Some lessons you teach yourself.
What I mean is, you make a decision that suits the situation at the time without being fully conscious of how the “strategy” itself will serve you for the rest of your life.
Maybe it’s just me but I can’t imagine this doesn’t happen to others too.
Some years ago, I made a decision out of fear.
Usually, decisions based in fear aren’t the most intelligent. Usually a fear-based decision is a reaction rather than a well-thought out response.
I don’t recall the decision I made being “well thought out”, all I can remember is how it made absolute sense at the time, in other words, there was no room for doubt.
Until I put the phone down.
I’d just come out of a year of extraordinary physical transformation. It was the culmination of two fundamental drivers for change, one internal the other external.
The body is an instrument of the mind. Spirit, or consciousness, always manifests itself in its polar opposite, the physical form. It’s an irrefutable law, the modus operandi of life. The body can only reflect the level of consciousness its occupant is experiencing.
Prior to the dawning of 2004 I was not operating a high level of awareness when it came to my body. I exercised fairly regularly but I paid little to no attention to what I consumed in the name of food or the implications of what was, at times, a largely “liquid” diet.
I had the kind of “beach body” you’d often find a harpoon sticking out of.
If you find it hard to believe, take a look at this picture from 2001.
I was so big I was in danger of having my own climate.
Anyway, an awakening took place between the time of the photo and 2004. A lot of the personal growth information I’d grasped intellectually since the middle of the 1990’s got internalised when I started to work with a coach.
As you’ve heard me state on numerous occasions, things have to change IN you for things to change FOR you…and it was this very experience that birthed the quote and the understanding behind it.
In November 2003, a compelling external event quickened matters. My son, Jacob, made his debut on the planet.
I became acutely aware that I didn’t want my son growing up aspiring to be like the father he’d have known in the earlier photo. I didn’t want him thinking that’s what a grown man should look like.
On December 31st 2003 I was 254lbs (18 stone 2lbs). A year later, on December 31st 2004, I was 168lbs (12 stone 6lbs).
You may have heard this story before, so why share it again?
Because of the decision that followed my year of transformation.
In January 2005, I knew I needed the next challenge. What I feared most of all was slipping back into “comfortable shoes”, in other words, slipping back into the unconscious living that was so evident by my physique, driven by habitual ways which put weight on me in the first place.
The idea of going back was abhorrent.
So I picked up the phone to a friend. She’d ran several marathons and I knew she’d have her next one planned. Which she did. New York City, November 2005.
“Can you get me in?” I asked.
“I think so. You’ll need to raise sponsorship of £2500 though”.
“No problem. Get me in please.”
Twenty minutes later she called back to say she’d spoken to the charity concerned and my place was confirmed. The information and sponsorship pack was on its way.
As I put the phone down, utter fear and dread gripped me. You know, the kind of fear that turns your stomach upside down and inside out. The idea of running a mile terrified me. The idea of running 26.4 seemed preposterous.
The rest is history.
Here’s the point: a growth orientated individual looks for the next challenge once the current challenge has been overcome.
I hadn’t given this experience much thought until I observed my colleagues on the Inca Trail last year continually say “never again” once they’d achieved their objective.
The sentiment continued until we parted company. Meanwhile, the first thing I did when I woke up the morning after reaching Machu Picchu was cross reference dates and decide on the challenges to face in 2017.
Each to their own I guess. I understand I’m engineered in a different way to most, but for me, the essence of a life well spent is to build on every achievement with an eye on how to surpass it.
Why settle for less?
I’m sure I’m not alone in this perspective and yet I’m equally sure the percentage of people sharing it is surprisingly low.
Anyway, next up for me was conquering Kilimanjaro in February. Then, in November, I’ll be cycling from Cambodia to Vietnam. All in the name of helping children and families who face unimaginable difficulties on a day-to-day basis.
There’s nothing better than having a goal that stretches you, significantly, beyond your limits. Goals of magnitude, the kind that excite you and scare you in equal measure, should exist in every part of your life where you intend to enjoy the fruits of growth.
Do they exist in your life?
Sadly, for most people, the answer to that question is “no”.
What about you?
Where’s the significant stretch showing up in your life?
Christian Simpson is the UK’s leading coach and mentor to business owners and entrepreneurs. For COMPLIMENTARY ACCESS to tried, tested and proven entrepreneurial success strategies, click here