Be the Spider… or the Butterfly.

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I leaned on the front desk and held my chin in my hands. “…Why am I so damn awkward?” It’s no surprise to me that my career depends on how social I can be, I knew that going into this. What I failed to realize was just how much I’d actually have to chase people. I’m naturally an introvert.  I’m not a salesman, especially not a pushy one. I smile at people, greet them, ask them how they’re doing, but that’s really the extent of it. I haven’t figured out yet how I’m going to make myself start up an actual conversation with a random person, turn that conversation towards training and then convince them to put their money and trust into me. I think it will get easier once I start getting more experience but until them I’m just a wreck.

As I stood there at the front desk, I watched some of the other trainers. They all have different techniques, but they’re all really good at what they do. Sometimes I find myself staring because it’s so odd to me for someone to have the ability to float from person to person like a little social butterfly and know EVERY single one of them. “I want to be that way.” I worry that I’ll interrupt them or annoy them. I know when I’m working out, I don’t necessarily want to be bothered. However, I also know that if someone was to talk to me I wouldn’t blow them off or be mean to them, so why do I think it’ll happen to me? I just don’t feel comfortable approaching someone that has their headphones in. Isn’t that like the universal sign for, “Dude, don’t talk to me?”

Monday night, I went in for a couple hours on my own time. The personal training manager told me to float around and talk to people. “Ask them what they’re working out tonight and then ask them if they’d like you to take them through a workout…” I stared at him blankly. “But they’re already working out… I don’t want to just interrupt…” I’m sure I looked like I had seen a ghost. I felt the blood rushing out of my head and honestly thought that I was going to pass out. It was awful. At that moment I wanted to crawl under a rock and hide. I froze. I couldn’t move, speak… just nothing. I think it was obvious to him that I was about to lose it. He quickly changed the subject to the wedding. I appreciated that, because I was about one stitch away from bursting at the seams. I ended up getting to shadow the other female trainer instead. That was great and I feel like I learned a lot from her. I left shortly after that session finished up. Honestly, I couldn’t wait to get out of there. I felt like an absolute failure. I was totally discouraged and doubting my ability to actually be a personal trainer. “What the heck have I gotten myself into?” If personal training was all about working out I’d be golden, but this approaching people and asking them to put their money into me (a girl with hardly any experience) is killing me. My drive home was ugly. I was so embarrassed and so disheartened. I felt like I let everyone down.

I got home and opened up my laptop. I had just published the “Shock Your Body!” post before I left for work and it was still up on the screen. I couldn’t help but laugh… Staring back at me was the featured image which reads, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” AH CRAP. Another one of “Erin’s life lessons” that came back to slap me in the face. I know that God doesn’t throw things at us that we can’t handle. I know that I’m in the right profession, I just let doubt creep in AGAIN. I have to keep reminding myself that everything is scary at first. A quote by Morticia Addams popped into my mind. It’s kind of perfect because not only does it make sense for my life right now, but also is a bit “Halloweeny”. It says, “Normal is an illusion. What is normal for the spider, is chaos for the fly.” Right now, I feel like the fly. I feel like if I go up to people I’m going to get eaten alive. I’m fearful, so my life feels chaotic. What I need to learn is that I have the ability to be the spider. I have the power to change my normal. I know that if I push myself for a while, approaching people will become second nature. When it becomes “normal” it will no longer be scary. I just have to give it time. The spider doesn’t hesitate approaching the fly… Why should I? On a side note: If I can’t be the spider, I’d settle for being a social butterfly 😉

Until next time…


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I'm an NASM Certified Personal Trainer and Corrective Exercise Specialist. I worked in a gym setting back in Florida for over 2 years, training one-on-one clients and leading group fitness classes. I absolutely loved it, but once we moved across the country to Colorado, I decided to take the opportunity to pursue a slightly different career! My obsession with exercise and love for writing collided, which is how I became a fitness lifestyle writer.


  1. Marty

    October 21, 2015 at 3:22 pm

    Erin, I am very proud of your self reflection, nice job…

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      October 22, 2015 at 10:40 am


  2. Dave

    October 21, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    Erin, you’re going to be fine. I’m sure many of the personal trainers felt or feel very much like you do now. New things are always scary until you do them for awhile.You are a fantastic trainer…So just give it some time and before you know it you’ll be striking up conversations with people no problem. Just remember,Baby steps… Your smart and your beautiful…no body’s gonna be mad if you walk up and start talking to them :-),
    I wish I had some magic thing to say, but trust me, everything will work out. (No pun intended) 🙂

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      October 22, 2015 at 10:40 am

      That was pretty punny!

  3. Alexis McLean

    October 22, 2015 at 10:23 am

    I totally understand this, before I became a personal trainer I had barely even worked out in a gym. I’ve always been a homework out person, so getting thrown into the gym situation and expected to be a sales person and help people a training was very overwhelming at first. This is one of the reasons I started my online Boot Camp’s, partly because I want to show other women you don’t need a gym to get in shape but partly because I didn’t want to have to work in the gym and constantly selling myself!! However, it does get easier girl, you get more confident, and eventually people will be coming to you!! Stick with it, and remember if your leading with good intentions to help people will see that and love you!

    • Chinups_and_Cupcakes

      October 22, 2015 at 10:39 am

      It makes me feel so much better to know that this is normal and I’m not a complete weirdo… Lol! Thank you!

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