I recently went through a period in my life – a series of moments, almost paneled into a freeze frame. In one shot, I looked ambitious, focused and determined. The next frame was of a winning face – kool-aid smile from ear to ear after reaching my goal or obtaining the big win. That was followed by a disconcerted look of confusion – the “what now?” phase – coming down from a high and realizing the rollercoaster had stopped.The thrill was gone and I looked empty.
This was the series that repeated in my life for the better part of two years. I would work myself to the bone to accomplish a goal. When I would reach that goal, I would crashbecause the high was gone. This wasn’treserved to my experience in physique competitions, but with work and material possessions as well. There was a delicious euphoria when I was excited about a new goal. I would set out to accomplish it,moving forward with fixated tunnel-vision; ignoring anything else that stood between me and that goal. It was similar to a kid playing Candy Land (where the bright colors and sugary treatscreate the oh-so-pleasing aesthetic), and the race to candy castle is the only goal in sight. No player wants to have to go backwards because it’s a race straight to the finish line, right?
In the real world though, this couldn’t be more wrong. I woke up one day and realizedI was following the wrong path, far from theone where I was meant to be. From the outside, it appeared that I was a person with direction – a good wife and mother, a stable career in fitness, an abundance of friends and booming social life. In spite of that, I felt empty. I didn’t have anything of real purpose to look back on with pride or to give back to anyonebut myself.
I sheepishly put my tail between my legs,took a step back, and began a search from within. I had to think long and hard about why – what was my why? I decided I had to scale back and start with a clean slate. I had to stop everything I was currently doing that no longer served a purpose and focus on myself, my daughter and my husband. I took a break from competing, from being a personal trainer and began to help my husband run our family plumbing business.
I knew I needed to find a passion again, but in a healthy way – one that wasn’t a win-all-lose-all scenario. I cut people and habits out of my life that no longer served me. I needed to get mentally clear and healthy again so that I could find my why. It was like starting all over again.
My husband and I started goal setting, both personally and for our family. We had briefly discussed our goals in the past, but this time we began writing them down. By making our goals visible, we could hold each other accountable. I wrote down behavior goals and outcome goals, in an attempt to differentiate the how and the why.I decided to change my daily behaviors and where I spent my time. Thiswas how I would align my behavior goals and outcome goals.
I started listening to podcasts and reading more. I learned about the 80/20 rule and decided that I needed to fine-tune what I am passionate about so I can create a solid output and be of benefit to others.
There is one more thing I began to do that is pivotal to my current state of happiness – I began to observe. The one person who is always happy and life comes seemingly effortless to is my daughter, Luciana – my muse. When I observe her and how she embraces life, it becomes clear that our nature is to live with the right intention and in a state of excellence. Only through social construct, self-made insecurities and fear, do we start to derail from our natural state. I also began to listen, something I am not always very good at. I realize that I can serve others better by listening to their needs. I feel like this is going to be the integral factor of my why.
I realize now that I have been living in self-destructive cycles. If I continued, I would never find balance in my life. Therefore, I had to make a course correction.
One of the strategies I am implementing is to unplug from technology a few hours a day, to connect with others and myself. It is easy to become distracted and enticed by everything around us. We are targets of advertising and sales gimmicks, inundated daily by social media posts and pictures – advice on how we should look and feel and the quickest way or best solution to get there. In a world where appearance is everything and material abundance is a credit card swipe away, it seems as though the time lapse that used to stand between what we want and what we get, has completely diminished. There is something to be said about having a desire for something that is seemingly unattainable, or at least far enough away that we have to map out our steps and set our goalsto get there. There is beauty in that process because you appreciate the hard work that you put in and the outcome is more valued. The mistakes that have to be made along the way, the set-backs and road blocks, all serve a purpose. This is how we GROW.
Instead, we choose to hide behind social media so we can all “appear” to be living in abundance because of our photo-shopped social media posts and pictures. It is easy to portray a dream world where others can visit and check into our hotel California, all the while we are never really “checked in” ourselves. Who is going to buy a product from you that you don’t use yourself? Why do we choose to get inspired by others from Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest, when we can inspire ourselves and uphold ourselves to a different standard?
We should all aspire to be the best version of ourselves, not a second-rate version of someone else. It is said, “Comparison is the thief of all joy” and it is so true. It takes you out of living in the moment and focusing on what truly matters, which is to be the best YOU can be. Comparing ourselves to others instills fear, worry and self-doubt. I am all for praising someone else for their hard work, but we must also understand the effort. Most people don’t see the blood, sweat and tears that went into the accomplishments – the sacrifices those individuals have made to get to where they are. I am not saying those people don’t deserve to display their hard work and efforts, I am simply saying nothing in life comes without a cost. I have paid a fair price and I don’t believe it has to be that way to attain that level, but this is what I am learning now – there is another way.
This blog is where I have decided to commit myself to others; to share my experiences – the good, bad and REAL ; to be transparent with you about my experience and my endless search to discover my why. I am a fitness professional but I can’t honestly say I am a pro. I am continually learning and evolving. I am human, humble and honest and above all, always evolving.
I fervently believe that there is a great amount of good in the fitness industry, if you take away all of the smoke and mirrors. If we buy into the superficial, we begin to take on a life that isn’t our own. We instead become that physical embodiment of perfection, which can be a dangerously empty vessel. I began to feel like I was being disingenuous not only to myself, but to the people around me who I was inspiring.
I have set out now to truly inspire others, by sharing the rawness of what it takes to get to where I have been and what it is going to take to get where I am going now. I believe to inspire, it has to be cultivated from within and exuded outwards. I think we are more than capable of getting everything we want in life,but the course will change – adaptability and mindset is what ultimately determines how you view the experience and what you gain from it. The value needs to be placed on the journey, not the destination.
Sometimes it is enough to have an end goal without focusing too much on having the perfect path to get there. There are many ways to get to the same destination. If you focus too much on the details of the road, you cannot see the entire map. Of course not having an end goal at all and driving blindfolded can cause you to aimlessly swerve or violently self-destruct. This is why goal setting is so important, but flexibility on how you will adjust to changes in course, is equally as important.
While I am still in the process of reconstructing my WHY (I am sure it is always going to be a work in progress), I would like to share what I have learned so that it might help you redefine your purpose from a place of honesty and organic love. I call this “higher-ing from within”.
Here are five simple steps to take when higher-ing from within:
- Swallow your pride and let go of ego. Only then will you be in a humble state of mind where you can grow and learn from others, and you are open to receive the greatness that the world wants you to experience.
- Be kind. Back to the golden rule of “do unto others as you expect others to do unto you”. Energy comes full circle, so create good energy and you can receive in a mirror-like fashion your goodness in return.
- Find gratitude. Learn to be thankful for all of your blessings in life, however big or small, instead of focusing on lack. Have an abundance-seeking mind and be comfortable knowing you have all that you need and everything is good. Be secure in that.
- Follow your bliss. Whatever it is that makes your heart tickle and fill up with pure joy and excitement, go in that direction. Life is too precious and too short to do anything else than be happy. And once you go there…
- LIVE IN FLOW