The Whole Person Blog

Crafted daily by Michael Rizk

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"Mike, thank you for your posts, they truly nourish my soul."

Mara Dowler

©2019 Condition for Life

"If we can't associate joy with the process of self-care, I just don't see the point."

Hello, my name is Michael Rizk.

I've been serving the health-fitness-wellness-life industry since 2000. My background is in personal training, soft tissue therapy, chain reaction biomechanics, change management, and I'm a teacher at heart.


I consider it both an honor and privilege to serve The Whole Person: MindBodySpirit®.


Early on in my career, I took a very physical and tactical approach towards helping people reach their health and happiness goals; namely through diet & exercise. About ten years into my career, I noticed that despite a near-perfect diet & exercise plan, the majority of my clients were still struggling to reach their goals. As you can imagine, this challenged my status as a professional as I've always taken pride in my work. 

"No problem can be solved from the consciousness that created it." Albert Einstein


After months of wrestling with this challenge, I discovered something that fundamentally changed both my approach and my life. I noticed that while people were coming to me to enhance their Body, it was their Mind holding them back and their Spirit that was suffering


Takeaway--The Mind holds back the Body!

They were showing up for their workouts, but they were:

1. Operating as their own biggest critics and worst enemies  

2. Continuously being assaulted by the all-or-none mentality

3. Chasing symptoms caused by an imbalanced lifestyle

I realized my clients didn't have "their Mind on their side" and until they did, profound and lasting would be nothing more than wishful thinking.

  

"Unless we learn how to see things differently, nothing new ever really happens for us." Richard Rohr

At that time, I had no idea how to help them solve what seemed to be their primary problems. So, I picked up every book I could find on the subject, and through meaningful conversations, actively listening, practicing empathy, documenting my experiences, and trial and error, I developed a Mind-First Approach® (MFA).


A MFA extends beyond the realm of "fitness" and can help anyone reach any goal. The simplest way to explain it is I work through the Mind to uplift the Spirit and transform the Body--I work from the inside-out.


Part of what it means to take a Mind-First Approach is to: 

1. Listen to the stories people tell themselves about themselves

2. Notice the quality of the relationship they have with themselves

3. Help them shift from states of criticism to compassion 

4. Understand what drives people and how they define success 

5. Expand their self-awareness and help them see how they're participating in their protective patterns

Culturally speaking, we work from the outside-in, we: 

1. Chase our symptoms instead of addressing their root causes

2. Settle for instant gratification instead of striving for long-term satisfaction

3. Tell ourselves that once we're healthy (outside), then we'll be happy (inside)--which never work because happiness is an inside job.


"No amount of self-improvement can ever make up for lack of self-acceptance." Robert Holden


So I've reverse-engineered the process of self-care, I prioritize happiness ahead of health. I teach people how to be happy now, which involves learning how to see happiness. This is incredibly difficult for most people because they've been conditioned to look for it outside of themselves. If we tell ourselves we can't be happy until we reach our goals, then we'll behave in ways to perfectly support that narrative. 


Ends up, happy people ARE healthy people. Happy isn't some elusive term either; a happy person is someone who: 

1. Operates with intention and lives on purpose 

2. Knows their values and seeks to live them out

3. Has personal boundaries and honors them when challenged

4. Practices the emotional labor of doing difficult work

5. Learns how to fill their own bucket so they can authentically, abundantly, and sustainably pour into others


"I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness; it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude." Brene Brown 


Empowering our clients to create a lifestyle that expresses their inherent joy has led to them experiencing less pain, getting ridding of medications, smiling more, standing tall, taking risks, choosing themselves, getting promotions, traveling light, breathing easy, releasing grudges, extending forgiveness, restoring relationships, sleeping well, having peace of mind, and loving and believing in themselves--and that's just for starters!


What sets a Mind-First Approach apart from a traditional health and fitness program is how success is measured. I have three litmus tests for success: Enjoyable. Rewarding. Sustainable. If you enjoy it, you'll feel rewarded by it, and you'll sustain it. It all starts with joy--it has to! 


"People like us do things like this." Seth Godin

 

MORE HAPPY PEOPLE
WHO HAVE BECOME HEALTHY

 

"I joined this program looking for help on how to be a better person and successful at life. Honestly, I was looking for a textbook full of answers--for someone to tell me what to do. In just a few months of working with Condition for Life, I got much more than I bargained for. They didn't give me any answers per se but they taught me how to think differently about my situation which has led to me making more progress in 3 months than I had on my own over the past 10-15 years. I didn't realize I had it in me all along, I just needed someone to help me see it and now I feel completely empowered to reach my fullest potential. I've gained the courage to do things I never thought of and have learned to see relationships differently. I am forever grateful and can't wait to see how my life continues to positively unfold in response to my new found inspiration. What you learn here will be yours to take and use forever."

Jackie Bianco