Photo by Justin Veenema on Unsplash

When will you start?  

It doesn’t matter how long the lights have been off.  As soon as the switch is flipped, the room is illuminated.  And the heavy lifting can begin.

Just like that.  And the space could have been in the dark for years.  Yet, in an instant, the game has changed. The work can begin.

The first step is the hardest.  It’s a hackneyed phrase, but it’s true.  The road looks so damn long. We’d rather sit with the situation (no matter how bad) we know than take a leap into the unknown.

All that crap you’ve shoved in the deepest, darkest recesses of your mind.  And you’ve keep that mother fucker sealed tight as if it contained nuclear waste.

Which, as far as your mind is concerned, it does.  A toxic stew that cannot be released. You’d just as soon keep it hidden in the dark forever.  

Back when I was still training clients in a one-on-one setting I had a reputation for being a whisperer of sorts. Not that I knew the Xs and Os of smart S&C better than anyone else, but that I could actually get people to start and stick with “the program”.  

Quite simply, I got to the root of what made them tick a hell of a lot quicker than most.  

More importantly, I found what their pain points were.  What drove their fears and anxieties. And I had the knack for getting them to trust me enough to where, together, we could turn on the light and peer into that dusty, cobwebbed room full of toxic waste.  

And that’s a mighty first step.  Because in that room too is where our “shitty roommate” resides.  You know the shitty roommate: he’s the one who generates that continuous stream of negative self-talk in your head.

Story after story.  Lie after lie. A genius of propaganda if there ever was one.

For my clients, this negative self-talk generally revolved around body image.  And the talk is pretty damn harsh:

You’re too fat.

Too weak.

Too ugly.

Who are YOU to be in a gym?

Who are you to better yourself?

You deserve the shit-stew of a life you have.

And the list goes on.  But now we have to get to why those stories are there in the first place.

To get to the root of that negativity necessitated them building a trust in me before rolling up their sleeves to do the required excavation and cleanout. The first step of that work being to illuminate that room. Drag it all out into the light.

It’s a scary first step, because here is where the memory of every traumatic event is stored.  The sexual and physical abuse. The addictions. The verbal beat downs and the hate and the shame and the betrayal.  All of it.

It takes courage to flip the switch, to turn on the light.  To illuminate the past; stare it in the face, dissect and dismantle it.  But nothing will change until you do.

But once you do turn on the light, this is what you find: that shit just doesn’t hold the same sway over you.  The vampire analogy is true. Hit with the light of day, the vampire crumbles. Same with the shit-show in your mind.

I mean, you’re here, now; we’re discussing it.  You survived whatever it was, the memory of which you’ve shoved in that dark room.

Now the trick is to survive the stories you’re telling yourself about it.

Take the first step.  Flip the switch. It’s never too late to start.

No matter what the shitty roommate in your head might say.

Heal thyself, hone thyself, change the world –

If this resonates with you, you might also like Inviting Your Worst Fears to Meet You for a Cup of Coffee

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Keith Norris is a former standout athlete, a military vet, and an elite strength and conditioning expert with over 35 years of in-the-trenches experience. As a serial entrepreneur in the health and wellness space, he is an owner, co-founder and Chief Development Officer of the largest Paleo conference in the world, Paleo f(x) . As well, Keith is a partner in one of the most innovative lines of boutique training studios in the nation, Efficient Exercise. He’s also a partner in ARXFit training equipment, and a founding member of ID Life. In his spare time, he authors one of the top fitness blogs in the health and wellness sphere, Theory To Practice.


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