Thomas Plummer: Fitness Professionals Only Have Two Speeds

Fitness professionals only have two speeds in their internal motors: full on, flat out and all in, or destroyed on the couch, drooling like an old bulldog, and often not smelling much better.

Fitness professionals, as well as many other driven people attempting to create a career and a life, are always worn out physically, and most importantly mentally, because they never learn how to rest both body and soul.

Working 60 hours or more a week, slamming down a few beers on Saturday night, and then lying in a heap on the couch all of Sunday, hoping it’s raining so the kids will nap with you all day is not rest.

That is just not working.

Knowing the difference will improve your life.

There is no true rest for your weary soul and body without combining mindlessness and mindfulness into your disciplined routines of life.

“Mindless” means to disengage completely from your life for a few hours at a time. No phones, no work all week then do a race all weekend, no clients, no marketing books, no “Let me check my email,” no texts . . . just a few hours out of sight and out of mind.

“Mindfulness” means to rest with intensity focused on where you are and what you are doing. If you take the kids to the park, you are all about them for a few hours. You play, run, hide and seek, roll in the grass, and never once try to parent with a phone in your hand, not-so-secretly trying to check your messages.

“Mindfulness” means you are present in your life, committed to the moment at hand, without the need to let your mind attempt to be in many places at once, such as responding to an endless stream of texts constantly taking you away from where you are in the moment.

Think about being mindful this way:

You are holding your child, who is slumped in your lap enjoying the nearness of you.

These moments are gone in a few brief years, never to be recaptured.

During those moments, ones that may make up your last thoughts 50 years from now as you lie dying, is there any text in the world more important?

Is there really any call that should interrupt a walk on the beach with the one you love, the one you committed to for life, and with whom because you have so few moments of togetherness, your relationship is strained?

You and your significant person, you and the kids, you and friends, or just you, mindfully aware of the hike, the café, the view, or just sitting with a cup a tea, focused on nothing but simply enjoying a few focused minutes outside of yourself, letting mind and soul heal.

You are tired because you never learned that planning rest is as important as planning work. Resting your body and soul isn’t something you do after you have completely torn apart each one; mindless and mindful rest is something you do to prevent you from destroying yourself at an early age.

We used to think there was something noble in life and business to work ourselves to death building a career. Then a generation of “successful” people woke up and realized they now had money, but little else of their lives was left. Chasing the dream over time ended up killing the dreams that are important.

Can you have it all?

Can you chase endless dreams at the expense of all other things in life?

Yes . . . and probably no.

Balance is an outdated concept, at least the way the term was defined by too many people who probably never created anything of value. “Balance” was defined as everything in life being equal at all times.

Your family, your job, your commitment to the community, and your faith all lived in balance with the idea that if you put too much energy into one, you would damage or lose the others.

Everything equal. Every day.

There is nothing of value in the world that was not created by someone who pushed the edges, challenged how things were done, and went all in to change the world. It’s hard to change the world around you unless you are focused to the point where you just can’t breathe another day without finishing the dream.

Going all in—surging—can be coupled with backing off and creating a life that matters. Surging means all in. Backing off means to take the time to heal and rest. Surging means telling the family that for a few weeks, “I am going to go completely insane. I am going to ‘surge’ and I can only carry you, a friend or two, and hold my job if I want to get this done. I have to give up most everything else.

“After the surge, I will return to normal, or as best I can to appear that way, and we will take that vacation, resume the beach time, go to a few parties, and have a life again. But not for these weeks when I am going to give everything I have to write that book, or create that new company, or somehow figure out what it takes to move my life forward in a big leap.”

Surging means nothing more than total concentration, followed by a period of normal existence in a crazy world. Surging means that for an extended time, you force yourself out of balance into a mindset where getting it done is the most important thing for a defined period of time.

When we are not in a full-on surge, we taper work with rest. We find mindless things to clear our minds, but we stay mindful of the moment we are in, knowing that moment may never come again.

Working hard in life is a good thing. Resting hard is a better thing.

Done together, you can own the world, but no one needs yet another tired, worn-out, cranky, recently divorced person who never learned that a little planned soul preservation might have saved a marriage, business, and family.

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