The following is a guest post from my friend and phenomenal life coach: the wonderful Jill Coleman. She’s going to reveal and explain why perspective is your greatest tool. Whether you want to lose fat, build a better body, or change your life – it’s all about perspective. This is powerful stuff and Jill is a Jedi Master when it comes to mindset. Enjoy!
Hello readers of Lift Like a Girl! Today I don’t want to talk about nutrition or training. I want to talk about perspective, and specifically why it’s, well, everything.
Perspective is your greatest tool.
First, I want to share something with you: I’ve been off my game lately. Not with food or exercise, but with my perception and mindset.
See, over the last couple months, I’ve had a few challenges pop up – one in my personal life and one in my professional life, both of which I’ve had a hard time moving past.
In short, I’ve taken the victim stance (i.e. wondering “Why is this happening to me?”) more than I normally would, and way more than I have in the last three years. I’ve been quicker to blame others. I’ve been deflecting and defending more readily, and I’ve shirked my responsibilities in these scenarios.
And do you want to know what my responsibilities are?
I am responsible for my attitude, my effort, my choices, the situations in which I find myself (even when someone else’s actions may have put me there!) and most importantly, I am responsible for my perception.
This is something I believe to be true, but for the last couple months have forgotten:
MY PERCEPTION IS MY GREATEST TOOL.
Here’s an example:
A man walks into a convenience store, and while he’s at the back grabbing a soda out of the cooler, the store gets robbed. The clerk is held up at gunpoint and shots go off around the store in the ensuing scuffle. The man getting the soda drops to the ground and he, along with the other patrons, don’t get hurt. The gunman runs out and ends up being chased and apprehended by nearby cops.
After this event, the man who was buying the soda comes out and people have gathered. One passerby approaches him and says, “Man, what bad luck you had being in the store at the exact time it was held up! What are the chances! Life’s a bitch!” And the man stands there, thinking on the comment for a moment and then says, “I don’t know, I’m just grateful that I got out without a gun shot wound and everyone is safe.”
Same scene. Two perspectives.
Which one serves the man more? The “life’s a bitch” perception or the attitude of gratitude? Which one will keep him small, scared, and insecure? And which one will help him be resilient, risk-taking and confident?
Your Perspective is a Choice, in Every Moment
Your perspective can be one of victimhood, where life is out to get you and you’re being “done wrong” by other people, situations, and “life.”
OR, you can choose the perception of positivity and possibility, where you always have options and actions. You ALWAYS have at least one move that can help you feel empowered. Even if it’s simply choosing your attitude.
In other words, we can choose to let the challenges (which are inevitable, by the way) get to us and bring us down, or we can choose to find the opportunity and bright spot in every hardship. (Nia here – please note when discussing “victimhood” here we’re absolutely NOT referring to crimes where people are truly victims. We’re referring more to every-day events and challenges, not crimes).
Lately, my ability to maintain an opportunistic mindset has wavered, and I don’t like the outcomes: helplessness, pessimism, insecurity, fear, and inaction. That’s not the person I am at my core, and I don’t want to be that moving forward. Maybe you can relate to those feelings.
But two things happened this past week, both of which helped reinforce to me the person I want to be in the world, and help me see that the perception I’ve been choosing lately is not serving me:
The first was when I was out to dinner with my little bro, Danny. We were chatting about relationships, psychology, and new age woo-woo (like what we’re discussed in this article). He described to me a resolution he’d come to recently concerning a relationship of his, and he simply said:
“Relentless positivity is my only option because I don’t have time for the alternative.”
Holy shiiiiiii yes!
“The alternative” being playing at a small, scared, and pessimistic level. No thanks. That’s a trap. In order for me to move forward I need to see possibilities, options, and moves. When my perception is that an obstacle is not a curse, but instead an opportunity to find a new way to do something, a way to grow and get better, smarter, more centered as a person, how can I not welcome every challenge that comes my way?
The second thing was listening to the book The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday (Nia here – that book is phenomenal, and that’s an affiliate link to the book). My husband and I were on a road trip and I knew, given my current defeatist mindset, that this message was one I needed, like ASAP.
In that book Ryan discusses how we can train our own perception to see opportunities and not roadblocks. How we can change the way we think about discomfort and pain. We can, and should, certainly feel the discomfort and pain, but the idea that holding onto those emotions helps us move forward or resolve the issue is terribly misguided. In other words, when we can see the obstacle as the way – the way to growth, balance, transformation, centeredness, levelheadedness, learning, etc – we won’t avoid pain, but we might even search it out.
Aaaaaaaah! This is SUCH a difficult mindset shift! And I’m telling you, struggles are never fun. They’re never going to feel easy and comfortable (their nature is just the opposite, which is why they’re struggles, after all).
But without them, we don’t grow. We don’t get better. We don’t learn. And we get to stay small, scared, and be a victim. And victims are people who things “happen to,” they ‘re not people who actively create their life.
And I don’t know about you, but eff that. I want to feel powerful in every moment. I want to feel in control of how I see things. I want to feel empowered to take action and make moves. I want to see options, not barriers. And I want to feel like I can do anything, and know that the more roadblocks I encounter, the closer I know I’m getting to my goal.
Time to Improve Your Perspective
Now it’s time to put this information into action for you so you can reap the rewards of harnessing the most powerful tool you have – perspective.
Pick one thing you’re struggling with right now, and ask if you can find even the teeeeeeeniest, tiniest something to be grateful for around it.
Is there a single lesson you can glean? Is there something you know now that you wouldn’t have if you hadn’t had this experience? Is there something you learned about yourself that will serve you? Can you even just be grateful for the experience because you now know you won’t die if your worst fears are realized??
Choose your perception.
Right now and in every moment ask, “Am I playing the victim (like Jill’s been doing)?”
Or, “Am I searching for a solution and looking to find gratitude in this struggle?”
MY ASS IS SUFFICIENTLY KICKED NOW. And I am grateful!
Want more information you can use right now to build a stronger, more resilient mindset and apply it to your health and fitness regimen?
Check out these two articles:
- Let Go: How to Get Rid of Anxiety Caused by Health and Fitness
- You’re Stronger Than You Think You Are
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