You Never Know How Far a Change Will Go

Yesterday I ran the Portland Marathon. Not only did I meet my goal of finishing in under four hours, but I actually managed to squeak in just under the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon (for my gender/age group).

I’m still kind of stunned.

One of the top responses I get when I tell people I ran the marathon (or climbed a mountain, or went on a 50 mile bike ride) is, “oh, I could never do that.”

That’s what I used to think.

I wasn’t always so active.

In remembering that, I was reminded of a newsletter I wrote a few years ago. In it I share what shifted for me and the simple phrase that changed everything.

I want to share it again, just in case there’s some tiny nugget of, I wish I could do that or, I don’t know if I could do that, but this seems kind of interesting floating around in you.


You Never Know How Far a Change Will Go…

…sometimes even to the top of a mountain.

Here’s what I mean.  A couple of weeks ago I had a friend over for dinner.  When I was telling her my plans to climb Mt. Hood the following day, she started laughing.

“Remember when we rented a cabin on the mountain and a couple of us wanted to go snowshoeing?  Do you remember what you said?”

“Probably something like, ‘You guys have fun, I’ll be reading by the fire.'”

“Yep, plus a rant about why would anyone want to go out in the snow and sweat.  Capped off with, and I quote, ‘I’m allergic to exercise.'”

So what changed me so completely?

It started in a director’s chair in a Ramada Inn Conference Room in Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  I was taking a ten day training with John Overdurf and Julie Silverthorn to become certified as a Master Practitioner in NLP.  I volunteered to be the demo subject for a Breakthrough Session.

With breakthrough sessions, you typically work with a client on a major aspect of their life, such as career, relationships or health.  I volunteered to do it on health, almost as an afterthought.  I’d never really given my health much thought before, until I had a scary diagnosis, which was just after my cousin’s diagnosis with thyroid cancer, and followed by my Mom’s cancer diagnosis, and my aunt dying from colon cancer.

I was scared and didn’t know what to do.

Values are a road map.

The cool thing about breakthrough sessions is that you uncover your values, your unconscious motivations, in a really conscious way. 

When things are troublesome or you’re feeling pulled in different directions, there are often conflicting values mucking things up. When you clear up those issues, the unconscious map provided by your values is much easier to follow.  Decisions and choices are infinitely easier.

So, we delved into my unconscious values around health.

I want to point out that these are generally pretty unconscious.  If you asked someone what their “health values” were, they probably wouldn’t say what’s really driving them, but something close to what they think they should value about health. Definitely not the crazy stuff that came up for me through this process.  I can’t remember them exactly, but my top value was something like:

  • Don’t fall into old patterns

And there wasn’t a single mention of health or wellness in the eight or ten other values I came up with.

When you think about values as a map to guide you, these kind of values don’t help!  You end up thinking about what you don’t want, where you don’t want to go, and not really knowing where it is you really want to go.

As a map, it’s complete crap.

Through the Breakthrough process, John and Julie cleaned that stuff up, and I was able to come up with values that would really guide me to being healthy.  Again, I can’t quite remember what they were, except for the first one.

  • Do something about it.

A bit of a strange value, unless you take into account it’s from someone who claimed to be allergic to exercise.

When I got home, I had this urge to try different things.  I took a belly dancing class.  I got back on a literal horse and took riding lessons.  I joined a gym.  Went to yoga.

Started hiking, cycling, and now, I climb mountains.  Literally. Mt. Hood and Mt. Saint Helens in the last few weeks.  Mt. Shasta and Mt. Baker are coming up.

It was nice to be reminded by my friend where I had been just a few years ago.

It gives me the opportunity to revel in my successes, and realize just how far I’ve come.  And I did it without getting hard nosed, setting goals, meeting timeframes, pushing.  But rather, simply doing something about it in a way that was just right for me.

*  *  *

Want to get moving yourself? Join me for Change Artistry: Get Active, a four week long, group coaching program for people who want to get more active, and have fun while doing it. Yep, it’s different. No force. No guilt. No shame. Read more.

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