Today I went in early to my gym for an appointment with a specialized exercise class. I have to admit, when I first walked into the room I was surrounded mostly by women and just a couple of older men. For a moment I thought I was in the wrong class. The instructor began talking about the exercises of the day and provided the necessary demonstrations. I thought to myself, “this has to be a joke, it seems too easy!”
The class began and we started our workout and changed gym area positions as the instructor told us to. Boy, this was more difficult than I had previously thought it would be. The workout was an hour-long and seemed never to end. The first thirty minutes was very difficult and I was dripping with sweat. We had finished our workout, when one of the students told the instructor we had missed one set. To be honest I needed a good lawyer at that moment, because I felt like I wanted to kill her. Even though I was tired, I did want to get the most out of the class, so I continued on without too much thought.
After the class I had a session with the teacher who transitioned to my personal trainer. It was time to take my measurements and set some goals. This trainer and I had talked every day I entered the gym and we become quite friendly to each other over the past several months. We had arrived at the point in the measurements when he asked me my age. I told him my age and he laughed and said, “no really, come on your pulling my leg, what is your real age?” I told him again, he paused and looked extremely surprised that I was still holding to the age of thirty-four. He honestly could not believe it. He said, “at most I thought you were twenty-five!” I quickly thanked him for his complement, but he still looked bewildered.
I had to be the one who shocked the most. I thought to myself, “most certainly if he knew how I was feeling after his class, he would know my age!” This started me thinking, because I have been starting to feel a little older. I was starting to feel like I was losing was becoming less relevant to my young followers.
This transaction with the personal trainer started me thinking, I am still relevant and still can relate. After all this personal trainer is in his early twenties and we have great conversations together. Teenagers I am around also seem to think I am fun and want to spend time with me. I guess it is our perception that changed when we begin to get older. I am certainly glad that today, I had a reality check. Leaders, it is not how old you are that determines your relatability, it is your attitude and willingness to take time and spend with those who are younger than you.