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).”

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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.

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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.

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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…

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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.

 

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 🙂

Year-end Reflection on Rapid Fire

I love Christmas time but not for the reasons you might expect. To me, this time of year is a reflection point. In particular, it’s a day where we collectively consider what’s really important in life and make an effort to be surrounded by people who contribute to it most.

I think we should have more of these types of days throughout our year because far too often we get caught up in life, in jobs, in relationships, in things that don’t serve us. If you don’t have marked reflection points, it’s hard to evaluate whether or not the things around you still serve you.

My goal for 2017 is to continue to put energy into things that actually contribute to my growth. I came across a great, quick approach shared by Marie Forelo to evaluate how to get more of what you want. It’s so simple, I love it!

Here’s how it works. Try it on rapid fire (because want to get back to family time), go through your pictures on your cell phone and through your calendar for all the travel, meetings or appointments you had over the year and answer these questions:

  1. What worked?
  2. What didn’t work?
  3. What were the highlights?

From there, riddle me this: what does 2017 look like if it’s full of ‘what worked’?

Ready? Go.

 

A perception on precipitation

Conditions change every day. The stock market goes up and down; the weather shines and storms. What matters is what we do when that storm comes.

Challenge yourself  to re-frame your thinking about the “storms” in your life. Challenge yourself to think differently. Here are two quotes I really like around this concept:

“Listen, there’s something you should know about me… about inception. An idea is like a virus, resilient, highly contagious. The smallest seed of an idea can grow. It can grow to define or destroy you.” – Inception (2010)

“…there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so…nothing is really good or bad in itself—it’s all what a person thinks about.” Hamlet Act 2, Scene 2

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You can face the storm. Because wind and rain are just another kind of weather.

Also, it doesn’t hurt to be with a very good and composed pilot 😉

There’s always a price, dearie.

“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” – Henry David Thoreau

Anything that costs you your peace is too expensive.

Now, some things we cannot change but we can make the best use of what is in our immediate influence, and take the rest as it happens.

May the odds be ever in your favor 😉