Thursday, August 11, 2011
Diane's Diary by Diane Mueller
Life is a wonderful place filled with unlimited opportunities. More opportunities than the average person could ever imagine or dream of. And to realize these possibilities, all you have to do is be willing to take a few chances; walk the path that isn’t well traveled, have a great deal of faith, and simply believe that you are destined for greater things than you currently possess. Sometimes this is as simple as running a mental check of your current priorities in life. In which order do you rank all the things that you are involved with in your day-to-day life? Think about that for a minute. Do you have some trivial things, or hobbies, getting in the way of the truly important things in life? It’s very easy to allow this to happen, especially when you are very passionate about something. When a passion drives you, it has a way of taking control over your entire life. That’s when it’s very important to take a step back to regain a fresh perspective.
Learning to regain perspective is a lesson I learned from a friend of mine, who is near and dear to my heart. Among many other things, we share a passion for competing. I compete in bodybuilding and she competes in figure. Although our competition style is different, we are still alike in almost every other aspect. Our respective sports require us to spend countless hours in the gym lifting weights trying to add quality muscle and improve lagging body parts. This is a labor of love, but it’s a passion that consumes a great deal of time and energy. And that’s just during the off-season. Then there’s the actual competition prep season, which is where your spouse, or significant other, practically becomes a widower. Competition prep season includes: meticulously following a crazy diet that nobody else would ever dream of following, turning down numerous social engagements because you’re on a diet and attending this event would be counterproductive to your goals, you still have your regularly scheduled lifting sessions at the gym, but now you have additional cardio sessions and posing practice, all the while, still having to work and find time to spend with your family. Whew! That’s a lot to accomplish in one 24 hour day. Sometimes competition prep can suck the life right out of you, making you feel like walking death. Literally, like death. This is exactly what my friend was going through this year during her prep season. Her legs felt like they weighed a ton, her body and joints ached, she was hungry and completely worn out. It was a battle just to get out of bed every morning, let alone accomplish any of the aforementioned tasks. Not only was she suffering, but her family was suffering right along with her. She had no energy for herself, let alone her husband and daughter.
Finally she did some deep soul searching and came to the realization that she could no longer put her health in danger. She needed to put an end to this incredible stress on her mental and physical wellbeing. This was no easy decision for her to make, mind you. In fact, it broke her heart and tore her in soul into pieces. It’s never easy to give up on a goal you had been working so diligently towards. As with my friend, she’s enjoyed success in the past and has made significant muscular gains in her off season. It goes without saying that I believe she was going to do extremely well at her show. But as my friend said, “No trophy is worth risking permanent damage to her health, or losing time and precious moments with her family over.” My friend sought medical advice and has since made a full recovery. She’s back to feeling healthy and active again. My friend learned that it’s okay to discontinue striving for a goal that wasn’t right for her, and a goal that was causing her physical and mental damage. So if you happen to know my friend, Tiffany Hunt, may I suggest you tell her that you support her in her decision to reprioritize her life and reach for goals that are truly worth obtaining; a healthy balance between family, fitness, and mental health and wellbeing.
There’s an old adage that says, “A winner never quits and a quitter never wins.” I think we’ve discovered that this generalized rule isn’t correct in every situation. Everyone has a dream in their heart and everyone is meant to accomplish certain goals within their lives, the difficulty is determining which dreams you have been predestined to follow, and which dreams you created of your own will. Sometimes a person shows greater inner strength by quitting than they do by mindlessly completing a goal that, that for all intents and purposes, is the wrong dream for them to chase. It can be quite complicated and discouraging at times trying to determine which path is right for you, but after an in depth inventory of your priorities and search of your soul, generally you will find that the answer was in right front of you all along. Never give up on your dreams without a fight, but also be conscious of all the indicators along the way that may be trying to warn you of the dangers that lie ahead if you continue to head down the wrong path. Admitting you were following the wrong dream isn’t a sign of weakness, in fact, it shows a great deal of inner strength and self-confidence to risk being ridiculed and called a quitter by your peers. Never mind what small-minded doubters may say, if you know in your heart that you made the best decision for your own health and wellbeing. That kind of confidence is something that nobody can take away from you. Listen to your heart and follow your soul, and you’ll never go wrong my friends. Live and let live. Let’s save the judgments for a higher power. And Tiffany, thank you for your strength and leadership. Thank you for teaching us that following your heart and listening to your soul leads to the fulfillment of the dreams that you were created to achieve. “And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?” Matthew 16:26.
Until next time, follow the dreams in your heart, live the life you are meant to live, and take care to support and encourage those around you. Rather than criticize what you don’t understand, take the time to learn and appreciate the thoughts and emotion behind the decision that has been made.
As always, thank you to my sponsors: 911Strong.com and Big Rig Supplements for you continued support in my life and of my bodybuilding goals. You have opened doors for me that I never dreamed possible. And thank you to my mentor and coach, Jennifer Abrams (www.jenniferabrams.net) for your guidance and support, and for making me believe that even the sky is not the limit.