This past Thursday I met one of my new 70.3 athletes at his pool to watch him swim. Since I always swim at the Y, I have never really explored other swimming opportunities that are close by.
As it turns out, I met him at the local high school which is about 5 minutes from my house (the Y is about 20), but on my way there I was a little, shall we say, worried, because I had never been to that pool before.
I wasn't exactly sure where to park.
I didn't know exactly which door to go in.
I wasn't sure if there was a locker room.
I was a little bit worried that the other swimmers wouldn't look kindly to me just jumping in to coach someone (although my athlete assured me all was fine.)
I ended up getting there super early and waited around to meet my athlete. I had parked in just the right spot. I went in the exact right door. And the pool was easy to find, just like he said it would be. There was a locker room that someone showed me, and I was welcomed by all the other swimmers with smiles and handshakes.
Why was I worried? The thing is, I feel pretty comfortable going into situations like this and I was still a little bit anxious. I am happy that I have discovered another place to swim that is cheap and a closer option than my Y. I never would have found this out if I didn't actually go!
So what is my point with all of this? It just got me to thinking about how a lot of people don't try new things because of barriers. What if I go to a new gym and don't know where the workout room is? What if I am uncomfortable changing in the locker room? What if I go in the wrong door of the pool? None of these are small concerns and if you match them with a person who has never done any of these things, to a person who has maybe never set foot into a gym, they become huge barriers, both physical and mental, that require great fortitude to cross.
I think I have a tendency to pass quick judgment on people who do not exercise for whatever reason. The fact of the matter is, I have no idea what their barriers are. A better thing for me (and all of us who are comfortable with these barriers) is to find a way to help them tear them down. Smile at the new person in the gym. Ask the lost looking person if they are looking for something. Help the first-timer figure out how to get the treadmill started.
Let's start tearing down barriers.