Do you ever go to a restaurant, spend ages choosing your meal, only to look around at what everyone else has chosen and think, "damn why didn't I choose that?" I used to do it every time, which is surprising really because anyone who knows me, knows I enjoy a huge variety of food, so why wouldn't I be satisfied with the food on my plate, the food I had chosen for myself?
Recently I started adopting the same mentality to my hobbies and active lifestyle choices, until in the end I became rather unsatisfied with myself. My background as you may well know by now is Kick Boxing, weight training, and Yoga, and like many other women I started exercising to "loose weight and get fit" YAWN. Eventually my goals evolved as I started to refine what I enjoyed in the gym, heavy lifting, kick boxing refinement and of course the way I looked, my body composition.
I am a 5'3 strong build, I always had calves that would never fit into sexy boots and my quads kept wearing away those inner thigh seams of jeans and trousers, while the waists remained loose enough to stuff my boxing gloves into. Yet, a part of me could not shake that intrinsic mindset that already existed before I had ever set foot in the gym. I kept telling myself I was too big and needed to 'loose weight' I wasn't as muscularly defined as I dreamed of but looking back now, I see that I looked quite good, actually!
I started looking at the other girls in the gym who do Hoop and pole classes, seeing how lean they are, how petite their build is and the muscles that were so well defined, and the unhealthy mind pattern kicked in, the comparison, the envy, the desire to be something else, because apparently I wasn't satisfied with myself.
Don't get me wrong, I still love those activities because they are daring and strong and they take me out of my comfort zone, and I admire the girls who make it look so wonderfully simple and easy but I was missing the point….
The ladies in pole and hoop class can do what they do because of hard work and perseverance and most of all consistency, and here I was expecting to perform to their level in my third class!
On a deeper level when did I loose sight of myself?
Why was I looking at everyone else's plate instead of being satisfied with myself? What was so terrible about myself I was running away from?
Here's the thing, in the same way that I thought successful people were successful because they had the money to be successful in the first place, Somewhere in my established mindset, I had already decided that success was unattainable to me, that looking good happens to women who already look good, that running a business was for people who already ran or owned businesses, and like wise, personal goals were for everyone else but me.
I was more afraid of success in every part of my life than I was prepared to admit, and I didn't even know what, in my world success was. I am still not entirely sure. Something I have learnt is that the picture of success in your world continually evolves over time and it's the journey you are on that will generate the momentum towards the next junction and the next, and the next. In other words there is no one day when you wake up and say I'm here! this is it, I am now successful, its more an accumulation of everything you learnt along the way, the mistakes and the lessons learnt, and the doors that your journey will open that generate new ideas, new leads and take you to the next stop on the tube line of your life. The trick is to be happy with what you have achieved and to live in the moment of those choices, to look ahead and focus on the next goal and the next step.
Its healthy to look around and admire other people's art, to aspire to be like them, to seek improvement of your own skills, take on board little hints and tips from others, there's always room for improvement and things to be learnt but more importantly; stay grounded. Stay true to yourself and remember to stay focussed on your own goals, if you find yourself feeling a bit lost or a bit overwhelmed, or find yourself hankering after the plate next to you and discarding your own, take time out, remember where you came from to be where you are today, remember what you set out to achieve in the first place.
The measure of success is only as limiting as the limiting beliefs you put on yourself. My journey continues and my 'success' continues to grow while i shape new ideas, refine my goals and continue learning each and every day.