Stay true to yourself

I know this is a blog that is based around fitness but today I’m going to address a slightly different subject. Over the last three or four days I have experienced some doubt about myself. It’s been one of those times in life when you wonder if the plan that you were so sure was right for you may be wrong. Before you start sending me emails of concern, I’m ok and I’m figuring this stuff out, I’m not writing this as a cry for help. I’m a lucky man who has lots of loving people who I can go to at times like these. But over the last couple days I’ve found that due to my self doubt I’ve had some destructive thoughts around what I’m doing with my life. It’s like because I’ve been confronted with some hard stuff I’ve forgotten the lessons that got me to the place where I feel happy. I’ll tell you more about this in a minute but before I do I thought I’d tell you why I’m writing this. 

One of my normal conversation starters is ‘are you busy at work?’. I know, I need to think of something better than that. I was thinking I might go with ‘Which superpower, invisible or flying?’  Imagine what I’ll learn about people then. I digress, Over the last couple weeks I have met a lot of new people from lots of different industries and when I ask them if they are busy at work I have consistently been hearing the bleak response of how hard things are. There was the insurance agent who told me how everyone was canceling their polices, the business owner who was ‘getting out’, it even went full circle when a guy who was doing some advertising for RaceTeam told me he was canceling his insurance as he just couldn’t afford it. A lot of people are struggling right now, it’s scary. 

In times when we doubt ourself we can lose sight of the things that really matter, we can no longer trust our judgement and instead try to find ways through the challenging times that go against our true self. At this time, take a moment to breathe, find a way to go back to the things that are important to you. We may need to make adjustments to our plan but it’s at this time that we have to be strong in ‘self’.

As I sat there in my destructive thoughts, which were polarised and on repeat, I stopped myself and took a moment to breathe. Some changes need to be made but not in who I are, I need to move more toward that. 


Where do you hang out? 

I run this Half Marathon training business called RaceTeam, it focuses on getting all different types of people of various running abilities to complete a Half Marathon. Since RaceTeam began we have helped lots of people achieve massive growth, not just in running. There was Martin, a 50+ year old man who had only ever run around 4km who had the biggest smile on his face as he crossed the finish line. Then there was Kim who worked so hard to beat her PB and came over the line punching the air!

When I look at the number of successes that we have helped people achieve I could boost my ego and put a lot of the praise on myself and the coaches in our team, but I know better than that. While we do everything possible to create a professional experience that motivates, educates and inspires our runners the main reason people are successful with RaceTeam is through the environment it creates.

Let me explain further. When we describe ourselves to others we often have a set of words that we feel represents how we see ourselves, it’s what we think we are. But we often don’t realise that our environment has  a huge influence on how we act within our own lives. Think about this: Are you the same person when you hang out with your friends at the pub than what you are when in a meeting where you are trying to impress? Sure the ‘core you’ might be the same but many of your actions will differ in both situations.

Once you understand that the environments you are in have a massive influence on the outcomes you achieve in your life you can start to look at the world in a different way. You can use this knowledge to consciously find environments that have the values, habits and support you need to achieve and at the same time remove yourself from the ones that don’t.

The reason Rosa, a non-runner who never thought she would complete a Half Marathon, has just completed her second race was primarily due to the fact she put herself in the RaceTeam environment where everyone was on the same path, were all supportive and there was a set of subconscious values that this environment stood for. Look at your environments, are they moving you towards or away from the direction you want to go in your life? This really does make a massive difference. 

Feel free to comment on which environments in your life have the biggest impact. Maybe you could have both the good and the bad. I'd be interested in what people come up with. 


Who are you when you exercise? 

When I’m teaching I love to use the question ‘who are you when you exercise?’. It’s a great reflective question that helps create better self-awareness. It makes us look at ourselves and identify where we are at and where we can improve. I find it interesting how much this simple question seems to motivate people to the next level.

In the group fitness environment this is a great motivation tool however there is a bigger lesson that can be learnt from this question. We all have different areas of our lives; we have our work, family, hobbies and interests, communities and so on. For most people we have different strengths and weaknesses in all of these different areas. An example of this that I remember well is when a lady came to my class for the first time and told me how she struggled with exercise and she felt she was really unhealthy. This was interesting because she was one of the city’s top real estate agents. You don’t become the top agent in this very competitive industry without learning several lessons in how to be successful. But for some reason she was unable to transfer this success into the area of health and fitness. 

When I think about this I often think of sports people. We’ve all heard of the sports person whose life seems to have crumbled once their career has finished. When that one area of success has ended they seem to lose it all. On the other side of the coin you have guys like Peter Snell who in his time was the world’s fastest runner over the 800 and 1500 meters, winning three Olympic gold medals. Once Peter’s runner career ended he went on to become a world leader in Human Performance and has worked at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre. 

What people like Peter Snell are continuously doing is learning how they are successful. They are learning the formula that works for them. While this is an ongoing process they are able to take the lessons they have learnt from one area of their life and put them in place in the other areas of their lives. 

When you think about the different areas of your life, which ones do you consider yourself to be most successful in and what are some of the habits or behaviors that you use to create this success? Once you have identified these you can transfer them into the other areas of your life that are important to you. This will be an ongoing process because you will evolve but the more you learn about your ‘magic success formula’ the more success you will achieve in the areas of your life that matter to you.