The world is extreme.
One minute we’re told to dream big and reach for the stars.
Then we reach 16 and we start getting funnelled into being ‘something’, being realistic, settling down and not being a dreamer.
“The chances are you won’t make it as a footballer and you can forget being an astronaut. I can recommend accountancy as a safe bet”
(Mainly because everyone around you is going to become seriously fucking paranoid about their money, security and false belief that it means they’ll be ‘safe’ from the big bad world)
There’s a better place to be which I call ‘The Shadow Level’.
It’s a bit like Platform 9 3/4 on Harry Potter.
It’s part of the real world, it has to be because you’re in it. But where it takes you is somewhere very different – like a parallel universe.
I’ve been fortunate enough in my career to date to work with a variety of people from complete beginners who (on the surface) fit into the Joe Average category, up to professional athlete status and those on the verge of it.
Athletes are EASY to train when they listen to you about the steps.
Goal setting’s about A to B right? In some shape or form it’s about getting from here to there.
The problem with many athletes is that whilst they are totally aware of the ‘B’ they want to get to, they’re in such a hurry they don’t take time to understand where they’re currently at and figure out what gaps need plugging. This can lead to a lot of circles.
Athletes need to just keep assessing A.
You don’t have to talk goal setting much. You DO have to help them see which variables of their ‘A’ are most important and need most attention.
Most often these are not the ones they want to work on.
The problem with Joe Average is that they are VERY aware of ‘A’ because they feel shit and are in no doubt that there is a problem because they can no longer see their dick.
They DON’T need reminding of what a shit state they’re in.
What then happens, is that they go on YouTube and get inspired by some superhuman who has taken 20 years to become an amazing specimen of physical capability.
Or they see models so Photoshopped that they’re presented in a way that is unattainable even by the model themself!
So now Joe Average has an A to Z they want to achieve in 3.2 weeks.
And this brings us to The Shadow Level.
Success comes not from just watching superstars on YouTube and running to the gym with a giant pot of motivation and some hard core tunes but from understanding how you can only be what you want to be on the level you’re at right now.
It comes from having LEGITIMATE short, medium and long term goals.
It comes from holding a vision but detaching from the outcome occurring at a specific time.
Create some B’s, C’s and D’s first.
Hold the Z up there in front of the sun where you can’t forget it.
Let it cast an influential shadow on your life so the reminder is always there.
But don’t try to fly at the same level just yet.
The Shadow Level at first is about showing up and being the version of you Z at the level of your current capabilities.
You want to run a marathon runner?
Watching inspirational videos and reading magazines until you have the perfect training program won’t help.
Showing up at the corner of your driveway with a pair of trainers and a bottle of water will.
Getting three runs done this week will.
Doing that consistently for 4 weeks completes A to B.
B to C will be upping your distances.
C to D will be structuring those runs with pacings, heart rate, varying inclines, fartleks etc.
And so on.
You want to look like a fitness model?
Start showing up at the gym 4-5 times a week.
Start showing up for morning cardio.
STOP showing up at the baguette shop.
A to B is REALLY easy.
Most people struggle because they think that because there is a Z and they’re not there yet, they have failed, they’re not going in the right direction and they should give up and try something else.
The problem is that because of the internet we only ever see A to Z.
In the past we used to read a book or watch a program that detailed the journey of a successful person.
Now we see the Z and we think we can do it in days and we struggle and strive and try to force it.
We fall short and it hurts.
When it doesn’t happen, we figure it’s ‘not for us’ or that we’re doing something wrong.
We can’t handle not being at Z because we’ve seen others there.
It just takes time.
Be okay with that.
Yes, some people will do it faster and you won’t know why.
One day it will make sense and you’ll realise that actually they reached their B, thought it was Z, and got comfortable and you’re now miles in front.
Bigger things were meant for you if you just had the balls to stay with what felt right.
The problem is when you’re no longer prepared to keep moving forward – that’s when you ‘fail’.
The problem is when you get the chance to be with the best and learn from them and they tell you to do something but you think that won’t get you to Z fast enough.
So you look for something else – the magic A to Z transporter pill.
Stage 1 – Decide what Z is.
Stage 2 – Steal the path from someone who has done it.
Stage 3 – Assess your A.
Stage 4 – Make some reasonable B’s.
Stage 5 – Start moving.
Stage 6 – Stay on the path long enough re-assessing A regularly.
That’s really all there is to it.
You may feel small, weak, scared, frightened and not good enough.
But if you ‘act as if’ for long enough and with enough belief, the shadow YOU cast on the world can be very,very different!
And you realised you’ve reached Z…and now you’re back at A.