In 1996, my husband Shawn and I, along with Meredith, our eight-month-old daughter, moved to Amsterdam.

Being active and enjoying time with family and friends brings me joy, but all of a sudden, I was in a foreign country and didn’t know anyone. I knew that I needed to find some like-minded people, a new “tribe,” that I could exercise (play) with.  Play makes me feel great and allows me able to show up as the best version of myself.

As soon as we got to Holland, I inquired at the local recreational centre if they knew of any running routes, and they said they had a group that met every Sunday morning to run together, and I could come along if I wanted to. Running is my favourite form of play and joining the running group turned out to be one of the best choices I’ve made. Not only did the group become an excellent tribe for me, but it is where my introduction to personal training and coaching began.

Get out of your comfort zone

There were a few awesome things about the running group. First, most of the 20+ members spoke very little English, so I used it as an opportunity to learn Dutch (which didn’t stick to be quite honest – it is a tricky language).

Secondly, the group was very encouraging. There was always someone to run with and to keep you accountable. With each new person I ran beside, we shared stories about our lives.

Lastly, I was inspired to push myself further than I had in the past. Before moving abroad, I had never run farther than 10k. Suddenly I had entered into my first ½ marathon in Paris, France! I would NEVER have imagined accomplishing that goal without the support of others. It truly was the encouragement of my playmates that got me there.

Then when we moved to Belgium in 2000, I found myself without a playgroup again.  I found another running tribe. Meeting this group of women through running led me to have my first experience coaching people to do their first ½ marathon. It was amazing!

Why it matters to your health

In The Play Book: How To Get In The Habit of Good Health, I discuss with several experts the value of finding a community and having a great support system to play with.  As Dr. Paul Oh, Medical Director and Goodlife Fitness Chair in the Cardiovascular disease Prevention and Rehabilitation Program at the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute said in his interview with me “It’s great because it goes in both directions: somebody might motivate you and you might motivate somebody else”.

I will never forget the opportunities I’ve had, and the privilege I get, to support others to achieve their personal best. It’s the reason I am a coach today.

Are you part of a team or group that enjoys being active together? Just reply to this email and share your story.  The first person to respond will win a free copy of my book!

Yours in health and play,

Janet

P.S. Whenever you are ready, here are a few ways I can help you find your tribe and begin your journey to optimal health.

Speaking of tribes, starting Monday December 16th, I am offering a FREE “7 Day Healthy Habits Challenge” coaching program. Seven days full of excellent habit-based ideas to make your life awesome!

Sign up here and tell your friends …it’s a great way to end your year learning new habits for a healthy lifestyle that you can keep working on well into the New Year!