"Your mind is the ignition; your heart is the engine" -
From The Art of Flipping the Switch by Alli McKee
In 2012, I had the privilege of working with Jill Coleman in her one-on-one, mind-body-business coaching program, the Best of You Coaching Club.
In one of our first coaching calls, I told Jill that I wanted to focus primarily on BUSINESS. More specifically, I wanted to get smarter about my day-to-day work/life balance. I was making all the classic fitness industry newbie mistakes: running myself ragged teaching classes and training clients, and generally running around like my hair was on fire 24/7. I needed someone to teach me how to work smarter because I was spinning my wheels and knew that burnout was inevitable.
Then I told Jill, "Oh, and I don't really want to work on the mind/body stuff."
AH! Listen to that. I was ALL BUSINESS! Quite the aspiring entrepreneur and not at ALL interested in petty things like my physique or fitness. No no no, not me. :)
I didn't want to waste the precious time in my coaching program on something as fleeting and superficial as my physique. After all, I'm a trainer, I have a nutrition certification - why would I need someone else to TELL ME what to do when I already had all the tools myself?
WAIT! I Changed My Mind
A few months later, the pressure of working in the fitness industry was starting to get to me. I spent a lot of time and energy worrying: "What if I'm not fit/strong/lean/ripped/good enough to be successful as a trainer?"
I needed help and insight from an outsider, an expert: so I turned to my coach for help with the one thing I swore I didn't need help with:
My body - no! Scratch that.
It was my mindset. That's what was really holding me back from my body looking and feeling the way I wanted.
And then, Jill gave me the best advice ever:
That was it. That was the advice. Those two words.
Jill told me to start owning my physique and owning my "leanness," a word I had never heard or used before, just the way I was, right then and there. I didn't need to lose a single ounce to start owning it. I was already there. And it started right then and there, in my head, with the beliefs I had about myself.
Then, I wake up the next day and do the things that a lean, fit person does because I already was a lean, fit person.
"But - no I'm not, see I don't even have a six pack yet and I --"
*Jill did not tell me to "shut it." I added that:) But she did tell me this:
YOU ALREADY ARE THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BECOME.
She told me to practice a tool known as Visualization. I would spend at least 10 minutes every day, visualizing the next day when I went to sleep each night. I would "see" what did I wanted to do, in great detail, exactly how I wanted it to play out.
I'm not gonna lie. My initial thought was something like, "What kind of new age, self-help, hippie-dippie crap is this?! Like laying in bed at night before you go to sleep and 'visualizing' your success actually WORKS?"
Then again, I knew my way wasn't working, so I figured what the heck?! I'll try this...
I did the visualization exercises. I started to believe that I was lean and fit, to act and live like I was already there:
I would wake up, my mind in "athlete mode" from the minute my feet hit the floor. I would grab my black coffee and my BCAAs, go to the gym, and get in my workout.
I stocked my fridge with meat and eggs, gobs of veggies, healthy fats, and good carbs. If I didn't cook at home, I knew I had plenty of good options eating out (omelets, salads, steak & veggies, etc.) I still allowed myself small treats throughout the week like dark chocolate or a mini froyo from Pinkberry. Nothing was off limits, but with this new healthier mindset and believing I was already there, I didn't really want the stuff that wasn't good for me.
I actually did get leaner! I couldn't believe it! All along, I wrongly thought I had to torture myself and be unhappy with my food and workouts if I wanted to look and feel like I belonged in the fitness industry.
My confidence grew - inside and outside the gym. I had more energy and focus because I wasn't draining myself with negativity and anxiety.
This new way of thinking got me focused - and fast. Suddenly things that used to be drudgery were FUN to me (ie. treadmill sprints) and I looked forward to doing them.
Once I took away all the pressure and negativity, I got what I wanted. I got happy with the body I had - and that allowed me to make it better.
This is the exact process I followed to prepare for my first photo shoot with Ariel Perez in November 2012, which was part of our membership in the Best of You Coaching Club.
I was really happy with how my photos turned out because I was happy with me. Period.
Now, any time I want to achieve a goal, this is the exact strategy I use, again and again, even now - four+ years later. No matter what the goal is or what even I'm preparing for, I know I have a plan:
Just follow The Best Advice Ever.
Have you ever tried Visualization? Does this strategy seem silly to you? Why or why not? Start the conversation in the comments below and share this post with your friends on Facebook and Twitter!