Come on in and get comfortable, I’ve got a story to tell you.

With the fresh scent of #NewYearNewMe permeating through the atmosphere, I joined the millions of Americans and added wellness to my resolution list. I went to a kickboxing class last weekend…and let me tell you, the class was PACKED.

The class had so many people that I had to pair up with a partner to share a punching bag. I didn’t get her name, but for the purpose of this blog post, we’ll call my partner Lisa.

Just to set the scene of my incredible athletic history (can you hear that sarcasm?), I want to flash you back to my near death experience I had on the stairmaster last year. If you don’t remember, I’m linking the blog post entitled “Thin Air” here. Seeing as how I overcame that close call, I figured “Hey, I know The Lord. If I die this time, I’ll just go on to glory.”

A similar set up happened, you know…I was gargling my heart.

But, something was different this time..I didn’t even think about quitting. All throughout the class I kept thinking, “I can’t leave Lisa hanging.”

You see, in combat sports such as boxing,  “sparring” is an exercise where two people practice together in an effort to develop each other. However, the trick is that both people have to be precise in their rhythm and accurate with their skills in order to match the blows.

I won’t get too deep into Sir Isaac Newton’s Laws, but matching the rhythm and skills also has to happen when sharing a punching bag in order to keep the bag stable. For example, when Lisa gave a left jab, I had to return that same energy with a right jab. If I completed a roundhouse kick on the left, she had to kick on the right.

This sounds all fine and dandy until one of you gets tired…and Lisa didn’t get too tired.

So there I was, signing up for a sparring match, simply because of an “overcrowded class.” But, I actually enjoyed it. I knew once I uttered the words, “Hey girl, can I share a bag with you?” that it was on like Donkey Kong.

Did I get tired, yes.

Did Lisa (eventually) get tired? Yes.

But we had to pull from each other’s energy because once again, the purpose of a sparring partner is to train to become better. It is to develop.

So, now I ask you…who is your sparring partner?

This does not have to be just “one” person. For example, I have a whole creative tribe of sparring partners because each person offers something different. Each person trains with me in a different way and calls me out on any excuses or lackluster effort that I render.

If you’re unsure who you’re sharing a punching bag with, try asking yourself these questions:

  • Who is around you making you better?
  • Who is becoming better by just being in contact with you?
  • Who do you have around you to match your energy?
  • Who are you giving energy to?
  • What qualifies someone to be your sparring partner?
  • Who can you attack your career, fitness, family, and/or academic goals with?

Do not confuse this with a mentor, coach, or a role model. Your sparring partner is a PEER that is willing to work with you as you both develop.  Remember, you are practicing with this person and there is a known accountability between you two. Be specific about the qualifiers because you can’t spar with just anyone.

The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17)

Start off your week with knowing who you are sharpening and who is keeping you sharp.


Hi, I'm Vannesia. I quit my job in 2016 because I knew I was purposed for more than tweeting. Now, I get to encourage creatives and entrepreneurs while helping them use what they have to level up in their life and business. Be careful, signing up to receive my messages may cause you to start believing in yourself. Only click the button if you're about that life.

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