By Joy Crump, Founding Partner and Executive Chef
What we are capable of changes. Year by year, day by day. The list of what we are sure we can do as women, partners, managers, mothers–is long because we juggle those things daily. We push ourselves in so many aspects, right? We work to be more thoughtful, more capable on the job, more attentive to our children or our parents, more fit, more healthy, more fun, and more fabulous. We work and along the way we see the proof that we can do many, many things. And that knowledge of what we know we can accomplish is, in many ways, our power. But every once in a while, we need to test our power.
I take a 45-minute spin class a few times a week. I like it because it starts on time and the music is loud and when it’s over, the bright green circle on my apple watch tells me that I finished something that day. It’s tough, but I know I can do it. I’ve done it before–many, many times. So when I walk in and click into the pedals, I’m powerful. I’m doing what I know I can do. A few weeks ago, I signed up for the 30-minute class because that’s all I had time to do. I thought the class would be easier for me because it was shorter. Honey, I was dead wrong.
About 22 minutes into it I was beyond breathless. My legs were on fire, sweat poured off of me and my eyes were clamped shut as I worked my tail off just to keep up. And exactly when I was about to turn my resistance down in order to take the pressure off of my pace, take the pressure off of me, the instructor shouted to us all, “Test your power! You think you know what you can do but you can do more!” And I did. I kept the resistance on, I pushed through and 8 minutes later, the class was over and I was on the other side. Green circle closed.
On the way to work after that workout, it hit me: of course the 30-minute class isn’t easier than the 45. In fact, it’s tougher. I’m taking what I know I can accomplish in one box and cramming it into a much smaller box. More stuff, less time to do it. Now that I say it out loud…what was I thinking taking that 30-minute class?! Without even realizing it until it was over, I was testing my power.
Now, in no way is the moral of this story that we as women can always do more. I mean, we can (because we’re awesome). But that’s not what I mean when I suggest we test our power. Let me put it like this: the instructor who shouts at me a few times a week in that spin class is nothing short of a phoenix. She balances the small business she owns with the big corporation for which she also works during her “spare time” (spare what?). She’s a mother, a wife, a trainer, a manager, an athlete. And like so many of us, she stumbles, nurses her wounds and finds the grit to stand back up to go another round. Professionally and personally. She’s one of my private heroes and also my dear friend so when she screams, “Test Your Power!” I know she isn’t saying it in that manic, over-achieving, don’t-you-dare-rest kind of way. She’s saying, what we’re capable of changes. The needle moves and we may not even know it. The down times when we are overwhelmed, under-rested, under appreciated, unseen–those low moments can be the fuel we need to grind out the last 8 minutes of the task at hand. She’s saying your power is a living, breathing thing. So check it. You might be surprised at what you find.