Wednesday, 29 August 2012

A story about transformation and growth

After years of yoyo dieting, perfecting the couch potato and moments of extreme fanatical exercising I decided 2012 was the year to take control and craft my body into peak physical performance.

The process of transformation my mind and body has been going through reminds me of the change process that an organisation goes through to move to the next level.

1. Commit to what you want
It may take some time, but eventually you come to the realisation “things just can’t go on as they are”. There is always some pain, some frustration, some un-fulfilled desire that spurs you to action. You just have to listen to it.

It makes you ask what do I really, really want. This is when I decided what I needed was some outside help - a personal trainer. When I started working with my trainer we spent a lot of time working out my health and fitness goals and making decisions between fitness vs strength, weight loss vs toning up. And importantly why I wanted to do this. Knowing what you want is half the battle and it's where business transformation starts.

2. Get excited
This is a great part of the change process. The anticipation that something good is going to happen. You have a clear vision of what you want. You are filled with energy and ideas of what you need to do and you are invincible!

3. Reality Check
Then it’s time to get real about where you are currently. This can be a painful part of the process. I was horrified to learn that my arms were only 3 cm smaller than my trainers’ and he has big muscled biceps. The difference – he has no fat and I had a fair bit of it! Painful as it is, unless you know where you currently are and what is going to stop you from achieving you will not know what you need to do differently. You will also not know how far you have changed as you go through the process.

4. Hard work
Transforming your body into a lean, mean fighting machine is not easy. In fact it takes a lot of hard work. A personal trainer gives you access to the expertise to know what you need to do and how you need to do it, but they don’t do the work for you. You have to put the effort in and you have to be consistent for any change to take place. You ultimately own the work.

5. Accountability
The best thing about a Personal Trainer is that he holds you accountable. If you haven’t put the effort in he will know about it, and whilst you can kid yourself that you have been good, it is hard to lie to your trainer. A trainer also helps you to focus and maintain your motivation. When you don’t feel like putting the effort in he can help you show up, focus on the goal and push you through it. So too in business. It helps to have someone outside the process.

6. Despair
Inevitably at some point you are going to get stuck. For me it happened week 5 when my body stopped changing, I was tired of doing the work and I couldn’t see how things would get better. This is a normal part of any change process and this is the point at which it is really easy to give up. But you have to keep on going! You have to believe that it will get better and this is when you change things up – move to the next level to break through.

7. Hope
There is nothing like seeing progress to give you hope and keep you on track. This can be as simple as being able to lift a weight you couldn’t lift before, run further or lose a few cm’s from your waist. The important thing is to be able to look back at how far you have come.

8. Celebrate & Reward
If you’re anything like me rewarding yourself is tough. I tend to be my own harshest critic and only reward or celebrate when I have achieved the final outcome. The problem is when your goal is long term it can feel like all stick and little carrot for a very long time – not very inspiring or motivating. Small rewards and celebrations make you feel good and helps your subconscious want to do more.

9. Commit to a new way
So what happens when you finally reach your desired goal – is this the time to get the donuts out? Tempting but NO!

In order to maintain you have to keep on working, keep on setting new challenges for yourself. You are never going to stop working hard. You are never going to stop giving it your all. Anything that you want in life and business takes effort. This is when it is essential to remain connected to the why, to the benefit of what you get, to the successes you have achieved and how good it feels.

So is it worth the effort?
Absolutely. Moving from a place of disappointment with myself, frustration, tiredness and lack of energy to a place of power, strength, positivity and momentum is worth a few hours a week of hard work and skipping the odd pizza.

And what has made the big difference this time round?
Having a guide to help me establish and commit to my goals, an expert to show me what works and doesn’t work, someone to be accountable to and help me celebrate success have made the difference between feeling good and feeling awesome!  

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