I was bored by my life’s routine of gym, followed by shower, followed by errands, followed by coffee and yawn. As much as I tried forcing myself to the library to write, it would realistically only happen twice, maybe three times, per week. It just wasn’t a priority. That, and I second-guessed everything I wrote. It all felt stale because I felt stale. It was time to mix things up. But how?
I needed to do something that scared me. This did not mean watching a Netflix thriller (though, yes, please). It meant leaving the comfort zone of everything I know and taking a risk. It had to be something that made me feel both anxious and eager.
When I eat, I’m mostly in the moment, savoring the textures, remarking on the flavors, relishing the aftertaste. But I’m also thinking about how to improve upon it, what I’ll add next, and maybe, if I’m honest, thinking about my next meal as I eat the current one. I sleep with cookbooks beside my bed. I’ve dealt with weight loss and body image challenges since I was eight years old. Imagine if someone paid me to talk about it all? Imagine if I could actually help others who are knee-deep in it?
Most of you know that I attend Weight Watchers meetings weekly. Many times, other members would approach me afterward and ask if I was a leader, if they could come to my meetings. Now, that, that I could get behind. Teach. Talk. Analyze. Laugh. Cry. And talk about feelings and food, um, where do I sign up?
I’m a public speaker! I love meeting people when I’m off on book tour! I deeply loved being the keynote speaker in Dallas a few months back, connecting with people, motivating people, making everyone realize that it’s hard and that they’re not alone. When I’m on tour, meeting people is my favorite part, making new friends, connecting people, making an impact, sharing what I learn. Yes! So, last November, I went ahead and applied to work as a leader at Weight Watchers. Went on the interview, and then… nothing. I never heard from them again.
Until this past March, when I received a call inviting me to become a service provider! This meant training and learning how to offer members a caring weigh-in. All with the promise that I’d one day stand in front of a room full of people and lead the way.
This past weekend, I was invited to Chicago to attend leader training by National Trainers, where I learned that being a leader isn’t actually about leading. A WW leader is meant to facilitate, not lecture. We’re actually there to listen and to learn from the members, not the other way around. I still have a lot to learn, and I’m actually anxious because, as always, I want more than anything, to dazzle on the first try. I’m a high-achiever, and I want to be spectacular on the first go. But from what I’m told, it takes years of practice to learn how to facilitate effectively. Most difficult, I suspect, will be fighting my instinct to “fix” problems and give advice, and instead, leaning in and asking the thought-provoking questions that will lead others to find their own way. That was my key takeaway from training: hang your values at the door. It’s no longer about you, the leader, and what works for your body. What you personally believe about fat and sugar doesn’t enter the story. Now, the story focus is on the member and how they go about finding their own way.
Another insight I had is that there are so many different leader styles and personalities. While none of us weighs in with our opinions or advice, we all bring a different energy. As much as I connect with a leader whose demeanor is calming and questioning, pensive and serious, I wasn’t built that way. I’m super high-energy and loud! I’m a Bette Midler in a world full of Barbara Hershey’s. I can’t help it! I’m a ham; I go for the joke. I’m New York, and I’m loud, and I’m totally passionate. I’d say that’s my most telling descriptive word. Passionate. It’s always been the case. But some people like that, maybe? That’s why there’s 31 flavors, right?
Eager and anxious, wanting so much to excel, I genuinely want to connect with people and let them know that I truly care and want to help. I’ll receive feedback and want to incorporate it immediately, improving each time, challenging myself to present materials in creative new ways that resonate. It’s an exciting time, and I just want so much to do well. I’m ready to razzle dazzle ’em! Though, would it be inappropriate if I sometimes bust out in Broadway showtunes?
For privacy reasons, I obviously will NOT be writing about any of my members or whatever happens at any of my meetings, but I didn’t want to leave you guys in the dark about where I’ve been, or what I’m up to. But if any of you are members, I’ll likely post my meeting times so you can come and visit my meetings, or connect with me on the CONNECT section of your app (@skdines). In love and training, Stephanie