In the summertime, the world is nice and warm. Things are alive and thriving. The world is bustling, living, and in motion.
Winter is very different than summer. In the winter, things are still, quiet, and often in survival mode. The earth is scarce of resources. Things seem more bleak. The air is cold. The birds don’t sing. The leaves don’t grow. Yet, within and beneath, life is gleaning and doing what it can to stay alive while awaiting the warmth and light that inevitably will come.
If we were not familiar with the seasons, we might observe Summer calling it superior and consider Winter as inferior. We might ask, “Why doesn’t winter grow and thrive and get itself out of its situation? Why doesn’t it do anything?” We know by experience that work is happening in both Winter and Summer. The work just looks differently. The work of winter is mostly sub-surface. It is the work of nurturing and keeping alive the essentials.
My experience during this Challenge was a “winter” for me. I took care of my physical basics. I still worked out in class 6 days a week. But I was not mentally or emotionally in a place to take on physical “extras” outside of class. Other areas of my life were in need of attention and energy such as my spiritual well-being and trying to develop missing disciplines. From the outset, I didn’t feel physically inspired, but I knew that a “spring” and “summer” would come when I would feel inspired again to take on some compelling physical goals. Through the process of the Challenge I recognized my situation as part of the cycle or “seasons” of life. I felt okay with letting the process take its course. From the outside, one might think I was perhaps letting circumstance take control of my life. I imagine that could perhaps have some truth, but I learned that different things need different energy at different times. During this Challenge, my physical self needed the energy to stay consistent, which I did. And I invested more energy into my mental, emotional, and professional, and spiritual areas.
Although I didn’t outwardly change much physically, I feel proud that I still was consistent with exercising and making healthy choices. My measurements hardly changed from beginning to end, but I surprised myself with the results of my Advanced Fitness Test. I increased my 1-minute pushups from 53 to 62. I also improved my 1-minute single leg chair squats from 44 to 60 on my right leg and from 43 to 62 on my left leg! I couldn’t believe it! I also couldn’t not walk for a couple minutes.
I also feel proud of some other things I worked on. I joined a “big thinkers” group that has challenged me quite a bit. We did a little financial challenge that was way out of my comfort zone. I didn’t do very well at it, but my eyes were opened to some new things. We read a personal improvement book a month and discuss concepts from it and how to apply it. I read The E-Myth and The 4-hour Work Week and have started The Magic of Thinking Big. The E-Myth opened my eyes to business, the process, and my current role in it. I loved it. The 4-hour Work Week got me to think differently about my goals in business and life and to design my life such that I go do new things and experience the world. I also took a personal challenge from it to contact a woman who I’m attracted to but am scared to talk to and ask her out on a date. The person who came to mind is Ms. Idaho (I believe), has her stuff together from what I can tell, is pretty, and intimidates me. But I contacted her and asked her out the night the challenge from the book came to mind. And she agreed to go. 🙂 That has turned into challenging myself to be a little more bold with other people and things that scare me.
Probably the most important area of my life has also been the most challenging, and that is the spiritual. I’ve had certain challenges that have plagued me for years and have recently been in the foreground staring me in the face giving me battle. I have not yet conquered, but I have decided I Never Give Up on certain things that are important to me and this continues to teach me and make me stronger. Ultimately, I thank God for His mercy in allowing me to try again and again.
I always have a hard time deciding one person I would inspire if I could. I would love to help many people in my life enjoy the fruits of pursuing the fit life. I think first and foremost I would love to see both my mom and my dad get healthy and feel better. I want them to feel they are pursuing the life they’ve always wanted. I would be their biggest cheerleader. I would encourage them to start where they are one step at a time and assist and teach them the best I could.