About three years ago, I recorded a video for the Fit Life Champions community. My goal was to empower our members to understand how fitness and nutrition improves a mind/body connection with mental health.
However, as the leader of that community, I fell short at that time. And that’s ok. Here’s a quick video and a look into who I was just a few years ago. Keep reading all the way to the end to see a brand new video that will illustrate how far I’ve come!
I look back on that time and I have come to realize I needed to give myself grace more than seek anyone else’s understanding. I wholeheartedly believed that I was doing what was best for my clients and members by leaving out or ignoring two major pillars of optimal health. The spiritual and financial. I admit my mistake now of tiptoeing around two of the most important pillars of optimal health.
But I was on the right track!
Now that I have the opportunity to look back on who I was then as a leader, trainer, and mentor, I have committed to daily improvement one step at a time. Because of the lessons I’ve learned, I can appreciate the journey that has come from countless hours of personal growth. I have seen the most personal growth from a few major choices since that video was made to highlight how our clients would achieve their best results. Those choices inspired me to add the final two pillars!
The biggest factors in moving toward adding in the last pillars were joining a jiu-jitsu school, understanding myself through the Enneagram, and becoming more involved in the community at Flatirons Church. Consistency was key for me to discover the path to the growth I sought…
But I also had to peel back the layers to uncover what was holding me back all along. What limiting beliefs did I face that prevented me from taking a leap into my spiritual and financial health?
I was afraid of success. I was afraid of not being good enough. I was afraid of outshining my family members. All told, there are 40 core limiting beliefs we create for ourselves that are often times untrue entirely or there for self-betrayal.
When someone says they are conscious, this is what they are referring to. They have worked hard enough to comprehend what makes them great, unique, and lovable. Diving into this last core belief is commonly feared the most.
Can you imagine waking up one day and not having a shred of disbelief in your own abilities and purpose? I couldn’t either until I decided to get out of my own way and began to expand my mind through constant learning focused on personal development.
Fast forward to today, I have built a simple lifestyle principle that enables me to be the best version of myself while I continue to concentrate on each of the Five Pillars of Optimal Health in a conscious way. The pillars are physical, mental, emotional, financial, and spiritual.
The Physical: Consistent physical activity is a foundational pillar of optimal health. It helps you achieve more because your body is healthy enough to move, play, and set new goals more challenging than you thought you could handle. For me, committing to my physical goals was the introduction I needed to personal growth.
Late in my teens, I was shown how to use certain equipment in the gym by an older friend heading off to the Marines. We called him Hercules because he could leg press a small house. I took those techniques and skills to UNCo my freshman year of college and quickly added 45 pounds of body weight. Most of that was muscle but the rest was the “freshman 15”!
When I became a personal trainer, I quickly realized I needed to set the example for my community and lead a healthier lifestyle. I began meal prepping and lifting more consistently with the Squat Clean and Deadlift. All of which boosted my confidence when I needed it most, during the summer about six years ago that led me to writing this blog post Dating with Depression.
Finally, I found a safe space to grow in the sport of Jiu-Jitsu. This particular time in my life was the fastest and most expansive time in my life to grow. While the first jiu-jitsu school didn’t fit in my life longterm, Easton Training Center in Denver has become my home, my school, and my new family.
The Mental: Self-care is a huge buzz word in the personal growth community. We cannot ignore the benefits of a hot bath, a timely vacation, or a home cooked meal on our mental health. What I was ignoring for many years was seeking out a trusted source outside of my friends and family to share my thoughts and feelings.
When I went through a tumultuous time in college, I sought out a counselor to work through some trauma I had experienced as a teenager. He gave me a book that I read thoroughly called I Don’t Want to Talk About It, which was my method of recovery. I thought if I stuffed it down far enough, it would disappear. Out of sight, out of mind, right?
Wrong. It took another 18 years of bad trial and error, two break ups, and health scares with my daughter to find out how wrong I was to think that way. I found my most recent counselors at the right time; rock bottom. They worked me through “Big T” and “little t” trauma over the next 20 months to help me heal so many wounds I have shoved down to pretend I was OK.
Reading, writing my memoir Aspire Higher, journaling, sticking to a healthy self-care routine were all instrumental in improving my mental health from late ’17 until now. The most important tool you have in your mental health pillar is a professional and trusted counselor.
The Emotional: As an Enneagram type 8, The Challenger, I tend to turn to anger first above all other emotions. As you can imagine, that gets me into hot water when I am in a relationship, or out of one as well! Diving deep into my Enneagram personality type has helped me so much with self-awareness. This is the key to learning to loving yourself, loving another, and being loved in return.
Let’s use anger as an example to build a foundational principle of the emotional pillar because I believe we can all relate most to anger, conflict, and resolution in a relationship. Anger is an emotion. You are not defined by your emotions, but if you let them, they will take hold of you and cause a downward spiral within you and your relationships.
Face the anger, learn from it, and let it go. That’s one of the skills needed to learn by the 8s on the Enneagram. Face the anger and let it go. I repeat this mantra to myself, “Let go. Let God.” It means he has it handled.
When the person I dated last fall and I mutually decided to stop seeing each other, she asked, “You aren’t mad?” At this time in my life, that’s an easy question to answer because I am self-aware enough to know exactly what I want in a relationship and I’m not afraid to share it when it’s contextually appropriate. If someone I am dating has a different intention, but takes longer to share that with me, and we are both in integrity with ourselves, then I can completely understand where they are coming from and not feel the anger an unconscious person would normally use to react.
If the time spent together was filled with outright lies, that’s a different situation altogether and showing anger for a brief time may be appropriate to set boundaries. However, carrying the anger long term would destroy me from the inside out and affect future relationships.
This is how I learned the difference between Respond vs React. I was faced with an opportunity to make a choice and I responded respectfully and calmly to new information about my potential partner. Had I straight up REACTED out of anger, I would possibly carry with me regret about the words I chose that night, waiver on my boundaries out of shame or fear, and not be able to move on as quickly as I have since.
The Financial: What do couples fight about most? Kids, money, and money. Can you relate?
My financial pillar has been the weakest of the five over the past couple of years to be completely honest. The gym I was collaborating with to begin my business moved locations and I took a chance to open my own studio. Eventually, I would come to find out that was my ego driving my decisions and a sub-conscious desire to sabotage my relationship and create a victim world that I could live in for a few years. Whoa is me was my attitude but in the end, it was accepting responsibility for my business choice that helped me turn the corner to financial recovery.
Financial instability was a big factor in causing the relationship I had at that time to come to an end. We were living together and my partner chose not to tell me about $3,000 in salary per month she lost when a business she owned closed down. That was a huge violation of my trust, and as an 8, betrayal is a huge fear for us when in a committed relationship.
I made two choices at that time that changed the direction of my financial pillar of health. I chose not to resign our lease with my then girlfriend, causing major upheaval in our trust and communication. Second, I chose to open the small studio space to train my community without including her in the decision. We fought about these things constantly over the next year, trying our best to work out our issues, but in the end, parting ways was the best idea.
The spiraling out of control feeling I experienced in the last months of that relationship negatively impacted my other pillars of optimal health. I created stress in my life that impacted my emotional health first, then my mental health deteriorated, and finally my commitments to my physical health became less consistent and frequent.
Each of these first four pillars are directly related to one another and if one goes up, they all do. When one goes down, it is our repsonsibilty to raise it up by pouring into the others. The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy is a great book to look at how there is a direct correlation between taking one small step forward to build a layer by layer foundation of optimal health!
The Spiritual: “A bored man is a dangerous man” -from a recent Flatirons Church sermon. This message hit home for me the moment I heard it! When I am connected to my spiritual pillar of health, I hear very loud and clear what it is that God wants for me.
Essentially, this message landed so hard with me because when it comes to online dating, it’s been a distraction for me when I am bored, lonely, or needy. That could mean any number of things and I’ve faced this for nearly two years. When business isn’t rocking, I have so much time freedom that I turn to the online dating apps as something to do to pass the time, connect with others on a surface level, and distract myself from productive activities by chatting with people I may never meet.
You may be able to relate to that if your experience on the apps is similar to mine. How does that relate directly to the spiritual pillar?
When I am in alignment with my purpose and it is in alignment with what God wants for my life, then I am too busy for distractions. It’s as if I cannot deviate from my path in life and that is where men are the strongest and most attractive to a partner. That’s the zone of genius for a single man in 2020.
Find your purpose, never deviate from it, and the laws of attraction will provide the financial pillar. When your spiritual pillar aligns with your financial pillar in this way, then you are able to create anything you wish!
If you’re like me and the biggest motivator for you is time freedom, then you can manifest that in this way as well. Eventually, you will create the time and financial freedom so that you can pursue your partner, hobbies, and passions without limitations. If I could refer back to the financial pillar and tie it into a scarcity mindset, this would be the best way to approach creating abundance in your life.
A couple of times within the last couple years, when business wasn’t rocking, I was seeing someone. I would wonder why it wouldn’t go to the next level with them, what was holding me back?
I had to face the hard reality that I was ashamed of my financial situation and believed that I wasn’t worthy of their love. Learning that core limiting belief was holding me back in my relationships was game changing for me. Once I realized that a true partner would never care about my financial situation, I moved forward from that limiting belief quickly and dealt with me shame head on.
Now, back to the time freedom piece of optimal health. When you are connected to your purpose, live each day with that in mind, and have created time freedom, you can make more time for yourself. Thus improving the mental, emotional, and physical pillars of health; once again creating an upward spiral to optimal health.
On the other side of the coin is when your spiritual health deteriorates, your other pillars will suffer greatly. You may feel sluggish, without purpose, and bored with life. You may even lash out, act out, or let your ego take over at this time which causes the negative feedback loop to create new limiting beliefs in your mind, heart, body, and soul.
I have discovered a few key strategies that improve the spiritual pillar of health that you can make time for today! Journaling, meditation, exercise, and nutrition are a few of the obvious choices.
However, let’s dive deeper into spiritual connection. I joined a men’s group through Flatirons Church about a year ago and the relationships I have made in the group are ground breaking. I am truly a better version of myself when I see myself through the mirrors of men that are in that group with the same vision, challenges, and path as myself. A very good reason for me to consistently attend my small group events comes from this lesson.
“We learn in rows, but we grow in circles.” Jim Bergen, lead pastor of Flatirons Church. Spending a weekend away in the mountains with these men doesn’t hurt either!
“If prayer is you talking to God, then intuition is God talking to you.” -Dr. Wayne Dyer.
I believe that daily journaling is my way of conversing with God and connecting with my spiritual journey. Attending regular church services also helps me connect with something larger than myself. I often receive direction and support from God as I sit in the rows of Flatirons Church surrounded by my men’s group.
In conclusion: When one of the above pillars of optimal health is imbalanced, we feel that misalignment across all other pillars. When we focus our energy on the spiritual pillar first, we will raise all other pillars quickly and with less will power, effort, and angst.
That is why the spiritual pillar is the most important of all five but each and every one of them has its place in our lives. Without one, we falter and waiver.
I ask my clients during each coaching session to rate each pillar on a 1 out of five scale. How healthy is your P, M, E, F, and S pillars. A great way to check in with yourself as you journal or meditate is by asking, “Where am I at on each of the five pillars”. I guarantee you, the solutions will come. The answers to all of our questions lie within us and when we connect to the spiritual pillar of optimal health, we grow exponentially! Here is a video of the conclusion of a recent live event we hosted to Unleash Your True Potential! To view the full workshop, click here now!