Let’s start by establishing this… I never considered myself an athlete.
Sure, I went out for long bike rides for the fun of it, and I took a dance class at the community center. I grew up skiing and hiking with my parents. When I moved to New York City after university, I joined yoga classes and a social running group.
Competitive sports seemed intimidating, but in my late 20s, I finally signed up for a few races to give myself something to train for, and I learned that they were fun and inspiring. Soon, I was signing up for half-marathons and sprint-length triathlons.
Despite all that, I still couldn’t think of myself as athletic. I thought “athletes” were the people who did group sports and were picked to be on teams at school.
When one of my friends pointed out that “athlete” literally means “someone who competes in one or more sports that involve physical strength, speed or endurance,” I had to admit that I needed to reconsider the label.
But come on… does a label really matter? Well, maybe it does.
I’ve certainly found that labeling myself an “athlete” changes the way I feel when I go to the gym. Now I have a different idea about what my workouts mean. I have a different idea about what it means when I get injured. Every run, weightlifting circuit and recovery session now builds toward this larger ideal of “me as an athlete.”
Similarly, I never considered myself to be “good with money.” But as the COO of Zuper, an app-based financial coach and the co-founder of a group that focuses on women’s financial education and equality, I had to reconsider that idea as well. I guess I am pretty okay at money management after all.
Now I see so many parallels between what I’ve learned about physical fitness and what I’ve learned about financial fitness.
In this series, I’m going to share those ideas, and I’d love to hear what you’ve learned. Do you consider yourself an athlete? Do you consider yourself a good money manager? Why or why not?