Asking the Right Questions
There I was, sitting in my LA fitness office feeling completely responsible for the overwhelming challenge of delivering a quality service to our clients, as I watched the majority of the trainers whom I managed to start and stop. I sat in contemplation for what seemed like months but were actually only several days, and the two major questions that kept resurfacing were:
– Why don’t people listen to wisdom?
– Why do we start and stop?
On two separate occasions, the answers hit me like a flash of lightning. The only irony was: They seemed esoteric but they were very clear to me. People, including myself, start and stop because the game ends. Second, people don’t listen to wisdom because their “Why” is not big enough.
Naturally, my next two questions/prayers were:
- Show me a game that never ends – a game that I can start at 50 years old and still be a top player without being in a senior’s division. If it does not exist, help me create it.
- Help me create a contextual “Why” that is so universal in nature that anybody can use as a piece of their “code” that creates enough purpose and fire to never stop playing the game that never ends.
The Balance Game manifested as the result of the first question; and, the YourDay Philosophy: Character Fitness became the answer to the second question. Together they became the YourDay BALANCE Game, a health and fitness philosophy, and technology that is guided by love and balance.
Clients will only listen to wisdom when they have created a big enough Why to do what they understand to do. Your reason Why is like a flame that burns deep within. If this flame goes out, then you will find yourself walking aimlessly in the dark through life running into the same obstacles and falling into the same holes repeatedly. External circumstances are very much like strong gusts of wind that tend to extinguish your flame. The power lies in your ability to keep your flame lit and increase its radiance over time. So that as external circumstances present themselves your flame merely flickers and still remains lit.
I started thinking about the athletes in my college who would drink and sit around playing video games until it was time for two-a-days (that is where a football player will practice in the morning and practice in the evening every day) right before the season started. The only incentive for going through the grueling practice during two-a-days was the fact that there was a game to play, a game that most of them were passionate about. I then turned my attention to the trainers in the gym. I would see them in their best shape and working out hard when they signed up for a race or a fitness competition. However, as soon as the race or the fitness competition ended, they would return to their sedentary lifestyle of training others to do what they no longer did.
Last, I paid close attention to my clients and clients of other trainers. I would watch how they would repeat the pattern of playing to lose 10 to 20 lbs of fat for the summer, only to stop during the winter because the bathing suit season was over. At this point, I had enough evidence to believe I was on track.
By this time, I had been studying for over 5 years the transformational work of Stephen Covey, Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Anthony Robbins, and Houston Smith, to name a few. Couple that with a year of intense training at Landmark Education, and you have a man that thinks about transforming millions, envisions greatness, and begins with the end in mind. Naturally, my next question became, “Are any of these games that I see others playing principally based and purposeful enough to inspire me to become one of the best players at it?”
Games Without Balance
I looked closely at many of the great sports and games out there and realized that they were scripted in what Stephen Covey talks about as win/lose or lose/win paradigms, where the majority of the time, someone will go home with a W (Winner) or an L (Loser), only to hear a coach help you relate to losing as a great thing. I don’t know about you, but there is nothing great about losing, no matter how it is sugar-coated.
I looked at the great fitness games like bodybuilding and marathon running and realized that a lot of the top athletes in these games sacrificing balance for short-term wins. For instance, a lot of marathon runners would forgo strength training to make more time for running or they would eat excessive amounts of unhealthy carbohydrates in order to make sure their calories were high enough to finish the race.
They are also known for being very tight due to a lack of stretching. I would go so far as to say that a lot of people just have not given it much thought, some might call it unawareness. Most people are unaware of the big picture, playing the long game, and how it all ties in.
In general, I started to believe that in order for me to be amongst the best at these games, I would have to ignore the principle of ‘Balance is the precursor to longevity.’ If I had chosen this path, I would have ended up like so many other athletes, who sacrificed their health to become the best at their sport. However, as I surveyed the emotional terrain of some of these athletes, whether it was through literature, or in an in-person conversation, I could sense an eerie feeling that they knew their glory days were ephemeral and if they did not find something else to conquer, they would lose their high.
I also started realizing through their conversations that they understood that there would be a day where they could no longer play their game, at which point, they would have to be content standing on the sidelines coaching or commentating. Neither of that was appealing to me because all too often we see great coaches tearing into young men and women from the sidelines, motivating them to give it their best on the next 50 push-ups meanwhile their bellies are hanging over their pants.
Better yet, I would often witness trainers enjoying their alcohols and desserts only to get firm with their clients the next day on cleaning up their food choices. Either way, these types of behaviors would knock the wind out of my emotional sail. Although these types of behaviors are commonly accepted, they became uncommonly painful for me to experience. I had two choices: Sit there and accept these behaviors as part of life, while judging those around me, or choose to love those around me and become the example in order to inspire them to their greatness.
I chose the latter and started creating a strength test that would truly measure my strength in a functional and applicable way to life. That way, I could justify playing it well into my 60’s, 70’s and 80’s.