WIDE AWAKE (PT2)
In the last post it was all about how I sank to my lowest. This one is all about picking up the pieces, writing a new story.
After making a conscious decision to put everything behind me and deciding to start with a clean slate.. it felt like a match had been struck. I settled back into the routine of things with a shift in my being.
During this period, I was working as a personal trainer in a commercial gym. Still raw from what happened, I decided that the only way that I could release myself from all that I have experienced was to channel my focus into a fitness goal. With inspiration from my mentor back then, Ben, I decided to partake in my first bodybuilding competition. Having a defined goal allowed for me to direct all my energy to training, nutrition while training clients.
The result of that competition? I placed second runner up and won ‘best poser/routine’ (the routine) as well..a title that I still chuckle at up till today. Following this competition, I have competed in several strength and endurance as a vegan. Having been featured and blogging about my journey to this lifestyle in the past, I have chosen not to mention it in this blogpost. To find out more, you can read it here or watch a short video about it here.
Back to the competition (and competitions that followed)…These experiences allowed me to develop mental fortitude, something which I did not have for all of my life. I was the kind of guy that said ‘yes’ with enthusiasm and never followed through. I was the guy that had a momentary surge of inspiration …but when the emotional high fizzled..so did my motivation for the task at hand. I was also the guy that ignored phone calls from those I initially said ‘yes’ to. I was flakey AF.
I attribute this mentality to a rather privileged upbringing. I never really experienced struggle growing up.
Since my younger years as a really sick child with nephrotic syndrome (a rare kidney disease), epilepsy, chronic asthma, my parents thought that they were going to lose me so they doted on me heaps and pretty much gave me all that I wanted. On the illness side, I fortunately grew out of it.
From the latest gaming consoles, to an opportunity to study abroad, a nice apartment, a brand new car, monthly allowance etc etc..I got pretty much all I asked for as a privileged child. As a result, I never developed ‘mental muscle’ cos everything was within arms reach..a phone call away.
I look at my descent to darkness then journey to light.. as an express train to self actualisation (I share more it in this podcast).
From publishing my first book, competing as an athlete, becoming a coach and speaker, pursuing a path as a conscious entrepreneur, to being a husband and dad…these are some lessons I’ve learnt.
Maximising impact and living with purpose.
Since making the switch to veganism for animal welfare, the question that always rung at the back of my mind was this.. “How can I maximise my impact advocating a conscious/vegan lifestyle?”
Move along the plant-based spectrum with a strong ‘why’.
I made the switch to vegan overnight after watching this documentary on animal cruelty. I made the connection. I had no clue how or where to start but it just felt right in my heart. I realised through the years, the closer I moved towards a whole foods plant-based diet, the better I felt, the more I performed.
If you are not plant-based at all, maybe start with one day, one meal substitute animal protein with plant-proteins. This could be meat substitutes from Beyond meat/chicken, Just Egg, Quorn etc. Meat substitutes are great transition foods but should not be a main stay as they are highly processed. You can also head to a veg restaurant over the weekend or have a plant-based version of what you normally have. Once you’re accustomed to that, move closer to whole plant foods such as tofu, tempeh, legumes, fruits, nuts/seeds, whole grains. In no time, you will find that your palette changes and the foods that you used to have, you no longer crave. You will also start feeling the physical benefits of it (gradual weight loss, improve health markers, better digestion, an overall surge in energy..the list goes on!).
Beyond that, start researching more about your lifestyle switch and what impact it has on the planet and animals.
Welcome others into your lifestyle don’t hate them for not following it.
When I was a strength coach, I had a few vegetarian clients that came along and because they were not hitting their ‘protein goals’, I advised them to have some ‘white meat’ (fish/chicken) once to twice a week. I assumed that their lack of progress was due to the the lack of animal protein. I was not a bad person, I wanted the best for them and I did not know any better.
Emilie first made the switch to a vegan lifestyle. She never enforced her beliefs on me but instead shared what she experienced and learnt. This sparked curiosity, planted a seed in my mind..which eventually sprouted when I came to my own realisation.
I too remember… I had a vegan friend back then who invited me to her house for dinner. Up to this day, I still remember how good the apple rhubarb pie tasted and what a delicious meal I had.
Cook a good meal, share recipes, invite others to a nice veg restaurant for a meet up. Share what you know with no expectation to ‘convert’ them. Appreciate that others are on their own journey. Realise that there will always be some that exist to challenge you making you feel less than you are…leaving you contemptuous.
Don’t start arguing with someone until you know what you are trying to accomplish. Many people engage in arguments/debates with the goal of the other admitting ‘defeat’. If the confrontation ends without your opponent’s mind being changed, there’s not much point in it.
Define your ultimate goal..if it’s to save more animals or get loved ones on board. Sometimes it’s best to let it go and direct your energies to those that need it most. A militant mindset only pushes more away.
Be the fittest and strongest version of yourself.
When I made the switch, I set goals to compete in different events, this allowed me to develop a strong work ethic. My physiological changes were a byproduct of my competitive goals. The intention? So that no one could question or challenge the lifestyle I chose to live instead, be curious.
Is there an event, a fun run, a new fitness activity or competition that you’ve always thought about doing but pushed aside? Maybe this year is it..the year to commit to something out of your comfort zone. When you have a clearly defined goal, you will instinctually be driven to train, eat well and develop mental strength to run your own race.
Be better than you were yesterday. Practice CANI.
C.A.N.I - Constant And Never-ending Improvement.
For me it was reading lots of books on nutrition, then getting certified in it, joining a 40 week entrepreneurship incubator, overcoming my fear of public speaking, taking courses on self development and even creating my vision board. Each day is about being just that bit better, figuring what I could do more, how I could be more.
Every day, dedicate some time to reading or self development. Udemy can be a great resource for courses. Kindle and audible books are just a click away…Read, listen.
Is there someone that inspires you? Do they have a podcast, books or blogposts? Learn and model what they do cos success always leaves clues. I like the Rich Roll Podcast, Becoming Superhuman podcast and I am reading the latest book by Ex Navy Seal David Goggins.
What do you fear? Why do you fear what you fear? I believe that fears are your guidepost..your perceived boundaries. Whatever you fear most, is where you can rise or grow. Whatever you fear of, there is already someone out there that has conquered it. Find out what their methodology or strategy is.
Often fear which results in inaction and self doubt converges to this..your self belief. Whether you think you can do something or can’t…you are right. For this, I recommend this book by my friend and mentor Rik Schnabel.
Step into your truth and be more of who you are.
Thank you for reading and coming into my world…Until next time, live once…eat plants.
By your side,