You’re not uncomfortable enough with where you are at for change to occur. Something about this statement is really profound to me.
I was recently on a call with someone I would call a Nutrition Pro. Jason Phillips recently came to our gym, The Forged Athlete, and put on a Nutrition Workshop. To say that the information he gave our athletes was valuable is an understatement. I have worked with different people in the nutrition/fitness space before, but there was something special about the mental connection I had with what he was saying and the way he said it. You could hear or read the same message from different people…and sometimes just the way a certain person conveys that message sticks. Jason has walked many different paths in life, including being a cover model, professional athlete, owner of a supplement company, and published author to name a few. What stood out to me is that the root of his passion in fitness and nutrition actually stemmed from a nasty eating disorder – Anorexia. Yes – a male in the fitness industry admits and openly talks about his struggle with an eating disorder. You just don’t hear about this stuff! It was real and raw to me. I all of a sudden gained MASSIVE respect for this guy in just a matter of hours listening to him talk. Nutrition comes “easy” to some…easier than for others at least. For someone with an Eating Disordered mind…Nutrition will NEVER come easy in my opinion. It’s hard work.
Anyway – I got on a call with Jason because I was looking for some kind of magical answer as to why I still struggle so much with nutrition…and also why the things I’ve done up until this point haven’t offered me the satisfaction I thought they would. I mentioned specifically the fitness shows that I’ve done. I didn’t receive the type of satisfaction or sense of accomplishment that I thought I would. You embark on a journey, envisioning in your mind what it is going to FEEL like and LOOK like when you achieve whatever you set out to do. You can almost become obsessive about how it is going to change your life when you achieve it. For me – getting my Pro Card was this thing I dreamed about. Well, I got it. And guess what…same old Ashlee. I was on a high for a bit…but at the end of the day, nothing truly changed. I explained this to Jason. He said, “You didn’t receive the validation that you were looking for..and I can’t guess from what or who you needed the validation from…but you didn’t get it”. That made me think…ok who was I looking for validation from?? Because he was exactly right. What he said actually struck a pretty big chord in me. In many of the big things I’ve done in life, I think I may have been looking for validation from somewhere. Where does that stem from? I realized I had some soul searching to do.
We continued talking and I explained to him what my life looks like, what I’ve been doing, and why (in my mind) I’m failing. Like why can’t I get my shit together on nutrition and eat clean all the time, etc. He went on to say that given everything I have going on in my life, what is important to me, and the type of lifestyle I want to live…I’m doing just fine. Wait – what?! Hearing from a non-biased person in the fitness industry “You’re doing just fine” might have been the type of validation I was searching for! Guess what – you can be in this industry…still enjoy your LIFE, your kids, going out to eat every now and then, celebrating life, have some drinks, etc, and still KILL it in the gym and be goal oriented. You can have all of these things. Balance. It’s ok to enjoy life. And for me…socializing and doing these types of things place higher on my list of importance than having a 6 pack. And that is ok. And truthfully – I’m really not uncomfortable with myself…because if I was, then that would be enough to make me stick to a stricter set of principles around nutrition. He pointed out that if I were to place the importance of getting leaner any higher than it currently is, it would likely just create an unneeded stressor in my life that I don’t need.
I didn’t admit it on the phone because I felt stupid…but I actually teared up a bit. I don’t know what it was…but hearing him say “You’re ok” caused a shift in my mind. Being in this industry has been a tad stressful to me because I felt like there is a certain image I have to uphold. As if the fact that I don’t have a 6 pack year round makes me any less of a good coach or mentor…now I see that is bullshit. I know my purpose on this Earth is to help and enhance the lives of as many people as possible. It’s what gives me happiness. Helping people realize their potential, believing in them when they struggle to believe in themselves, and teaching them to love themselves are things that bring me THE MOST happiness in life. Nothing else matters unless I’m enhancing the lives of others around me. That is how I define my success. And guess what – I’m good at this…with or without a bodyfat of 12%.
So here it is Jason…I thought about this all night long. The reason I didn’t gain the sense of accomplishment or validation from some of the things I’ve done in my life is because I failed to realize that the people around me truly loved me before, during, and after all of the things I’ve accomplished. Earning people’s admiration isn’t something I need to do…but I’ve always felt like I needed to. I have yet to figure out why…but I’m just FINE being Ashlee. I don’t need to be Ashlee with a pro card, Ashlee with a 6 pack, Ashlee with a Master’s Degree. I AM all of these things, and my circle of people that love me will not change with or without these things. I can honestly say I’ve never had a more eye opening conversation. And we only chatted for 20 minutes?! Thank you. These may have been things that I’ve heard from other people MULTIPLE TIMES…but hearing it from you was different. I can’t explain it.
So – now at least I have a clear understanding as to why certain things in my life didn’t give me the type of satisfaction I thought they would. I share this because I think a lot of people can relate. Think about things in your life that you’re doing. Are you truly doing them because they make you happy? Or are you on a quest for validation from someone? Really think about that. It was so eye opening to me. I hope it helps you too 🙂