The Inside and Outside Don’t Always Match
You know there’s more to life than working. You also know you are more than a “fitness professional” ~ you know you are more than the role that defines you in the gym. So much more. And yet, many people lose parts of themselves to their jobs. It’s so important to own all of who you are and not to wrap yourself in a job title or allow it to define you completely. Our work can define what we do, how we earn a living, but not who we are; that’s an inside job. We’re often surprised by what we discover when we go within. As you begin integrating the principles of mindfulness in your work with clients, you will find yourself shifting your way of being in the world ~ beyond the gym walls.
This is a natural side-effect of mindfulness. A life-changing one. You will begin to expand your awareness of and connection to yourself and others. This leads to seeing people and situations in new ways, making decisions with more intention and living life feeling a bit lighter. Interesting how becoming more of who you are feels lighter. That’s because you begin to align your inner life with your outer life. You no longer try to be everything to everyone.
The beauty of living mindfully is that it isn’t compartmentalized into an hour of worship or in a few yoga classes every week. It’s a way of being in the midst of all that we do, every hour of every day. When we carry a presence of awareness, intention and containment we change the world simply by breathing. You will find yourself wanting to lean into calmness more and more. Because it feels good. Because you smile more. Because life is beautiful when we pay attention. Even those days that seem to bring every possible challenge your way.
There are tangible ways to foster mindfulness in our lives. Here’s a suggestion on where to begin. You have to know where you’re starting from before you know where you want to go.
Chart Your Days
Consider tracking how you spend your days. We all feel we have a pretty good idea of how we spend our days, however, it is invaluable to physically write down what is actually true. Do this by carrying a small notepad, or use an app on your phone, and keep an hourly journal from the time you wake up until your head hits the pillow. Be honest in your tracking. This isn’t to be approached with judgment; you want a factual examination of how you spend your time. Approach the exercise with curiosity. An “isn’t that interesting?” lens of non-judgment. You’re gathering information, that’s all. Do this for a minimum of seven days.
Each day, take time to review what happened…how you spent your time. How do you feel about how you spent your time? We adapt to schedules and routines and we don’t always realize the amount of time we spend on the various activities of our days ~ we run on autopilot. How much time do you spend in the car? Do you eat on the run or standing up? Do you skip meals? Where do you spend the most time? Where do you direct your focus?
Once you have an overview of your days, look to see what’s on your plate. It’s time now to assess where you may want to make a few changes. Do a little triage to help you determine what pieces you could adjust or maybe eliminate entirely. You might see some things that you can take off your plate right away. You may have commitments that you need to honor, but you can plan an exit strategy. Responsibilities of parenting require a lifetime, but there may be ways to ease the stresses. Look where you’ve overcommitted and feel overwhelmed and learn to say “no” next time someone asks you to do something that will require too much of your time and energy.
It’s important to have plenty of downtime, time for having “fun”, for spending time with family and friends, for relaxing. Are you finding time for hobbies and activities you enjoy? That nurture and renew your spirit? Be sure you schedule time in your calendar for YOU. And honor that time by making it non-negotiable.
There are endless ways to bring elements of mindfulness to your life. Embracing each day with awareness and intention opens you to feeling empowered to create the life you want; to know you’re not a victim of letting life happen to you. Instead, you create a life of meaning and purpose that is in alignment with YOU, not defined and dictated by others’ “shoulds”.
What you feel within you begins to align with what you create in the world. The inside and outside begin to share the same rhythm ~ not competing or working against each other. Instead, they strike a balance that you create by being clear about your priorities and committing to shaping your life to align with what’s most important to you.
You can do this. Be real. Be you. You don’t have time for anything else.
In our online course “The Mindful Trainer”, we provide you with tools, like the objective above, to create space for you to be the best version of yourself for your clients. Check out the class here: https://elearning.nationalpti.org/courses/the-mindful-trainer/