Nothing puts a smile on my face faster than seeing someone dance. People of all ages, shapes, and sizes letting their inner light loose in the form of butt shaking and arm waving. When I began Zumba several years ago I wasn’t one to let anything loose. I stood their half stepping, shy, and embarrassed. I mean, I could feel my fat shake and it felt gross and ugly and I was ashamed.
My instructor at the time had a contagious energy that was hard not to absorb. I began to realize I could make a difference to others in my position (100 lbs overweight) by letting my shame go. I began to dance like I had just been released from prison after being incarcerated for decades. Did I look ridiculous? Yes! Did I have fun? Absolutely! I started to realize that confidence looked beautiful. So I danced the pounds away.
Had I not had a compassionate instructor I don’t think I would have stepped foot in a Zumba class EVER again.
Today’s guest post is written by Lauren Fitz one of my favorite Zumba instructors because she also has the same contagious energy and compassion my first instructor did. If you will notice in the video’s below she has a very loyal and diverse class of students. Lauren and her best friend Kelsi are beautiful inside and out with a compassion that inspires many people to dance their way to a healthier life.
1. the feeling of sorrow and compassion caused by the suffering and misfortunes of others. “her voice was full of pity”
I was asked by a local artist, blog writer and class peep of mine to put into words what I think about when I hear the word “compassion.” What an honor to be asked to write a blog post on anything to begin with, but what an even bigger honor to be requested to write about a topic such as this. Apparently Hasty thinks that I am a compassionate person!! 😉
Being compassionate in theory seems like an easy task. By definition compassion is sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. How does THAT pertain to me?!?! Let me tell you that this is a trait that I think is one of the most important traits to have as not only a physician but as a fitness instructor as well. For those of you that don’t know me, my name is Lauren Fitzgerald. I am a 35yo anesthesiologist and fitness instructor who happens to have a YouTube channel with over 210,000 subscribers and 56 million views.
To the average onlooker, I am a successful person, but that is NOT what is important to me. What is important to me is how do I use these two jobs of mine and help others in my local community and all around the world?
I believe the answer is compassion.
I have a unique role in a person’s life when I am playing my role as doctor. I meet a person who is usually extremely nervous because they are about to have surgery. More times than not the patient is most nervous about being put to sleep (which is my job). Sometimes it’s just for a simple surgery like removal of their gallbladder and other times it is for a surgery that has a lot accompanying it like removal of a cancer that has spread in a patient’s body. Either way both of those patients are in a very vulnerable state and here is where I come into the picture.
It is easy for someone like me who puts multiple patients asleep everyday to find myself in a place where I lose compassion for each individual patient I take care of. I believe that what makes me an excellent doctor is that I try to have compassion for each and every patient I take care of. My mom (who is an amazing woman that I look up to in every way) did a great job of not only drilling the “Golden Rule” into my head but living that example each and every day. She was a teacher for years and I specifically remember how she would treat the janitors at the school the exact same way she would treat her principle! She treats everyone with love and compassion and always treats others ‘the way she would want to be treated.’
This is a trait that t know I picked up from her and try to put it into practice everyday. As I am interviewing the patient I am constantly trying to make them laugh and smile so that they can release some of that nervous energy. As I am putting them to sleep I speak to them in a loving manner and tell them to “pick out a beautiful dream and we will see you in the recovery room!” Since 2009 I have had the privilege to put to sleep many of the people I work with and I believe that it is my compassion for patients that they see me give daily that led to their requests for my care. (And sometimes it is just because I am one of the only females and they just want another female! LOL!) 😉
My compassionate heart carries over into my world of being a fitness instructor. It should be a requirement for all fitness instructors and physicians in my opinion, but unfortunately that isn’t possible. I will be the first to admit that when t initially started teaching my “Hip Hop” fitness classes at the small overseas military base gym where we were stationed in Japan, it was for selfish reasons. I wanted a dance type group fitness class on a weekly basis so that I could get my groove on and get a workout at the same time. There was only one good Zumba™ class offered at the base gym each week so t decided to start volunteer teaching my own kind of class. Don’t get me wrong. I loved the fact I was finally getting to dance the way I wanted to dance, but the fulfillment that I got from that doesn’t even compare to what I started to get once it stopped being about ME and started being about THEM.
The realization that I was helping others and changing lives through my little hip hop class started to mold the way I approached my teaching. I’d like to say that I became a more compassionate instructor. My students would tell me their own struggles and weaknesses, telling me about their new found happiness from this simple thing we call dance, and tell me how much of a difference little ol’ me was making in their own lives.
Talk about a reality check!!
This was the real deal and it’s all because I carried over a characteristic I used everyday as an anesthesiologist and applied it to my fitness instructing.
Everyone needs compassionate leaders in their lives, but when it comes to fitness I believe that we leaders must have compassion without losing our goal to show others how to conquer whatever their own ‘reason’ is that they need sympathetic pity for. Everyone has their own story and the saying “you don’t know until you’ve waled in their shoes’ is oh so true. We naturally jump to quick judgement when we see a morbidly obese person, but none of us can see the years that one particular person may ave been sexually abuse as a child that lead them to overeating as a way to deal with this trauma.
It isn’t just as simple as ‘you eat too much so go on a diet, get some exercise and then you won’t be fat’… it has SO MUCH to do with what is going on in that person’s brain. The last thing that someone who is struggling with their weight needs to hear from some skinny instructor is judgmental verbage and a ‘holier than thou’ attitude. People that come to my class are looking for inspiration, love, acceptance, and leadership. To give them those qualities, I must be compassionate as well.
Compassion is something I strive to have everyday and in everything I do. I’m far from perfect but I believe this quality is one of the main reasons that I am “successful” in life and has nothing to do with how much money I make and everything to do with the way I impact the world. Much love to you all and may you have a little more compassion in your everyday life, too.
You can read more about the author Lauren Fitzgerald by visiting the fitness website started by her and her best friend Kelsi Comer by clicking here CLUB FITz FITNESS
1. We will post my videos that are unable to be on YouTube for whatever reason.
2. Use this forum as a place where we will post info on any Master Classes that we plan to do.
3. Answer any health & fitness related questions that I can.
4. Help to try and do our part in making a positive difference in a few peoples’ lives as I can while we are alive and well! (Something we CAN all do in our own everyday lives!) 😉
If you have trouble viewing the videos below just search Club Fitz on Youtube.