Tag Archives: Purpose

BEAST MODE!

26 Jul

BOOYAH, BABY!!!
I hit the “send” button emphatically, hovering on the edge of my chair in anticipation of the reply. My freshly created “Beast Mode Workout” program went out into cyberspace, soon to land with a “BOOM POW!!” in the email inbox of one of my super-star training clients.  I couldn’t wait for her to review it.
Not only do I have the pleasure of designing mental workouts and training programs for my clients, but I get to challenge them in pushing their bodies too. I will sometimes give them a view into my personal workouts by posting a short video of me performing a novel, yet effective exercise done to inspire them to not just “go through the motions” when they are training. And it works!

I get messages expressing desire and  intensity. But in them, whether my clients see it or not, I see and an assessment of and reinvigoration of purpose!

PURPOSE!

Read it again!

They may be asking: What am I doing in my workouts? Am I app

roaching my session with the intensity I could be? Are my workouts worth the time I’m spending on them? Is what I put on the back burner to get to the gym worth suspending my for training session?

Lately, this phrase, “Beast Mode” has inundated the pages of the Team K Facebook group. I love it! It conveys POWER and ACTION!

It embodies a way of operating.

In it I hear INTENT.

In “beast” I see a rabid, wide-eyed, lunging, passionate animal.

In “mode”, a way, a manner, a discipline.

These two words combined are meaningful because they convey how each of us would, ideally, prefer to approach our lives–and our goals–with a rabid obsession. No more complacency. We’ve defined our purpose and we take the steps necessary to get there, right? Simple!!

Not quite.

How often do you find yourself asking, “Why can’t I seem to…” or saying “If only I could…” and experiencing that push-pull between competing interests or responsibilities?

In my recent telecourse, “Maintaining your Mindset for Competition…and LIFE” (available in MP3 format), one woman, after reviewing the quiz I had participants take to assess their mental toughness, stated, “I can be on point at work, concentrate well, focus, tune out the unn2cessary externals, bounce back quickly from setbacks, and stay motivated, but when it comes to competing…”  Replace the word “competing” with anything you’ve put some level of importance on in your own life, and I’m sure you can relate.

Beast mode was eluding her when it came down to the effort being implemented toward her competition-prep process.

Our discussion at that point took a turn to address the meaning of her competition goal. Perhaps it just was not as important. OR perhaps after a day where she is challenged in such a large capacity, her resolve is diminished in such a way that the time and energy it takes to prepare for her competition is too taxing. If you have experienced this tug of war between competing goals, I would encourage you to ask yourself some key questions. Remember my previous blog addressing the importance of critical thinking? Here is your chance to practice. The discomfort this person was feeling — the internal conflict — was her signal to take stock and engage in some internal dialogue.

  • How come you’re pursuing this goal?

  • When you’ve reached the goal, will you be able to say that it was worth it or will you have more than a fair share of regrets?

  • Were or ARE the sacrifices made in the pursuit of the goal worth it?

  • Are there aspects of your life that you want to develop further but are letting go of in an effort to achieve this goal? Is it worth it?

  • What are you gaining or do you hope to gain by working toward this goal?

  • What was your impetus for choosing this goal ?

You may end up discovering that the goal you have chosen was not well thought-out. You may even discover that the goal isn’t even your own! You may be pursuing something that someone else feels is important.

This brings me to my main point: BEAST MODE. Action AND contemplation. Movement melding with reflection.

Beast mode to me means a constant pursuit…but not of a specific outcome. It can mean the willing involvement and openness to opportunities to get to know yourself!

A goal that is important carries meaning, has an enduring purpose and has been deemed “worth it,” but even so, these aspects do not make it “easy.” Quite often it can feel downright arduous! But it gives you a reason to keep striving. Each time you learn a  new skill in the process, you become a more complex individual. You increase confidence in your ability to persevere, and you will desire to continue challenging yourself when difficulties arise and NEW skills have to be obtained to overcome them.

Beast mode means you understand that in order to grow, you have to be stretched past your current capabilities and you’re willing to go to great lengths……but only if the goal is worth it.

Beast mode is yours for the taking … IF you recognize how important it is and you’re willing to go from your comfort zone to your discomfort zone!

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Reflect & Move from Hapless to Happy

10 Jun

Like glass, a pristine  mountain lake can shimmer with unadulterated calmness. Toss a pebble into its silent surface, and the ripples radiate from the point of impact. The waves loom large where the water was disrupted but dissipate as the distance extends. The space between each swell grows until the lake achieves its smooth, velvet texture once again.

This is you. Your life. But do you see it? Do you notice it? Do you reflect?

I know far too many people who are going through the motions of their lives. They go through the day to day, they work, they come home, they sit in front of the TV, they go to bed, and they start the process all over again the following morning. These are the same people who complain about being bored and uninspired and wonder what they are doing here. “What’s the point?” they may ask. They lack purpose, meaning, drive, and importantly, experience.

If this is you, and you are in that lost, confused, and depressed place of wondering “is there more?”, it’s time to reflect.

It’s time to look in the mirror, see the glassy stare, and then crack it. (Figuratively!)

If you want to change– if you want happiness–you have to throw a pebble into the pond.

You have to make waves, you have to act, and you have to do it with consciousness.

You must be deliberate, create opportunities for stepping out of your comfort zone, push past where you want to stop, and demand more from yourself than you think you’re capable of.

This isn’t always easy. In fact, it’s downright difficult if you’re unaccustomed to it. Scary even.

Think of the people who you know that demonstrate a sense of aliveness, an authenticity of spirit, a richness and depth of soul. Are their lives “easy”? Do they coast? Things handed to them without devotion to effort?  They may APPEAR to “have it easy”, but this is often not the case. That appearance is often due to the choices they make in their approach to life, in essence, how they perceive their circumstances. I’m betting the people you know who appear most happy are the most busy, most involved, most engaged, least bored, and most accomplished individuals in your circle. I’m also betting that they are the most joyful, despite AND BECAUSE OF their penchant focus on goal-driven behavior and toil toward improvement.

I use happy and joyful synonymously. I want to make sure you understand, however, that they are not the same as pleasure.  Here’s an example: I may not experience pleasure in the discomfort of dieting to get to 5% body fat for my competition. I don’t particularly like being hungry a lot of the time. I don’t relish in the participation of hypoglycemic cardio. The physical discomfort of the preparatory aspects of bodybuilding can be grueling. HOWEVER, I enjoy the mental and physical challenge it requires. I enjoy pushing myself past what I know others would crumble trying to do. I enjoy the assessment and strategy involved in the process and increasing my ability to tolerate pain.

Enjoyment and happiness comes from consciousness. It is a direct result of paying attention to the minutiae and taking an active role in deciding how to view it. Take two guys working in a factory. They are both assembly line workers. The job itself is repetitive. For eight hours they are engaged in the same movements, watching the same belt, the same parts, and standing in the same spot. One of the men wonders if there will ever be something more. He goes home each night and falls asleep in front of the tv with an empty six pack next to him. The other man, however, sets time goals for himself. He has exceeded productivity goals and acquired the praise of his superiors. He has signed up for some community college classes and will be taking those in the evening after work as he wants to advance in the company. He works hard. The schedule is demanding. But he feels confident and happy.

The second man….he didn’t just ASK. He moved to ACT. And he had to reflect in order to move forward.

So how do you go from hapless to happy? How do you enjoy life more? Turns out that research has teased out 8 factors found among individuals who express life happiness and enjoyment. Ready to begin taking control? My previous blog conveyed the importance of not expecting happiness to just happen. You must make an effort, which means not just letting your experiences be those that occur unattended to, but diving into what appears to be the most mundane of tasks.

Enjoyable experiences most often include the following:

1.  Tasks are appoached that we have a chance at completing (aka: realistic goals are set)

2. Concentration (we’re paying attention, not trying to multitask)

3. Clear goals are set, which aids in concentration (succinct, unambiguous, time-limited)

4. Immediate feedback is provided (can only happen when a goal is clear-cut and achievable)

5. The everyday toils and frustrations of life are removed (you must practice filtering them out) to be absorbed and involved in the task

6. The task allows for a sense of control to be obtained

7. Self-consciousness is removed (yet your sense of self grows stronger once the experience is over!)

8. Time disappears.

Ever lose yourself in an experience and wonder where the time went? That sense of flow and unencumbered productivity embodies the above principles, whether you realized it or not! But now that you know, you can create more of these opportunities!

Now go look in the  mirror! And that happiness? GO GET IT!

From To Do to “Ta Da!!”

19 Mar

Sitting here with my lap top, my mind wanders to the various other tasks I’ve got on my agenda. I’ve constructed multiple lists- some I have on a note card in my purse, another I’ve drafted in the nifty electronic program called Evernote, and another I’ve nestled neatly away on the sticky notes of my desktop. What I’ve learned is never to try to keep all of your goals or to-dos tucked in the folds of your brain. You’ll forget them.

Because goal attainment and completing the tasks that are important to you requires a significant amount of brain power, developing an organized, methodical, and individually appropriate method of managing your responsibilities is crucial.  I’ll leave the organizational piece up to you, but I want to address some of the pit falls that most of you likely fall into as you work toward accomplishing your goals.

I have an obsession with how our brains work, the anomalies that occur with human behavior, and how our minds can play tricks on us.  I’ve donated my life (this is the first time I’ve stated this goal out loud) to understanding and teasing apart the intricacies of my own behavior, my thinking patterns, and the circuitous games and justifications I play in order to get my needs met and not fall apart. I have decided to call it my Break it Down in order to Not Break Down experiment. Are you with me? Today I am going to break down a few key concepts that I have found to be significant for goal attainment. Cue “Let Go” by Frou  Frou. (Great song and apt for sinking into making your life your own science experiment. Life is limitless, and so are your TA-DA’s! The link here if you are so inclined:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CQckUYLUUHQ).

1.                  Identify your brain rules.

We’ve all got them, and they cause us to react in automatic ways. We’ve been using them for years, so they’re well worn and comfortable. Until we realize that we’re NOT comfortable, and that something is holding us back. That “something” is often a rule.

These rules are designed to relieve us of discomfort, to keep our lives on an even keel, and to keep us from teeter-tottering through life.  For example, as a young child you may have learned that you were to keep quiet. Adult discussion was not something you were invited to participate in. The rule is “I am to be seen but  not heard.” Something a bit more external might be that “carbs are bad.” If you’re dieting, and your weight stays the same for one week, your rule pops up and screams at you to stop eating carbs. While at some points in our lives the rules we acquired were probably effective (i.e. staying quiet prevented you from being punished; avoiding carbs did net you some weight loss that one time before you gained all your weight back and more), more often than not, they create walls in our ability to move forward with our goals.

Ever notice, however, that when you question the rule, it doesn’t feel so good? Uncertainly can rise up and slap you in the face. “Eh? What are you doing? That’s not your typical mode of operation! You sure you want to go there?” Go there. Assess whether your rule is valid, and identify the alternatives. The more you question, the more you’re living less emotionally. And that brings us to concept number two.

2.                 Enact immediate gratification annihilation!

Those pesky brain rules you’re now aware of (I hope I’ve got you reeling and digging now)…they like to persuade you into reacting without thinking. Remember that goal you had of losing weight to get healthier? That candy on your co-worker’s desk wasn’t part of your goal attainment strategy was it? My  point is this—we have to learn to think twice. Let that rule pop up, let is slap you, but then slap it back! Immediate gratification, essentially temptation acted upon to ‘feel good now’, is the perfect example of not avoiding an automatic response. What feels good now, however, won’t necessarily feel good in the future. When you’re calculating the sundae you ate and realize that you just consumed the amount of carbohydrates that  you  need for the next two days, the decision doesn’t seem so attractive. How do you go from just doing it (I love Nike’s slogan, but sometimes it’s not appropriate) to ta-da’ing it? Onward to number three.

3.                 Be value-driven!

Those of you in business will appreciate this.  In order to sell something, businesses put forth much effort to understand the values of their consumers. What is important to them? The same concept applies here.  Studies have shown that individuals who are working toward accomplishing a goal exhibit greater self-control when they get in touch with their core values.  Self-affirmation, identifying our positive characteristics, leads to a stronger defense system. Imagine this being like your suit of armor!

A study conducted in 2009 revealed that while self-control can be depleted quickly (go back to the decision you have to make about eating the candy from your co-worker’s stash), it can be replenished quickly also, by focusing on what is important to you.  Other studies have demonstrated that greater self-control is dependent on self-worth! What do you believe about yourself, and are you worth working hard for? When we’re feeling particularly compromised or vulnerable, an old brain rule might come in to visit: “I haven’t lost any weight in a week anyway. I might as well eat junk.” Time to break the rules, identify your values, refocus on the objective, and forge ahead.  That candy? I’d rather be lean and lithe so I go set a new record on the treadmill tomorrow morning!  That brings us to number four!

4.                 Counteract your propensity for intensity!

Please do not misunderstand me here. This is not a “rule”—at times, intensity is warranted. Like when I’m running on the treadmill! I’m talking more in the realm of emotional intensity. Know a drama queen in your life? Are you rolling your eyes right now? I understand.

Here’s the deal—we can make pretty poor decisions if we make them in times of emotional intensity.  That fight you had with your spouse recently when you threw out that name you swore you would never say again…..uh, yeah. You know what I’m talking about. We can be poor judges of how we might respond in an emotional situation.

The parts of our brains that are involved in higher level thinking–like when we are identifying your core values—has decided to take nap when we’re acting primitively! When we have large goals to meet, we must act intelligently.  Creating psychological distance between the present and what we want to attain, is a functional and effective method of lessening the intensity of in-the-moment emotion. For a dieter, this could mean looking forward when he’s hungry and reminding himself that he has another meal coming in a couple hours or looking forward to the free meal he has ahead in a few days. On a greater scale, he could be playing his goal out to when he has reached his 50-pound weight loss mark!

Your Ta-Da’s are sacred. Whether tiny or looming, if they are important to you, they deserve significant effort and attention.  These four factors will help you break them down for optimal attainment.  Ironic, or perhaps not so much, is the research illuminating four factors that give meaning to life.  Care to guess what they are?

  1. Purpose: developed through setting and reaching goals, which leads to a feeling of fulfillment.
  2. Values: a structure for understanding for one’s self what is important
  3. Efficacy: a sense of control and a feeling of impact on your circumstances
  4. Self-worth: being able to view ourselves positively
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