This is the story of how my dad conquered his fear.
I am currently on holiday with my parents and my brother. Yes it might be a strange thing for a twenty-something to do, but it’s become a bit of a tradition. Every year, for the past seven years, we’ve come to the same hotel, had the same rooms, eaten at the same restaurants and enjoyed the same turbulent (and sometimes downright obnoxious) weather.
I love this holiday. My parents and I may argue, it may rain for half the time and the water may be cold, but its familiar and it’s my family and it’s comfortable.
Although you might think this story should be about me breaking out and going on some mad adventure holiday, it isn’t (I have done that though – it was amazing!). It actually is about my dad.
My dad is very set in his ways. He likes things the way he likes things and, being a successful man from humble beginnings, does like a bit of attention. He’s also got a bit of a battle with the bulge going on.
Now he will freely admit this, even make jokes of it at times, but he does have a serious problem with food and doesn’t quite know how to address it. I think, like most of us, he wishes he’d just wake up one morning and be slim again.
Now this holiday is not for those who don’t like food – you pretty much eat all the time; in fact, my partner came with us last year and put on a stone in weight in one week! So you can see, it’s not easy to lose weight on this holiday.
Despite this, every year, my dad has a crisis of confidence round about the time we go down to the pool and he has to take his shirt off. He starts asking us all if he’s as big as the next guy and gets irritable and annoyed.
This year however, things were different. Having been going through my training and working with him over a number of months, we were working on him taking responsibility for his life – his successes as well as the areas where he could see room for improvement. This was the year for change.
Dad and I had talked about a number of ways to help him this year and had decided on a couple of things. Number one was that we’re weren’t going to reduce his calorie intake – there was too much food and not enough will power and dad wanted to feel like he could enjoy himself.
That left the only other thing someone can do when they want to lose weight – MOVE MORE.
This is easier said than done when you’ve had two replaced knees and have bad arthritis, but, nonetheless, this is what we were left with.
Long story short, my dad took the plunge (excuse the pun) and started swimming. This was really tough for him as it obviously involved getting stripped off in front of a load of strangers, but we had made a deal; start small, aim big.
My dad did not like doing this at first. He actually really enjoys swimming but had been put off over the years because he became very self-conscious. It’s not an easy thing to do when you’re overweight, which is ironic given it’s one of the best forms of exercise overweight people can do, and I give my dad massive props for sticking to his commitment and doing it.
As I said in my article in Tiny Buddha, although you feel self-conscious, the chances other people are looking at you and judging you are slim – your perception of the world around you is your own worst enemy.
So what is your goal? What is the dream you have pinned up somewhere noticeable that you look at everyday as your affirmation? Mine is to grow my therapy business and keep helping people from all over the world so I can travel and see different countries. It’s on a virtual sticky note on the home screen of my computer.
Each day I look at that goal and I read it to myself. Then I think about what one thing I could do today to move closer towards that goal. Sometimes that’s writing for my blog, sometimes other peoples’ blogs and sometimes it’s seeing clients and developing products.
Regardless of what you do, if you have a goal you need to do something to work towards it. If your goal seems really far off, look closer to home. What skills does the you who achieves this dream need? What background do they have? From that you can find one small thing to do today.
If it’s scary, it’s probably all the more important to do it. Life is about taking risks and enjoying the journey. I’m not suggesting you give up your home to fund your hot air balloon project, but taking small risks that scare you push your boundaries and help you grow as a person.
Ask yourself, ‘Would I ever have done this if I never had that push from X?’. In other words, if you’ve got the good, would you ever really work towards getting the great? Give up the good, get the great (that’s from Screw Work, Let’s Play: How to Do What You Love and Get Paid for it by John Williams by the way – I had a great coaching session with him when I was just starting out).
So this is the moral of the story – if you know you would benefit from doing something – push yourself to do it.
It might take a while and you might have to work up to it by taking baby steps but once you get there the feeling is so great!
My dad will lose weight if he continues this way, just like my role helping others build confidence is growing because I took the plunge and left my family’s fruit importing business. Neither of these things were easy to start with, but they sure feel great now we’re doing them!
The best things in life often aren’t the easiest to get, so figure out what you want, then push yourself to get it!