It’s Sunday morning and I have just completed my 5th NPC men’s physique competition.
I have a mixture of emotions floating to the surface. (Guest Post from Men’s Master Physique Competitor Mike Hardy)
Despite my burning desire to win another overall sword, I came up short. I earned a 2nd place in my division (which is no small feat) and I should be proud of this accomplishment.
Well, I am in moments, but I wanted to win.
My goal is to win 3 overall swords, one in each physique category, followed by a pro card. I have a Novice sword. Now my sights are on a Masters overall sword and the Unlimited overall sword, ideally both in the same competition.
I am 44 and running a business working 50+ hours a week. I am a family man with 4 young kids at home. How can someone in my position give more? (I justify).
I am also up against a group between 20-35 years old where many (read: most) are juiced and I have decided to be compete all-natural. (I excuse myself).
I need to change my story.
People with less favorable circumstances have done and overcome so much more with so much less. No excuses.
If I want it bad enough, I will find a way. The only reason we don’t have what we want is the story we tell ourselves in our head about why we can’t have it.
I had an insight after this competition. I have wisdom now in an area that I merely had knowledge in the past. I have been forced to grow. I have uncovered a few areas in my life where I have been lacking.
I have created some new rituals. Some healthy habits.
A mentor of mine told me years ago, “Until you have experienced something, YOU JUST DON’T KNOW”.
This experience has created two “ah-ha” insights that I am keenly aware of and most grateful for now.
First, competing in men’s physique has pushed me way out of my comfort zone. And I mean WAY out.
I have always been by nature someone who was somewhat anxious about the stage on any level. I have always felt the need to have a talking point or some kind of a distraction away from me.
This has forced me to become comfortable having attention directly on me. That may seem odd, but working through this has been liberating.
Second, I have learned the value and discipline of long term focus and preparation.
My past modus operandi has been to “wing-it”. For many years, I lived life with a wing-it philosophy. The preparation for a physique competition will expose those that do not prepare properly. This happened to me once a few months back. Never again.
It has only occurred to me that I have short changed who I can become and the value that I can deliver to others by embracing this unhealthy practice. I have not set the best example for my kids. (We create for our kids what we model in our lives.) I am changing that now.
My dad once told me that you can get by on charm for a few minutes. After that you better know something. This has many applications.
I have learned in the past that you cannot cheat the marathon. I have now learned that you cannot cheat the physique competition.
Systematic healthy discipline and rituals allows us to create and develop into the best version of ourselves.
“First you create your habits. Then your habits create you”
Many people think that discipline and responsibility results in a lack of freedom. The reality and my experience is that incorporating discipline and taking responsibility results in unlimited options and that EQUALS freedom.
When you accept responsibility, embrace discipline, and consciously decide to live on the edge of your comfort zone, there is no limit to what you can do or who you can become.
Life begins on the edge of our comfort zones.
For me, this “out-of-the-comfort-zone” experience has forced me so far out into the deep waters that I could not see the shore. I now know that I will not drown in the deep waters, as uncomfortable as they may be.
I still have a lot to learn about preparation, however, I now feel like there is nothing that is out of reach.
I have decided that it is ok to be uncomfortable. I am now aware of and fighting my “wing-it” demon. I also have a glimpse into the power of systematic discipline and preparation over time.
This is my experience. This is my insight. This is my lesson. I have much to learn but my world is expanding.
Be the BEST YOU EVER!