Actual text between myself and friend a few days ago. She is an entrepreneur and was sick and frustrated that she was not able to get to her “to-do” list (I'm the green):
Let me ask you something. How are you defining strength?
,As I did a little digging, I kept seeing a word that consistently showed up with the word strength; that word is courage.
Let’s think this through.
You cannot grow without the courage to move from where you are. Strength requires courage. Building strength will require courage to bust forth from your comfort zone into the unknown. Deciding to vacate your comfort zone comes with risk, risk requires strength and courage. Does it seem that I’m talking in circles? It’s because I am!
This is a cycle that requires all parts to complete the work. The only way out is to persist or choose to cozily climb back into your comfort zone.
For most of my entrepreneur friends retreat is NOT an option. One, because maybe they burned the boats. They followed a dream fast and hard and left no back-up plan. The only possible outcome is a WIN. To many this sounds stupid. I find it courageous, inspiring and strong. The second reason retreat is not an option is it just isn’t in their blood to quit. Early on I realized that just about anything I wanted out of life I could get with one simple rule: Don’t ever quit. Napoleon Hill would call that knowing and pursing your definite purpose. One of my favorite authors, Andy Andrews, would call that a decided heart. Either way, it’s following your dream like and arrow to a bullseye. When you miss, fling yourself at that bullseye again. Keep doing that until you hit dead center. Then find a new bullseye. Level up again. Get courageous again. Miss again.
Can I tell you a secret. Well, it’s not really a secret, it’s proven science about how the body works.
To grow a muscle, i.e. to get stronger, requires resistance. Yet it’s in the resistance we tend to think we are not strong. Maybe it’s because we are in the process of going from one level of strong to another. That always hurts because it requires a new “load” on the muscle, or the person being strengthened.
What is the resistance you’re facing that has shown up as a "trainer" to make you stronger? Every, and I mean EVERY, resistance is a trainer if you’re willing to look for the lesson.
Today’s resistance builds tomorrows strength.
The door won’t open? Maybe you’re supposed to look around and see a new way. Maybe you need to get creative. Maybe you need to get help. Maybe you need to wait. Maybe you need to kick in the door. Look for clues, they are there, usually right inside yourself.
Here is another principle of strength building: Our muscles do not grow while we’re lifting the weights. Nope. Exercise, especially resistance training, like weightlifting, causes tiny little microscopic tears in the muscle, it actually breaks down the muscle. The act of curling a 40-pound dumbbell does not “build” muscle. It’s part of the process to build muscle, however, the actual building does not happen at the gym.
What happens in the gym (again a necessary part of the process) is a tearing, a breaking down.
Or maybe a breaking open…
The mightiest oak began as a seed that had to break to birth its majesty.
So when does the building happen?
Get this…The building happens when you are at REST.
I know! I feel it too! Stab me in the heart why don’t ya?!
REST. BREATHE. UGHHHHHHHHHH
“I know Jen but…..” No buts.
Strength will require several things:
4. Tearing down, or breaking open our idea of how things should be done
All 5 KEY ingredients. I sat for a few minutes trying to decide which, if I could, I would remove from this list. I can’t remove one. Not one.
Oh, and let me address one more thing.
This week I started with a new personal training client. She is a super-driven hard worker who has a big trip in a few weeks she is getting ready for. We started together on Monday. When she walked in to our training session today (two days later) I could see she was walking a little different. You know the wobble after that first leg workout. She had it in full force. And after talking she confirmed she was painfully sore from our previous (and first) workout. She proceeded to tell me all the things that hurt over the last couple of days. BUT, she was loving it because she knows her goal is big and her trip is close.
Why does she love the pain? She knows that it’s an indication that she has done the work and the results are on the way.
I will not lie. I am not sure I will ever reach the point where I meet resistance that makes me happy knowing my breakthrough is coming. That sort of thinking usually comes after a few minutes, hours, or days of recoiling and crying. I do not enjoy the pain of change. I’m not sure I can celebrate the resistance. But notice what my friend said in the text, “I know we are strong but it sure doesn’t feel like it.” This moment, my friends, has nothing to do with FEELINGS. It’s in these moments we have to trust our KNOWING. We have to trust we’ve been here before and we always come out the other side. Even the times it feels like maybe we won’t make it.
If you’re doing the work, if you’re stepping out of your comfort zone in courage, if you’ve met resistance and you are hurting, it’s just an indication that you’re doing the work of leveling up. The results are on the way.
Look around to see what your “trainer” is trying to teach you. Persist. Breathe. And don’t forget REST.
You are not the one who hung the moon or told the sun to shine today and it will do so long after you have left this earth. Sometimes being strong is in the yielding. Sometimes being strong is in the being. Sometimes being strong is allowing ourselves moments of weakness, knowing ourselves enough to know we always get back up. The only way to not get there is to quit. Do. Not. Quit. That’s all you have to do.
Rest is not quitting. Rest is building so that when you go back to work, you’re stronger.
Committed to your success,
Jen Mulford, CHHC, PT, CES
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