“Fear and self-doubt are the greatest killers of personal genius.” -Robert Kiyosaki
To this point, I’ve been more direct about my advice in these posts than personal. But as a writer maybe that’s what’s missing for me in these blogs, and possibly for my few readers as well… The purpose of these pieces is to connect- me to you, you to nutrition and wellness strategies, and to connect all of us better as a community. That being said, I think it’s time I shared something a little different in hopes it inspires even one of you.
As a kid I was raised to try new things and always give my all at whatever I did. My parents taught me that attitude is everything, that 80% of anything is just showing up especially the hard stuff, and that I could achieve anything as long as I had those two things right and worked my ass off. I’ve always been super eclectic and at the same time, always seemed to be searching for one thing that would make me tick, the one achievement that would bring clarity and lead me towards a single purpose in life. It’s only years later I realize my single purpose IS to be multifaceted, and that I do best at each thing in my life with more than one focus.
I was editor of the yearbook, captain of the swim team which won states my senior year, soloist in the select choirs, did mock UN and debate team, played volleyball for a year, performed in some of the plays and helped with costumes in others. I took a cake decorating class, photography, and calligraphy just for fun, worked two jobs, babysat and did community volunteer work through my church. Faced with the prospect of picking a major for college initially terrified me; “you mean I have to pick just ONE thing I want to be for the REST of my life?!” I applied with different majors to several schools. Ultimately, I AP-ed out of freshman English classes my first year of college, and decided I wanted to teach in the English speaking school system abroad so I could travel and see the world in different places as a local instead of as a tourist; I declared English Teaching as my course of study. I earned enough credits in French to receive a minor in it. I learned how to change the oil in my own car just because. I saw nearly every show and band that came to my university, took the train into Boston with friends, decided I didn’t want to swim competitively anymore because I didn’t want to fall out of love with it completely. I worked at a bookshop and the movie rental stop, tried being an RA for a semester, took up sailing on the club team, played flag football terribly, sang in the choir and made the dean’s list consistently. I was fascinated by all of it, and admittedly overstretched and overwhelmed at times. I loved losing myself on a drive to the beach, and finding myself in Thoreau, Kerouac, Shakespeare and Hemingway to name a few.
If you’ve had a conversation with me, you know that although I’ve paired things down a bit in recent years, this is a pretty accurate reflection of who I am. I still work more than one job, and much like our muscles, I believe I grow more when I am stretched personally, professionally, physically. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve really realized there is nothing wrong with that. And there’s nothing wrong with loving the heck out of everything. I’ve worked as an educator and spent some years in the medical field before finding preventative medicine in training and proper nutrition, and at this point especially, I feel each of these things has made me better at the others thereafter. Not because I always succeeded at them, but more importantly because of all the aspects I failed at and had to learn to do differently or better. I have had to fail over and over again in order to find success in any of it, and that’s really the point. Had I let fear or failure control my decisions I probably wouldn’t have tried half of the things I did, and most likely wouldn’t have made it to this industry.
I am not genetically gifted. I may not be the strongest nor the fastest person in the room. But I challenge you to out-work me. I will push. I will sweat. I will fail. And I will get up and try again. I will go for one more rep, one more set, one more move. In my experience, the gym is quite often the only place in life where you get out exactly what you put in. It’s the only place where you have almost total control of the outcome.
I tell you all this because mindset is the one thing over all else you will need to achieve your goals in fitness or otherwise, and it’s the one thing I really can’t teach or train you on. Failure is inevitable, as every expert was once a beginner. Think about that. You will not wake up magically lighter after doing a day of class or eating properly. The process is slow and arduous at times. Patience and consistency are key. You have to change the conversation in your own head. 80% is just showing up to class.
I was seven when I learned to water ski. I must’ve fallen over a dozen times, the oversized adult skis popping off my feet nearly every time, face planting and coming up gasping for air. At the time, it was the hardest thing I had ever done. The only reason I finally got it was because I was determined to keep trying until I figured it out, and because I had my family to help me. Getting to the finish- or even the START- at an obstacle course race or ninja competition is the same way. The road to a healthier lifestyle can be challenging. The path is not linear. You may fail in class or on the course. At the very least, success requires a good road map and sometimes it takes a village. Even when you get where you want to be you have to continue working to maintain your results, and none of it happens immediately.
So as cheesy as it sounds, let me be your village, your cheerleader, and your ten fingers when you need them over the wall. Just as no one wakes up CEO, no one wakes up 10% body fat by accident, or able to do a pull up overnight. I can’t guarantee you won’t fail. I still fail every day. But I can tell you without a doubt it’s worth it to keep going. I encourage you to fail your way to success.
A negative mind will never give you a positive result. The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. So change your perspective, and change your life. Succeed by just continuing to put one foot in front of the other, by doing one more rep during that set, by packing your lunch for work, by skipping the idea that you can’t. You’re in the driver’s seat. You can. You will. It’s worth it. YOU are worth it. I promise.