5 Crucial Life Lessons I Learned From Tough Transitions

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Guest Post By George Kalantzis

For most of us, the hardest life lesson of all is that the unknown is terrifying. 

Right now, everything in life has been shaken up. What we thought was true yesterday is no longer true today, mostly because we have no idea where life will take us.

It wasn’t that long ago, after checking off all the proverbial boxes of life, that I lost everything. 

In that space, I created a set of rules that gave me tremendous insight and power over my life.

This set of rules will help you keep grounded and give you the strength to build a sharper mind and a healthier body. You will stay connected to yourself. 

Most of all, they will allow you to enter the world from a place of power and clarity so that you can take control of your life and what matters. 

Life Lesson #1: Optimize Your Body 

One of the greatest gifts in life that’s helped me overcome some of life’s toughest transitions is my ability to train hard and push my body through different thresholds of pain. 

During challenging times of change, you might feel lethargic, anxious, and find it hard to concentrate. One way to help combat those feelings is through movement.

I don’t need to tell you this because you read Bach Performance and there are plenty of articles on here that talk about the right mindset for training.

big biceps

Rather than look at training hard as a way to get in fantastic shape, I want you to think that movement and training hard is a privilege we have been granted as humans. 

Why would I want you to do that? 

When you rewire your brain to think of moving as a privilege, you’ll start to train for your life. It’s a mindset shift.

You’ll train harder because you’ll want more confidence.

You’ll train harder because you want to do dope shit.

You’ll start thinking more clearly because you’ll see the world as your place of play.

That’s when amazing things will start to happen. Whether that’s lifting some heavy shit, playing a sport, or running, get out there and move every day. Once you start moving consistently, your life will change drastically. And for the better. 

Life Lesson #2: Harness The Power Of Grounded Energy 

In my work with high-performance CEOs and athletes, I have found those who can flow effortlessly with the chaos of life are the most grounded.

With information readily available at the touch of our fingertips, you would think that we would be less stressed.  You’d think we’d  have healthier relationships, careers, and bodies. 

Not so. 

Unfortunately many of us start the day in chaos by hitting snooze. We check our phones. We argue with our partners over nothing. And we end up going to work in a career we despise. 

So how do you get grounded energy into your life?

Give yourself time first thing in the morning to drop out of your head and into your body. I know, I know. I can see your eyes rolling. It seems like some hippy shit. That’s what I thought myself, until my mentor Traver Boehm showed me how grounded energy in the morning is essential for mastering your day. 

Think of grounded energy as you would approach your training sessions.

For a good training session to happen, you need to make sure you get adequate sleep, nutrition, hydration, and a proper warmup. Without any of those, your body will not function optimally. 

Beginning your day with a grounding technique will give you the clarity and power over your day to have a high-performance mind and body. And all you need to start with is a few simple breaths that remind you that you are alive.

I know what you might be thinking; waking up earlier is a lot of work when life is already stressful. I get it. I know that feeling. 

But you owe it to yourself. 

Take a moment in the morning to sit quietly with your thoughts. Close your eyes and focus on your breath. As you inhale deeply expand for a count of four, at the top of your inhale hold for four, then slowly exhale for a count of four, and hold for a count of four on the empty stomach and repeat. 

Do you feel stressed? Anxious? Afraid? Does your mind wander? Do you find it difficult? All of what you may experience is normal when you sit with your thoughts and breath. I have to practice to be still, just like I had to train hard for years to compete in powerlifting, bodybuilding, and run marathons. These days, however, I choose to have clarity in my day rather than be reactive. 

Try your breathing first thing in the morning or when you notice yourself inside your head during the day for a week and see how you feel. 

Life Lesson #3: Practice Gratitude

What I realized in my journey of growth was that there is a clear pattern among men and women who were able to make it through tough transitions in life. 

They practice gratitude.

Our lives will always have resistance, and gratitude gives us the power to own our emotional well being.

Gratitude isn’t as simple as listing a few things down each day, and we certainly cannot force ourselves to feel less depressed. 

So how do we find joy in the simplicity of life? 

To start, I have found owning my life in all areas to be extremely powerful. 

I start my practice thinking about challenging scenarios in life that I have overcome. It is here where the past gives me a reference to the present, and usually, life isn’t as bad as I think it to be.

From there, I think about three recent experiences in life that bring me joy, like cuddles with my toddler, a cup of coffee in silence, and pushups. 

Our stories are gold, and there is no way you will be able to overcome emotional triggers and struggles in your life when you do not take a moment to be appreciative for what you have. 

When you wake up, take a few minutes to either write down in a journal or acknowledge things that bring you joy. Then, think of one thing in your life that you have overcome that was a struggle. Try that for a week and see how you feel. 

Life Lesson #4: Control What You Can 

At every moment in life, we have choices that dictate the path we are on. It’s a rule of life we tend to neglect as we get caught up in the chase and forget that everything has a consequence. And while there are many things we can not control in life, we can control how we run the day, and these four things will give you power and clarity over your life when you doubt yourself the most. 

Life Lesson #5: Focus On Your Legacy

I can promise you that regardless of your current situation, the very idea that you can be happy by achieving individual goals or statuses in life will lead to a life of emptiness. 

I think this might be the biggest mistake people make in their lives — working to chase money and settling for something they don’t believe in at the expense of a story we tell ourselves. 

After years of struggling with finding myself and hiring mentors, what I have come to realize is that we all have a unique gift buried inside all of us. 

We don’t see or recognize our gift because much of our adult lives are caught up in the chase of life. 

But what if everything you were looking for could be found by looking at the person in the mirror?

I believe we all have the potential to leave a legacy behind. Maybe it’s not an athletic achievement or a business, but a story that gets passed down from generation to generation.

However you see it, there are people in your life that are watching and learning from you. And the moment you see and recognize this is the moment you tap into your infinite potential. 

Every day you wake up is a chance to start over again.

When life was dark for me, I had the legacy of the Marines to fall back upon to remind myself that the work I am doing is bigger than myself. 

Find a reason behind why you are doing the things you are doing. 

Ask yourself if you were to die tomorrow, would you be proud of what you have done in your life. If the answer is no, then you have some work to do, and that is a great place to be. 

When you wake up with purpose and intent, you show up to the world as your best self. 

Author’s Note 

George Kalantzis is a writer, dad, and Boston based coach who is committed to helping people master the art of tough transitions. He is a seasoned Marine Corps combat veteran with over ten years of experience in coping with high-pressure and constantly changing environments. He writes about tough transitions here

 

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