16 years ago I found myself freezing my petunias in the tundra of Michigan (don’t ask why), driving a Ford Mustang (you know why), and managing a fitness facility while growing my business as a Certified Personal Trainer. This meant getting up at 4am to open the doors at 5am for the handful of highly-devoted (and pretty damn spirited) members who no doubt slid their way off the main street into the gym parking lot. During these quiet hours, I’d plan the sessions for my clients and review sticking points that were inhibiting their goals… not to mention attitudes. (Hint: 1 hour with a trainer can be obliterated by any bad habit within a minute.)
Though I did experience successes with plenty of clients, a trend easily revealed itself: one’s psychology dictates one’s physiology, and vice versa. The folks who were unable to handle certain sources of stress in their lives were having trouble committing to workouts in their own, changing eating regimens, getting enough rest…hell, even showing up on time for a workout! I realized that “Give me 12 more” wasn’t cutting it when the client was struggling with an uphill battle of stress- revealing itself as poor memory, disorganization, loss of interest in activities, struggling marriage, lack of confidence, low libido, reliance on food or alcohol… the list went on. (Trust me, I’d get earfuls of confessions…and details!)
Mind you, each of these folks could be categorized with a simplistic label, like Executive, Baby Boomer, Empty Nester, Single Parent, Entrepreneur, 9-to-5er, Unemployed, Retiree, New Grad, Newlywed, etc. But through countless hours of conversations both on the clock and on my own time, it was also revealed that each person wore a plethora of different hats each day, juggling lists of responsibilities, and bravely facing unique situations concerning their boss, kids, spouses, deadlines, parents, pets, schedule, school, health issues, home, travel, age, neighborhood, technology, addictions, friends, carpools, church… you name it. So… the SYMPTOMS weren’t the problem. The PROBLEMS were the problem.
Don’t focus on the signs. Focus on the SOURCE.
And there it was. My a-ha moment. My leap from ground level to 30,000 feet that became the springboard to the last 15 years of my career. It also became the tuning fork to my own life.
The lesson here: when you shift your paradigm from being reactive to being proactive you change your own dynamic in any situation. I think the renowned director, author and screenwriter Nora Ephron nailed it with one simple charge:
“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
So, yes, those crack-o-dawn, cold, reflective mornings, were the foundation to the groundbreaking methodology I brought to Austin back in 2000. Over the years it has indeed evolved- especially with the acceptance of and explosion of the coaching market- but it is still soundly based on respected science, diligent research and demographic-specific observational experience. So, yup, I’ve done my homework. But the means with which I deliver tools, guidance and in-the-trenches action is even more profoundly progressive as of late -perhaps, somewhat aggressive as well. “Give me 12 more” was definitely just a starting point to my own process of learning; an ever-evolving process that confidently equips me to motivate, advise, encourage, collaborate with, educate, entertain and activate folks to find solution by focusing on the source.
My own evolution as coach has taken me on quite a colorful journey. Coming from a diverse family line of teachers and professors, I like to think I’ve found my own unconventional, but still wonderfully valuable, way to impact people’s perspectives.
I leave you with this: take the leap to 30,000 feet, my friends. And if you need a wingman… give me a shout. ~KD
NEVER STOP EVOLVING.