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
It’s amazing to me that the things that are simple physics, like movement creating friction, work as much in the human psyche as they do in the physical world.
I heard this quote from John Maxwell but I’m certain this is not John’s idea, as this phenomenon applies to all things:
"Movement creates friction."
You have certainly felt it too. As certain as the friction between my thighs in a fresh pair of corduroy jeans, is the friction between two people when one is trying to move. And the closer the relationship, the greater the friction.
When two people are in a relationship (friendship, marriage, co-workers) and one of the members of that relationship start to “move” you can bet it’s going to cause some friction, especially if the “mover” and the partner are not equally ready.
For instance, you’re ready to throw out every bit of sugar in the pantry but hubby is not on board and is not ready to give up his nightly Twinkie-fest. Or you want to break out and try a new career, but she would rather you stay in the job you hate because the dental plan makes her feel secure. Maybe you have been doing a lot of inner work and your growth is causing friction. It happens and what I want you to know is, it’s normal.
When you are ready to take a risk, try something new, or level up your life, you can bet it’s going to cause some friction with those around you.
Are you feeling that friction right now?
Here are few tips to help relieve the friction.
1. Be aware that just because you are ready doesn’t mean that those around you are, and you can’t make them ready. Your poking and prodding will only cause them to recoil and resent. So, stay on your path, include them in your life, but don’t nag. If you’re ready to start eating healthy and hubby isn’t, that’s fine. It’s your body and you choose what goes into it. Find a way. Don’t make a big deal, don’t complain about cooking extra. Find a way, not an excuse. Do not let them be your excuse.
2. I’m going to assume the “move” you are making is a positive move. You want better health to add years to your life and life to your years. You want the new job or to start your own business to enjoy your days on this earth, make and impact by using your gifts, and build a better life for you and your family. You’re dying, clicking away at a job that leaves you feeling empty. You’re doing some deep inner work because you’re ready to leave your old story behind and create a new, brighter and happier future for your family (even if they don’t exist yet). You’re doing these things to be better.
You need to move as effortlessly as possible toward your better and allow them to feed off of your energy for a while. Make what you’re doing something they want to be part of. I don’t mean purposely make them jealous. That’s the wrong energy. I mean, show them that eating better is giving you more energy and it’s worth the sacrifice. Show her your plan for your new dream job; what exactly will that look like? She doesn’t want you to be miserable she just wants to feel secure in the change (note: dreamers often marry realists...keep that in mind, speak their language not yours). Show those around you that doing the deep work of finding out who you really are makes you a more compassionate, fun person to be around, not a finger-waggy pain-in-the-ass. And don’t fake it. If you’re faking it, you’re on the wrong path yourself.
3. Give them time. How long did it take for you to get where you are today? How miserable did you have to be to get you to move? How long ago should you have started but you didn’t? Give them the time they need. That may be longer than you and that’s ok.
When Rob and I were newlywed’s I was in a Bible Study with a group of women who were all a good bit older than me…by about 30-40 years. One night I was voicing my frustration that I always felt that Rob and I were in such different places, spiritually. I was raised feeling like Jesus was my bestie since before I can remember. Rob was raised in the Catholic tradition, and his relationship with God, while not non-existent, was much different than mine. It felt to me much more distant than mine. (Yes, I hear myself….and yes, I’m rolling my own eyes…and yet I go on….) What a wonderful mentorship I had from these women. You know what they told me to do. Read him scripture every morning until he and Jesus were also besites. NO! They said, “Leave him alone.” And I did. For once in my life I chose to listen. Did I change what I did for me; bible study, morning devotions, going to church (which he always did with me)? No. Did it change my relationship with God? No. Me and Jesus still hung out, but I stopped worrying about Rob and let God do that. I did me. He did him. And God did what God does. Through the process, and through the years, I feel like God raised Rob up and brought me down a bit (it was needed if you can’t tell), and we met in the middle. Who was I to think I had his life and especially his faith all figured out.
We may do life with the people around us but each of us is only responsible for us.
Notice that all of my advice has nothing to do with changing the other person. All of it is you and how you handle the situation. You can’t change someone else. But you can, instead of getting frustrated, come from a place of grace. Know that you have arrived ready to change before those around you and have grace as you move, knowing you’re about to create friction for them. How about instead of being irritated about how it affects you, get empathetic for how it may affect them. I bet you’ve been on the other side of that friction at some point.
But here is what I want you to hear. No matter what, if your heart is saying to create the movement, do it. You may be called to something so you can be the silent, compassionate, force in your family or circle of friends. If the movement creates too much friction and the steps here are not working, it’s not always a sign to stop. Maybe you and your spouse need to look into getting a counselor, or coach through the process. If your friends are giving you grief because your new, more positive way of living, is harshing their vibe. Fine. Start to look for a new tribe with a new vibe.
Here is my favorite part! You get to choose the energy of your movement. Your energy in this movement will determine the energy of your friction. Friction can light fires. Fires can burn a village or provide warmth and light. If you’ve been given the desire to move, follow that desire with compassion for those around you. Follow it knowing your energy will burn or provide light. Choose to be light.
Committed to your success,
Jen Mulford, CHHC, PT, CES
Have you ever been in a place where you want to make a change or take a leap of faith, but the little voice in your head keeps whispering, "But what if you fail?"
I know this is a valid fear for so many. A few weeks ago I made this video in response to an email I got from someone who wants to start improving her health but her fear of failure (or failing again) is holding her back.
We get stuck in the mental cycle of what if this time doesn’t work? What if I fail? What if I spend months losing this weight just to once again gain it back?
It’s amazing how much time we’ll spend on this one thought-train, constantly moving in the same direction without the ability to jump the tracks to a new thought.
If this is you, let me offer you a couple suggestions.
First, instead on staying fixed on, "What if I do _____ and fail?" Spend some time working through, "What if I never try?"
They only thing that sucks worse than trying and failing is the regret of never trying.
Spend a few minutes thinking about, or better yet, journaling about it. What happens if you get to 70 or 80 years old and you’ve never taken the leap?
What if I don’t ever make the time for my health? What will I feel like?
What if I never try that business that I want to start? What will I regret if I never see what my potential is?
What if I never travel to that amazing destination I dream about?
What if I never do what it takes to leave this job I hate?
I have failed so many times in the years of being a business owner. I've had to apologize to everyone around me at some point. I've forgotten things that I shouldn't have forgotten. I've forgotten people I shouldn't have forgotten. I've had to be bailed out more than on 100 occasions. I've had days I had no idea how I'd get through and the only thing that kept me going was that the damn clock kept ticking.
But I am seeing how all of that is refining me. I'm starting to see that it's making a person I am much more proud to be.
I did not, and will not, do it perfectly. In fact we can all bet I have more failures headed my way. And I'll admit that still scares me a little...ok, a lot.
But what scares me more? What moves me forward? Allowing my fear of regret to grow larger than my fear of failure.
What if I let the fear win and I never fulfill my purpos
That terrifies me! That propels me out of my comfort zone and into action even if it's scary action, even if it's action I don't feel 100% prepared for.
Tomorrow will not always be an option.
Tomorrow will not always be an option.
At some point the opportunity you have today will pass. I don’t think we hear that enough. You have an amazing opportunity in TODAY that tomorrow may or may not afford you. I think that is what age does to you, it grows your awareness of the frailty and risk of waiting until tomorrow.
Second, I would suggest that you do the deep work. Work on the inside. Get a coach, put yourself in an environment that will support you. Deepen your commitment to changing YOU. In fact, YOU is all you really can change.
If you fear failure in one area because you have a track record of failure in that area, it’s time to do something different. Get in a more accountable situation, get a tribe, get a coach, read books, start new habits, whatever it takes.
And last, be honest with yourself.
Are you really fearing failure or is it more like, “I want to start but can’t because I fear failing” sounds much more noble than…
I don’t want to.
I don’t want to make the time.
It’s just not a priority to me.
I love hanging out with other people who are achieving what they want to achieve out of life. Why? Because they have learned the hard lessons and hit the wall. You'll know when you've hit the wall, it sounds like this:
I am tired of hearing my own BS.
I cannot, for one more minute, listen to my own damn excuses.
I am exhausted…from me.
If that is where you are but you don't know where to go next. Call me. Let's have coffee. Let's see what you can do to move forward in fear. Waiting for the fear to go away is not necessary. Finding your power to move forward throughit, and using it to move you, is all you need. I can help with that.
Committed to your success,
Really ready to make some change? Get in my Action Circle Mastermind.I've added a 6 month option because you asked. We start soon. So don't wait.
Jen Mulford is an entrepreneur, speaker, author and champion for personal freedom.