Coaching, mentoring, parenting, teaching, training - you name it - is about assisting in perspective. One party has a blind spot. The other party can see clearly in that blind spot.
In my world, the fitness world, this boils down to taking the under confident and empowering them or the overconfident and humbling them. The “unsuccessful” are those that reject your vision in their blind spots.
I’ve worked with many people who don’t think they could ever be fit, or lean, or athletic, or thin, or fill-in-the-blank-here. It’s unimportant to me what that category is, other than I know full well you can achieve it even while you believe strongly you can’t. I’ve seen elderly people get young, genetically obese people get shredded, “naturally-gifted” athletes become invalids. Any and all possibilities are for the taking.
On the contrary, overconfidence in strategy is about as effective as low belief in self. People ask me, “can you just give me the list of 50 things to do?” This is so conceited and cluelessly offensive that I just shake my head. You can’t do it. You have to slave to earn the right to even ask a question like that. It’s like shooting an email to the Tibetan monastery instead of climbing the Himalayas and begging to study at the Ashram. And even after you climb the summit, you should still expect to be turned away. “Just give me the checklist to become valedictorian at Harvard,” you say. Ugh. Before we have that discussion, show me you’ll master the prerequisites.
Put in 5-10 years of unbroken compliance before you ask a question even remotely like that. I worked out hard, every day, without any breaks for 3 years before I felt I had the right to expect lists. And I still didn’t have that right. 30 years later I still don’t deserve a list.
You don’t get to trump card the universe. Fitness isn’t a product which you can go out and procure. It is a process. You’re already in it. You never enter. The process began at your conception. You exit on your dying day.
I say the number one determinant of outcome is mindset. You can find many examples of “successes” who did the wrong things and “failures” who did everything right. I can predict with 110% accuracy who will flounder miserably not by program but by their word choice. If someone says, “I just need,” she is doomed. The fact that you come to me, the expert, and tell me that you’ve determined the one single factor for your success, means you still don’t understand humility and growth.
Lists exist. Programs are legion. Go to Instagram or bodybuilding.com.Search google. The answer to everything exists already, right? Find your workout program. Find your diet. Simple, right? Now you’re content and happy and totally healthy and fit, right?
Yeah, the answer hasn’t a darn thing to do with a list, a series of “do’s” and “don’t’s”. Instead, get some perspective.
How will you integrate self-care into your identity? A good answer would be, “I don’t friggin know.” When you catch yourself saying, “I know the right thing to do; I just don’t do it,” try to follow up with a healthy serving of humility. You don’t know, obviously. Just work the process.
And through that process we can increasingly gain more perspective, if we’re willing to admit we need it. And ever do we need it.
We need perspective.