The text message from Cathy just said, "Thank you". Not entirely certain what she was thanking me for I texted her back… "For what?!?" She said she was busy and couldn't tell me right now, but that we would talk next time we got together. I knew exactly when we were going to get together again, I've been meeting with Cathy 3 days a week at 5:30 AM for the past 6 months. She has never missed a scheduled appointment and every morning she shows up with a smile and usually a funny story about something that happened the day before. Cathy is one of those clients that make getting up on dark, cold mornings something to look forward to. Don't get me wrong… she usually tells me a couple times a week (if not a couple times a workout) "I HATE you and EVERYTHING you stand for!)… but those are the words I live for. Those are the words that let me know I am doing my job, those are the words that tell me I am pushing her just a little bit outside of her comfort zone, where change happens and magic exists.
The first time I met with Cathy she told me her goal was to lose some weight for her daughters wedding in a few months. Fair enough I thought… a lot of times there is a specific, upcoming event that serves as the catalyst for wanting to make a change. Although I suspected deep down she had other reasons for wanting to change, I didn't press the issue. In time, through getting to know each other better I knew I would find out. All I knew at this point was she was a very busy attorney and a mother of a daughter who was about to get married. It was time to get started. Over the next few months she lost the weight she wanted to lose, the wedding was BEAUTIFUL and she couldn't have been happier or looked more radiant as the mother of the bride. After the wedding she continued to workout with me, continued getting up before the sun to come play with me at the gym and keep improving her strength, balance, coordination and swear words.
Halfway through our workout on Monday morning I remembered the text she had sent me on Saturday night… I wasn't going to bring it up though just in case she didn't want to talk about it or maybe didn't even remember sending it. Turns out I didn't need to.
"So, that text I sent you… I was at a dinner party with a bunch of friends and we were all sitting around talking and for whatever reason the conversation turned to how everyone ate too much and that come Monday the 'diets' would start, come Monday things would be different. As I was sitting there listening to everyone making resolutions like Monday was the new year, it struck me…I used to talk like this, I used to swear that every Monday the diet would start and I would get in shape and yada yada whatever. What I REALIZED in that instant was that I DID have a plan for Monday (well, YOU would have the plan, I just had to come meet with you and your torturous ways) and that even more important than the fact that not only did I have a plan for Monday, I had a plan for how to keep moving forward. And also, because of you and the work we've done and the things I've learned… I had strategies for getting through dinner parties without having to sit back at the end of the evening and undo the top button of my pants in an effort to be able to take a breath! What started out as me wanting to lose weight for a wedding has turned into me wanting to be the best person I can be for my LIFE. I oftentimes think of our workouts as metaphors for life. When you tell me things like, 'You can do anything for 1 minute' or 'you are stronger than you THINK you are… I carry those words with me throughout the day and hear your voice in my head. When I have to have a tough conversation with a co-worker or when I go see my mom who has Alzheimer's and she may or may not know who I am, I know that I can get through it. I know that whatever it is I'm going through in that particular instance may be hard, challenging or even painful… but when I get to the other side I will be that much stronger. So, I want to thank you not necessarily for what I LOST (although I DID look GOOD at the wedding!) but for what I have gained… strength, courage and commitment."
As I sat there with tears in my eyes… so proud of the woman I saw before me, the only thing I could say to her was, "Thank YOU".