Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Is it really yours to carry?

I taught a yoga class a few weeks ago and had to hold back my tears much of the class. During savasana especially, I was overwhelmed with a heaviness through my chest, and a deep need to cry uncontrollably. After I brought the women out of savasana and concluded the class, I casually mentioned that if anyone was feeling really sad, to please go home to cry and let it all out. It turns out, one of the girls had recently (and suddenly) lost a pet that had been a huge part of her life. This information confirmed my suspicion - that the deep sadness I was feeling wasn't mine.

Being a yoga teacher, reiki and reflexology practitioner, I have been taught how to ground myself to avoid taking on other people's "stuff," yet it's a practice I have been neglectful of, believing I was immune to other's energy (sometimes I'm like that, you know, I think the rules don't apply to me).

Then I got to thinking about this incident. I didn't just feel sad during that class, I felt like I was being crushed under the weight of deep grief. Every cell in my body was bathed in sorrow. It was a lot to feel so suddenly.

And that made me wonder. How much of my life have I been taking on other people's emotions? How much of my anxiety, fear, sadness, lonliness....was never mine to begin with? I suspect the answer is this:

a fuck-load of it.

Could this, perhaps, be the case for you as well?

I have a new mantra these days.
Any time I feel anxiety, sadness, anger, hurt, fear, overwhelm, frustration....I pause. And I close my eyes and silently say, "this isn't yours to carry Rachel."

I repeat it slowly if I need to, but I always feel a huge shift in my emotions and thoughts. I actually feel a physical release, like a weighted vest removed from my body.
And I can move on, without the load that was never mine to carry in the first place.

Next time someone around you is angry or upset, I want you to tune into your own body and emotions for a check. Do you start to feel tense? Does your breath quicken? Do you feel yourself shutting down? Does your energy begin to plummet?

These are all signs that you've taken on their energy.

Ask yourself how much of other people's shit you take on. If I had to guess, I would say that a decent amount of what causes you stress or overwhelm was never your stuff to begin with.

And if you find this to be true, try out my mantra and let me know how it goes.
Awareness is the first step. Actively working at re-wiring both your mindset and your response is the next step.

How much lighter will you feel if you could let go of everyone else's stuff?
After all, how can you fly with wings that feel like stone?


Thursday, August 3, 2017


I love the concept of Greatness.

I probably first became familiar with it as a personal attribute a few years ago when I purchased Robin Sharma's "The Greatness Guide" as a gift for my Grandfather. I had followed Robin Sharma for a good 12 years before this point, as he was someone my Mom highly recommended and respected.
It sounded so cocky to me.

But then I started thinking about greatness through a different lens altogether, and the definition, for me, incorporates multiple characteristics:
More than average.
Authentic living.
Living your passion.
Designing your life.
Always striving for more (while simultaneously being content with where you are)

Mediocrity is something that has always frightened me. Well maybe not always. But back in 2004 it became a concept that entered my awareness. After the very sudden passing of my Mom, I decided (consciously or unconsciously I'm still not sure) that I would not live a mediocre life. I will not be an average person who is willing to settle for what feels comfortable. I would not be a bystander in my life, I would be an active participant. I would set big goals and achieve them. I would dream big and embrace possibility. I would inspire & lead and be the person I wanted to be - patient, kind, giving, but also determined, driven, motivated, and relentless in the pursuit of joy. I believed that my vow to live from a zone of greatness would give my Mom's life meaning. I could make her proud. I could show the world how great of an influencer she was on me. I could use her wisdom and example to continue inspiring the world, even though she was no longer here. And when it was my time to go, I would have no regrets or wonder, as I feared she perhaps did. I would improve the quality of my own life to make up for the limited quantity of time she had on this earth.

Lewis Howes is a another big influencer on me. He hosts a podcast called "The School of Greatness," which I listen to just about daily: while I'm in the kitchen, in the gym, cooling down after a run or folding laundry (more on that in a minute). He interviews influencers from all over the world, digging into how and why they are living a life of greatness, from their daily habits, to mindset and routines.

This idea has been evolving in me and I find myself surrounded by it on a daily basis.

I was recently enjoying a latte with a friend of mine and I was discussing the things that bring me joy. In my business, I shared that the best part of what I do in working with women, is the evolution I get to witness through my time with them. They begin hesitant, unsure and a little fearful as their journey of nutrition and fitness begins. Over time, I begin to see (and feel!) ambition, confidence, excitement and assurance.
Empowerment. (greatness!!)
They begin to realize that they are strong, capable and worthy. And holy shit, that aura of power is unlike any other.

My deepest passion is guiding women to this place through tools, encouragement, tough love, accountability and unwavering support. A good friend of mine recently shared a quote that resonated with her, "you cannot transmit wisdom and insight to another person. The seed is already there. A good teacher touches the seed, allowing it to wake up, to sprout, and to grow." ~ Thich Nhat Hahn

How could I possible encourage my clients to be outside their comfort zone in order to find greatness, if I myself, wasn't doing the same? How could I understand the discomforts of evolution and transformation if I, myself, haven't been through it as well? I am only able to reach these seeds within my clients but aligning my life with what I value. They see that and feel that.

I wanted to share with you the top tools or practices that I feel have guided me onto this path of living in the zone of greatness. (keeping in mind, I will forever be evolving, growing and learning. We're in this together).

But first, let me share a quote I came across the other morning on Instagram via Mastin Kipp:

"There is greatness within you.
To release it, work each day to face your fears and push yourself further than what's comfortable. Greatness is forged through challenge."

Let's begin there.

1. Challenge yourself. Daily.
You will never know what you are capable of until you are willing to try things you assume are too hard for you. In fitness, this is easy. Lifting heavier than you think, running a couple minutes longer than you think you get the idea. In life this can simply translate into goal setting. I'm obsessed with goal setting. For me, these goals give meaning to my day. I can set my goals up and align everything else with them to ensure success.
What are some goals you can begin setting for yourself?

2. Face your fears. Often.
Hey comfort zone? Fuck off.
That's where we're at with concept #2. Fears are learned behaviors that tend to keep us in a safe little comfort zone, where we don't get to experience new things or explore new worlds. Lame if you ask me.
Being outside your comfort zone is the only way you can expand your life, and reiterate the fact that you are a multi-passionate person with endless possibilities, talents and interests.
Write down 10 things that you have wanted to do or been curious about, but have been halted by fear, anxiety or uncertainty.
Set a timeline, and start checking those bad boys off.

3. Keep your heart open. No matter what.
When we close off our heart, we think we're closing off potential hurt and heart ache. Yet, much like spot training, we cannot choose what we close off, and inevitable also end up closing off opportunities to connect, love, share and fully enjoy people and experiences. It is through vulnerability and expansion that we allow deep peace, joy and abundance trickle into our lives. We connect with others at a deeper level, we learn to find growth through challenges, and learn to connect deeply to the center of who we are...if we can just keep our hearts open. More on this in a later post.

4. Align Your Life.
My bread and butter. This concept lights me up like nothing else.
First, decide how you want your life to FEEL and LOOK.
Second, set some short and long term goals that act as stepping stones to getting you there.
Third, create actionable steps to achieve these goals.
All while being true to the first step.
For example. Say I want to feel FREEDOM in my life. My goal is to create and accept work that allows me to feel that way. Someone offers me a weekly yoga class to teach Saturday mornings at 11:00, for minimal pay. What to do?
Well..first off, Saturday mornings are typically my time with my kids. It's a day of the week we can sleep in, take our time and just slow down. If I took the class, I would give this up, throw a wrench in basically all of Saturday itself since I'd scramble for a sitter, drive, teach, drive, then it would be nap time for my little one, meaning we'd only have a few hours after he wakes up to spend together. Does this scenario, despite additional pocket money, lead me to feeling freedom? No. It feels more like a box to me. So my answer is "no, but thank you for the offer."
Alignment. Authenticity. Boundaries. Learning to say no and learning to say yes. Be that one who walks her talk.

5. Learn. Expand. Grow.
Remember when I was talking about Lewis Howes' podcast? This is an example of how I am constantly tapping into new knowledge. I listen to podcasts every opportunity I can, I read articles online, or highlight books about a topic I'm interested in learning more about. I dive deep into discussion with those around me who inspire me, tapping into their thoughts, ideas and mindset. I like to try new things as often as I find the opportunity. For example, I just signed up to take a SUP yoga class in a couple weeks. It's like stepping outside your comfort zone, without perhaps the fear and hesitation. Be mindful of opportunities for expansion in your life, and seek them with an open heart.

I hope you find these tidbits of ideas helpful.
Feel free to add your own (and share with me!)


Friday, July 21, 2017

Why I Am So Invested In My Health (and why you should be too)

Lately I've had this discussion with a few different clients/friends.

So, I'm a healthy person. I eat clean foods and limit processed foods. I actively work at reducing the toxic load in our home by not using chemicals. I make our own cleaners and body products. I don't wear perfume or makeup. I put a lot of care in the quality of products I put both on and in my body. I do the same for my children. I move my body in a way that feels good every single day. That may include weight lifting, hill running, volleyball, golf, hiking or yoga. There are certain things I refuse to consume or buy for my children, such as pastries, white bread, pop, frozen dinners, most cookies and crackers, and most granola bars. I'm very selective about the things that go into my grocery cart and into my home.

And you know the sad truth about all this?
I'm seen as someone outside the norm.
I'm the abnormal one.

And I have a hard time wrapping my head around that.

I teach workshops at a local cancer support center every month. I am highly passionate about my time there and the energy that circles all these people who have faced their own mortality in a way I cannot fathom. It's inspiring. And you know what I say every time I am there?

Be an advocate for your health.

And you know their response? A resounding "hell yes!" (or something along those lines). It is something they have learned through facing the possibility of death sooner than they had hoped or expected. It is something they wish they could go back and understand before their diagnosis. this fast paced society we have completely forgotten about the fact that our bodies are our vehicles in this life to carry us through the world. We treat them like shit and get angry when they don't work properly. And we find the quickest, easy fix to patch it up and continue abusing the heck out of it - through drugs, alcohol, a shit ton of food, sugar, processed chemicals...and so on. We loathe who we are because we are embarrassed of the reflection we see in the mirror. Yet our behaviour and choices are what lead us to that reflection in the first place. It's not our body's fault. It's ours. So what do we do out of frustration and resentment? We abuse our body some more. Through crash dieting. Through self loathing. Through starvation. Through working out excessively. Through diet pills. Through extreme detoxes. Through overeating illness-promoting foods. Through(insert your own current or past abusive behaviours here).

It's so sad to me. And infuriating.

There's a child in this world whose legs were just amputated because of disease. Or war. He or she would give anything for one more opportunity to run down the road freely. Yet we sit on the couch for hours, or take the elevator, or park as close as we can to a building. Just so we don't have to walk.

There is a Mother in this world who was just given the news that she has 3 months left to live. She holds her child closely, wishing with every fiber of her being that she could live just 5 more years to watch her precious baby grow. Yet we smoke, do drugs, use chemicals or stuff our faces with crap, knowing the effects on our health, knowing the carcinogenic effects of such habits. We play Russian roulette with our lives through the destructive choices we make.

For the love of God, it needs to end.

Our bodies are incredible and we need to make time every single day to find gratitude for all it does for us.

How lucky am I to hop out of bed, go for a run, lift heavy things and feel good?
How awesome is it that my body carries me on field trips with my kids, and to the park to play freely with my children?
I can climb, hike, play volleyball, wrestle my kids, practice handstands, kick a ball, and jump around.
I use my body to teach yoga and fitness classes to amazing women who fill my life.

Holy fuck I am blessed. I remind myself of these things daily. I am humbled even more so when I pass by a wheelchair, or someone who clearly struggles to move unrestricted. I have freedom in my body. And I'll be damn sure to both appreciate and honour that as long as possible.

This is why I am an advocate for my health. I have seen the effects caring for my body has on my every day life - energy, lighter moods, clear skin, a vibrant aura, strength, stamina, resistance to illness, quicker recovery, regulated thyroid levels, better ability to manage stress....(shall I continue?)

In working with so many women, I also see the effects of not being a conscious health advocate: low energy, mood swings, depression, anxiety, frequent illness, disease, weight gain, high blood pressure, heart disease, infertility, and the list goes on. I have mentioned this lots in the past but my Mom died in 2004 of lung cancer. She didn't take care of her health. And the consequences of that have been more impactful than I could ever put into words.

Our health is (mostly) in our control. We seem to have this belief that fate, or genetics are what determines the course of our well-being and that simply is not the case. There are so many actionable steps you can take to ensure your days are not only extended, but full of vibrancy, joy, energy and vitality. It isn't normal to feel sluggish or irritated on a regular basis. If you only knew the possibilities and power your body would never again disrespect it or take it for granted.

It all begins with gratitude, awareness and a vow.

To be kind.
To be loving.
To be patient.
To make choices from love.
To be the best version of you that you are capable of being.

Repeat and rinse every single day, and feel the abundance of energy and joy that floods into your life.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Empowerment or Validation?

Empowerment: the process of becoming stronger and more confident, especially in controlling one's life and claiming one's rights (Google Search)

Empowerment is a concept I hold close to both my life and the work I do. Underneath all that I do, this term underlies it all. I strive to experience it as often as I can, and strive to provide both tools and space for my clients to feel it in their own lives as well.

I had an incredible experience a few weekends ago. I participated in my fourth Spartan race (third time for the Super, I've also done the Beast). Every year I train a group of women who want to push their limits and test their strength. We drive the couple hours up together and split off into similar abilities, and work together to get through the 13K challenge. It is seriously one of the highlights of my year every single year. There is nothing like the sisterhood that develops, and the deep respect for one another that inevitably happens through facing obstacles that challenge both body and mind.
This year, instead of running with the group, I decided I would just venture off on my own to see what I was capable of doing on my own. So we began race by hiking up the first of MANY black diamond hills, and tackled the first obstacle (a wooden wall), before I took off.

After dealing with the effects of a sluggish thyroid and high stress that had affected my appetite on and off for months, I was concerned. I promised myself I would push hard but not to the point of sacrificing my health. I would rest when I needed to.
So, with that vow to my body, off I went. I crawled and ran through mud, pulled my body weight over walls, carried a log over my shoulder up a hill, dragged heavy things, lifted, pulled, heaved, climbed…and felt surprisingly good. When I began feeling a big sluggish halfway through the race, I dug into my Camelbak and ate some energy chews. Immediately I felt better and more energized. My feet went back to running.

For every obstacle skipped or missed, you have to do 30 burpees. I came to the javelin and knew burpees were coming. In the years of doing this race, I haven’t once even come close to landing that one. I grabbed the stick (I'm sure there's a more technical term) with 2 hands, set the rope up on the other side of the barrier, envisioned a clean hit and threw as hard as I could. I watched the stick sail through the air and hit the middle of the hay bale. I did it! I cheered aloud for myself and gave a random guy high five and ran past the line up of people doing their burpees. Shortly thereafter I came to the monkey bars. The dreaded monkey bars that I almost pass every year but always slip off near the end.

I climbed atop the hay bale under the first bar and asked the girl behind me for a boost. Even with a jump I wasn’t able to reach the first one. Hanging on to the first bar, I looked to the end, took a deep breath and silently whispered “you’ve got this Rachel. You can do hard.” The people beside me started dropping off like flies while my eyes focused on the bell at the end. One bar at a time. I swung madly from one bar to the next, and before I knew it, I swung at the bell that marked the end and whooped along with its sound. I did it! I again, cheered loudly for myself and continued on.

The whole race went that way. Up those dreaded black diamonds that tortured my hamstrings, I kept putting one foot in front of the other and kept going. I passed buff men who had to pull aside to break. I passed girls 10 years younger than me who could no longer breathe. Steady paced, eventually I hit the top and didn’t require a break, not even once. At the top I walked for 30 seconds or so to recover and went back to running.

In the end, my goal was 3 hours.
I crossed the finish line in 2:26:54
Of my age group, I was 3rd of 103
Of my gender, I was 8th out of 531
Overall, of 1416 people, I was 122.

I was (and am) insanely proud of these numbers. And while I don’t love numbers, and don’t promote valuing your worth by numbers, these ones…make me feel amazing. I killed it. I totally killed it. Despite some health concerns. Despite feeling as though I’m not in the best shape.

And I am fueled. I have not felt this empowered in a very long time.

Here I am – 36 years old. I have 3 children. I am a busy Mama and business owner. I don’t have a trainer, nor did I specifically train for this event. Yet evidently, I am in the best shape of my life. And I know I could have even managed a faster time had I understood what I am capable of (seems like an ongoing lesson for me - to quit underestimating myself!.

Then I got thinking about the things that empower me. There have been a few that stand out:

This race and all the races I have done, similar to this. There is seriously nothing like crossing the finish line after a lengthy struggle (metaphor for life, right? There's nothing better than the good that comes from the flames of hardship).

Giving birth to my 3 children without drugs. I followed my body’s cues and managed through the experiences without a tear, or a single intervention for any of them.

Competing in a fitness competition. I trained hard for a good year and stepped on stage with a bunch of girls much younger than me. I had a 4-year-old and an 18 month and I stood on stage, alone, in a skimpy bikini, feeling amazing.

Anytime I serve my clients, whether that be through classes or workshops. The energy starts to flow through me and I feel incredibly full and blessed.

Empowered. It’s a feeling I NEED to have and it’s a feeling I strive to bring to all the women I work with. There is no better way to fuel passion and spark inspiration. And it trickles into the hearts of everyone around you.

Then I think about validation, and lately have been researching the lines between the two.
Validation is confirmation of worth. It comes from external sources. It's effects are short term, requiring further validation for the same "high."
Empowerment is internal. It's effects are longer lasting.
Let's give an example.

Me running the race and getting through those obstacles on my own, using my own strength, will and determination by believing in myself and telling myself I can do it is an example of empowerment.
Me posting my results on Instagram, waiting for the likes and comments from others so I can feel good about myself - that's validation. Needing someone to compliment me to feel good about myself and confirm my worth.

Which do you think ends up filling and which ends up depleting? It's obvious, isn't it?

So what's the strategy here? Simple.
Do more of what empowers you and less of what causes you to seek validation

List out all the things you have done that made you feel good about yourself that did NOT require a word or gesture from anyone else to affirm your belief and confidence in yourself.

When do you feel strong?
When do you have lots of energy?
What is something you do that you would do even if you were a millionaire?

Immerse yourself in these things. Over time, you will notice your need for validation decreases while the effects from empowerment increases. Before you know it, you'll be riding a steady high. And it will all come from within.

Everything you need is already within you.

Know this.
Feel this.
Honour this.
And nurture the shit out of this.

Know your worth and your capability. Accept nothing else.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Supplements taken by a Holistic Nutritionist

I am FINALLY getting the chance to get this blog post done. It's been a long time coming. Back at the beginning of March I shared a photo of myself on Facebook, talking about how much hair I now have after taking my supplements religiously for a month. A few weeks later I showed another picture of me with even more hair . I've always had thicker hair but I had begun to notice how ridiculously thick and long it had gotten in a short period of time. Not exactly what I wanted, but I also know that one of the key indicators of health is the health of your hair (along with skin and nails). I've received loads of questions on what I'm taking, so here it all is:

1. doTerra's Microplex VMz
Loaded with vitamins and minerals, this supplement is meant to support overall daily wellness. It contains loads of antioxidants to help support the immune system and helps ease digestive upsets. This is also formulated with a digestive enzyme blend and contains a blend of kale, dandelion, parsley, kelp, broccoli, brussels sprout, cabbage, and spinach

2. doTerra's Alpha CRS+
This supplement is meant to support DNA functioning through antioxidants. Good for mental clarity, brain functioning, immune functioning and cellular stress. doTerra's blend includes potent amounts of powerful polyphenols including baicalin from scutellaria root, resveratrol from Polygonum cuspidatum, ellagic acid from pomegranate, proanthocyanidins from grape seeds, curcumin from turmeric root, and silymarin from milk thistle to help support healthy cell function

3. doTerra's xEOMega
Healthy omega fats are one of those things we do not get enough of in our diet. Important for heart health and circulation, immunity, healthy joints, hormone regulation, and healthy brain, eyes and nervous system functioning. doTerra's blend is a unique formula of CPTG Certified Pure Therapeutic Grade® essential oils and a proprietary blend of marine and land-sourced omega fatty acids.

4. doTerra's Mito2Max
Energy, energy, energy! I workout 6 days a week right now, sometimes twice a day, and on top of the 3 supplements above, I attribute a portion of that energy and stamina to this supplement. Mito2Max promotes efficient production of ATP in the mitochondria of cells, enhances stamina and efficient use of oxygen, supports metabolic adaptation for diverse activities and improves mental energy

5. Genestra's HMF Super Powder
Probiotics are a MUST for anyone. Due to poor food choices, stress, antibiotics and other medications, the condition of our gut flora sucks. Since 80% of our immune system and 95% of our serotonin production are found in the gut, it is imperative we care for it. This is one myself and kids take every single day. I get this particular brand from my ND, and she rotates me between this one and another brand (that I can't quite think of right now). It's important to get as many strains of bacteria as you can through probiotics, so rotating them is a good idea. I always recommend going through a ND to ensure you receive a good quality product. Genestra is one that I love.

6. doTerra's Terrazyme
I don't take this one daily, but I take it if I'm eating something I know my body isn't excited about and has difficulty digesting (like pizza, breads, chicken). This supplement is a blend of whole-food enzymes and supporting cofactors that help strengthen the body's production of enzymes which is important in the process of healthy digestion of food nutrients and cellular metabolism of nutrients to energy

Other supplements I take include:
Vitamin D - only during the months I don't see the sun as much. Otherwise I try to spend as much time outside as possible.

Zinc lozenge - as soon as I feel anything illness-wise coming, I suck on one or two of these a day. Zinc is amazing for the immune system

BCAAs - this one is related to weight lifting. Coming in powdered form, I dump a scoop into a large shaker of water and drink before, during and right after my weight training session. I rarely deal with sore muscles despite making gains. BCAAs are great for muscle recovery and growth

Protein Powder - I typically add a scoop of powder to a large bottle of water and drink right after a workout. I love Vega's Sport Performance brand for this purpose as they include BCAAs designed to support the body after a workout. For an all around health supporting drink though, I do like Vega's all-in-on nutritional line. There are a variety of flavours, but I tend to stick with vanilla. For those local, they often have Vega on sale at Zehr's. I believe Costco carries a couple choices as well.

So, there it is.
If you are looking to order any of the doTerra supplements, you can order through

If you are having trouble navigating or have further questions, shoot me an email:

I hope that was helpful1

Monday, April 17, 2017

Potential & Drive

One of the most frequently asked questions I come across is "how do you stay motivated?" In typical fashion, many of the people I see come to me, driven and excited about the possibility of working out, getting strong and being healthy. At some point the excitement wanes, results aren't coming quickly enough, and they just give up to some degree or another.

One thing I've learned through training for a fitness competition is self-motivation and drive. I think drive is something that, internally, is enduring. But externally is fleeting. Those who come to me telling me they want to lose weight because their husband made a comment about her weight and how gross she was getting (true story...I should have throat punched him), I know that, unless she is able to find her worth through the process of working with me, her determination will not last. Drive that comes from another person will never sustain the drive necessary for results.

I have defining moments in my life that helped flourish my drive. And the amazing thing about drive, is that once you catch a glimpse of your potential through it, it strengthens and grows and becomes ingrained in who you are and what you stand for. It makes you hungry for more.

As for working out, I am consistent because I have a variety of motivations, some positive and a couple maybe not so much:

I feel proud when I workout.
I love feeling strong.
I love the way my body looks and feels when I'm consistent in my workouts.
I love the release of stress I physically and emotionally feel when my body is working hard.
I love the confidence that comes from caring for my body.
I love knowing my kids are being influenced by these choices and hope they will care for themselves as they get older.

Not so positive reasons?
Sometimes I avoid feeling emotionally. I'd rather feel my muscles and feel the hard through my body rather than my heart.

I want to look good naked. Although in all honesty, while I know this can be seen negatively by others, I see it as a positive. I want to show off my hard work. I want to show off my pride. I want to display my effort. I want to feel awesome in my own skin. This to me feels like freedom, one of my core desired feelings for my life.

One thing I found through my competition, is that the biggest barrier between us and success in the fitness world is the idea of options. The trouble is having a scheduled gym day and talking ourselves out of it. It's that slim window of choice that fucks us up. Because it's in that space that fear and doubt creep in and those bastards sure can be loud and convincing, can't they?

You're not worth this time.
You'll never look hot in shorts.
Everyone at the gym will stare at you.
You should just sleep instead.
This isn't working, you're still fat.

And those voices will keep you stagnant as long as you allow them to. They'll keep you inactive and stuck in a level of comfort that prevents you from witnessing your potential.

What keeps me in the gym day after day is that I don't give myself a choice (unless I'm actually not well). It just is what happens every day. I don't question it or hesitate, I just go. I have my workouts pre-planned so that those moments of coming up with a plan can't disguise the voice that'll talk me out of it. There isn't an option for me, this is just what I do. Just like brushing my teeth is something that happens right when I wake up, working out just happens before my kids wake up. It just is. I don't complicate it by thinking otherwise or allowing myself the option. It just is.

It is reported that Albert Einstein wore a version of the same grey shirt every single day because he didn't want to waste brain power on choosing an outfit every morning.

Mark Zuckerberg wears a similar outfit everyday consisting of a grey t-shirt as well. When questioned on it, he stated, "I really want to clear my life to make it so that I have to make as few decisions as possible about anything except how to best serve this community."

Steve Jobs followed the same approach with his choice in black turtlenecks.

They get it. Decision making requires energy, cognitive dissonance, frustration and conscious attention. I take the same approach with working out. I don't think about it, it just happens. I plan my workouts once a week, spending 10 minutes doing so. For the rest of the week I just get up, get it done and move on. My life isn't cluttered by deciding whether or not to do it.

I'm no math wizard but here's my formula for the three characteristics of success

Consistent Action = Drive = Potential
Awareness of potential = Drive = consistent action
Drive + Consistent action + awareness of potential = unlimited success

All three equal one another in some capacity. All three feed on one another and grow one another. Once you find one, the other 2 will flourish.
You just need to be patient.
And consistent.
And stop doubting yourself.
And stop listening to what others want of you.

This is for YOU and only you, and once you tap into your internal drive, your potential absolutely is limitless. And success inevitably will follow.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

How to Develop & Grow Mental Grit

I'm currently training for a half marathon. It'll be my fourth one - about 4 years since my last. I don't necessarily LOVE running long distances. I find I get bored, my body gets annoyed and my mind just tells me to quit out of sake of monotony.
I was running 11.2K the other day (7 miles) and around the 8K mark I was just done. My hips were sore, my chest burning, and I was just tired. Tired of running. Tired of moving in the same way. But I kept plugging away and finished off the planned distance. I knew if I quit before the end, my next long run would mentally be twice as hard as it otherwise should be. That little voice reminding me of my shortcomings would be screaming in my ear.

This struggle to carry on took me back to the day I really started to run out of necessity. It was 13 years ago, about a week after I received the shocking news that my Mom had passed away. Devastation doesn't touch the surface of what I was feeling. I needed out of the pain, it was too much for me to feel all at once. So one day, on a walk, I began to run. It didn't last long so I alternated it with walking. More often than not. When my feet sped up, I felt slight reprieve from my pain and I became addicted. I needed to run. I needed the release, even if temporary, from my grief. I was aware of the wind rushing on my face, the sun warming my skin. I felt my heart pound and my breath race as my body struggled to figure out what was happening. The whole experience forced me into the present moment rather than the grief from recent news and desperate fear of what lie ahead.

It was then, in grieving for my Mom, that I learned how to strengthen my mind. The dictionary defines mental grit as "firmness of character; indomitable spirit." I like to think of mental grit as an ability to persevere regardless of the challenge. Or maybe BECAUSE of the challenge.

So while I likely started developing mental grit back when I was much younger, the first memory I have of specifically evolving my mind was back in June of 2004.

My body was out of shape. But my breaking heart made me run farther than I thought I could. I soon came to realize that I was capable of more than I knew. Mental grit was developing.

Over 13 years I have mastered the art of mental grit...though I'm still far from being a pro.

Being outside my comfort zone in the gym or on the pavement expands the circle of belief I have in my capability. I am constantly pushing harder, to prove to myself that the limits I have are only in my mind. Someone recently asked me why my hill runs aren't easy. After all I've been doing the same hill run for months and I always come back winded after a hard struggle. After thinking about it, I realized it's because I won't ALLOW it to be easy. If I feel comfortable I will speed up to challenge myself. I thrive on a good challenge. My body can only do what my mind will allow, and when the body is feeling done, that's when the mind has to be strong and carry on for the body.

This translates into the emotional life as well. When I am faced with something difficult, I know that I have what it takes to get through. And not just to get through but to THRIVE through.

Here are my top 5 tips for developing mental grit:

1. Be outside your comfort zone
Staying in a familiar zone of comfort will never open your eyes to possibility. Start pushing against the walls of comfort.

2. When you think you're done, keep going
This is really the only way you'll start strengthening your mind. By pushing past those times you think you are done, whether that be physically, mentally or emotionally. When you're working out and tell yourself you're done, give it a few more reps or a few more minutes.

3. Look for the lessons
When you're in the midst of a struggle, always look for the lessons. They are always there, and recognizing them will help keep the focus on that, rather than fear and feelings of failure.

4. Find gratitude
Again, to keep the focus on the positive and to keep your mindset in a good place, find gratitude and be thankful for whatever it is you are going through. Be thankful for the journey and all the beauty that comes from struggle and resiliency.

5. Celebrate your successes
Anytime you experience success, no matter how small, celebrate it in some way. Every time I finish a run, I say aloud, "good job Rachel,"and I take a minute or two to FEEL that pride I have for myself. Mental grit isn't about just pushing and pushing, it's also about pausing and thanking.

Remember, mental grit comes from within. Nobody else can give it to us. But with the proper soil, these seeds of resiliency and indomitable spirit will grow and flourish