Ingredients of Transformation

Some of this may seem obvious. Hell, all of it might. However, this is part of pursuing mastery. Mastery isn’t just about learning more and more things and having a shitty understanding or ability to execute on them just because you have reached a certain level. No, Mastery is about refining. Perfecting the understanding, the execution of the basics and applying that level of mastery to each area.

There are three key ingredients in order for transformation to take place: time, struggle and change. Unlike a progression of steps, these things work in harmony with each other. It might seem obvious, but if time is cut short, the transformation isn’t what it should be. If there is no struggle, the transformation will not keep. If there is no change, the transformation did not happen. For lack of a better word, there is work involved in the transformation and if these three elements of work are not present, the transformation is stunted at best and completely non-existant at worst.

Let’s take a brief look at each of these ingredients.

Time 

Time is our most precious commodity.

I’ve said it many, many times in one form or another: our shared destination is six feet underground – or a pile of ash, the choice is yours, possibly. Regardless of the final destination of our bodies, we are going to die. Full stop.

Time is precious. Memento Mori. Some of us realize the value of this early on, some only realize it when it is close to expiring. We want our lives to be better, our families whole, our bodies to look good, our marriages repaired. The flaw we usually share is that we want the results RIGHT-THE-FUCK-NOW!! We don’t want to be inconvenienced with a time factor holding us back from what we want.

But it doesn’t work that way. (reread this as many times as you need to)

Time is crucial to the process of transformation, it is a requirement that must be met. There is a price to be paid. The “cost” depends on the kind of transformation taking place. In transforming a business, a relationship, in recreating a brand, none of it happens overnight. We don’t have the same rules as fairy tales. I cannot waive a magic wand or say some incantation and have what I desire.

Like it or not, time is the price. But this payment is an investment, not a squandering of resources.

You might as well embrace this truth.

Time is part of the struggle.

Struggle

“If there is no struggle, there is no progress.” ~Frederick Douglass

Take a look at the examples of transformation in the natural world: plant, animal, mineral or human. There is the factor of time, time overlaps the entire process, and there is a struggle.

Struggle is 100% necessary to the process.

Prices must be paid. Those things that come to us easily with little to no price to pay usually aren’t as highly valued as something you have poored blood, sweat, tears and time into. You can deny it all you want, but it doesn’t change this universal rule that if it hasn’t been worked for, fought for, bled for… their is little value.

Further, the struggle must be complete. It cannot be stopped prematurely or aided where struggle is no longer a factor. Like a bird breaking out of it’s shell or a baby giraffe learning to walk, that struggle is helping forge the survival instinct. If that animal is assisted, that instinct is stunted; not fully developed.

Go to Instagram and type in the hashtag #transformation, pay special attention to the pictures that show progressions over time. I’m talking about the pictures that document one, two, or five years of progress. They have fought, they have struggled, they have paid the price over time. “Sticking with it” is part of that struggle. This is where time can take its toll. Persistance can and will beat resistance. Whether it is in relationships, business, physical fitness, you name it. Continually striving to improve, push forward and staying with it, even when you are hitting the plateaus where nothing seems to work. That is part of the struggle.

Change

You are human, you are not an immovable statue of granite. For better or worse, both time and struggle will change you. The kind of change and transformation that takes place is entirely up to you.

In the context of what I’ve been writing, we are speaking of intentional transformation. As you intentionally put in the time, the effort, the struggle, the transformation will begin to take hold. Maybe you are trying to change certain mindsets you have, maybe you are trying to improve your health, or change the branding of your business. All of these things take time and effort.

If the transformation isn’t happening, check the factors of time and struggle. Has enough time passed? Are you doing the work? Is it the right kind of work for the transformation you seek?

Apply patience for the time that is needed and endurance for the work and struggle.

Pursue Mastery.

 

** Hey there, friend! If you are seeing value in this blog, one of the biggest compliments I can receive is you liking and sharing this. Don’t forget to subscribe to get more content as it comes available. Thanks for stopping by!**

 

Advertisements

Becoming for Tribe

cropped-10636849_10205073540267038_7446655312213901552_o.jpg

 

What kind of person do I want to be? What does that transformation look like? What kind of people do I want to attract into my life? Are those things congruent with each other?

I want to be surrounded the kind of people who would challenge me to grow through their own actions, not just their words. To become better, to constantly strive to improve, to never settle for the status quo. I want to be surrounded by strong people – strong men who as a by product should have or attract strong women – mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually, so I am pursuing that same strength in me. I want to be surrounded by people that are constantly growing, striving for more; who have growth mindsets, not stagnant and fixed. People with fierce hearts and fierce loyalty. People who enjoy the sacred and the secular; who aren’t afraid of living or dying, but rather, afraid that they will meet death having never lived. People not stuck in the little stories and little dramas that ensnare so many and drag them down. People who passionately live, laugh, love, learn, fight and fuck and feast.

In fewer words: I’m looking to build a Tribe.

In building my Tribe, then, I need to become the person whose actions and words challenge people to become better, to constantly strive to improve, to never settle for the status quo. I need to continue to get stronger, mentally, physically, spiritually and emotionally. To continue my growth mindset. I need to possess and fierce heart and fierce loyalty. To enjoy the sacred and secular and to be afraid of meeting death having not ever lived. I need to not allow small, petty stories and dramas to bog me down and ensnare me. I need to passionately live, laugh, love, fight, fuck and feast.

I’ve noticed as I am moving towards what I want, my tolerance levels have changed. I am beginning to draw clearer boundary lines along the perimeter of my life. I am becoming very selective as to who gets to be inside and who does not. As I look at myself and who I want to become and who I want to attract into my life, I’ve began measuring and weigh those who have been in the perimeter and whether or not they should be there. I know, it sounds very, intolerant. It can be. It is.

You shouldn’t fear intolerance.

Do these people inside your perimeter add value, real value to your life? Do they challenge you to grow? If they do, maybe they deserve to be inside your perimeter.

Do they drag you down into nit-picky bullshit drama? Do they constantly run their mouths with excuses of why they aren’t growing? If they do, maybe they don’t deserve a place inside your perimeter.

You should be intolerant about that which would hinder you from living the life you desire and reaching goals you are shooting for.

This is your life.

Pursue Mastery.

101 Days &16lbs later…

So about two months ago I gave you my back story and ended with these wonderful before and after pics of me in 2011 when I decided to get my act together and go for it. I had found some of that fire, that drive: I did not want to deal with Meniere’s Disease anymore, I had to be stronger than it was.

So, what did I do?

P90x? Nope.

Any of Shaun T’s programs? Nope.  (Say, whaaaaaaaaaaaat?!? No seriously, I didn’t.)

TaeBo? Pilates? Shake-Weight? Nope. Nope. NO!

Wanna know? I assume you do because you’ve read this far! Ok…here goes, this is what I did:  I exercised and I made positive food choices. Seriously!

Yes, I will get to the “specifics” of what I did in a minute, but seriously, there isn’t a magic pill! It’s all about getting up off your ass, making the hard and more positive choices and sticking with it! It is a learned and ever-being-learned lesson in my life. You must make the choice to keep moving forward, to do something, to fight the urges to give up and quit. Sometimes you need to get fed up with where you have let yourself get to. More on that another time.

Find out what is “worth it” for you

What do you want to do or keep doing that will make paying the price of admission to the halls of self-discipline and transformation “worth it” to you?

It’s hard, Dads and Moms out there, it’s hard, but it is so worth it! Being able to run up and down the playground with your children is worth it. Being able to rough-house and keep up with the grandkids instead of looking on from your easy chair, sucking air from a canister and unable to do something about it is worth it. Being out and about, active and enjoying life with your family is worth it. Not being a slave to the sickness, medications and having your Doctor’s say you just have to “live with” is worth it!

IT.

IS.

WORTH.

IT.

 

Positive Food Choices

So, did you notice how I said that I stuck with positive food choices instead of saying that I went on a diet? I like the way this excellent article over at BodyBuilding.com puts it:

Somewhere in the last few decades, people everywhere began to confuse a healthy diet with “dieting.” A healthy diet is balanced and can be altered or customized to achieve specific goals without becoming unhealthy. Dieting, on the other hand, is simple deprivation in the name of fat loss, and with it often comes physical weakness, unhappiness, and a decline in athleticism.

Very, very often, the two are confused, which is why I usually use words like “food choice” or “plan”. Diets suggest “fad”, diet suggests “try it and quit in two weeks if I don’t drop 30lbs”, diet suggests “failure”. Diet is about as cliché’ as joining a fitness club on New Years Day. Whereas a food plan or choice is something you are consciously doing, you have a specific goal in mind, you have a purpose and a why. It is deliberate. Your food choices help support, strengthen and back up your reasons why is it worth it to you.

Steve Kamb over at Nerd Fitness has a great way of putting it when it comes to making positive food choices. Instead of saying no because you are on a diet, you just say “I don’t X”, whatever X is right now. You don’t drink soda. You don’t eat donuts. People will assume “Oh, you are on a diet?” when you don’t pitch in for the Monday morning office donuts or the mid-day treat run. And you simply say “No, I no longer eat donuts because I am tired of how it makes my body feel.”. People will bribe you, tease, criticize, and generally not understand. Crabs in a bucket, people, crabs in a bucket.

YOLO, they may say. Exactly. You only live once. We prefer to live this one time without prescription drugs, high obesity and an inability to do the things we would love to do because we aren’t healthy enough to do them.

You only live once.

It’ll take some “reprogramming” in your brain, hacking into the Matrix of life and learning a few “life hacks” at restaurants to solidify a lot of your food choices, but you can do it. Again, it is worth it.

Hopefully you get the point, food choice is important. Depending on your goals, the food choices you make will be 85-95% of your success in the gym or where ever you decide to work out. Positive fuel + positive work = positive results. I’m still on the path, I’m still learning and adjusting, but it is worth it.

O.K., enough with the food choices, thank you for staying with me. Let’s get to the physical side of things!

 “Circuit Training”

There is probably a more technical term for this. I’m sure I read it once or a million times, I don’t know. But this is what I did. I didn’t have a gym membership so I focused on body weight exercises. A “leg” move, a “pull” move, a “push” move and something “core” related. I would take these four exercises, do a certain amount of each in a circuit with only the briefest of rests in between – usually 30 seconds – and then when I was finished with the final move, I would rest for 90 to 120 seconds and repeat the circuit. This circuit of exercises and reps would be done five times and then I would call it a day. I focused on doing this twice a week, on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Here are the exercises I did.

Circuit 1: Squats, Pull Ups, Push Ups, Reverse Crunches/Leg Lifts,

Circuit 2: Lunges, Chin Ups, Dips, Planks

I didn’t start off cranking out the Pull Ups, Chin Ups and Dips. I have a “power tower” at home that comes with bands for weight assistance, meaning, I can take up to a certain amount of pounds off my bodyweight to successfully complete the reps and help build up my strength.

So I started there.

No weight added, just bodyweight squats, lunges, and push ups with reduced weight Pulls, Chins and Dips. All of the “rep” exercises were done in increments of five or ten, depending on the exercise and level of ability. The planks were in time increments of 15 seconds and then I began to build on that, 20sec, 25sec, 30sec, etc as training went on. The weight assisted exercises decreased as my strength increased.

I should stress that I planned ahead, knowing not only what I would do, but, how many reps, how long I would hold a plank, how many total circuits, total duration of the workout, what my warm up would look like, what my cool down stretches would look like, etc. Based on the prior week’s workout, I would try to increase the challenge a bit to stimulate growth. I cannot emphasize enough how much planning and keeping track of your workout plan can help you stay focused. When you are frustrated, you can review and see what you’ve been doing and see where you’ve come from, you can assess what needs improving, and when you are looking at switching things up, you can more clearly assess what has been working or not working.

I should also stress that I didn’t go into this knowing ahead of time what I wanted to do. That is where Nerd Fitness came into play and me diving headlong into the articles to figure out what I wanted and how I wanted to do it. Reading those articles and many of the links Steve provided in his own articles, gave me the direction I needed to put together the circuits and the plan to execute.

I pushed, pulled, squatted, lunged, sweated and groaned my way through the next 101 days.

And it paid off, creating a new desire and giving me the momentum to keep moving forward and not give up.

Like I said in the previous article. Those before and after pictures might not be P90X transformation-worthy, but I earned that smile on my face. I had worked for it. Though I was only 101 days into a solid journey, it is a beginning, an origin story if you will, that I will always look back to and smile.