Dig deep to add more substance to your life.
If you woke up tomorrow and your life was perfect, what would it look like? My mortgage would be paid in full, I would have more money than I need for retirement, my clients would all be eager to work and make permanent changes, my health insurance statements would be accurate every time and my husband would be retiring from his high-stress job. That’s for starters.
In the three previous installments of this column, we built a great foundation by handling the basics: needs, values, boundaries, standards, integrity, things you tolerate, attitude, simplicity and “me time.” My intention this month is to get you digging deeper to create richness in your life and business—to perfect and develop the life you have. Do you have depth and breadth to your character and personality? Are you layer upon layer of quality, or all flash and no substance? In Texas, we call that the “big hat, no cattle” complex. In other words, you invest all your energy in looking like you have it all going for you, when you actually possess nothing of substance. You have the big, flashy hat, but an empty cow pasture.
This month we’ll enhance your foundation by addressing presence, physical wellness and money. It’s time to stretch yourself by doing the extra work you need to perfect your life and business.
Here are two ways to help you live more in the moment.
Perfect the Present to Make the Most of Today. Be “present” in all you do. Utilize all your senses to enjoy and treasure the activities in your day: taste, touch, hear, feel and see. Maximizing the present is still a challenge for me. I have an ingrained habit of doing at least two things at once to “get things done.” I have an “accomplishment” issue—I feel like I need to be doing something. Thankfully, I am much better today than I was 10 years ago. But I still find myself reading a magazine and watching TV at the same time. That’s crazy. I’m not really present for either event, so how could I possibly get maximum enjoyment out of that time? Many of us do the same thing to the people we love and care about. We only half listen to our spouses, kids or clients because we are thinking of something else that needs to be done. We cheat ourselves of the beauty of life and love and cheat others by being physically present and mentally absent. I had lunch with a friend the other day who was definitely “somewhere else.” The lack of her mental presence was a frustrating experience for both of us.
Let Go of the Past, Accept the Present and Plan for the Future. Develop and perfect your present situation: learn what you need from the past and let it go, accept what life has given you in the present and work with it, and invest only 20% of your time planning for the future. The past, present and future represent three worlds that should intersect to create a strong person and a strong business. The problems come when you invest the majority of your time and resources in the past or the future. If you come away with only one principle from this entire foundational series, let it be this one: the present moment is the only reality you have. The past is over and cannot be rewritten. The future is not here. Today is all you have. Perfect the present to attract and prepare for a positive future.
I focus on the following six components of physical wellness with my coaching and personal training clients: strength, flexibility, cardiovascular endurance, nutrition, body weight and sleep. Each component is important to the longevity of our aging bodies and our ability to function in the present. I ask clients to score themselves in each area on a scale of 1–5, with 1 being poor and 5 being excellent. This simple visual reminder keeps clients focused on what needs work. (See “Physical Wellness Sample” on page 11 for an example.) As a personal trainer or wellness coach, it is vitally important that you apply the same standards in your own life. Be a model of what you teach.
Physical presentation is an equally important component of physical wellness, especially as a wage-earning fitness professional. When out in public, your professional attire and appearance should be acceptable to the president of a large company. I always say that you never know where and when you will meet your next client. Physical presentation is the outward manifestation of your core growth, development and beliefs. How would you score your physical presentation in the following eight areas?
- Hair: Do you like the cut and color?
- Nails: Are they healthy?
- Eyes: Can you see well?
- Skin: Is it healthy?
- Clothes: Are they appropriate and do they look good on you?
- Posture: What does your posture tell others about you?
- Hygiene: Are you clean?
- Connection: Is your mind connected with your body? Are you in tune with what is happening with your health and why it is happening?
Make sure you maintain all the components of physical wellness and upgrade your physical presentation.
Money can be a more challenging topic than physical wellness. The basic truth is this: either you control your money or it controls you. When it comes to money, most people have a problem with spending. They spend what they don’t have and fret over it later. The immediate gratification is just too tempting for them and they give in. The reality is that you earn a certain amount of money per month. What you spend must come out of that. It’s a shuffling game: if you spend more in one area, you will have to take some from another. Be present with your money—spend what you possess today, not what you anticipate earning next month. I am reminded of a concept I learned in economics 101 in college that made a lasting impact on me—opportunity cost:
- Every opportunity has a cost.
- What exactly will that opportunity cost?
- What am I willing to sacrifice to get “x”?
- Is it worth the sacrifice?
- What exactly is it buying me?
Develop yourself by taking control of your money in your personal life and your business. Make sure you know how to plan, budget and save money. Invest in your future through careful planning, and work that plan every month. Hire a financial planner to assist you in accumulating what you need for retirement. Start saving monthly and place it in a separate account so that it is much less convenient to get to it to spend. Most of us are in the process of learning that we can spend money all day long, buying the greatest stuff. However, at the end of the month, we are no happier or better for the additional things we possess.
You are responsible for every decision, action and word you speak in your personal and professional life. Developing as an individual can be a painful but liberating experience. Let me challenge you this month to enhance your personal foundation by addressing presence, physical wellness and money. Sleep on this information tonight and, when you wake up tomorrow, commit to making your present reality as perfect as possible.