How many times have you hoped for a perfect version of yourself, only to be disappointed by the reality?
You ate off plan and then your perfect self reminded you, over and over again of your failure. Told you how shit you were and drove you even further off course?
Say goodbye to your perfect self.
I did, and it finally allowed my real self to grow.
Perfect Jordan. He was flawless. He never made mistakes. To describe perfect as a verb you would say: “make (something) completely free from faults or defects; make as good as possible”.
Why would I want to say goodbye to my vision of a perfect self? My defect-less self? My faultless self?
Because he only ever lived between my two ears. Maybe that’s why his voice seemed so loud; even if he whispered, he could be heard loud and clear.
Perfect Jordan won’t be missed. He was my archrival. He told me how I failed. How I said the wrong thing. He would often replay events over and over again, pointing out all the things that went wrong.
We’re often told that we shouldn’t try and compete with others; that we’re all different, unique and special for that. Don’t try and keep up with the Joneses.
That all seems reasonable.
But what happens when the Joneses live in our head?
What happens if we’re constantly comparing ourselves to the idea of our perfect self? Who we think we should be?
You fail time and time again.
Say goodbye to this idea of your perfect self.
The idea of perfection isn’t real.
You’re not perfect. Neither am I. And that’s ok. I don’t want to be.
How could I be this person that I am now if I lived so ‘perfectly’?
My cracks, my scars, my faults, my stuff ups, my errors, my mistakes; they carved out who I am.
Why should I long for a perfect version of Jordan and miss the opportunity to appreciate the person that I am? Imperfections and all.
Be ok with your imperfection, because it allows you to assess yourself in reality.
To compare yourself to perfection doesn’t improve you. It just holds you to a standard. It doesn’t teach you anything.
< Part One >
I’ve been mourning you from the moment that I found your imperfection.
It’s hard to outwardly say that. What will others think? Will I be judged?
My vision of a perfect child was born, in my mind’s eye. He was born before he was even conceived.
My wife and I would talk about all of the things he/she would be, we’d picture what he/she would look like, and we had even mapped out the path we thought he/she would take.
But my perfect child never arrived.
My son was born with a condition called Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome (BWS). There are many realities that make up BWS, increased cancer risk, macroglosia (large tongue), abdominal wall defects and so on.
For anyone that has ever had a child diagnosed with anything, you’ll probably understand, my perfect son didn’t exist. We, my wife and I, cried; we mourned.
Our son was born imperfect. His imperfections were here to stay.
Life would never be the same again; we became very familiar with the children's hospital. Weekly visits became our norm, and our medical knowledge grew.
I felt robbed.
Even now, when I think back to that image I had of what parenthood would be like, I grow angry, sad.
I talk to my wife about being robbed of my perfect imagery.
We talked about more children; we talked about how we wanted to know what it was like to have what others seemed to have.
Please don’t misunderstand, I love my son; I adore him. He’s one third of my entire universe.
So it was about six weeks ago, that I finally laid the idea of my ‘perfect’ son to rest.
He robbed me.
He stole my moments by constantly reminding me of what could have been.
He kept me away, locked me up, and trapped me.
My ideology, my perception, my hope, my dreams, robbed me from my moments with my imperfect son.
I fathered like any father would: my son got the best care, my attention and my love, but he was imperfect because my perfect son remained in my head.
That perception needed to change.
For me, my imperfect son WAS AND IS PERFECT.
He taught me that we need to be grateful for our imperfections. It’s our imperfections that craft our lessons. They develop our strengths. They mold our courage.
If the ‘perfect’ child that I had dreamt up all those years ago had actually been born, what would I have lost? Who would I be?
Would I be as compassionate to my clients as I am now? Could I have understood their challenges? Would I be that #FitDad posting videos exclaiming to the world how easy it is and how we can all continue life obnoxiously healthy and carefree?
If I could, I would change my son’s challenges in a heartbeat. But that’s not the reality. So I accept OUR imperfections. I will wear them with pride.
Be careful of your desires of utopian imagery, for they restrict your vision, they stop you seeing the perfect reality. They haunt you. They hurt you. They make you think and act imperfectly.
Whilst they live in your mind’s eye, they have the potential to hurt others, as that’s what happened to me.
Mourn your utopian imagery if you need to. But lay it to rest.
Let it go.
Jordan, father to two perfect boys, husband to one perfect wife.
Jordan, perfectly imperfect.
When a client signs up with me, I send them a bit of prep work. One thing I ask for are ‘before' photos. ‘Before' photos are helpful when you run an online program, because to put it simply 80 kgs for one person, can be a totally different 80 kgs for someone else.
Clients vary in height, muscle mass, bone mass and so on. It is quite common, no lets say it’s too common, that when clients send me their ‘before’ pictures, it’s often coupled with a rather degrading judgement about themselves. Clients label themselves as ‘disgusting’ or ‘yuck’ etc and I think It’s a sad state of affairs when we judge ourselves so harshly. Would you use those labels to describe a friend? A family member? Even a complete stranger?
What I try to reiterate to all my clients is ‘you’ve got to be worth it’.
You’re about to embark on a lifestyle transformation.You’re going to try and rid yourself of bad habits and you’re going to try to build new ones.
You’re going to find yourself feeling moments of hunger and you’re going to push yourself to exercise when you don’t really feel like it.
So ask yourself this, how much effort will you put in if you don’t really like yourself?When the going gets tough, will you be worth it?
We need to give ourselves more credit. We need to acknowledge the vessel: our body. Your body has carried you everywhere you’ve needed to be. Your body may have carried a tiny human; it may have taken you to and from work each day. Climbed mountains, swum in streams, jumped from airplanes, gifted you with so much.
Recognise that your body deserves nourishment with good food. Your body deserves to be moved in a way that improves health and longevity. Your body deserves to be rested appropriately.
Don’t exercise to punish your body for carrying a few extra kilos. Reward it with moving in a way it was truly designed for.
Don’t diet as a form of punishment. Reward it with wholesome quality fuel.
The actionable steps you take will often be the same ones. But the reasons as to why you take them will be longer lasting, more fulfilling, if you do them for all the right reasons.
What’s your excuse?!
I work in the health and fitness arena, I have for a few years now. I’m the one who inspires my clients, the one who keeps them grinding away, keeps them motivated. But it’s been a few weeks since I have even stepped foot in a gym. I think I have lost my mojo. No, I most definitely have lost my mojo.
About three weeks ago, we found out that in less than a week, my eldest son who has not long gone three-years-old, will head back into the Royal Children’s Hospital for his fourth surgery. This one will hopefully be the last. But it is also definitely the biggest. I knew that it was coming, but when we finally found out, it was like a kick in the guts. I just wish I could go through these hard times for him, not with him.
I don’t tell many people, but my son was born with a rare genetic abnormality that has left his perfect little body with a couple of things that require a little modification. He also requires a blood test every six weeks and ultrasounds every 12 weeks to ensure he hasn’t got anything nasty growing (cancerous tumours).
It’s been a tough 3 years to be honest, but after a while you sort of just get used to your reality. In the beginning, it was like being thrown to the wolves. I wasn’t even sure how to be a parent, truth is, I still have no idea, but to be thrown a curve ball like we did, was definitely some initiation to parenthood. My son for the most part is healthy, very healthy, but we need to make sure it stays that way, I guess I’m reminded every day, with a tiny human, that you just shouldn’t take your health for granted, that it’s precious and for some people, they get dealt their hand in a little worse off position than others, so if you’re playing with a strong hand, stop taking it for granted!
Most people I know have no idea. Who needs to know my problems? People are paying me to help them with theirs. So that’s what I do. I’ve been wanting to do some kind of story about my son for sometime and maybe sometime in the future I’ll delve a little deeper into it, but for now, I just don’t like discussing it. He’s perfect. He’s my perfect and that’s all the world needs to know.
So anyway, tomorrow, I’ll set my alarm and try and find my mojo, walk into the gym and do what I love to do; put two ear buds in my ears and lift something heavy. I will once again, lead by example.
I’m not perfect, I’ve got an excuse, I’m human after all. If you expected more, you should spend more time looking within yourself to be inspired.
I guess the point of this is that it’s ok to be derailed from your routine, it’s ok to be slowed down, it’s ok to stop and take a breath. Once I’ve had my moment to feel sorry for my boy, to feel sorry for myself, I’ll be back on my way. I’ll be that guy again, because it’s who I am. It’s who people need me to be. Including my boy.
Years of watching the news each night, to listening to the radio or listening to friends discussing their daily problems, has trained us to see only the bad and not so much of the good.
Good ‘news’ doesn’t sell; we’re addicted to negativity and it’s time to train ourselves to start seeing all the good around us.
I was speaking to a friend the other day who was struggling to find things in his life to be thankful for. I used the following analogy: if a homeless boy in the slums of India can find something to smile about, then surely the rest of us in the first world have got something to be thankful for too.
It’s all about perception. We create it. We can choose to see the world or our life as difficult or problematic. Or we can choose to see it differently. I choose to see the world as a place of endless opportunity; a place filled with laughter and warm feelings towards the people that matter most. This is the world I want to introduce to my son.
On the weekend, I created a Facebook group for 15 or so participants that required each member to post a daily gratitude post. The objective was to train the participants to see just how much they have to be thankful for and in turn create a positive outlook.
Now, gratitude posts have some science behind it; gratitude comes from the same frontal regions of the brain that are activated by awe and wander. From these cortical and limbic structures come dopamine and serotonin, the chemicals for feeling good inside.
In one comparative experiment, folks that kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole, and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared to those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.
It’s a simple practice, why not give it a go, you’ll thank me for it.