January 4, 2019

Embrace The Suck!

By Kelly Anderson

Kelly Anderson

Employee Benefits Service Manager - Standard Insurance Company

Kelly lives in Minnesota and is married to a firefighter; together they have two sons. An avid sports fan, she loves watching her boys play sports. Having gone to the University of Kansas, March is one of her favorite months of the year, and she is a die-hard Jayhawk (RCJH). In her spare time, you will find her in the gym, on a trail, or reading a book. Kelly firmly believes the only person holding you back from greatness is yourself. All you have to do is believe.

It was around 4 AM on a Sunday morning in February of 2015.  I woke up having problems breathing, and pain in my chest. Any normal person would have immediately sought medical attention.  I remember thinking….I’ll just wait it out. I’m sure it’s heartburn. Perhaps I pulled something. Maybe I need water. All these thoughts, as I had to sit up in bed to sleep.  I also remember thinking, if it’s still bad in a few hours, I’ll hit up an Urgent Care. I didn’t have time for an ER visit, after all, I had a plane to catch the next day for work.  I needed to pack for the trip and *this*, whatever was happening, was not in the plan.  

*This* turned out to be a pulmonary embolism.  *This* was kind of a big deal. *This* was blood clots (plural) in both my lungs. Have you ever googled that?  Not. Good. So, I was admitted to the hospital, put on a blood thinner and then sent on my way with only “partial lung death.”  I was back to flying; living off stress, and bad food, and declining health.

One would think that would be a serious wake-up call to look in the mirror to determine a different path of life.  After all, having a husband and a 14-year-old and a 10-year-old should’ve had some impact on that decision-making process.  Right? Sadly, nope. Instead, I kept going.

It was September of 2016.  I was approaching digits on the scale that were mind-blowing.  My clothes were tight, my self-worth was reflected in the opinions of others and my mind was….tired.   I took an inventory of my life and decided I needed to make a change. Mind you, I believe in “signs.” You know, where you think of someone and then they call you….that kind of sign.  I couldn’t figure this out until later, but THAT, my friends is the law of attraction. And it is legit. And it was going down.

I was thinking about rejoining a gym near my house.  I received a call on the random from David at Snap Fitness – my former gym.  They were calling former members to come back. Hmmm. Since it so happened I was thinking of rejoining; I agreed to meet David.  As I was walking into the gym, I had already assumed David would try to sell me additional “stuff.” In my mind, I knew I’d say no.  I know how this works….I work in Sales. I just needed the membership to get myself back to the gym.  I knew how to turn on a treadmill. I knew some basics of weight training.  I knew I’d give David the Heisman on the extras, get my new membership card and step onto my new path of fitness.  Bada Bing. An hour later, I bought an upgrade to the offer David talked to me about on the phone and set up a meeting with a trainer.

I’m stillnot 100% sure how or why I agreed to meet a trainer. That’s WAY outside of my comfort zone. My biggest fear was failing and looking stupid. I’m a perfectionist at heart. If you know a perfectionist, they are extremely hard on themselves for the SMALLEST missteps. In my head it was easier to just not try, then to try and fail. Letting go of perfection…being ok with trying and failing. To be so out of shape in front of a complete stranger?  A super fit one nonetheless? Besides, what do trainers really know?  (A lot). But I did it, and it was hands down the most pivotal decision I’ve made that has fundamentally transformed my life.    

Josh Raze:  police officer, business owner, personal trainer and the transformer of my life.  I went into meeting Josh with the idea that I wanted to “get healthy” and “lose some weight” – whatever that meant.  Perhaps, I thought, I’d have Josh set me up on a plan and then I’d go off on my own. Really, that’s all I needed. I mean, I’m a smart and capable woman.  I have a library of videos and articles and podcasts just a touchscreen away. Although I never used them, they were there. I just needed a short-term plan and I’d figure out the rest. Bada Boom.  

Two plus years later, I’m still training with Josh.  So much for my short-term plan with him. Along the way, I have learned that fitness is about more than appearance and the food you put in your body.  At its core, it’s about the thoughts, words, ideas…and self-talk that you feed your mind. It’s about building up that positive inner David to take down the negative inner Goliath who continually tells you all the things you’re not in your mind.   

Do you want to know where the secret sauce was to changing my LIFE? It lived between my ears. Just like it lives between your ears.  Anyone who has gone through a massive transformation knows this……it all started in my head. My outward appearance is actually the by-product of the work I’ve done in my mind.  Because it truly is a process of changing the mind, I fell down over and over again as I worked on attaining the best version of myself. Just like you will fall down over and over again.  As the saying goes, fall down 7 times, stand up 8. The standing up part helps when you have someone there who believes in you, even when you don’t….until you do.  For me, fundamentally, that has been my trainer.

A couple of things I have learned that I think you should know:

  1. You will not always be motivated.  Discipline is your key to freedom.  I had to cultivate discipline to get to my goals.  I call it “embracing the suck”. Mind you, I LOVE to sleep like nobody else.  I was the person who would say “I’ll work out tomorrow”….and tomorrow would come and go.  It was the discipline that got me out of bed at 4 or 5 in the morning to work out, while motivation was still hitting the snooze button.   It is the discipline that gets me to the gym at night to lift weights. It is the discipline that has me bringing my food scale and measuring cups with me when I travel for work.  Discipline gets it done. Period. Listen if I can do it YOU CAN DO IT!
  2. No excuses.  Once you allow yourself to start giving in to your excuses, the easier it becomes to believe them.  Don’t do it.
  3. Mindset is everything.  Every.  Thing. I could not change by staying the same.  In order to be the most elite version of myself, I had to change my mindset.  Which means: you have to really dissect the things that got you to the place of emptiness.  One of my “things” was validation. For me, I was SO validated by my job. I’m driven and I’m competitive and I like to win.  At the weight I was at, I was not winning. Furthermore, my identity was tied closely to the validation I got from my job. A job that, at the time, was basically killing me.  I know I was/am a wife and a mom, which are amazing things, but my job was my IDENTITY.  I can say with 100% honesty, that now my job is no longer who I am, it’s just what I do.  #progress.
  4. Your mind consumes what you feed it.  If you were to look at my Instagram, you’ll see that I follow people who have a ‘zero excuses’ mentality.  We all have the same 24 hours in a day. There are DAYS where the last place I want to be in is the gym, but I go.  Or, nights when we are out and I really want to have the burger and the brat and the brownie and the beer. All of it.  But I can’t, and I won’t. Your mind soaks up the images and words and books and podcasts that you feed it. Choose them all wisely, for they are your secret weapons to winning.  They help you level up.
  5. Lastly, the most important one:  FIND YOUR TRIBE.  I have a tribe of people who I draw on DAILY to keep me in check.  Their presence in my life keeps me accountable to myself. I do not want to let them down.  As a result of my journey, I started a group on Facebook and every single member in it is amazing.  Some of them have physical limitations that prevent them from strenuous activity. Some of them are dealing with young kids and aging parents.  Some of them have always had a weight issue. Some of them had really bad stuff happen to them in their past. But ALL OF THEM are pursuing the best version of themselves.  In this tribe. My tribe. We are all stronger together.  Once you understand that, YOU are one step closer to closing that gap between your new mindset and your new life.  If you need a tribe, come find me. I will 1000% be your tribe. There is always room in The Inn.

Oh.  And my results from all this work?  90 pounds lost. 30 inches lost. Mental clarity earned.  Discipline gained. Gratitude is given daily. The keys to my happiness in my OWN pocket and an amazing life lived.  

In my youth, basketball and volleyball were my sports.  Tennis was my side hustle (read:  just for fun).  I loved playing as part of a team.  I loved the competition that playing a sport brings.  I certainly loved the thrill of victory and hated the agony of defeat.  I walked away from sports to work on school and to get a job to create independence.

What happens as we age, we often reflect.  As I look back on playing sports, I think about the lessons it gave me.  I love competition.  It serves me well working in a sales organization.  I love it when we can onboard new customers and that ‘agony of defeat’?  That kicks in if we lose a customer.  Sports also taught me leadership.  While not everyone can be the ‘team captain’ everyone can be a leader.  I love leading my team and seeing the individual leaders develop.  I also value work ethic.

In hindsight, I wish I would’ve focused on putting in more work to elevate the performance of my natural abilities.  I had coaches later tell me “you should’ve stayed playing” because they saw the potential in me that I honestly didn’t see in myself at the time.   Looking back, I see it now.  However, in my adult life, I can’t look back –  because I’m not going that way.  I can only look forward.  With that forward-looking view, I can continue to carry the fundamentals of what sports brought me (competition, leadership and work ethic) and apply it to all areas of my life for the rest of my days.  Time to get to work!

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