A practical approach to focus, clarity, and sustained energy…Drill Down!
I am often asked a common question by clients who say they are ready and willing to make a lifestyle change, and it goes something like this: "How do I create a life of passion, purpose and vigor." In other words, "How do I create a practical approach to focus, clarity and sustained energy in my life?" Wow, this sounds like a great question doesn't it, but what are they really asking and what does it really mean in specific terms? You see, we say things - positive, negative and indifferent - to ourselves all day, but we don't often stop to drill down to what we really mean. In fact, in my experience, the two questions above are vague, ambiguous and without specific meaning, and lack the important specificity that are required for a high chance of success. The way I see it, one of the greatest keys to sustained, positive change is always specificity! Understanding that to be the case, I ask people who want to achieve focus, clarity and sustained energy specifically what they mean, and why it even matters?
Sound harsh? Well it is, but it is also the first step to an "aha" moment, and real change. These are common statements from my clients: "I want to feel better," "I want to cut back on sugar," "I want to cut back on alcohol," "I want to move more," "I want to improve my health," "I want to increase my energy," "I want to tone up," "I want to increase my cardiovascular heath," "I want to look better and I need to develop work/life balance." The problem with these types of statements is that, most of time, the people saying them aren't really aware of what they mean, or what it will actually take to achieve them. Again, in these types of statements, there is almost no way that I can realistically know what they mean and what it will take to help get them there, and neither do they. But, with specificity, we can begin to unearth the true need, define the resonate desire and create the specific strategy.
I ask people who want to achieve focus, clarity and sustained energy specifically what they mean, and why it even matters?
In other words, we can create the roadmap or recipe that will give them the desired result and not only help them acquire it once, but if followed, the results can be repeated and help them live with purpose! With certain open ended questions, we discern specifically and wholeheartedly what the person's "musts" are and what the person's "wants" are. Then through some perspectives work, we can help the client get from point A to B while actually enjoying the journey. The greatest part is that you can do this by yourself.
If that's the case, what are our first steps to successfully obtain this sought after focus, clarity, sustained energy, wellness and balance? Let's examine a couple of helpful jumping off points. When I work with people, I believe that in order to create a practical approach to arrive at focus, clarity and sustained energy, a person must have and/or engage in six primary beliefs/behaviors.
1. Specific Beliefs
2. Compelling Reasons
3. Make a Decision
4. Take Action
5. Stay Adaptable/Flexible
6. Sustain and Celebrate
First, I congratulate them on recognizing their need for a lifestyle change, because nothing is achieved without first having a Belief. This can be a belief of increased focus, clarity and energy, or it may mean a belief that they must obtain a healthy weight, improved sleep, work-life balance or regular rest and relaxation. Second, I sit with the client and have them write out their own definitions of the terms that they are using in as specific a way as possible. In this example those words would be focus, clarity and sustained energy. Next, I have them read their definitions aloud to both of us. After we both hear how they defined these words, I then have them simplify and articulate the definitions that they have created in basic every day language that a 5-year-old could understand. Once these are defined in practical everyday language, we begin to ask a set of core questions to find out exactly what they will be working to achieve: why those achievements are important, what they believe it will take to achieve these goals, what they are willing to sacrifice to get there and what will be lost if they fail to achieve these goals (#2 Compelling Reasons).
This exercise is critical, and it is here that specificity, one of those most critical components, is further cultivated. After this step, I ask them to decide on an action that they will take, and then we co-create a strategy that they can use now and replicate later. Developing a clear, concise and specific strategy is one of the most critical parts of the equation, so this may take the client a while. This is where they make a Decision.
After this step, I compel them to take Action. Regardless if it is perfect or not, the time has come to take definitive action if they are to accomplish anything! Now that we are in action, and we are taking baby steps so that they can later go running towards our goal of focus, clarity and sustained energy, it is critical that we stay adaptable and flexible for when the storms hit and the frustrations set in. You see, those that accomplish most define a path, count the costs, understand the risks, and take action, but understand that hardships will come and the mundane will knock, so they must be adaptable, fluid and flexible. Finally, we have arrived. Successful change has begun to take shape. We are living with purpose, and seeing the fruits of our labor, and it is now that we must reward ourselves and celebrate our victories, lest we become bored and complacent. I am not suggesting that you blow it out and derail your success, but a little reward every three to four weeks is important to keep us motivated, success minded, and enthusiastic about the hope of our tomorrow.
About Nolan Ferraro, Owner, Salire Fitness and Wellness
Certified personal trainer and licensed wellness coach Nolan Ferraro has been recognized as the #1 Best Personal Trainer in New Orleans.
Nolan counts Chef Susan Spicer among the thousands of New Orleanians who have gotten in shape with Salire's high-impact fitness programs like "Power in the Park" a month-long cross-training boot camp in City Park. He has also added a new high intensity interval training class, Body Blitz, at his studio. Visit www.salirefitness.com for more information on Nolan and Salire Fitness & Wellness.