June 23, 2016
A good few years ago I was on a management training course and was asked the question
If you was an animal what would it be?
I should have been thinking of the leadership skills I displayed at work, but instead I was of course thinking about my body shape which was probably at its largest and blurted out
…which was of course met by a few laughs from my colleagues, who were used to me making jokes about my weight.
A few years later I found myself watching a documentary about Elephants and by this point I was well on my journey to leading this tribe of incredible plus size runners…and the personality traits of these awesome creatures made me realise that yes the Elephant which is the largest living land animal was in deed my spirit animal, but it had very little to do with its size.
And I have been obsessed ever since with Elephants….I often wear this little pendant as a reminder of my strength, and even named one of my keynotes “The Elephant in the Room” a 30 minute talk all about the sides of obesity nobody wants to talk about.
In a 2012 study of African elephants, researchers identified four distinct characters that are prevalent with a herd of elephants
- The leaders
- The gentle giants
- The playful rogues
- The reliable plodders (how apt hey?)
These personality types have developed to help the giant mammals survive in their harsh environment and are almost unique in the animal kingdom, according to the scientists.
“Each individual in a group has a very different personality type,” said Professor Phyllis Lee, a behavioural psychologist at the University of Stirling.
So…a bit like the ladies within my awesome online running community…The Clubhouse….they are all so different.
We have over 150 members at the moment from all over the UK, and a handful of women from the USA, Australia and across Europe too…and I have plans to grow this community substantially over the next few months.
What I love most about this group of women is how supportive they are to each other, and how valued everyone is despite their differences…its like no other group I am part of…running might be the thing which brings people together, but its the sense of community and support which keeps them there.
The Clubhouse costs £59 for the year, and you may be thinking but why join a paid online group when I can access lots of FREE stuff online?
Accountability and perceived value is why…no amount of FREE information is going to give you a virtual kick up the backside, or give you personalised advice and support when you need it.
The Fat Girls Guide to Running has 16,632 members of its Facebook Fan Page…that’s a whole heap of women interested in the types of thing I write about and the support I can offer…
The way Facebook works is that I now have to pay for women to actually see my posts, and I just don’t have the budget to do that. I am also bombarded with questions and enquiries from women from all over the world, and I don’t have the resources to always respond….despite wanting to help.
By transitioning women into the paid group I can priorities helping the women who really want to make changes and improve as a runner, and I can use the money I raise to grow the capacity of the business…so its a win win.
Each month we focus on a new theme, and for July we are focussing on nutrition, with a month long “Real Food as Fuel” challenge, weekly training sessions that will help you to review how your fuel and replenish your body, and a special expert guest who I will be interviewing via a webinar later in the month.
In September we will be training up our first cohort of Too Fat to Run coaches who will be deployed around the UK…helping even more women find the joy in running.
One more interesting fact about Elephants…
Unlike other animals, where leadership tends to be won by the most dominant and aggressive individual, elephants instead respect intelligence and problem solving in their leader.
Yesterday I was tallying up how many new members we gained last month…and I wanted a more creative way of seeing how my group is growing, so I printed out this beautiful picture to colour in…so now each time a new lady joins, I fill in a small section to represent their place in my tribe.
Theres plenty more room for you to join….