One day, my wife Hope was a hard working home school mom without a personal goal.
Ninety days later, she was standing on stage in front of 3000 screaming fans. Cameras were flashing as she beamed with pride, a first place National Physique Committee (NPC) trophy and champion sword by her side.
Hope never liked to lift weights. She wasn’t a fitness buff by any stretch. She didn’t even know how to use common gym equipment. Yet, there she was, a bodybuilding champion and the envy of her more experienced competitors.
Hope’s physical transformation and success on stage was supported by three basic principles that she fully embraced. In fact, every daily action she took along the way was a direct result of the following three essentials.
At age 41, Hope was aware of the fact that she lived for others. She is a dedicated wife, mom to our six kids, and home schools our youngest. Additionally, she runs the business side of the iNLP Center and is the art director for our newspaper, Healthy Times.
As the glue who holds together a large family and two successful businesses, Hope rarely took personal time for herself and felt guilty when she did.
Over the years as I’ve asked about her personal goals, she’s always said, “No time for that.”
Then, it all changed.
I’d like to tell you that Hope experienced a major, emotional breakthrough that suddenly made her shift perspective and begin to set goals for herself. But that’s not how it happened.
One day, soon after we joined the local Gold’s Gym (because I needed to get in shape) Hope heard about physique competitions sanctioned by NPC.
She never thought this would be something she might be interested in – getting on stage, let alone in a bikini. She is on the introvert side and always put more effort into her intellect than into her looks. Because of this, she didn’t feel confident that she could fit in with the other women at a competition. She told me she felt like she lacked the self-esteem it would take to compete, so she dismissed the idea.
Or so I thought.
A few days later, Hope came to me and asked, “Do you really think I could do this? Am I pretty enough? Could I be as disciplined as I would need to be to succeed and win?”
And that was it. It was a simple decision that changed the course of her life.
That’s all it takes, really, to get started in a new direction. Little did she know how challenging this goal would be, however.
Getting started is simple enough. We all make decisions to change our lives for the better. So often, we fail because we don’t really know what we’re doing (as hard as it is for some of us to admit).
The real success killer here is that you don’t know what you don’t know. So, it’s easy to assume that what you do know is enough.
Hope approached her goal as if she knew nothing about fitness or nutrition. This was the wisest move she could possibly have made. Setting aside her own assumptions, she opened herself up to the expertise of key players in her success.
So, Hope pressed forward to assemble her team. Her personal trainer, Sean Murphy, is a young, committed and energetic fitness fanatic at Gold’s Gym in Murrieta, CA. Sean jumped right in and supported Hope. And he never let her off the hook! Sean was so committed that he proudly attended the contest to watch Hope’s big win.
Hope’s diet coach, Tad Inoue, is a professional bodybuilder and sports nutrition expert. Hope had to send Tad pictures and measurements weekly. As Hope progressed, Tad adjusted her diet and supplement regime to keep her developing at an optimal rate.
Tad also attended the contest as Hope’s coach, closely monitoring her food, water and supplement intake so that her body was ready at just the right times.
Now, I can hear you saying something like, “Yeah, but I can’t afford to hire people like that.” Or, “Yeah, she just got lucky to run into the right people.”
Not really. You almost always need outside expertise, regardless of your goal, but it’s not hard to come by. And we found that it was surprisingly affordable. The bottom line is these are not concerns for someone who is committed and is willing to research solutions. Today’s world offers more opportunity than EVER to find people to help you and without paying a premium.
This was the clencher. It doesn’t matter what your goal is. It doesn’t matter how much you know or whose expertise you enlist. You could mentor with the best of the best in your area of interest, but if you sabotage yourself, all is lost.
If you simply stick to it, your hard work produces results, period. You can also reap the full benefit of others’ expertise. It’s that simple. This is especially important to remember when progress is slower than you expect.
During her program, Hope made it a point to identify her tendencies toward self-sabotage. She knew, for example, that worry might get the best of her.
Will this program really produce the results?
What if I look bad at the competition?
What if I totally screw up on stage and look stupid?
How can I possibly compete with women half my age?
Am I just fooling myself?
Self-sabotage during a competition prep is so common that her diet coach, Tad, had to warn her on a number of occasions, “Don’t self-evaluate or worry about results. That’s my job! You just do your job of following my plan and everything will fall into place.”
Negative thoughts, of course, lead directly AWAY from positive goals. Hope knew that worry would drag her down and kill her motivation. An attachment to (strong tendency toward) worry and self-rejection would literally create self-sabotage. So, Hope practiced the AHA Solution religiously.
Whenever a worrisome thought crept into her mind, she learned to slow herself down. Then, Hope reminded herself that this thought comes from an attachment – an old, familiar tendency that leads to directly to self-sabotage. Next, she worked through the AHA Solution protocol (Aware – Halt – Act on new information) to eliminate the hang up. Once the negativity faded, she would get back to work. The entire AHA process took about five minutes a day.
Working through these attachments was the key to staying on course. Had she given in, she would have had a good excuse to abandon her goal.
Can you imagine what you could accomplish if you simply applied yourself 100%, without interruption? In 3-6 months, your entire life could transform if you wanted it to. Hope is a real life example of this!
As Hope’s husband, I am truly inspired by her accomplishment. Knowing how hard she worked and what it has meant in her life is the thrill of my own life.
P.S. To give you an idea of how committed Hope was, you should know that for three months she ate a very specific diet, lifted weights five days a week and did up to two hours of cardio daily.
She started her day at 6 a.m. and didn’t stop until bedtime. Hope developed a disciplined routine that she had never experienced before.
Amazingly, two weeks before her contest, our family went on a 7-day Caribbean cruise. We had at our disposal all the food and alcohol we could imagine (you know what happens on a cruise).
If there were EVER an opportunity for self-sabotage, this was it! Hope didn’t fall for it and still loved the vacation.
NEXT: On to Las Vegas in November for Hope’s next competition!
Follow us on Facebook to keep up with Hope’s progress and get uncommonly useful personal development articles.