Do you have a vision for your life? A dream? Most people probably have some idea of what their dream life might be, but they aren’t even close to acting on it. They are going to work day in and day out building someone else’s dream. Your boss is going on his Cancun vacation all built around your hard work, living the life he wants, based on your labor. How can anyone idly stand by while life passes them by like that? I can’t.
Just one year ago I was working at my hospital job thinking about the different paths my life could take. I was a pro bodybuilder, but still mindlessly working 40 hours a week at a job for which I had no passion. I imagined that I could work my way up the corporate ladder and be in management when my bodybuilding career eventually faded. The thought of this made me snap. I was going to own my reality; I was going to make my dream life, real life. In the next three months, I pushed my online coaching business as hard as I could. I wanted it to work so badly, it was like drowning and fighting for air to breathe. I wanted my life to be surrounded by bodybuilding. I wanted to maximize my competitive career and travel the world doing so. In three months I quit my job and now I am one year into owning my own business and working on my passion every day. It was not easy, but this was actually the job I wanted when I first started going to school. So, it took me about six years to finally make it happen. We can all apply the following changes in mindset to any aspect in life where we want to be champions, whether it be in our careers or hobbies.
1. Dream Big
I used to dream way too small. When I entered my first bodybuilding show, I was just hoping not to get last place. This was a terrible mindset. Champions dream big. Dream so big friends and family should say you are crazy. Don’t set your limits too low. If I want to be a bodybuilder, my ultimate goal should be the Olympia 212 Champion. I can’t set a higher goal than that. Limiting yourself is the worst thing you can do. It sets you up to underachieve. I know many people who have their goal maxed out at obtaining a bodybuilding pro card, but they have no plan for after that. Make ultimate goals for yourself. Visualize your dream life and make that your goal, then work backward from there.
2. Believe in Yourself
You must create positive and optimistic thoughts to continue to achieve progress toward your goal. You have to believe you can achieve your goal, as well as accomplish the objectives that bring you closer to it. When I am on prep, I don’t think about how hard my cardio is, how hungry I will be today, or how tired I am. I think about walking on stage and winning. I think about how the daily actions I take get me on stage to win. If you focus on how hard it is, trust me, it’s going to be very hard. Tell yourself you are a champion. You are different from everyone else. Make that your identity.
3. Grow from Failure
You must realize that you will fail along the way. It is what you do with that failure that determines your success. Champions take failure and let it motivate them; they learn from it. In 2015, I place 6th as a middle weight at the NPC USA Championship. To me this was a loss. I was after 1st place for a pro card and 6th place devastated me. Many might quit at this point and let that failure break them, but this failure for me was what I needed to light a fire inside myself. I was more driven than ever to come back the next year and show everyone that I was a champion. If you have a big dream, then it is not going to be an easy path. You must be mentally tough and stick out the course. Learn from failure and let it only make you better. I don’t think you can truly appreciate success unless you have been broken by failure at some point.
4. Do the Hard Stuff
Champions have an unrelenting work ethic. Every day you wake up, think about what you can do to become better. On prep, it is easy to lean on the Stairmaster to make cardio easy, or skip on posing practice, or choose a machine row instead of deadlifting. Keep putting in half-ass effort and you will be passed by the person that is doing everything right. Take the extra step to make it hard. Champions work harder than all their competition. You should not feel comfortable doing all the things you have to do. It is in a state of being uncomfortable that change is possible. So, if posing for 5 minutes is easy, then pose for 10 minutes after cardio. If lifting 200 lb for 10 reps on bench press is easy, add some weight to the bar. Doing the hard stuff is what champions do because most are not willing to do it.
5. Remove Distractions
If you have a big dream, many will try and take that from you. They will say you can’t do it or that it’s crazy to waste your time on that. Get these people out of your life. These are the people with no dream and they only want to pull you into their lack of vision. Champions have laser focus and don’t waste time on distractions. If you have other parts of your life taking away from your goal, see if you can remove it. Michael Jordan was not one of the greats because he watched television for 3 hours every day. He practiced during those hours and didn’t waste time. List out the objectives you need to do daily to make you dream come true and make them a priority.
Don’t end up in a life you don’t want to live. We only get one life and to spend it doing something you don’t love is a shame. Find your passion and chase it down with every last part of you. You won’t regret trying, but you will regret not trying.