I’d like to start a real, open AND respectful written dialogue about fat, corporate success, and our personal best.
Note: I am using the term "fat" to mean significantly overweight. I am not using that term to offend anyone. I have some weight to lose and would include myself in this category. I prefer it over words like overweight or obese. That’s my choice, and I apologize if you would prefer I use another word. To me, the opposite of fat is fit. I will use the terms "fat people" and "fit people."
Let’s get real about being fat. There are many talented and successful people who are also fat. I am pretty darned successful and I am fat. There are many unsuccessful fat people. And there are loads of both unsuccessful and successful fit people. I think anything is possible regardless of weight. We are not defined by whether we are fat.
And yet I wonder if fat people can ever approach being or doing their best work while fat? They might be successful, regarded as geniuses, or given awards for outstanding work – but can they ever do and be their personal best?
My gut feel is absolutely not. And I don’t think this because of how society judges fat people. Sure, people make judgments and some view fat people as less worthy of respect. That said, I think the greatest barriers that a fat person faces is judgments and assumptions he or she makes about his or herself.
Like many things in life, I think our self-perceptions become our greatest barriers to optimal success.
If you are tracking with me so far, you might be thinking, sure, that sounds logical. What’s new or useful about that? I am not sure there is anything new or useful. I’m just thinking out loud here.
I have a notion that this is really a big deal for fat people. If you are fat, think about this with me. We are amazing people who are capable of having tremendous impact in this world. Many of us are making a big impact right now. Doesn´t the mental garbage that comes with being fat get in the way? Please don´t tell me there is not mental garbage — I would challenge ANYONE who says they have no mental garbage.
I am not saying all this to make anyone feel bad or less hopeful. On the contrary, I see this as a statement of great hope and opportunity. What if this were not a barrier? What if you weren´t hampered by this extra mental garbage?
Sure, other things cause mental garbage (there are dozens of possible insecurities), but I would venture to guess that most neuroses don´t come close to the almost always-on mental garbage that comes with being fat. It comes up in so many ways and times. Yes, this is self-inflicted crud, but it is also normal and human because no matter how much we say we don´t, we do care. We care what people think and we care about how we look. And we care about the people who are sitting next to us on a plane. And we care about the amount of space we take up in a restaurant booth. And we care about whether we look professional and how well we represent our companies. And we care about how we feel and we care about our loved ones. And we care about whether our coworkers have to walk at a slower pace when walking with us to get a bite for lunch. And we care about whether meeting room chairs will accommodate us. And we care about whether we can participate in fun company functions. And we can about so many little things that fit people do not think about.