Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sick & tired of being sick and tired?

In 1986 I remember having pneumonia for the second time, lying in hospital on an drip, watching a small air bubble working its way down the tube and thinking to myself “That can’t be good” and I decided I’d had enough.  It was at this time that the doctor informed me that I had a suspected heart murmur into the bargain.  That pushed me over the edge.  Basically I got sick and tired of being sick and tired.

First thing I did as soon as I got out of hospital was buy a bike.  There was this hill outside the village where I lived, and my goal as to be able to cycle up that hill, even if it killed me.  Because of the pneumonia my lungs hurt like hell, but I got my head down and pedalled.  The hill was just too steep, so rather than look up at it I looked down at the white lines on the road and just pumped away.  At first I managed so far, 10 white lines, 12, then 15, then every day got a wee bit further.

After a few attempts I managed to reach the top.  So I kept going.  That stretch of road was called “The Fiddler’s Elbow” as it snaked around the fields with sharp 90 degree turns, high hedges on either side.  Week by week I pushed slightly further, which turned into a 2 mile cycle, then a 3 mile cycle.  Small baby steps, gradually increasing the load…

Sometime around then I stumbled across a great wee book on exercise and heart rate – I can’t actually recall what the book was called, but it got me training regularly within the right training zone.  Then I bought some weights, a bench, and kitted out my bedroom with equipment.  Plus a life size poster of Cory Everson [Ms Olympia at the time] to keep me motivated!    I was also trying every weight gain supplement and protein powder out there, and you probably know what a lot of meal replacements can taste like…  Then there’s trying to stay motivated and get yourself to exercise consistently – I’d have long periods of intense workouts, then months of “can’t be bothered”.  Know what I mean?

Eustress - Use The Stress

All the past health issues I turned around and as fuel to drive me towards health and fitness. But even though I was trying all these different things to change how I looked and stay healthy, I’d chop and change so often.  Nothing kept my interest for very long.  You get all excited about a new regimen, it’s new and fresh for a couple of weeks, then you get bored and gradually stop doing it.  So I got mixed results.

One day a friend of mine invited me along to a new martial arts class.  Whoah!  I’d grown up with “Enter The Dragon” and Marvel comics so I loved the idea, but I was the skinny specky asthmatic with zero coordination so what hope was there?  But despite my fears, I nervously went along, and met the Instructor – a tall skinny guy who was a world kickboxing champion.  64 of us enrolled that night.  7 years and 6 belts later I was the only one still training in Lau Gar Kung Fu.

Man I was fit.  We’d do 100 sit ups, 100 press ups, go running for 2 miles then come back and learn an hour’s syllabus 3 nights a week.  Looking back I didn’t really appreciate it at the time.  You don’t know what you’ve got, till it’s gone.

Now my brother had studied psychology, so I started to read all these thick, heavy books about Freud and Adler and traditional behavioural change.  But Freud said it would take 300 hours of therapy for the average person to change.  Mind you, Freud was a coke addict.  And if you prefer Carl Jung, well he based his psychological archetypes on the major arcana of the Tarot Cards.  So don’t preach to me about traditional routes.

So I started reading about personal development for my own benefit.  They say that people get into self-help books for one of two reasons – either inspiration, or desperation.  Well, I was pretty desperate!
Now I’m not a psychiatrist or psychologist – but I have now spent two decades in personal development helping people transform their lives – I’ve learned and taught advanced techniques like NLP [Neuro Linguistic Programming] and Hypnosis. 

  For me it was always about making changes.  If you’re not happy with the results you’re creating, then change what you’re doing.  Whining and complaining won’t make it any better, and nobody’s going to come and rescue you.  The sooner you realise it’s up to you, the better.  It’s what you do that counts.  So initially I did private therapy to help people and earn some money, and then started doing workshops to try and share this mind-set with as many people as possible.

  Then in the late nineties I came across a magazine article on the blossoming field of Life Coaching which had just arrived from the USA, and I saw a natural extension to what I was already doing.  Scottish people love American stuff don’t they?  So many Scots sing with American accents – have you ever noticed that? 

So… NLP helped me to help my clients clear up the mental clutter and limitations that hold us all back.  Life Coaching looks at the external factors that make you who you are – your health and eating habits, your family relationships, your intimate relationships, your management of money, your environment, and your career. And the great thing about it was that it could all be done over the phone – a weekly in depth chat with your own confidant who would never judge you – only gently explore, guide and help you move in baby steps towards your life goals.   No embarrassment, no shaming.  Now I had ways of dramatically improving my own life, and the lives of others, on both the inside and the outside.

And I slowly learned more about exercise, managing my diet, what internal dialogue to run in my head, how to avoid the numerous ailments that normal people get… and the people who knew me at school hardly recognise me now, because I’ve changed…

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