Competing as a physique athlete has taught me countless lessons on how to successfully live fit. I share those experiences with you each week here at YOUR BEST. However, it has also taught me a whole lot about life in general. In fact, these life lessons are probably some of the most important things I’ve garnered from the competing experience, as they have transformed my view of success and how to achieve it. Because winning the day is about more than just having great glutes and a tight waist (although both are great pursuits), I’m excited to share with you a few of my winning lessons for life success:
There is room for everyone to have success. However, not all success is the same. As a competitor, while you are always striving for first place, you quickly learn that not every person walks away a champion. However, that does not mean that each competitor cannot achieve success. It just means that success may not come in the form of a placing. For example, despite her best efforts, a competitor may place last at every show, because perhaps she has too much definition in her midsection. However, these high definition abs may make her a fantastic fitness model or spokesperson for ab equipment. Thus, competing may not give her a trophy, but it facilitates her success by providing exposure, networking opportunities and the impetus to get in great shape.
In life, it’s really easy to narrowly define our definition of success. We get caught up in pushing toward a goal, and we lose perspective of the bigger picture and the opportunities that surround us. The key is to know your strengths and keep an open mind regarding where those assets could flourish. When you do, success is unavoidable. In fact, from my experience, it sort of just finds you.
Not every opportunity is worth chasing. While I firmly believe in keeping your eyes open to the opportunities that are all around us, I also know that we must use discretion to ensure that our time and effort are spent wisely. In fitness, there are all sorts of “opportunities” available: photo shoots, interviews, modeling, training, writing, radio shows, tradeshow work, supplement company work, etc. You can fill your days with “stuff” positioned as “great opportunities” and not move anywhere closer to your goals.
The key is to take a step back and truly assess your goals, prioritize what is most important to achieving those goals, be discerning with your time and effort and have the confidence to turn down opportunities that don’t facilitate your personal objectives. From experience, if you don’t do this, you will chase your minutes and feel frustrated when your goals continue to evade you.
Sometimes losing is winning. Not winning is often the best thing that can happen to us, even if it doesn’t feel that way in the moment. I’ve learned a whole lot more about myself and garnered a ton more motivation from a loss than a win. I can say that some of my best fitness and life insights came after a loss and have served as inspiration for my YOUR BEST columns. In addition, a loss causes us to reevaluate and re-strategize. Doing so has kept me on my toes and consistently improving throughout my career. Finally, not winning has given me a tremendous sense of gratitude for success, large or small. Thus, I appreciate all aspects of my fitness and life journey much more than I did years ago.
<p >When things don’t go your way, let it fuel you rather than frustrate you. How can the loss make you better? How can you use it for good? The more quickly you shift your mindset from pity party back to pushing toward your best, the sooner you can begin to grow from loss.
Showcase your strengths. It’s no secret that we ladies are ridiculously hard on ourselves. We are so quick to compare ourselves to others, identify our shortcomings and lose sight of our strengths. The truth is that if we put more effort into showcasing our strengths and less into obsessing about our weaknesses, we would experience more success. For example, over the years of competing, there have been times when I’ve become so narrowly focused on my opportunities for improvement (e.g., growing my glutes and bringing down my legs) that I took for granted and neglected my strengths (e.g., small waist, stage presence and lines/proportion). Come show time, I sometimes hadn’t done enough to ensure that I was showcasing my greatest assets, and my placing reflected my neglect.
No matter what you are trying to achieve in life, let your strengths lead the way. Make sure that you’re putting as much energy into showcasing your assets as you are into addressing your areas of opportunity. When you do so, your strengths will shine so bright that the world will be blind to your weaknesses.
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