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August 26, 2011


“I’ll never know about my failure because you will be talking about it at my funeral–
I’m going to succeed, or I’ll be dead from trying.”
–Ryan Blair, Author “Nothing to Lose”

I wanted to blog about the concept of resiliency this week because I believe it has much applicability to competition and fat loss, as well as life in general. It just so happens that I have a few close friends right now who are experiencing challenges, either in their physique quest or in their personal lives.  I feel for them because I, too, have experienced challenging circumstances recently and have had to dig very deep into myself and face some serious demons.

Resiliency is an interesting concept for 2 reasons. One because it is one of those esoteric woo-woo things that really only resonates with you WHEN and IF you have ever been down-and-out or encountered a challenge that has made you ask, “Why is this happening to me?” And two, because most people live in the mindset of look-at-all-the-bad-stuff-that-always-happens-to-me and they never find their way out, simply because they literally don’t know they can look for a way out.  In other words, you have to have a certain amount of introspection to even believe that you have a choice about what happens to you–to understand that either your perception needs to change OR that you are experiencing a challenge because it is meant to teach you something about yourself–a life lesson in the truest sense.

Understanding your choices during the process

One thing that always surprises me when working with clients is that they are trying to please me instead of being honest. In other words, they don’t want to let me down as their coach. They try to be a “perfect little dieter” and if they experience anything less than great, linear results, they are afraid to be honest about it because they are scared of failure. This sense of all-or-nothing, “perfection expectation” mindset sets you up for failure every time. You are literally creating failure with your mindset alone.

We see this in the fat loss journey and in competition prep all the time–the complete and utter disappointment when all the effort and time poured into the process does not yield the results we seek. And yet, it is one of the most difficult processes for anyone giving it a try. Almost every competitor I have worked with has gotten to a point during their prep when they just wanted to throw in the towel–they asked, “Is this really worth it???” A few quit, and then regret it later, but many go on to compete and never look back. This sort of stress, struggle and challenge happens to us all and it presents a unique challenge, to which everyone responds differently. Some quit, which is of course their prerogative and there’s no judgment about it, competing is not for everyone, while others take a hard look, decide that it is in line with their larger goals and persevere in the face of failure or obstacles, even when it really, really sucks :)

Having a coach in this instance proves very helpful because they are able to think for you when you are in the thick of self-pity.  Whenever a competitor comes to me at this stage, it is an opportunity for me to deliver a little bit of tough love and remind them of their goals–a figurative “slap in the face” wake-up call if you will :)

Here’s the thing: it is easy to take the easy way out. But remember, if you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always gotten.

It’s easy to be “all good” when everything’s all good

Thank you Jillian Teta for that applicable bit of wisdom :)

Ask any successful entrepreneur and they will tell you that what sets them apart from those who have not succeeded is their resilience. In fact, most successful people have failed more than next person, but what all successful people have is the ability to pick themselves back up after a big blunder, mistake or circumstantial disaster. They don’t let their “history of blunders” determine or predict their future successes, like many of us automatically do. In fact, they know that they are now MORE likely to succeed having experience failure and learned from it, so why not try again.

Over the last 6 years, at times Jade and I have talked about what we would do if our businesses failed or went under. Not out of the question, as any small business hangs by a thread during a down economy, but I remember so clearly Jade saying, “I would go back to work, work my ass off to save up the money to try again.”  It is this kind of tenacity and resiliency that can take anyone, literally ANYONE from mediocre to the top.

I work with many young, college-aged people. Many of whom cannot fathom failure. It is difficult because in many cases they are raised to be perfect. Great athlete, top of the class, model son or daughter, etc so the myth of the “perfection expectation” is perpetuated. Parents many times raise them in a way to actually prevent any “mistakes” from being made. What?? And so I ask you, how can one learn and grow without making mistakes?  Doesn’t a mistake, failure or challenge itself create that uniquely special opportunity to learn an important lesson if we are open to it? If we recognize that a mistake is actually a good thing? And that without it, we really cannot grow, get better or ultimately be more successful.

For example, many people who have gone through a divorce get this–they might be sad about the marriage not working out, and of course there is the guilt and shame of failure (which is a whole other blog!), but ultimately they learned from the experience and should they marry again, they are in a much better place, wiser.

Ask anyone on the latter side of a challenge and most will say they are grateful for it because it taught them a valuable lesson about themselves or about life. It made them see something they couldn’t see before. It opened their eyes to a new way of thinking or of being. If we think about it this way, how can we ever be afraid of a failure? In fact, maybe we should look forward to it? LOL Such a shocking concept, but one I have adopted over the last few months and now I can honestly say that I look forward to my failures, how could I not when each one teaches me so much about myself, about life, about business, about people? It is in the thick of a challenge that we see the most clear IF we have our eyes open.

I love getting knocked down, because I learn something new every time I get back up! Good luck! :) ox Jill

Related: Where is your head at?
Related: Keeping It Real
Related: JillFit Competition Prep

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