middle of the afternoon to run hills
People watch what you do and respond accordingly
Other people saw me achieve something and thought, let’s see if I can do that
When we practice and model behaviors that are healthy and sustainable others will take notice- and vice versa
It’s not always easy, believe me I’ve worked through issues with stress eating, drinking too much, and not being consistent with what I say I want in my life
so I know how hard it can be sometimes
But just being transparent about your journey will empower others to take on whatever hills they have to climb in their own lives
Because someone is always watching!
Be the beacon, even if you fail, the attempt alone shows courage!
Enjoy the light!
xx Coach Meghan