The secret of competing against yourself

It’s the start of a new week. One that transitions into the next month of the new year, for that matter.  Hopefully you’re getting excited for what is in store for you and all this week has to offer. I wanted to share some perspective from a video I watched today. It was a compilation of talks outlining  Simon Sinek’s 10 Rules for Success.

In my opinion, the best part was where he talked about how the goal is not to outdo anyone (i.e. getting more followers, more likes etc.) but rather, how to outdo yourself.

“It’s about how to make sure the work you’re producing is better than the work you produced before.
You are your competition.”

I thought that was an incredible reminder of what is really important.  How many times do we keep ourselves from starting something because we compare ourselves to someone else who is doing what we want to do? We look at the number of followers someone has on Instagram and think, “wow. I could never get 11.5K followers…” (they might be fake! But that’s another story). We psyche ourselves out because we compare ourselves to others but what we really should be doing is playing against ourselves.

Sinek goes on to say, “Finite players play to beat the people around them. Infinite players play to be better than themselves.” And this works on both a professional, “how can we produce a product that was better than it was last week?” and personal level, “how can I become a better version of myself today than I was yesterday?”

Because once you realize that finding joy in what you’re doing comes from the moments when you recognize that you’ve accomplished something, that you’ve made progress, that’s the long-term view that will keep you in the game.

“Joy comes not from comparison but from advancement (of yourself).”

Simon Sinek rules for success.png

There’s one more piece to add onto this. Making any shift or change in your own perspective requires one key ingredient. The real secret is having your own internal motivation to do so. Your own ‘why’ in terms of why you’re doing X.

Matthew Hussey .png

When you have that piece of the puzzle, you’ll actually do it. That’s the real secret to sustainable motivation in work and in life.

Advertisements

You create your own happiness

I’ve had this quote tapped up to my bathroom mirror for a bit. And it’s a good one because…

Screen Shot 2017-01-28 at 9.13.47 PM.png

it centers you with the responsibility of creating your own happiness each day. But it’s also good to temper this expectation because while you’re responsible for your happiness, it’s truly a balance.

Sometimes saying ‘yes’ to a random night out with friends is a break from your routine, or getting out and exploring a new part of your city gives you the confidence to be more adventurous in other areas of your life. Happiness is not found in these things, but rather in how you show up to every new experience or planned event.

 

Little Known Ways to Remain Relevant in Their Inbox

I thought this was a great and rather unique example of an email that aims to re-calibrate the level of engagement. Essentially proactively saying, we noticed you may need less communication: “We haven’t heard from you in a while, how can we adjust the frequency of our communication so you don’t unsubscribe completely.”

Ok, I’ll bite and open your email. I admit, I’ve been away from my personal inbox a bit more lately actively engaging in the physical world (#girlswhotrain). And also trying to be diligent about saving a bit of cash not buying every new Reebok shoe that comes on the market.

This email has a great approach because it taps into why I connect with the Spartan brand, reminding me of the mindset of never giving up. And the fact that they noticed I haven’t been clicking through to the website (clearly a diligent marketer leveraging their email service provider). We, the brand, respect your training time and mental capacity so let’s actively provide you with a way to adjust the frequency of emails accordingly. I love how they use the illustration of buckets as a CTA to continue to engage with the brand at my own pace.

Screen Shot 2017-01-22 at 1.12.33 PM.png

How can you show your non-engaged consumers that you notice them? What can you do to ask them how they want to be communicated to or how often they want to hear from you?

How To Own Your Power

Sundays are a great day for getting perspective, reflecting on your goals, and also just getting things done. Especially on this rainy Sunday in January, I wanted to share three inspirational messages (one podcast & two videos) which I came across recently that you can listen to and infuse more reflection time into your otherwise “mindless tasks” like laundry or cleaning up around the house. On a heavier topic, the two videos are more conceptual, and will hopefully challenge you to become the person you’re meant to be and offer practical tips on developing self confidence.

First up, I’m loving the newly created podcast from my friend/mentor/coach Josh Courage. This is episode 3 of his series, Living With Courage, where he talks about developing true strength and power in your fitness through form and maintenance. For me, I had the awareness that this will be the first year I’m not dancing competitively in ballroom and instead developing myself in other areas staying active through CrossFit and Olympic Lifting. So I’m swapping out training in the International Standard style of five dances (waltz, tango, foxtrot, Viennese waltz, quickstep) and focusing on strength training and improving my form as it relates to the 5 core lifts Josh talks about (dead lift, squat, press, clean and snatch). Hopefully, this inspires you to pick up a barbell too.

Podcast – Why I Think Barbell Training Should Universally Be Used
https://soundcloud.com/josh-courage-145844561/lwcepisode003

 

The idea of creating and becoming the best version yourself is fascinating to me. In this video, McHugh says that the common thread in successful individuals is that they have nothing in common. “These are individuals who’ve managed to figure out the unique gift that the universe gave them when they incarnated. And then put that at the service of their goals. I think that we all come complete. We come complete with one true note we were destined to sing. And these are people that managed to figure that out. And it doesn’t dictate your choice of job; what it dictates is how you do it.” Therfore, the simplest and probably most complicated question you’ll ever ask is “who do you think you are?” She deconstructs this idea further in the eye complex. You can skip ahead about 14 minutes into her talk for this portion and these highlights:

14:07 – Perception – understanding yourself in context and the “approval addiction” we suffer from.
15:32 – Persona – the adaptive part of yourself. This is the part of you that keeps moving and changing.  Your job is to continue becoming better at being who you already are.
17:30 – Ego – the thing/thoughts that might stop you from becoming the person of your dreams. She talks about how developing an inner state of mind that’s impervious to the extremes of your ego; on the good days and the bad, will help you weather the internal storm.
23:06 – Self – your life is your message.

TEDx Talk – The art of being yourself – Caroline McHugh
https://youtu.be/veEQQ-N9xWU

 

Finally, this one is fairly quick (TRT 13 minutes), fun and contains a very practical message on how to train yourself to develop self confidence. When we loose the belief in ourselves, we’re lost. There’s no silver bullet, but there are tools and a process to try:

  • repetition, repetition, repetition.
  • squashing negative self talk & reaffirm your self-affirmation.
  • remember who you are – make a list of all the things that make you great.
  • praise the positive behavior – in your kids, in athletes; catch them when they’re good.
  • self confident people interpret feedback the way they want to.

TEDx Talk – The skill of self confidence – Dr. Ivan Joseph
https://youtu.be/w-HYZv6HzAs

So that’s it. Happy Sunday, everyone! Here’s to getting things done that physically build confidence and mentally feeding your brain so that you really do believe in yourself.

Cut loose

Lately I’ve found that the secret to being able to do something is to mentally not overthink or pre-frame it first.

I’ll give you an example from weightlifting. There are times when I start to mentally psych myself out of executing a lift when I know how much weight is on the bar because I start to think, “oh, that’s heavy, I haven’t done that before.” But other times, when you start at 80% of a weight you know you can hit and gradually build up reps handling the weight from there, it’s surprising what you can do.

Fun fact, I recently did this while doing a 5x back squat and got up to 170 lbs. Five times, down and driving up on 170 pounds! And I currently weigh 125 lbs!

The mental coaching I had stepping up to a loaded iron bar was “Cut loose. And stand up.”

This got me thinking later; what kinds of limitations are we placing on ourselves? In our work, our relationships, especially in the relationship we have with ourselves. If all limits are self imposed, it’s only yourself that’s holding you back.

Remember, if all else fails, the song Footloose by Kenny Loggins will definitely help you cut loose 🙂

The Best Practical Advice

I happened to be listening to the radio while getting ready this morning and I heard a trailer for the Martin Scorsese film ‘Silence’. At the very end, there was this sound bite from Liam Neeson where his character says, “Pray. But with your eyes open.”

That stopped me, mid mascara swipe. I thought, “that’s got to be the most practical advice ever.” It’s the balance between being hopeful but also realistic. Kind of like these quotes which I also love:

Be kind, but not weak.
Be strong, but not rude.
Be bold, but don’t bully.
Be humble, but not timid.
Be proud, but not arrogant.
Be confident, but not cocky.
Trust, but don’t be deceived.

Be content, but never settle.

Though, hands down, the most practical advice of all: acquire a very particular set of skills 😉

How Drinking A Protein Shake Before a Workout Made Me Eat Again

I had gotten into the habit of consuming my protein shake on the drive home from an evening workout. Good, healthy habit, right? Well, lately I noticed that once I got home, I wasn’t hungry for a real meal. This was happening fairly regularly over the past few weeks and for as much as I spend on groceries (and how much I enjoy food!) it wasn’t a good trend.

There were also times when I had been experiencing some nausea post-workout which also caused me to not eat a sufficient dinner. I think the upset stomach had more to do with the level of exertion during the workout. Still, it’s not a good sign to consistently have your body be unwilling to replenish its nutrients. Not eating dinner also meant I was missing out on hitting my macro nutrient goals; these are the “big three” I learned to keep a close eye on if you really want to impact your weight loss or weight gain – protein, carbs, and fats. In a way it felt good to put in the hard work that’s often required for a CrossFit workout but I also felt like I was robbing my body of the fuel it needed to sustain me in my desired level of activity.

I really dislike feeling sick in any capacity. I’m one of those people who has those giant bottles of Tums from Costco that you gradually chip away at. And while this sometimes helped to subside the nausea, as an athlete, you look forward to eating 😛

I decided to change things up today and performed a little test on myself. An hour before heading to the workout, I had my protein shake. I’m happy to report it worked! I was hungry afterward. And! The workout was definitely a good test of my exertion too.

FullSizeRender.jpg

All of this…took me roughly 27 minutes to complete.

50 push ups
30 pull ups (I did them with a band)
50 bench hop over’s
30 alternating dumbbell snatches (25 lbs)
50 wall balls (14 lbs)
30 slam balls (15 lbs)
50 lateral ball throws (14 lb)
30 burpee broad jumps

So, after finishing that little whopper, for dinner I enjoyed a modified version of home-made chicken noodle soup (I love improving upon the classics). Instead of noodles, I added different kinds of carbs in the form of vegetable pot stickers and diced red potatoes. I didn’t have carrots so I substituted with a larger helping of celery. For an extra bit of taste, I added a dash of balsamic vinegar.

IMG_9251.JPG

I ❤ dumplings 🙂

So there you have it. My hope is that if you’re experiencing something similar, don’t be afraid to switch things up on yourself. Eating right and being active are important ingredients to living a balanced life. Sometimes you need to keep yourself on our own toes.