Let me preface by saying that this is not a ‘find your passion’ and ‘do what you love’ post. Instead, I write about starting the journey to fitness with honest self-enquiry and a healthy mindset.
Thank you to Simon Sinek’s Start With Why and Precision Nutrition’s ‘To Change your Body and Boost Confidence: Rewrite your Self Story‘ for inspiring me to write this post.
Kites rise highest against the wind, not with it.
― Winston Churchill
If you’ve ever listened to Simon Sinek’s TED talk or read his book, you’ll see him say that we all know what to do (although, that is questionable!), some of us know how we do it but few of us know why we do it. He speaks about it in terms of leadership and business, but I see many similarities to health and fitness.
Do you ever ask yourself, truly madly deeply, WHY you want to lose weight, get fit or gain confidence?
Without getting clear on why you do something – when it comes to creating a habit of fitness and becoming the healthiest version of yourself – you may never quite get clarity on the how or what, and sell yourself short.
With a purpose in mind and trust in the process, you’ll likely be more committed to taking the actions that matter to make the inner changes required to live your healthiest life.
Knowing your why is essential to manage the gremlins (“no motivation,” “no time,” “family commitments,” sickness, interruptions, ad infintum). This crucial step sets you on a mission with a greater purpose. We all need inspiration and you’ll always be the greatest reminder of what matters to you.
The future sounds great, but what about today?
When it comes to why, it is something that may take time to realise or define, and may never be as clear as crystal and that’s okay. It is something that will always be a process.
To learn your why, first start with love.
Why Start With Love?
I say start with love, because it drives us, it’s bigger than us and opens us to honest enquiry. Love wears many glasses, not just the rose tinted or broken glasses. It enables us to forgive, ourselves in particular.
Everyday you make a choice about how you show up in the world and the stories you tell about yourself. You could measure your success on the number or weight of deadlifts you achieve or whether you avoid junk food (that is inspiring, but I don’t think it hits the mark entirely). These measures may not manage the belief you have that you’re not good enough, that you can’t do it or that you don’t have time.
When you’re trying to learn your why and you think about the purpose, belief or cause that inspires you to do what you do, you’ll pretty much always end back at love. Whether that’s the love you find in belonging, freedom or respect; love drives you to be what and who you are.
Bigger than me, but not external to me
I think that starting at love provides the opportunity to create a mindset and fitness journey that serves a greater purpose – while understanding the power of intrinsic values and your inner world – and not blame the outer world for not giving you the time, energy or motivation to be healthy.
Starting with love means choosing love over fear.
If you’re living in a state of fear, it’s likely that the external world – while, yes it does have an impact on you – generally controls your experience, your feeling of resistance or the blame game you play for your circumstances or the hand you’ve been dealt. I say this from experience.
For others, it’s not that simple and I honour that. We don’t all live in affluence. However, for many, it’s important to question self-sabotaging beliefs or the blame pointed at external factors.
Choosing love over fear means taking ownership and understanding the power you have in the choices that you make about who you are, what you believe and what you do, why you do what you do, and how.
Choosing love over fear means confronting the “inner game” inside you.
Choosing love over fear means learning what you think of yourself and redefining those stories.
Choosing love over fear means being courageous in the face of your gremlins and hard work.
Choosing love over fear means defining your own version of success.
It’s another can of worms entirely, but this doesn’t mean choosing to do what you love and finding your passion in opposition to reality. I can’t relate to ‘do what you love’ when that skips over the hard stuff. We need people doing the sucky stuff to keep this world turning – including the deep commitment required for fitness and actions for your health. I like to think of this as a process of creating harmony and understanding your unique power in the world – whether you’re a cleaner, garbage man/woman, an entrepreneur, a billionaire, a CEO, a psychologist… a fitness model or average joe… any of the above.
Starting with love means finding love in the now, whatever that now is.
Starting with love is difficult, but who said love would be easy?
What is your why?
It might be hackneyed and I was hesitant to ask you, but your why can powerfully connect you with your deep-seated beliefs, values, stories, and impact you’re having on others as well as YOURSELF!
It is likely to help others to believe your conviction and get on board too.
Dare I say it, generally when you’re out of alignment, you’ll know it whether you realise it or not.
Your why is something created or defined by you to provide clarity, meaning and direction. (Though, clarity’s a sticky one for me, because life is all but muddy and I am learning to be a pig in mud!)
Your why is intended to be actionable by asking what contribution and impact you wish to have on the world and people around you – and why. Your why can be the impact you want to make on your family – like the sister, aunt or mother that you want to be and the example that you want to create.
Every-man-for-himself doesn’t work. You have the power to change that.
He who has a why can endure any how. ― Frederick Nietzsche
You see, inner change — exploring and shifting how you think about your life, your body, and who you are — is necessary to make lasting outer change.
― Dr John Berardi
I feel there’s a lot more to say, but I’ll leave it here for now.