This post has been fizzling around in my mind for months now. I’ve grown a lot professionally in the last year and there is still much work to do. One year ago, I thought I had some leadership traits but I wasn’t a true leader. One year ago, I knew I was hard-working and driven but I didn’t see myself as strong. At times, I was tough on myself, feeling weak and overly sensitive. I’m sorry self of the past; I really was too harsh. 

Right around the time I started my current job, my first time as an official “manager” and leader at a company, I joined Crossfit too! A lot of the movements were familiar to me: burpees, push ups, box jumps, but I hadn’t touched a barbell since college, and even then, it was a scary object. 

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Photo credit: brianandjessicaimages

Let me tell you, weight-lifting did not come naturally. I still can’t do movements overhead after months of consistency and practice, and that’s ok! I’ve seen myself build confidence, overcome adversity, and I’ve even gotten the chance to help a couple newbies by now. 

These same things I see in my career too. I’ve just begun seeing myself as strong, a leader, someone with a unique opinion on things, and more assertive. Much of this has to do with mentorship and experience (they may not know it but I have a couple co-workers that have coached me immensely). However, I do attribute a portion of that growth to that barbell. I keep track of all my PRs in my handy Moleskine, and it’s inspiring to crush my previous max weights. There are also some lifts (ugh overhead squat and snatch) that I am still in the same place with, and I’m proud of that too. I keep showing up and working on my mobility. 

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Photo credit: brianandjessicaimages

My professional-life weight-lifting victories

  • It’s my personal time to decompress. Time away is what makes me able to deal with difficult customer issues day in and day out. Plus, I deserve some fun each day, and yes, I’ve grown to find throwing heavy things around fun. The pull-ups, not so fun. 
  • I’m learning to overcome challenges. There are many things I am no good at. I am not a natural-born athlete. I keep at it and sometimes find success. I’ll take this same attitude with me to the workplace. I won’t be be the best at everything, and that’s fine. I’m proud of my strides and I modify or even just stretch if I’m not “there yet.” 
  • I’m lifting more weight. Literally. I’ve shifted my vision of myself from “weak” “too emotional,” to strong; I can do this. I am a strong woman with grit. 
  • I’m committed. I set clear monthly fitness and nutrition goals with deadlines. I have learned to do the same in my professional life. 

Now, I’m not suggesting every woman go out and start weight-lifting now. It has amazing external and internal benefits but I believe there are so many ways to stay fit, you should do what works best for YOU. There is no need to conform to a style you don’t enjoy. However, let’s get away from those old conventions of “lifting will make you bulky.” It won’t; but it may help you feel confident and strong. Then, go take those fierce strong lady vibes with you to the office.