I stood at the front desk of the gym in my familiar Nike personal trainer garb, black pants, black top and athletic shoes. Hair slicked back this morning because it was the easiest way to get out of the house by 5:20 am to beat Portland traffic.
A young gentleman that I’d had several run ins with walked towards me, “What do I need to do for X, Y, and Z to ‘get bigger guns’,” Johnny asked.
I grabbed my glasses and slid them up on top of my head turned to face him to make sure I was receiving the fullness of his question and took a breath.
My answers were always the same with these types of questions. I needed to know more information.
“What have you done about A, B, and C, first?” I asked implying that Sleep, Nutrition and Stress were just as important as lifting weights to ‘get big guns’.
He looked at me perplexed. I had answered his question with a question.
“You’re a trainer. Aren’t you supposed to tell me the answers?” he asked boldy, but moreso making a blanketed statement.
I folded my arms across my chest mirroring his closed disposition, “How can I give you an answer about X, Y, and Z if I don’t know what you’re doing about A, B, and C?” I responded answering his question with yet another question.
“You’re tough,” he said stating the not so obvious.
“Not really,” I answered back quickly, finally answering a question but more like extending the description of his assessment of me because I hadn’t given him what he had wanted in the first place. “I just want to really help you grow,” I said letting him in on my little secret. I cared a little too much whether people achieved their goals or not. My Heart was too naturally open if there is such a thing…
I continued, “But in order to do that I need to know where you’re starting from. I need to know what you’re doing now. I need to know what you’ve tried in the past. All of these things are clues about how I can help you move forward in your future to attain your goals and what you really want.”
Johnny squinted his eyes at me reeling because perhaps he just wanted to hear me say ‘Do More Bicep Curls’ to “get bigger guns”. Really he had only wanted to know how to put on mass and size. Aka X, Y, and Z. I squinted back at him because what I really heard was,
‘How can I feel better about myself and what I’m really doing in Life?’
Enter in Operation Abundance.
Operation Abundance is a fun little description I like to use when I talk about how we can enhance our own progress and vision for moving forward in our lives. It frames this movement like a fluid Mission… Not Mission Impossible, but
Actual possiblities for growth and change in our lives so we can feel good about what we’re doing and how we’re moving with Life, no matter what happens. I always ask, How do we get our centers to become wider, to envelope more skills, so that we can become more of the people we want to be? It’s like attaining a goal and sustaining it so much so in your life that the goal, or skill, or way of life becomes a part of you. Actualization.
There is infinite energy in this space of actualizing abundance.
It is full of possibility.
It is vibrant with inspiration.
And it can be attained consistently.
This is the space where linear goals turn into and can transform into paradigm shifts.
Think of the person who hasn’t done anything about their fitness or nutrition for years. And then all of a sudden they start following a program, and the program starts working, and the person starts glowing with accomplishment and possibility… This is Operation Abundance.
Operation Abundance is not about THE best step to take to achieve obligatory goals.
Operation Abundance is about YOUR best step to take to achieve YOUR goals.
Authentic listening, asking questions, and being clear about goals brings about a clear clean slate in how to achieve those goals just for you. If you can find someone to mirror and reflect in a way to actually be able to discover new aspects about what you really want and what you really need then you’ve found a gold mine. Sometimes we can be this goldmine for ourselves through reflection, meditation, and even writing.
Last post I talked about designing a Life Garden. Which is essentially a 3-D mock up of linear goals revolving around an evolving lifestyle utilizing a gardening/gardener/open field of possiblity metaphor. But one of the tricks in being able to achieve goals, or let them sprout in your life like this field of opportunities, is always going to start with Who the gardener is, How the gardener moves, and What the gardener wants. Possibly even sometimes including Where the gardener has been.
The Gardener is You. It is important to know yourself. And the constant evolving aspects of yourself and your life.
Now, this might seem like a daunting task and you might think, “Oh I’m gonna have to go through years and years of my life to figure out who I am. I’m gonna have to do a full inventory of everything I’ve done wrong in order to make it better. And that’s all just so much, just too much work to do!”
… And this is where a lot of people stop.
They continue being the version of themselves that they’ve allowed to be created by preconceived notions, society, circumstances, and possibly even fate. These moments of unconscious allowing can feel like setbacks or being stuck. Because the stop feels very real. It’s like hitting the end of everything you thought you’ve become and dying just a little bit inside. Ouch. 😦
But honestly, after coaching people for the last 10 years and watching so many different kinds of achievements happen in and through peoples lives it really doesn’t have to be that hard at all. We can honor the stop and the small death, like a field or garden going through the winter months, choose to move through it gently and gracefully, and open ourselves up to new vistas and possiblities for when spring rolls around again.
This movement can start with the simplest and honest question of:
What do I want?
One of the easiest avenues to lean into to allow ourselves to learn a little bit more about ourselves and how we really move not just what we think is when we assess ourselves starting with Fitness & Nutrition. I love love love letting this space of questioning, of wondering blossom into my life creatively.
What do I want to feel?
What do I want to look like?
What do I want to do?
All pertaining to Fitness & Nutrition. Which is really just pertaining to operating and moving with Life. Our day to day honest movements.
I feel like if Johnny was willing to stay long enough in the conversation to hear his own answers to his own question, we might’ve been able to get him a bit closer into his very own Operation Abundance Flow.
I want to feel strong. Check.
I want to look strong. Check.
I want to be able to complete a 500 lb deadlift. Check.
Now we know the destination, a route to map, and a way to create mile markers of progress for Johnny to get to the ever elusive “there” of his new goals.
It is this type of honest movement that creates actual sustainability in our lives. When our questioning and wondering about ourselves and life goes deeper then the answers tend to come from this deep space as well.
“You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
I’ve found that when I’ve been able to hear, feel, move with answers from this deep space that this is the type of energy (aka operation abundance) that continues moving (aka deep inspiration/motivation) even through the moments of life that seem to look like setbacks, failures, ends, deaths and losses.
This is PIVOTAL. This is where the shifts and changes can happen. This is where Life Garden’s grow and the gardener is able to appreciate whatever pops up in their field even if it looks like a manifested goal or not. This is a growth mindset.
If Johnny started with a 275 pound deadlift and wanted to get to 500 pounds and we helped him increase his max to let’s say 405, Johnny has just made a gain of 130 pounds on his old deadlift max. It’s not the 500 he had originally intended for, but it is still a huge and sizable gain.
This is where the mindset comes in and where I like to really try to hone in with clients on appreciating every single progress marker on the journey. If we can get the attitude of Johnny to turn into appreciation for getting to 405 instead of just seeing the lack of not being at 500, then Johnny will continue to remain in his own personal Operation Abundance FLOW and also be able to see continued possibilities.
This move or shift is mostly about the interplay of “not good enough” vs. “good enough”. It is duality at it’s finest. Observing contrast and learning how to work with it. And then letting contrast work with you as you continue to move towards your goals.
This is either where the movement keeps moving -or- the mover/gardener stops moving in the pitfall of “not good enough”. Which is completely ok too. Just try not to stay there for too long.
If we can gently graze our way through these “not good enough’s” then the mover/gardener will begin to absorb the energy of true transformation which will create a true sustainable lifestyle change.
This is the type of energy that will expand throughout a life beyond just physical aspects. This energy brightens relationships, interactions, and experiences outside of the gym. And contributes to our lives being better as a whole.
It helps to create this Flow of Abundance in and throughout our World.
The only reason I am so well versed in the difference between “good enough” and “not good enough” is because I have lived my life through both places (hello 350 pounds heavy and hello 175 pounds light) and I have gotten stuck in “not good enough” during different periods of my life in many aspects beyond just fitness. Hello learning how to write and develop the creative liberty to share thoughts, opinions, and ideas… (insert wave emoji)!
“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.”
This is why I am so enthusiastic and curious about how we can expand this space of FLOW that I’ve just described as Operation Abundance. For me, and for a lot of people I know it starts with Fitness and Nutrition which is really just the movement of energy.
Fitness and Nutrition works like fertilizer for growth and sustenance in my own personal Life Garden. So when things feel off track this is where I’ve learned to center myself. I get back to the basics of observation, tracking, measurements and setting small milestones.
I’m finding that learning how to help influence others with their own personal Life Garden’s and moving with Operation Abundance is a constant ever evolving conversation and will always depend on the individual person and quite honestly their beliefs about what can and what cannot move in their lives. And really, not everyone wants to live their life in abundance or they may just not know how. And while in the past I’ve found this to be sad, now I’m really starting to feel more respect for honoring people exactly where they are, no matter where they are, and knowing that Operation Abundance is always and only One Step Away if and when I, we, or you choose it.
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