I did it! Winning 1st Place in the Masters Men over 40 Lightweight Class and 2nd in the Open Middleweight Class at the OPA Ontario Naturals held in Hamilton on September 24th, 2011. This now qualifies me to compete at the Natural World Championships in April, 2012. But once again I have to reiterate, this was never about “winning” something I could hold in my hand or a title I could claim. It was about something so much greater. This is an ongoing spiritual and emotional journey of self-betterment (my body merely the vehicle) in honour of my brother (passed away January 28th, 2011) to become something more, when at any moment I can easily choose something less.
As if preparing for such a competition isn’t challenging and stressful enough on its own, we had sold our house and had to be moved out by Friday, September 23rd (the day before my competition!). This day also happened to fall on my brother’s birthday who passed away in January of this year. To further complicate things, the entire weekend before I was away in Toronto teaching a personal training certification prep course, and a leg injury was severely limiting my ability to perform cardio the entire week leading up to the competition! But it doesn’t stop here…after a hectic day of clearing last minute things out of our house we rushed to Hamilton for my weigh-in and registration. Afterwards, we arrived at our hotel around 10:00pm only to find out the reservation we made could not be found and NO rooms were available. Eventually we did manage to find a room at another hotel but by then it was quite late and the person who was supposed to apply my tan that night had already left meaning I would have to arrange to get it done in the morning just before the competition started. With the move and everything that was happening I had found my breaking point and began to question why everything seemed to be going against me. Had it not been for the support of Alissa and my parents I probably would have given up.
My competitors were challenging to beat. For example, one has made a “career” out of this participating in a record of 14 competitions this year while it was only my second competition ever! And another competitor was a veteran bodybuilder who was formerly ranked 5th in all of Canada. But I still found my toughest competitor was “Life”! Day in and day out “Life kept happening” with increasingly greater challenges. The morning of the competition as we drove from the hotel to the competition venue I received a clear “sign” as a reminder…on a large billboard it read “It’s All about the Journey!” How appropriate.
The morning of the competition Alissa said to me, “No matter what happens I know you will do well. I don’t know how you do it, but you always seem to come out on top. Things always work out for you.” If she could only live in my head for a day she would have a better idea of EVERYTHING that goes on “behind the scene” mentally and emotionally in order for “things to always work out”. One of my favourite quotes sums it up best:
Watch your thoughts, for they become words. Choose your words, for they become actions. Understand your actions, for they become habits. Study your habits, for they will become your character. Develop your character, for it becomes your destiny.
There is no secret to success in anything other than what you already know…Having a Meaningful Goal, Focusing on that Goal with Daily Actions, and Persistent Consistency. I know for myself, that I must cultivate daily habits that best support my mental and emotional state so that my thoughts (where it begins) keep me in alignment with the actions I need to take. Part of this “thought process” is also adopting a supportive life philosophy that helps get me through the tougher times. For example, I remind myself that “everything is as it should be” even though I may have NO idea why. Everything (events, people, experiences) in our life are timed with immaculate precision to serve our personal evolution in ways that we are not privy to knowing until after the fact. But we can choose to constantly question and stress over trying to understand what’s happening OR we can take the path of least resistance and GROW WITH IT!