When I was younger, I would torture myself with comparisons. How I did compare to this person or that person? Who got higher grades? Who had the better job? Who ascended the corporate ladder more quickly? Who was fitter? And so on…
Most of us go through this type of thinking at some point or another in our lives. Then, you finally wake up and realize it’s a tremendous waste of time. Ironically, it took me stepping on a stage to be compared to other NPC/IFBB Bikini athletes to finally get it.
I quickly learned that focusing on what others are doing, how they are looking, how things will play out onstage, etc. will make you crazy and won’t improve your placings. It just ties up precious energy and time that could be invested in actually making yourself better— a key step for success on stage and in life.
There’s tremendous freedom in living to become your best rather than worrying about being better than others. Doing so is all about maximizing your potential, amplifying your strengths, and working on (but not obsessing over) your weaknesses. Becoming your best is defined solely on your progress, your effort, your goals, your genetics…YOU. It’s a rather simple but powerful notion that has become a motivating theme for my journey and the message I continually share with other women. So, it is fitting that the new name for my column here at FitnessRx for Women is Your Best.
As I wrap up my final preparations for the Bikini Olympia, I am excited to take the stage as what I think will be my best yet. Will my best earn a top placing? Who knows? I’m focused on bettering my best every day, enjoying the ride and letting others worry about the rest. It’s a shift in my mindset that has occurred over the last few years and has led to a more peaceful countenance and successful life. I wish the same for you. Here are a few of my keys to help you get on the path to YOUR BEST today:
Let others inspire you, but stay focused on your progress. Like everyone else, I get inspiration from watching others succeed. I read others’ work to help elevate my writing. I gaze in awe of my fellow competitors’ amazing physiques to keep me pushing. However, there’s a fine line between using others for inspiration and using others to measure your success. For example, despite having made progress growing my glutes, if I compared my results to the assets of another, I may not think I measure up. That’s why I highly recommend tracking your progress:
Your Best Board/Journal: In addition to making your vision boards collaged with images/words to inspire your fit life journey, make a Your Best Board/Journal featuring progress pictures to keep you aware of how far you’ve come. I also recommend keeping a journal to record your daily achievements— even the worst day can offer something to celebrate or, at minimum, provide a useful lesson worth remembering.
Appreciate, but don’t rely on external validation. Becoming your best doesn’t require a trophy, a paycheck or even a pat on the back. Although such an acknowledgement is a wonderful gift that we should appreciate and celebrate, we shouldn’t rely upon it. If we do, we are putting our self-worth in someone else’s hands. And guess what? We will never become our best chasing down approval from others. As Dr. Wayne Dyer succinctly said, “Self-worth comes from one thing— thinking you are worthy.” I’ll take it one step further: “Self-worth comes from thinking you are worthy and taking action that honors your worth.” So, don’t wait for someone to award you your best— you are earning it daily with your efforts and beliefs.
Every day, seek to better your best. After my first show, my trainer Shannon Dey looked at me and said, “Today is the best you’ve ever looked, and it’s the worst you will ever look again.” I’ll never forget that. That day I was at my best— but every day that I put in the work, I better my best. I use that thought to keep me motivated on a daily basis by challenging myself to do one small thing that exceeds yesterday’s best. Maybe I’ll crank up the treadmill’s speed or incline for just a few minutes, or force a few extra reps. It may seem small and insignificant in the moment, but small steps eventually add up to leaps in your progress.
Make it happen. The other day, I was watching a football game and heard one of the players yell from the sidelines, “Come on…these plays ain’t gonna make themselves.” It immediately resonated with me. Your best isn’t going to happen by itself— you have to make it happen! Don’t wait on permission or perfect timing— go get it!
Do one thing daily to bring out someone else’s best. My favorite quote is, “It’s not how far you climb, it’s how many people you bring with you along the way.” I don’t believe you can ever truly become your best if you haven’t helped others become theirs. Maybe it’s idealistic, but from my experience, it’s true. What’s more, the amazing thing about facilitating someone else’s best is that it infuses you with motivation to keep you on the path to yours.
Push Toward Your Best
Becoming your best is a lifelong journey. Your best is a moving target, as you will strive for, arrive at and then better your best over and over again. So, always remember that you may not have arrived at your goal or be exactly where you want to be, but you are better than you were yesterday. Keep pushing— your best is waiting on you.