The Flex Your Mind Project (Facebook Group)
In the summer of 2005 I self-published my first book, Flex Your Mind: Integrate Mind and Body to Achieve Fitness Excellence.
Why did I chose to publish a book only two years after starting in the health and fitness industry? How did the book inform my actions going forward, if at all?
I wrote Flex Your Mind to share my holistic approach to wellness. This included the integration of complimentary health practices and having a flexible/growth mindset to achieve your health and fitness goals. These concepts also informed my original business name, Integrated Fitness.
The book was a treatise to my personal growth journey at that time. I was part of a network marketing company that supported personal growth as a tool for achieving business success. That business model wasn’t for me. Selling supplements was and is not my passion, nor does it give my life meaning or purpose. Yet I grew exponentially as a person because of the education in personal growth. I realized that my passion was to serve (or coach) people, not to sell products or a system.
I’ve always had a “reactive” personality. I wore my emotions on my sleeve, and often felt I was under attack or judged by others. I rejected tradition and many social norms as a gay man wanting to make space for himself in the world.
Existing with that mindset and personality caused a lot of resistance in my life and very little “attraction”. Happy people don’t want to be around negative people! I realized that if I wanted to succeed in business and help others improve, I had to help myself first and become a better, less reactive person.
My introduction to personal growth and achievement was through Denis Waitley. He was a key speaker at all the network marketing events. I soon discovered Tony Robbins, and his book, Awaken the Giant Within. But it was the late, great Jim Rohn, who’s stories have had the most profound impact on my personal growth.
The Tipping Point
It’s interesting looking back to see how learning new skills takes time. Like a snowball rolling down a hill, it gains momentum as it picks up more snow, and becomes bigger and rolls faster.
In early 2005 I attended a 3-day weekend personal growth seminar that profoundly changed me. Everything I had read and learned up to that point came together as a unifying whole.
The following Wednesday night during a team phone call, I was recounting my weekend experience. One of my good friends piped in to say, “Who is this person on the line and what have they done with the old Darren?” At that moment I realized,
- I had transformed into a better, more likeable person.
- I was happy and smiling while speaking, which had a profound affect on others listening.
- I liked this new-and-improved Darren better than the old, negative Darren.
- There was no turning back!
My Core Fascination: “Being”
Over the last several months I’ve written many blog posts about where I’ve come from, my challenges, and my approach to health and wellbeing. During the summer months of 2016 I published a 6-part blog post and video series called, The 4 Pillars of Wellness. It was a way to explain my current approach to health and wellbeing, and to expand upon the core principles of EatMoveBe.
There’s been a consistent pattern in my health and fitness career. I keep coming back to the idea of Flex Your Mind. What excites me is self-awareness, self-actualization, transformation, and being, i.e. the “Be” in EatMoveBe. This has led me to a new way of expressing my core mission, i.e. to help you,
Flex Your Mind and Nourish Your Wellbeing
This statement expresses the complexity and subtleties about health and wellbeing.
Flex your mind means having a healthy, growth-oriented, and flexible mindset.
Flex is about the physical side of life: having flexible joints, muscles, ease of movement, as well as flexing your muscles for strength, power, and growth.
Nourish your wellbeing means taking care your body with nutrient-rich, health-supporting foods. This also means taking care of your body and mind with regular movement, exercise, adequate rest, play, mediation, and recovery. You want to fill your mind with healthy thoughts and positive, engaging human interactions.
What lead me into the world of fitness still holds true today, albeit much stronger and more refined. I’ve expanded my skills and knowledge over the years, which brings me to how I now define the work I do as, “Achievement Coaching for Deep Thinkers.”
Epiphanies Are the Result of Deep Inner Work
It’s taken a long time to get to this point of clarity about “what lights me up.” Over the last eight months I’ve experienced several epiphanies.
Epiphanies are the result of what you already know. They’re a collection of thoughts, ideas, and experiences that up until that moment didn’t have a unifying focus or clarity of meaning. When an epiphany hits it’s like a flash of light, of blinding self-awareness. It takes your breath away on the one hand and allows you to completely exhale with inner peace on the other. It’s as if you finally get it… you get what you’ve been seeking to understand.
Each of these epiphanies have led to increasing clarity about the kind of work I love do and my ideal client. The last epiphany in February brought me back to the idea of Flex Your Mind and helped me to see how everything I’d been learning and doing has led to this moment of insight.
How We Reach Our Goals Is Rarely How We Planned the Path
Steve Chandler writes in his book, The Story of You, that the “obstacles feed the mission”. The only way you can get around an obstacle is by tackling it head on. You need to use your energy, skills, and insights to work your way through the obstacle that is blocking the path to your goal.
To use a metaphor, when you’re climbing a mountain the goal is to reach the top. You might have a map and believe that the path you’re taking is how you’re going to get to the top. Perhaps there’s been a mudslide and the path is blocked. You now have to make a diversion, which could take a lot of extra time. You might get lost, or the way could be treacherous. If you persevere and are not dependent upon following the path exactly, you can still reach the summit by working your way through or around the obstacle.
Obstacles Are Often More Rewarding than the Goal
During this period of challenge you might re-assess the goal. Your understanding of what you want to achieve may change. Reaching the top is still the ultimate goal, but what will reaching the top make of you?
This was the epiphany I had a few weeks ago. You see, I thought I wanted to publish a new book, an expanded version of the 4 Pillars of Wellness. Something didn’t felt while I was working on the final edit, even though I’ve written 20,000 new words.
Are You Following the Right Map?
Both my coach and a colleague asked me the same key question, “Will this book help you to create your ideal client?” The answer was and still is, “no”. The book contains great material (heck, I wrote it!), but there are many other writers out there doing similar work. With this new awareness I realized the true goal had always been “to create more ideal clients”, not to publish a book!
This allowed me to walk through the emotional barrier of “wanting to be a published author on Amazon”. I was now free to chart a new path, one that would allow me to use my unpublished content in a new Facebook group and Facebook live broadcasts. This will be a more engaging format for connecting with new people and helping others.
What Do I Do and Who Do I Serve?
I coach deep thinkers in healthy achievement, while simultaneously supporting their wellbeing.
My clients are often women or gay men who are well-educated and well-read. They seek to improve themselves and make an impact in their world, through their work or a creative project. They take responsibility for their choices in life and know that change starts on the inside.
You might hold yourself back with self-criticism or over-thinking. This causes you to get stuck not knowing what ideas or projects to focus on. You might be a pleaser or someone who feels they are the only one who can fix things.
I help my clients flex their mental muscle to overcome these challenges (real or perceived). You will step into your power and succeed at whatever you decide to create.
How Do I Share this Work with Others?
My coaching work is specific and tailored to the person with whom I’m working. I don’t have a method, nor am I preaching a “Way” of being or doing.
This is why I’ve launched a new Facebook group, where we can engage in conversations that lead to insights and higher awareness for everyone involved. This allows me to be the change I want to see in the world.