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Fall Down Seven Times; Stand Up Eight

By Jillian Teta

The Arnold was this past weekend, and wasn’t it awesome to experience it, whether in person or just through the pictures? Seeing the pros at the top of their game can be inspiring, and for some people it can stir up feelings of inadequacy as they stack their own physique up against the ladies onstage. I think both of these reactions are understandable and quite common.

It seems to be human nature to have a sort of intimidated admiration for these athletes while at the same time slipping into a type of despair because we think we don’t look like them and never can or will. I find this particularly in the contest prep/stage circuit, where women are constantly compared and judged against each other.

To put things in perspective, let’s consider a few things. First, the type of physiques that win shows and get to the professional levels are physiques that literally take years and years to build and create and tweak. As IFBB Pro Cheryl Davis says, “Rome was not built in a day”…and neither is a body that graces the stage at the Arnold or the Olympia. So, what do we do to ourselves when we think we need to be there, and we are not? We beat ourselves up and/or convince ourselves of our unworthiness – and all of the proof is there, because hey, we don’t look like Nicole Wilkins! Sounds a little silly, yet this is oh so very common!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I am definitely not saying we should not have goals. Having goals helps us focus and create the consistency and structure we need to realize change. Yet, Rome is built brick by brick, and not in the blink of an eye, and not even in 12 weeks.

So, have your goals and begin to work on them step by step and systematically. This is where it is great to have a coach on board who can be an objective assessor of your physique and what areas need to be tweaked and polished. Having identified those areas, you put a plan in place to meet the objectives, and voila! You are on your way to having your best physique, without berating yourself for not looking like someone else. You get to be the best YOU, and that is well, the best, right? And isn’t that what we all want anyway?

Having a plan in place with objective goals as we build ourselves “brick by brick” also helps us to avoid the “all or nothing” mentality. As we know, this all or nothing mentality can be a huge saboteur of our goals and ultimately our happiness. The all or nothing mentality undermines our ability to make small sustainable changes and learn about ourselves.

Where we trip, where we fall, where we get caught up and stuck – this is a field of gold waiting to be mined. This will bring you exactly the lessons you need to learn for yourself to become stronger, more at peace and more grounded. All of these lessons and qualities give you the fuel to keep on realizing your goals and dreaming bigger all the time. I love the thought that things happen FOR us, rather than TO us. Isn’t that so beautiful and empowering? So much more so than believing we are victims or our circumstances, bodies and habits.

For success is not determined by how many times we get knocked down, but by how many times we stand back up. I love the quote that I titled this blog: “Fall down seven times; stand up eight”. It is a Japanese proverb and I think of it frequently – especially during the times when I am ready to throw in the towel (like at the IFPA Pro Bowl last year).

Very, very few people win all of their shows and cruise to the top of their game without a hitch or a glitch. Very, very few people rise to success without struggling and sacrificing to get there. Very, very few people gain personal insight, happiness, contentment and peace without looking at the things that trigger them under a microscope, without reframing negative events in their life, and without going through their own personal hells to emerge transformed on the other side.

It is through the day-to-day, minute-to-minute grind where we keep on going and getting up whether or not we win, lose, get what we want or hear what we need to hear that we become ourselves. And that is a success.

So no matter how many times you get knocked down, whether it is on stage or in the gym, or if it is a hurtful comment by someone or by yourself, if it is a relationship or a job or a major trauma or a bad day – stand up.

Related: Is guilt really as “useful” as we think it is?

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