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Overcoming Fear in the Public Eye

A few days ago, I had this super cool opportunity to talk about the upcoming J. Ramos Works Foundation to a class of vibrant college students at a local university. Two groups of seven students chose the foundation as their project by which they will develop a strategic plan to help reach organizational goals (which is essentially working on finding ways to double the donations we raise for causes). During the class period, I discussed my background while revealing the decisions and thought processes that led me to start the foundation. It was a nice walk down memory lane from my college days that explored my constant desire to change lives and make a difference in any capacity that I can along with all the catalysts and roadblocks I experienced along the way.

Being informed about my organization through the content on my website and seeing what I currently do as a virtual fitness instructor, the class definitely had a lot of material available for them to discuss during the question and answer section. That Q&A session was a great way for me to see if any of my experience can prove to be helpful to the students while also allowing me to take a deep dive into my thoughts. There was one question that stuck out in my mind and I even lingered on it a few days afterwards. The question was essentially something like, “When you wanted to start doing the whole fitness side of things online and you’re now in front of the public eye, did you have to overcome some kind of fear, backlash, or pushback?” I gave a quick answer on how comfortable I was doing my first virtual class back in at the start of the pandemic. Sure, it might have felt a little weird to teach to a camera instead of people in person, but I eventually got used to it. However, when I think about the question more, I feel like I might not have grasped the true essence of it.

After careful consideration, I feel like the question was really regarding fear from external sources. It was the fear of facing criticism, and maybe even ridicule, that may paralyze people from putting themselves out in public both in person or virtually. And yes, I’ve heard some of the talks that are out there, the positive, the constructive, the way off and even uncalled for. My reality is that I’ve been in fitness for almost a decade now, and I decided to leave my career working in technology in the healthcare industry to become a group fitness instructor. I made that choice because I loved how group fitness changed my life, and I wanted to share that love as an instructor. Simply wanting to be helpful to others was at the foundation of what I wanted to do. In that, whenever I was about to teach a class, make a presentation to a large audience, or even before I do livestream, my mantra has always been that if I had the opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life despite the possible criticism and ridicule, I would do it. I feel like that mindset puts me in a comfort zone that elevates me beyond the fear from external sources and allows me to zero in on my primary focus to make a positive impact in this world.

One of the biggest thoughts that I try to convey when training or coaching other fitness instructors is that everyone has the capacity to make a difference in someone’s life. It’s simply a fact that an individual has the potential to reach someone in a way that no one else can. If you had the chance to make a difference in someone’s life even in the face of criticism and ridicule, would you do it?



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