How we confirm our beliefs everyday

UnknownAs a professional serving the health and wellness industry, I always believed I had to look perfect, act perfect and be perfect to be sought after. Because I believed that, I behaved in a way that supported my belief.

Simply stated, we confirm our beliefs with our behaviors. You’ll never find someone who believes they’re horrible at basketball playing basketball in their free time. At the same, you’d be hard pressed to find someone who loves basketball anywhere but courtside.

I used to engage new clients physically and tactically; we’d start off by setting goals and finish up with a workout to assess their capacity. Nowadays, I initiate clients mentally and strategically; rather than knowing their goals or capacity upfront, I’m mostly interested in understanding what they believe about themselves.

Take someone who works 70 hours a week, hasn’t worked out in twenty years, eats mostly on the run, sleeps minimally and caffeinates maximally, has a strained marriage, limited social outlet and no long term goals. Could you start to imagine what someone like this believes about themselves?

Believe it or not, in most settings, this “not so fictitious” person would start off by setting goals and working out, even though the majority of their needs aren’t physical. Here’s the deal, people come to me to enhance their Body but their Mind holds them back and their Spirit suffers. Our industry needs to start treating people and not their waistlines.

When you invest the time with someone and really sit down and actively listen, you start hearing their story, what they believe about themselves. At this point, they don’t need a workout or a meal plan; they need compassion, understanding and encouragement.

So where do I start? How on earth can I get someone who is living so far away from his or her Preferred Status to start living in that direction? I always start with love. Huh? Yep, love is all you need to get started.

Rather than telling them what to do, I start teaching them how to think. So I ask: “Do you believe you are more likely to reach your goals while operating from a space of love or fear?” Love, they say. Then I ask: “If we look at your Current Status and how you’re living your life, do we see any forms of self-love?” No, they say.

In an effort to find love in their life, I equip them with a question they can ask themselves anytime and anywhere: “What does love look like in this situation?”

Take working 75 hours per week…oftentimes, workaholics derive their value or self-worth by their performance and productivity but we can see that comes from a place of fear. In this situation, love is realizing that our work cannot affect our worth, so we leave early knowing regardless of what gets done, we’re still worthy of love and belonging.

Interestingly, as people start believing they are worthy of love, they start behaving that way. All of a sudden, the work schedule lessens, physically activity becomes a priority, home-cooking becomes the standard, late night TV is exchanged for a book and coffee’s replaced with a smoothie, there’s a spark in the marriage, you start developing friendships and they write a vision for their life…all of which are acts of love towards themselves.

So if you’re stuck in the middle of a life that is less than what you desire or deserve, ask yourself: “What does love look like in this situation?” and then behave yourself into becoming someone who believes they are worthy of love.

Trying to buy something that’s not for sale

Unknown-1When you’re overwhelmed with credit card debt, you’re trying to buy something that’s not for sale.

When you’re having a couple glasses of wine to take the edge off, you’re trying to drink something that isn’t thirsty.

When you’re working out excessively, you’re trying to burn or build something that exists outside of the physical realm.

When you’re eating your way through the pantry, you’re trying to satiate something that doesn’t need food to thrive.

When you’re a workaholic, you’re trying to work your way up to something that isn’t on the next level.

You can’t buy it, you can’t drink it, you can’t lift it, you can’t eat it, and you can’t hustle it. It’s called loving and believing in yourself. Remove your crutch and embrace your truth and your journey begins.

What determines how you respond to stress

maxresdefaultYour self-worth is the platform from which you make decisions to manage stress…

If your value is derived extrinsically, it comes from things outside of you: your job, your lifestyle, your possessions, your reputation, your appearance, etc.

In this scenario, you are likely to respond to stress protectively: you’ll work more, buy more, drink more, eat more, smoke more, etc. to numb the painful feelings associated with stress.

If your value is derived intrinsically, it comes from things inside of you: your spirit, your decisions, your reactions, your demeanor, your attitude towards others, etc.

In this scenario, you are likely to respond to stress constructively: you’ll pray more, journal more, meditate more, reach out more, reflect more, etc. to heal the painful feelings associated with stress.

For what its worth, you never really chose your self-worth so don’t beat yourself up if it comes from things outside of you. It was created by your upbringing, your experiences and your responses to every decision made in life. Now that you’re aware of it, you have an opportunity to choose differently.

The Relationship Between Balance and Control

Unknown-16In life, there are always extremes in any given situation. To reference this type of thinking/behaving, we may label ourselves or others as “all-or-none”. The opposite of an extreme approach to life is living in balance.

As a Catalyst to the health and wellness industry, it is my responsibility to help people engage and develop a thought process that helps them live life with efficiency; having the energy they need to do what’s important to them.

One area I tend to see an “energy” leak or inefficiency is in trying to control life. The fact of the matter is, we are “in control” of very little and the quicker we come to terms with that reality, the more we can enjoy life.

To help my clients live life with efficiency, I make them aware of the correlation between the need for control and the amount of balance within their life. In short…

  • The less balance there is in your life, the more your need to be in control
  • The more balance there is in your life, the less your need to be in control

Now, most efforts are designed to help people release the need to be in control but I see that as addressing the symptom. The cause, in many cases, is actually the lack of balance.

Think about it: your plate is full, you’re tight on time, you rely on your schedule running perfectly (control) so you can manage the overwhelming demands in your life. The need for control in this scenario makes perfect sense.

The question isn’t: “Why are you so controlling?” The question is: “Why is your plate so full and life out of balance?” Moving from a symptom-based to cause-based question is far more difficult to answer.

I ask these types of questions every day because I care more about the fullness of my clients’ spirit than I do their diet and exercise routine. This is what it means to a Catalyst in the lives of others.

As you can imagine, these types of questions provoke a process of self-discovery. What I’ve come to learn is when we lack intrinsic worth, we try to fill our lives, our minds, our mouths, our closets, our driveways, etc. with things that can never improve how much we love and believe in ourselves.

This may seem far removed from the concept of a controlling personality but it’s all connected and it’s what comes to the surface when you care enough to dig beneath the symptomatic layers of life.

Here’s what I’ve observed with my clients — the more balance you help them incorporate into their life (which is an act of love that authentically improves self-worth), the less their need to control everything in their life because there’s no need to control something that’s in balance.

For all you deep thinkers (like me), let me just state that I’m fully aware there are many more factors to consider with controlling personalities however, this is one area I’m noticing is severely overlooked and underrated.

Question: How do you see a lack of balance manifest in day-to-day life? I’d love to hear your comments below.

 

The Most Overlooked Aspect of Achieving Any Goal

When people come to me to lose weight and get in shape, they want to know what tactics they can perform to reach their goals: move more, eat less, get more rest, drink more water, stretch everyday, meditate, and the list goes on.

With so many options to consider, deciding where to start can be quite overwhelming. However, far more important than any of these tactics is having a strategy centered on self-compassion…in other words, you’ve got to love and believe in yourself.

If you can’t be kind to, gentle with and understanding of yourself, all the rest won’t get you very far. Even if you did reach your goal, but you take on the role of biggest critic or worst enemy, is that still considered success?

Like anything else, developing self-compassion is a skill. So I have my clients ask themselves a simple question with just about each and every decision they make: What does love look like in this situation?

Love looks like: putting your needs first, moving your body regularly, honoring your commitments, consuming nourishing foods, standing up for yourself, prioritizing rest, saying no to others, managing stress, operating with integrity, finding a work-life balance, etc.

Can you see how this transcends a weight loss or fitness mentality? This is an integration of body, mind and spirit. This approach develops the whole person and their waistline always follows.

Best of all, you’ll find that when you love yourself over and over, your goals naturally surface, not because you intensely pursued them, but because you chose love.

Please let us know, what does love look like in your daily life?

The Ingredients for Change

 

To execute any successful recipe, we need to assemble all the key ingredients first, before we start the cooking process. When it comes initiating any kind of change – diet, exercise, stress management etc — the process is exactly the same.

Following is a rousing recipe for approaching change, presented through the inspiring words of the world’s change agents:

Step 1
Initiate
“The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest thing is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate.” Seth Godin

Be vulnerable
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” Brene Brown

Love yourself
“You yourself, as much as anyone in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” Buddha

Step 2
Known yourself
“You are already that which you want to be, and your refusal to believe it is the only reason you do not see it.” Neville Goddard

Believe in yourself
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” Teddy Roosevelt

Trust yourself
“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.” Johann Wolfgang von Goethe:

Step 3
Relax
“Tension is who you think you should be and relaxation is who you are.” Chinese proverb

Let go
“Ego says: Once everything falls into place, I’ll feel peace. Spirit says: Find your peace and then everything will fall into place.” Marianne Williamson

 Be who you are
“It’s all a matter of becoming who we already are.” Richard Rohr

I say that change happens in the mind first; it’s a matter of perspective. If you’re having a hard time changing, it’s how you’re thinking about it. The only way to start thinking differently is to realize your current strategy isn’t working, be accountable to that truth and start asking questions that provoke a new thought process. Change is hard because change is not linear. I encourage you to be your own solution. Be well.

 

 

 

When you numb, you are not you

images-15It’s human nature to protect ourselves from painful thoughts, feelings and situations.

If you’re unaware of constructive forms of mitigating stress, you’re likely to resort to…

Drugs, alcohol, food, porn, spending, excessive exercise, overworking, blaming or criticizing others, avoidance activities and the list goes on.

It’s important to realize that when you numb, you are not you.

Take alcohol for instance, after a few drinks you have literally altered your state and temporarily, you are no longer yourself.

The same goes for any numbing behavior and while in an altered state, you’ll be unable to resolve the issue that drove you to numb in the first place.

Because protectively numbing pain doesn’t teach you anything about yourself or the situation your in, it just anesthetizes you momentarily.

When clients come to me to improve their “health and fitness”, I teach them this vital lesson early on.

Why do I address this as a movement professional you ask? Because I develop the whole person, not just their waistline.

I always give people the benefit of the doubt, oftentimes; I realize they just don’t know a better way.

So I introduce them to activities that manage stress but keep them in alignment with their values…

Meditation, journaling, praying, reading, talking it out, going for a walk, practicing compassion, saying I’m sorry, being the bigger person, and the list goes on.

Awareness of alternative behaviors doesn’t mean you’re going to opt for them every time.

Choosing yourself in a difficult situation is a skill-set so just start practicing and eventually you’ll be conditioned for life 🙂

Yoga doesn’t make you flexible

Unknown-14As a Lifestyle and Performance Catalyst, people come to me to reach their health, fitness and wellness goals. I’ll initiate a conversation around the varying needs of the human organism: such as love, belonging, self-worth, safety, honor, etc. as well as physical factors including strength, balance, resilience, coordination, flexibility, etc. Oftentimes, people will say they do yoga for flexibility, or even better, “general flexibility”. Yoga is great for many things but we can’t rely upon it solely given the dynamic, variable nature of movement.

Few things here:

  1. I absolutely love yoga as a practice
  2. There is no such thing as general flexibility
  3. Yoga makes you really flexible at yoga poses

I recommend a number of my clients to integrate yoga as a practice to help balance the demands of their lifestyle. In a culture full of urgent activity, we need to engage contemplative, mindfulness-based activities to create a sense of peace within ourselves. I also really appreciate the feelings of intrinsic worthiness and embodiment a consistent yoga practice can create.

Life is movement and movement is always specific. For instance, we never generally pick things up. We may be holding a child in one arm, while reaching down to lift a bag at knee height on a polished, wooden floor. Or, we may have to pick up a heavy pot of flowers from the ground at a nursery with uneven terrain. The fact of the matter is, the activity-specific flexibility and capacity we need to do those things will not improve as a result of perfecting upward dog, handstand or warrior one.

Lets take a closer look at the lifting examples above:

  1. They both require a significant amount of hip bending, while one requires a considerable amount of rotation
  2. One is asymmetrically loaded, while the other is not
  3. The position of the person relative to gravity is vertical
  4. Both activities are under external loads
  5. Both are dynamically subconscious, not cued or performed repetitively

It is these subtleties that we must consider when designing any kind of program, especially one for flexibility. At the same time, this still does not deduct from the many the benefits of yoga (skill, dedication, focus, precision, willingness, patience, etc.). Lets just not confuse the two. For instance, the yoga practitioners I’ve taken care of for pain-related issues, didn’t come to me for general flexibility and in fact, their issues weren’t flexibility related whatsoever, they were more stability issues and an inability to generate and maintain tension throughout their sphere of flexibility and function.

For fun, lets look at chair pose with a twist and compare it to the demands of the aforementioned lifting activities. Chair pose:

  1. Does require hip bending with rotation but is not load bearing and therefore; cannot adequately prepare you for the demands of lifting a heavy pot of flowers or lifting something while carrying a child
  2. Has one of it’s primary drivers (the eyes) focused away from the ground, where an object would need to be lifted from
  3. Is a sustained position while movement, gravity and ground reaction forces dynamically drive the lifting activities.
  4. Has three points of stability (feet and elbow on thighs), while the lifting activities only have two points of stability (feet)
  5. Is generally performed in a similar, safe and predictable environment while the lifting activities are incredibly variable and unpredictable.

Gary Gray says: “The truth doesn’t change, our understanding of it does.” Meaning, we may not be aware of the principles, subtleties and complexities of movement but that doesn’t negate the fact they exist. For instance, a child has no idea what gravity is but they are kept on the ground regardless.

At the end of the day, nothing is good for everything or everyone. Integration is key, it’s all good. Variety builds capacity! It comes down to your Individuality, objectives and how you’re measuring success. Instead of saying I do “this” because I want to achieve “that”, lets start asking: “Who is the person and what do they want to achieve?” It’s about the person, not the modality.

Taking the Road Less Traveled

I was recently engaging with a new client looking to improve some comfort issues. Almost immediately after pouring her heart out due to some chronic pain issues, she also mentioned interest in losing some weight.

I asked her which part of her wanted to lose weight…her mind or her body? My mind, she answered! I then asked her if she thought her body was in the appropriate condition to lose weight? She knew exactly where I was going.

I explained to her the relationship between our mind and body. Typically, our mind is full of desires (lose weight, get stronger, look great, etc.) while our body has fundamental needs (healthy movement, restorative rest, nourishing food, etc.). Like any relationship, our needs must be met before our desires can be satisfied.

I went on to encourage her that people often come to me to enhance their Body, but it’s their Mind holding them back and their Spirit that suffers. To that end, I felt her progress would come by way of some physical activity but primarily by addressing her mind first.

She really appreciated what I had to say but chuckled and said: That sounds great but to be completely honest, I’m really happy with my life.

I smiled back and asked: How you can be completely happy with your life if you’re numbing pain with anti-anxiety medication?

She paused and replied that the primary reason she’s on it because it helps her sleep better. To which I asked: Why can’t you sleep? Because of my anxiety, she answered.

I helped her understand that medication simply addresses what’s happening, not why. When we numb pain in our life, we’re not learning from it or anything about ourselves and therefore, likely to continue the behaviors which most likely lead to the pain in the first place.

To empower her, I shared some constructive alternatives to managing anxiety, such as meditation, journaling, focused breathing, praying, talking with a friend, etc. All authentic, all holistic, all sustainable and all with side effects including, but not limited to joy, worthiness, compassion, confidence and well-being.

Funny thing is, she thought she was coming to me to enhance her comfort and I’m proud to say I feel I over-delivered, simply by treating her as a whole person: Body, Mind and Spirit.

The fact of the matter is; it’s much easier to diet and exercise to improve your health than it is to take a step back and truly address all the gaps within your life.

While this approach is certainly the road less traveled, it’s the only one I’ve ever found to truly deliver all that which we desire and deserve.

If you’re having difficulty reaching any of your quality of life goals and are interested in learning more about Lifestyle Management, please email info@conditionforlife.com Be well.

The Cost of Doing Business

Unknown-12I’m always amazed at how quickly cost comes up in a conversation with a potential client; most often before we’ve even determined whether our program and approach is a good match for the person’s desires.

This observation got me thinking about the difference between the cost of a diet and exercise program versus investing in a sustainable change in your life.

In those terms, a cost has no positive impact on your quality of life outside of the short-lived nature of instant gratification. An investment on the other hand, offers an exponential return on your resources of function, vitality and well-being.

Consider the cost of living in pain day-to-day, whether that pain is in your joints, in your waistline, in your mind or within your spirit. As you start tallying the cost of living a life that is less than you are capable of, an existence that’s void of joy, contentment or fulfillment, I believe self-care will truly start presenting itself as an investment.

There is no right or wrong answer here as we all have the freedom to spend or invest our resources as we see fit (no pun intended ;-).

I’d only leave you with a question to consider: Is my current distribution of resources offering me the quality of life I desire and deserve?