the unintentional message behind accepting the status quo.

Check it out.
Such a cute video.
Encouraging.
A great example of optimism.
But another thought nags at me.
Scroll below the video if you care to explore that thought with me.

Sure. He’s the “GREATEST CATCHER in the WORLD!”

But that’s not what he wanted. He wanted to be the “GREATEST HITTER in the WORLD!”

But after THREE tries. T H R E E.

all by himself.
with no coach.
no instruction.
no advice.
no developmental feedback (constructive criticism)
no hard work.
no practice.

He GAVE UP his self-proclaimed dream.

and settled for what he was ALREADY good at.

(theoretically. At that moment, he has zero competition. “Greatest Catcher” status remains to be seen until he’s on the receiving end of an average pitcher’s fast ball.)

Does all that sound mean? pessimistic?

If the goal is to make him feel better, then yes. I suppose it is.

BUT. If the goal is to help him GET better, then how is cheering for him when he abandons his dream a good thing? How is cheering for him in this situation NOT encouraging him to give up instead of asking for help and working toward fulfilling his dream?

Seriously. Everything I do well, I probably sucked at in the beginning.

I serve as a career coach and one way I do that is to volunteer with a 12 week program that helps the unemployed and underemployed find, obtain and keep a family sustaining career. As you might expect, the people who apply to this program are looking for a better job. They’re looking for a career inSTEAD of a job.

But even more foundational than that, they are looking for CHANGE. They want a better life. A more stable income. Security. Self-confidence. Hope. Encouragement. Inspiration. They are sick and tired of the status quo and they are at a place in their life when they are ready to do something about it. Without exception, every single person who applies is, by the act of applying, asking for help. When they are accepted into the program, they themselves are agreeing to accept help.

So what happens when the coach they’ve been matched with or another student in their group hears their story and reacts by assuring them they are “fine” just the way they are and they don’t need to change a thing. They are ENOUGH.

If you are looking for change and you are being assured you don’t need to change because “you are enough” just the way you are, what does that mean? What does that do to your motivation? If your choices – by natural consequence – have led you to where you are in life and you are not happy with where you are, is hearing “you are fine just the way you are – don’t let anyone tell you that you need to change” really helpful?

Is it kind?

Is it true?

I find myself thinking about the old adage:

“If you always do what you’ve always done, you always get what you’ve always gotten.”

and

“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results.”
~ Albert Einstein

and one of my personal favorites:

“It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.”
~ Winston S. Churchill

In my experience, telling these students – or ANYone seeking change or betterment in any area of their life – that they are fine and enough is counter-productive. If you want to get better at anything, there ARE steps you can take and by the sheer nature of the word CHANGE, those steps HAVE to be different steps than the ones you’ve taken in the past and the steps you are taking now. I’ve written about some ways to approach changing for the better four times in the last few days alone:

1. It Doesn’t Matter if You CAN. It matters if you DO.
2. Want to improve? Give people permission to tell you the truth.
3. Looking for a Qualified Teacher or Credible Mentor? 4 Things to Consider.
4. problem solving and benchmarking.

The hard fact is that if you WANT change, you HAVE TO change.

comfort zone? or rut?

There is a tendency to hold on to what we have because it’s what we have. It’s only in hindsight that we realize we were stuck in a rut, closed off to the new or different because, well, it’s new and different. When we have the courage and objectivity to step back and look, really look at our circumstances, when we take a few moments to live an examined life, we risk seeing things we aren’t all that comfortable with.

Either inch by inch or in a flash, sometimes we discover our comfort zones aren’t all that comfortable.

It’s Monday. Did you tell yourself you would start eating right and exercising today?

I always did.

Monday was the mother of all starting lines. THE day to begin.

again.

Everybody knows it’s better to start a new fitness plan on a Monday.

Even experts agree:

“We think of Monday as the January of the week. It’s a call to action built into every calendar, giving you 52 chances for success.” says Sid Lerner, founder and chairman of The Monday Campaigns, a nonprofit initiative in association with Johns Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse Universities.

I know what I always told myself on Friday nights:
“It was a long, hard week and I deserve to take the night (and day, and night again) off.”
“It’s too hard to start on a weekend, too many other (presumably fun) things to do.”
“We’re going out and it’s too hard to eat right when we eat out.”
“I deserve this glass (or three) of wine.”
“I deserve this plate of nachos.”
“I deserve to chill out at watch TV.”
“I deserve to …

What a load of hooey. Yes, I said “hooey.”

I did NOT deserve to weigh 210 pounds. I did NOT deserve to get winded trying to play with my kids. Well. Actually, the way I was eating and taking care of my body, I did deserve it.

Because those are the lousy excuses and rationalizations I used when I had the mentality that says fitness is a goal to be achieved. Something I did for a period of time until I got to a certain weight or size. When I was finished, I could go back to my “normal” life of thoughtless eating and neglecting my body.

But if I’m striving to be a good steward of the body God has blessed me with, THERE IS NO FINISH LINE.

I’ve gone through different stages since I began incorporating fitness into daily life. Sometimes I focus on strength training – I’ve gone to a gym, I’ve gone to local fitness trails and now I work out at home. For a few years I worked with a personal trainer two to three times per week. Before I tore my MCL and strained my ACL in December, I was doing yoga and I loved it so much I know I’m going back. But my constant -through injury and weather and lapses in motivation – has always been walking, sometimes outside, sometimes on a treadmill with an incline.

How do YOU incorporate fitness into your everyday life?
If you currently don’t, here’s the thing. You don’t need to buy a gym membership. You don’t have to buy the PX90 or Shred DVDs and spend every minute “hating it” as I read on another blog last week. You don’t need to buy a BowFlex or turn your extra bedroom or garage into a home gym.

Before you spend a lot of money on the accoutrements needed to accommodate your latest exercise plan, I’ll give you the same advice I gave my sister: “Find out if you are ready for the commitment. Tests have shown it takes 21 days to make a habit. Do 10 pushups a day for 21 days. You don’t have to do them all in a row, break them up if you can’t get through the full 10. Do modified pushups on your knees if you’re a beginner. IF, after three weeks, you’ve discovered that you made it, THEN think about throwing money at this problem.

In the meantime, consider this: The SINGLE BEST thing we can do for our health only requires one thing: a good pair of shoes. I’m amazed at the measured significant improvement seen in SO many areas of our health!! Check out the statistics in this video! Short, but PACKED with info!

Here’s the deal. I don’t have to exercise every day for the rest of my life. I need to do it TODAY.
And tomorrow, I’m going to tell myself the same thing.

One day at a time. One step at a time.