If you’re one of my followers either on LinkedIn or Social Media, you’re probably aware of this year’s physical fit I’ve put myself through this year as a way to test my mental and physical capacity: stepping on stage and competing for the very first time in a natural bikini bodybuilding competition, at the prime age of 40.
Why would anyone in their right mind do it while building a business, running events during an incredibly busy season, traveling intensively for events in many hands-on technical roles, while also producing several podcast shows, not to mention raising small children and keeping a family together?
And there I was, showing up for myself, my family, and my clients, every single day with a lot of drive and determination to make it happen.
Whatever the outcome, I knew the journey was going to be worth every moment of suck.
Because here’s the deal.
No transformation happens without some pain and embracing the suck that comes with the process.
Two years today I was coming apart at the seams. Emotionally, mentally and personally.
I was doing great professionally because highly functioning people like myself can fool those around them with their overachieving tendencies and make everyone think they’re OK when they’re not.
The end of August 2020 brought on a monumental shift in my life, but again, by all external performance metrics, not only was I doing just fine, I was thriving in an environment everyone around me was struggling from a professional standpoint, and yet, I was a total mess emotionally and personally.
I was able to hide it well by accomplishing a lot.
By checking every to-do list and every box I would keep adding to my busy schedule at the time.
I was running away at the speed of light from myself and the need to deal with some deeply ingrained issues that were surfacing from the deepest part of me.
Internally I was struggling tremendously with self-worth, imposter syndrome, feelings of rejection, and feeling like not being good enough.
But then, I am a fixer by design, and so I went into “fixing” mode.
Eventually, the pain and trauma that caused my internal turmoil, turned into a catalyst for change.
And in the process, I’ve discovered a new version of myself I would have never known was there if it wasn’t for that season.
I’m still struggling with overdoing and overachieving, not allowing myself to rest and take a break.
I’m still running away from some of my internal demons that I don’t have the capacity to take head-on right now.
But I’m making strides towards a better version of me, a happier with-myself version, a version that is learning to pause even for just a moment, “smell the roses” if you may, and appreciate how far I’ve come.
I’m not yet even close to where I wanna be, l can take a minute to be grateful for the journey thus far.
And since the past couple of months have been INTENSE with back-to-back events, traveling from the west to the east coast and back several times, with no break in between, it made me wonder:
❓ How can #eventprofs make it through such a demanding work schedule?
❓ How can #meetingprofs find that work-life balance and keep healthy boundaries around their physical, mental and spiritual health?
I don’t hold all the answers, but I can share some of my own secret weapon tips for surviving an insane work schedule, finding the energy to keep on going, and a space to be myself and laugh out loud.
? Strategies that have helped me during this beyond-busy event season:
1. Planning for your own nutrition needs matters as much as planning for a successful event does.
I’ve spilled the beans about my own healthy strategies for staying fit and keeping within my macros in this Rant Podcast Episode. In a nutshell, my advice is to be intentional about packing healthy snacks for the times when you’re on an event site and can’t break away for lunch or dinner. Half of my bag is a protein powder, Fairlight protein shakes (to add to my coffee in place of creamer), protein bars, rice cakes, and peanut/almond butter. If I have these, water, and coffee, I can go for days.
2. Endorphins can be the gift that keeps on giving.
Even though the idea of adding a workout to an already long workday sounds painful at first, the endorphins gained by this small effort will be well worth the pain. During one of the recent events, when we had to be up at 3:30 am every day, and work super long hours (14 to 16ish), I still managed to get a 5K run in and bring one of my co-workers along for the ride, a crazy git that was gloriously followed by a jacuzzi soak. The energy gained back was totally worth the initial effort to get our running legs on.
3. Community and belonging take intentionality.
While I’m generally ok with hotel rooms when I travel, during a recent past event in Tampa, FL it was the first time I agreed to share an Airbnb with our production team, an idea my good friend James came up with – get to know him and how awesome he is from our podcast episode we recorded together back in June – and the little off-time we had was well spent in the backyard, soaking in the jacuzzi, laughing and talking about all the things the day has brought in, and that had allowed not just for a healthy outlet for otherwise a pretty stressful event, but also for a strong camaraderie to be formed between people that never worked together before. The point here is, finding and investing in a community is extremely important even at the expense of an extra hour of sleep.
To give you a picture of how intensely I pushed myself during that season, a week before my very first bodybuilding competition, in the middle of an incredibly busy event season, I had the pleasure of sitting down with Drasko Raicevic of UpLevel Mind Podcast, talking about all things overwork, overwhelm, self-sabotage and what self-care looks like for a high capacity person like myself that constantly takes herself outside of her comfort zone in order to challenge herself.
I just re-listened to this episode myself and my god,
I was so EXHAUSTED from all things that I was doing, and yet
I was pushing so HARD from all cylinders,
and with such INTENSITY.
And the outcome of that has been great,
I mean, I did bring home not one but
two first places in my very first natural bodybuilding competition,
and I did have my busiest and most successful event season to date.
But, one might beg the question: at what cost?
Anyone that knows me closely, knows for a fact that I am not one to shy away from admitting when I am wrong or when I know for a fact that I need to work on things.
And this episode reveals the things I was very much aware I needed to work on, and as a small business owner, I know many of you can identify with parts of the struggle that is so real during busy seasons.
Months later, I am still accomplishing some of the things discussed here, but I am at a MUCH BETTER place, emotionally and mentally.
And I am making strides toward learning how to rest well. Hope you find some nuggets of wisdom to take home from this.
And to end this blog on a helpful tactical high note, below are some important lessons learned during my fitness competition journey that can be applied to any business entrepreneurial journey:
? Five important lessons learned during my fitness journey:
1. Delaying immediate gratification is the biggest success hack. You are basically choosing what you want most over what you want now.
2. You won’t always be or feel motivated. Let self-discipline lead the way. Especially on the days you just don’t feel like it.
3. It’s going to take longer than you think, plan or want. Put your head down and get to work. Time will pass regardless.
4. It’s not too late and you’re not too old.
5. Stop looking for shortcuts. The longer way is actually the shorter way since you’re doing it the right way.
The problem we seem to have with following through with some of these tips, as the ones listed above is our ingrained habits, behaviors, and routines that would need to be addressed and changed first.
The Domino Effect states that when you make a change to one behavior it will activate a chain reaction and cause a shift in related behaviors as well.
Many of the habits and routines that make up our daily lives are related to one another.
And so, in life, fitness, or business…
Here are some tips for staying consistent:
1. Plan ahead.
2. Set realistic expectations.
3. Focus on your own goal and progress.
4. Do not compare yourself to others.
5. Be patient. Results take time.
In conclusion, the MAIN Takeaway is:
If you want to grow and excel in/at whatever craft/skill/project you’re proficient in or hoping to get more proficient at,
you must enlarge your capacity and constantly push outside of your comfort zone.
Ps: This push can be done in a controlled fashion if you’re someone that gets anxious or overwhelmed fast, the good news is, you can make your own rules.
Check out the latest episode of the Events: demystified Podcast tacking Mental and Physical Fitness head on this season.
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL FITNESS FOR BEHIND-THE-SCENES EVENT PROFESSIONALS (THE AV PEEPS)
MENTAL AND PHYSICAL FITNESS FOR FRONT OF SCENES EVENT PROFESSIONALS (#EVENTPROFS)
If you’re in need of an event producer/director that has worn all the hats in events and is in touch with each part of the production workflow, hit me up. Our team at Tree-Fan Events has grown this year, and so has our capacity to take on new clients and new projects in 2023. I might have different teams working on different events, but they all go first through my very particular intake process, making sure each client gets the most customized service possible.