Anyone of us that improves performance will gain not only better health, but a better understanding of ourselves. If we continue to improve performance, we continue to be a better us and we continue to level up, reaching new goals and creating better opportunities each time. The start of improving performance always starts with health.
Body acceptance, loving ourselves and improving performance has never been so much at the forefront of any health subject as right now. Those in the health and fitness industry have been waiting for this for years and couldn’t be happier to see this as a major component of discussions now, however this can be misleading for some.
It was told recently that those who feel the need to improve their body in any way, are not loving their body as it is. Now after agreeing that loving the body first is an incredibly important aspect of any long term success, it also needs to be considered that there are in fact two main ways to look at this.
Does Improving Performance Really Make A Difference?
When we think of performance, our mind often moves straight away to a sports specific goal, a high level position in business or a level of performance that we often don’t relate ourselves too. Improving performance is often related to the higher achievers, at least in many minds.
This really couldn’t be further from the truth.
Yes, improving performance most definitely positively impacts the results of athletes, high achievers and business executives, however if we really look at performance and health, we can see how this impacts everyone of us in every way.
How Does Improving Our Performance Affect Our Life?
If you have a think about it, performance and improving our performance affects our life in every area and our health is at the very start of our daily performance.
When our health is affected it affects our performance on a daily basis
We wake tired and find it difficult to get our head off the pillow
We find it difficult to wake and it takes us a good hour or two to function or to be our usual pleasant self
It takes us hours to get going, and we find ourselves getting annoyed on the way to work, creating road rage and frustration
It takes us hours to get going and due to work from home, we realise it takes much of the morning to be engaged, productive or creative. We are effectively wasting our first quarter of our day.
We find it takes much longer than it needs to, to get ready in the morning. We forget things, feel foggy in the mind, move from room to room without finishing what we need to do, waste time and feel exhausted.
We have any array of symptoms that our body is trying to speak with us with, however due to us not knowing how to listen and respond, they continue to show up. This means we spend time and energy focused on painful digestive issues that often cause us to be late, we have headaches that we cannot shake, aches and pain in our body that we feel with every movement, that takes an enormous amount of energy to “keep down” to show a face each day, and we are fatigued beyond what our daily activities require, to name just a few.
This means we are starting from last before we have begun. How do you think our performance will be during the day with even one of those symptoms, let alone many.
Feeling uncomfortable in our body means we want to hide, physically, emotionally and mentally. This not only destroys our confidence but takes an enormous amount of energy, that many of us simply don’t have. We are now withdrawing more than we have available to us. We are in deficit.
Having poor quality sleep means we start the day already behind. When I was depleted, I remember looking at my bed and thinking “how soon can I get back in there”. Imagine what this does for our attitude and focus for the day.
A poor quality sleep means we may start the day moody, we simply don’t have the energy to look forward to our day, to set intentions for the day and to complete any activities that take more energy than we have. This means, other than the things we feel we “MUST” do, everything else, including anything can could help us, is left by the wayside.
When we are physically unwell, or even have symptoms that don’t necessarily mean we are chronically unwell, it still means we are spending time and energy dealing with our symptoms instead of living life. Instead of focusing on what we want to get out of our day, responding to our people with energy and love, and focusing on taking actions towards our goals each day, we focus on just getting through, on getting to the end of the day and making it through the day, getting done, what we need to get done, without snapping at people and upsetting those we care about.
A poor quality diet will mean we simply don’t have enough nutrients for our body to recover and rejuvenate overnight. We may feel puffy and uncomfortable in our skin and our clothes, so we will immediately loose confidence and become self conscious. This means we will react to life and people in a much different way than if we approached the day with confidence and self assurance.
Poor nourishment means we will be fatigued, we won’t heal overnight as well as we are able and we may take yesterdays troubles into tomorrow. We will feel fatigued, find that this impacts our memory, cognitive function, ability to think clearly, and our ability to stay focused on task and complete our task to the best of our ability.
When we have aching muscles and joints, when we have an aching back or deal with chronic pain, we spend a lot of our energy holding this at bay, so we can make it through the day.
Imagine if we were able to improve performance. What would that look like on a day to day basis?
Would you wake feeling great and get a lot of activities done that you enjoy before you even get to work?
Would it mean that you are often in a much better, more loving mood and respond to events in life and the day with a completely different approach?
Would it mean you created an environment for your body to heal and did not have to spend the focus and energy on dealing with your symptoms each and every day?
Would you get to work, or start work online and feel engaged, creative, solutions focused and excited for what you can create for the day?
Would it mean your thought processes are different, you have a positive attitude, and feel confident and happy within yourself?
How would improving your performance improve your life?
I can’t see how improving performance would not improve our life for any one of us. Improving performance simply means we are taking that next step towards our best self and our best self always starts with health.
Whether that be a person who is experiencing pain and frustration or it be a high level sports person who wants to recover more quickly and reach a better time. Every one of us can benefit from improving our performance and that always starts with our health.
The two main approaches to Improve Performance
It was suggested to me that those who choose to make positive changes in themselves do not love and accept themselves. Wanting to change is a reflection of not be happy with ourselves.
Choosing to grow , to change and to improve performance is a way of accepting where we are, loving ourselves and choosing to be better.
Wanting to be our best selves is in fact an act of love.
There are those that go to the gym, diet constantly, try this and try that, and punish their body. They live in pain and punishment of who they are and how their body looks and feels . Then they do everything to change this from the outside, coming from a place of dislike for their body or parts of their body and selves.
Then there are those who love their body and go to the gym, join sporting clubs, eat nourishing foods most of the time, seek to improve performance and be better each day because they love and respect themselves..
Loving, knowing and accepting ourselves shows up with an awareness of the underlying causes of our habits, patterns and behaviours. Without this we have little hope in creating long lasting, sustainable growth, leading to improved performance and our best self.
The results of each approach will be far different, as if we are coming from a place of dislike, frustration and punishment as opposed to a place of acceptance, love and understanding.
Those who come from a place of love and acceptance seek to understand themselves more greatly, they look to encourage themselves each day and they know that taking action to improve themselves each day is in itself a loving act.
If we are to love ourselves, does this not mean we seek improvement?
Do we not show love by encouraging those around us?
Do we not show love by supporting others to be their best?
Seeking to improve in no way reflects a belief that says, I don’t like myself or I am not enough as I am. It merely says – I am enough as I am and I can also be more.
When you find yourself in a wonderful relationship, full of love and support, do you look to continue to grow that relationship, to encourage it, to support it, or do you say –This is great, I don’t need to do anymore with this?
We know that to continue to create a loving relationship, we need to keep changing, keep growing and make continued efforts to understand ourselves and each other.
We also need to do this for ourselves.
Improved Performance and Wellness
True wellness is to expand, to continue to learn about ourselves, and to grow. If wellness is our natural state and we want to move to optimal wellness or continue to stay in optimal wellness we need to first become very clear what it is we really want.
When we become crystal clear on our what we do want as opposed to what we don’t want, we need to choose to be in that state consistently. Once in that state of being we can create inspired action to achieve our goals.
Achieving what we want from a place of being as if we have it comes from a place of inspired action. Inspired action pulls us towards our goal, it drives us forward, instead of us having to push uphill to get it. Feeling pulled towards our goals is a much greater feeling than the feeling of pushing towards something, often uphill.
Pushing towards something, is much like climbing a mountain with heavy weights on our back. Being pulled towards our goals is a feeling of being lifted, of being driven and propelled forward.
For those that choose to go to the gym, is it possible that many who do, do it because they love their body?
Perhaps they love feeling strong?
They love improving?
It makes them feel great?
The results from the positive pull approach will always far outweigh the opposite attitude and approach of hustle and push, push, push.
The current narrative of body and self positivity is long overdue, however the suggestion that this means we don’t need to take action to improve performance, to change, improve, grow and better ourselves is incorrect.
Completely accepting ourselves and taking action to improve performance actually means we do love ourselves. What could represent love in a greater way than the seeking of growth, wanting to be our best and living our best life?
If we feel we are completely well, does that not mean we can make changes to reach yet another level?
What if there was an even better us on another level?
Does accepting ourselves mean that we don’t need to contribute to ongoing wellness and improved performance of ourselves?
Does knowing we are perfect in our imperfection mean we don’t take action that make sus an even better version of ourselves?
If you love your job, love everyone you work with and adore each day, does this mean you don’t ever wish to improve?
Does it mean you don’t ever want to grow and expand in your role?
Does being great at your job mean you don’t need to do anymore trainings, classes or learnings?
I would suggest that if you did not continue to learn, we may eventually lag behind as we fail to adapt, fail to grow and expand.
Improvement and Improved Performance Is the Very Basis of Self- Acceptance
To expect us to simply be well because that is our natural state, without contributing to that state in an ongoing way is a flawed argument at best.
To judge someone for wanting to make changes in their body, without understanding why, can be detrimental to us all. This is where many of the new narratives do more damage than good.
To have an expectation of wellness without taking action, but just focusing on our thoughts of knowing we are perfect as we are, is not in line with our greatest good, and to generalise all those who do take action are doing it because they don’t accept themselves in one way or another is incredibly small-minded.
Instead of judging others from afar without understanding them contributes nothing. Instead be curious, ask questions, or simply let others be, knowing that our opinions are not the only opinions and our way is not the only way.
Not everyone who wants to get bigger hates their body.
Not everyone who wants to change body shape is unhappy with themselves.
Not everyone who seeks improvement does it out of punishment
In fact, those that see the most successful long term sustainable change, do so when coming from a place of love not fear, a place of being pulled toward something, not pushing against it and allowing themselves to expand, instead of staying small.
I see so many people who love what they have and so therefor seek to improve. They love feeling strong, so they take action to stay strong. They love a quality of life that being fit brings, so they continue to improve their fitness.
They love themselves and their body, so they take action that represents that. While it may not be the action you would take, it is an action that suits someone else perfectly.
Improved Performance and Action
We discussed an important aspect of improved performance in an article on Kindness last week. Some of us show kindness to ourselves by saying “yes have that chocolate” “you don’t need to get up early and go running this morning” “Sure, go to bed late, you love this show” .
Some of us show kindness to ourselves by helping us to be the person we know we want to be, who we know we are deep down. We show this by taking the action we know will lead to us achieving our goals.
We say “nope, get out of bed, you feel fine” “Yes you need to go running, you want to run in that event” “that show isn’t as important as waking up feeling great”.
Why does encouraging ourselves to be better ever need to be seen as a tough-love approach from those who have made choices to improve?
What if it is coming from a most loving place and that person is not pushing, but being pulled, happily toward a greater goal?
Goals and Improved Performance
Having a greater goal does not automatically mean we don’t think we are already great. Wanting to improve ourselves does not mean we feel we lack in some way.
Perhaps it means we understand that we need to keep growing and changing.
As humans, we are here to grow, to experience and expand ourselves in many ways. One of those ways may be to use our body with different movement. After all, isn’t that part of enjoying our body?
Another way may be to nourish ourselves with nutritious food as opposed to processed food that diminishes us in every way.
Never mistake someone else’s desire to improve themselves as a lack of love, never mistake someone else’s desire to be stronger as a sign they think they are weak, and never mistake someone else’s desire to expand themselves and change in anyway as some sort of inherent underlying dislike of themselves. The two are not mutually exclusive.
Those who seek change in any way do not necessarily dislike who they are.
- Do we lack health if we desire more?
- Does a millionaire lack money if they desire more?
- Does the fittest person in the room lack the feeling of being fit if they desire and take action toward more?
If you are curious enough, you may actually find, they love themselves very much, they seek growth and expansion because of this and while it may not be the actions and choices we would all take and make, it is indeed action they take from a place of love and wellness inside themselves.