I am not overly attached to much of anything. The people I love, the authentic relationships I’ve created and my dedication to living my life with purpose are about it. When it comes to physical possessions, I lose very little sleep when things change or when it’s time to let them go. Houses, cars, clothing, my hair, jobs, you name it and throughout my life, I’ve been able to move on without any real emotional attachment to these things. In fact, I crave change, challenge and taking on new ventures. What I have discovered about myself in the past few months, during some time of serious self-reflection, is that I do hold onto labels. I am holding myself back by labeling myself and accepting the labels placed upon me by others. Interesting. How did I not realize this before now? At the end of September, I competed at The Alpha Games over in Nice, France. I won my age division in 2016 in this competition and although I was fully aware I wasn’t in the same state of mind this year, none the less I was excited to compete again. In the past year, I have launched a new business, continue to own LOTUS FIT by Design, train full-time and fulfill all of the other roles I have in managing my personal and home life. My mindset going into this competition was to have fun, test my fitness and shut the door for good on competing when the weekend was complete. I had been getting too accustomed to being spread too thin and I knew this needed to change. After this competition, my family and I traveled for a few weeks and got some much-needed rest. I put all work aside, did not step foot in a gym, ate whatever I felt like and laid out a game plan for what life looked like without training with a dedicated purpose. Perfect plan! Ha! As with most of the well-intentioned plans we make in life, things didn’t unfold quite like I expected.
The minute I stepped foot in that arena, I knew I couldn’t let go of competing just yet.So what gives? Was I allowing my ego to get the best of me? Or maybe I was afraid to let go of my training because so much of my identity is tied to fitness? Actually, it was none of the above and it didn’t take long for me to figure that out. The answer was simple and straightforward. I have worked too hard to throw in the towel just because I have taken on so many other responsibilities in my life. I shouldn’t be letting go of something I love because I labeled myself as someone who lacks “natural talent” in athletics. What was I thinking? I am actually a pretty darn good athlete and becoming a better, stronger and more resilient competitor every year. Giving all of that up because I over-filled my life’s plate would be foolish and most importantly, unauthentic!
Strong Leaders Lead Only By Example.But as I mentioned, I am spread too thin and that isn’t fair to anybody. I remind our coaches at the gym all the time they cannot serve too many masters. When coaching clients, I help them focus on one area of their life at a time as to not get overwhelmed and quit improving their health altogether. And here I am, creating a scenario in my own life where nothing is getting done with full intention. I LEAD BY EXAMPLE so something has to change! Back to the drawing board for some serious self-exploration. Doing this is hard work but something I love all the same. When you dig deep inside, there is always potential for personal growth. This is why I work with people every day, to help them discover what it is they want from life and just how important their physical body is, in living a life with fulfillment.
How do you determine what goes and what stays?We all have things we are holding onto that hold us back. Labels we put on ourselves or perhaps imposed upon us by someone else. Narrow definitions of who we can become. Negative self-talk or flat out lies we tell ourselves out of fear. But one thing is clear, to move forward we have to be willing to let go of what no longer serves us. The first step in determining what to let go is to ask yourself why you need to let it go. Painful memories, toxic relationships, and detrimental emotional habits are non-negotiable. These have to go and you have to work on those first! Before you try to tackle anything else, clean up what is harmful to your life, health, and well-being. Next, take a close look at what you truly value and surround yourself only with that which serves these values. For me, my highest values involve living in gratitude. This means filling myself with what makes me complete so I can, in turn, serve others.
What makes you better at being “you” stays. All else goes.So how does competing ultimately help me serve others? Simple…it fills my soul with something I have yet to find anywhere else. I have a pretty darn comfortable life at this ripe old age of nearly 45. I’ve worked hard for it, but the fact remains, it’s comfortable. Competing propels me miles outside my comfort zone. It puts truth straight in my face and requires my ego to stand aside. These experiences make me a humble leader and give me empathy and understanding for those who turn to me for guidance. The journey of uncovering what we need to live in fulfillment and what we need to let go is unending. Ask youself what fills up your soul? Where do you spend your time? What enables you to give all of yourself to what you value most? I will continue to explore, with full honesty, what best serves my purpose in life. But one thing is certain, training isn’t going anywhere!