The formula of success is knowing there is no formula of success.

fullsizeoutput_11a9The gym was the place that I had gone to almost everyday for 15 years to build my own body and to instruct others how to “transform themselves”. I had devoted 15 years to plugging myself into a mainstream diet and exercise formula that physically looked like it was working for me. I looked like my time in the gym had been well spent. For fifteen years, I plugged myself into a formula to maintain control and to get results that were easy to see and measure.

The results were physically working for me on some level. I had maintained a very athletic appearance through three kids and into my late 30s. At 39, I was stronger than I had ever been and had a pretty impressive workout program. But years of plugging myself into a formula to achieve results had (ironically) resulted in me treating my own self as nothing more than a variable. I didn’t listen to my body, I told it what to do. I needed it to perform. I didn’t enjoy my workouts. Rather, working out was just something I did to prove I was in control and winning. Every day was a competition and a comparison to past results and future goals.

The truth is if something had not broken down in me, then I would still be at the gym trying to squeeze out every bit out of myself to continue to make the formula work. If I could have just continued to view myself as just a body, then I would still be in the gym trying to prove that my formula was successful. The formula is addictive, especially if you’re able to achieve “good” results. Isn’t that how formulas work and what the fitness industry is selling us? If only we can plug ourselves into this exercise or diet program, then we should get these results. Guaranteed.

If you do exercise program (x) + diet (y), then you get these results (z).

I am sure you have heard the mantras that echo out of the gym, “no pain no gain”, “pain is weakness leaving the body”, “no excuses”, “weak ends here”, “winners work hard and losers quit” and on and on and on. (Hold on, let me throw up.) Have you noticed that each year the gym platitudes and the gym workouts have gotten more and more extreme. You can’t just sweat a little, you have to “sweat it all out” and “leave it all on the floor”. The expectation of every workout is for you to do more and try harder.  “Is that all you got?” “You must not want it bad enough.”. Everything has to be measured, timed and programmed to get maximum results, because results are the only thing that matters.

When it comes to results, they are either successful or unsuccessful, positive or negative or they determine if you are winning or losing. If the results are good, then you naturally keep doing the formula. If the results are bad, then you either stick with the formula and do better/try harder or you move to the next formula. Unfortunately, even when the results are “good”, they aren’t really ever good enough. In fact, the formula is going to demand you to do more and try harder each and every time to get better results.

Even good results aren’t good enough.

Have you noticed that results no longer communicate something about your workout? Rather, it tells you something about yourself. The exercise world is selling you a program/formula to plug yourself into and if that formula is unsuccessful, then it’s not the formula’s fault. Look at all the formulas “success stories”. Look at the number of people who did it and won. The results say “Guaranteed Success”, if you just do it right. If the formula is never wrong, then the problem lies with you. “You are not doing enough!”  “Don’t you have what it takes?” “Are you seriously a quitter?” “It’s not the formula’s fault, because this formula works! It is proven!” Now, the perfect-never-wrong-formula gets tell you who you are and based on the results, you will be labeled a winner or a loser.

We reduce ourselves to plug ourselves into formulas when we don’t know who we are or how we are designed.  

Obviously, we don’t trust the design of our bodies, hearts, minds, spirits or relationships, when we look for formulas to change them. No part of a person is designed to be plugged into a formula and/or used to get results. My own personal journey led me to a point that forced me to acknowledge and accept that for the majority of my life I believed formulas and programs were the answer. I did not realize that always doing a program kept me disconnected from myself. I just thought programs were what you did to get results and results were the only thing that mattered. For too long, I existed with a mind, heart, spirit and body that each lived separately from one another in their own formulas and programs.

But isn’t that what we are being taught and marketed? When I walk into the gym, I don’t need my heart, mind, spirit or relationships. Instead, I just need my body to do (to obey) the formula. I just need to control my body and if I get “good” results, then I will spend more time in the formula that makes me look like I have control. As I spend more time focusing on one part of myself (my body), then I ignore all my other parts.

Don’t think for a moment that formulas are just for the gym. I have been handed formulas for my spirit that ask me to check my mind, heart, body and relationships at the door. I have been handed formulas that tell me how to think, how to feel and how to love. There are thousands of formulas/programs for sale. Formulas don’t need your feelings, thoughts or beliefs. They just need your obedience and your wallet.

So what’s the answer? Create a formula to give up formulas? Of course not. I do think we need to give up formulas and I think most of us are ready but we are afraid that to give up the fomulas (that are actually destroying us), because they give us some illusion of control. I also don’t think we can just give-up the formula until the negative results we are getting from life outweighs the one result that we are getting from our formula. For example, you are really rich but you lost who you were and everyone you cared about in your money making formula.

Vive is  the result of me being crushed by the results that the formulas didn’t tell me about (I gave up being a result) and VIVE is a place for us to live as we are designed. So, today I invite you to GIVE-UP living for results. GIVE-UP reducing yourself to fit into a formula. GIVE-UP being told you are a winner or a loser based on your performance.  GIVE-UP winning and losing. Because in the end, winning is LOSING parts of yourself and others that cannot fit into that formula. I have “won” trophies and have had good results but nothing compares to the results that I have received when I GAVE-UP doing a formula and started just breathing, listening, asking, looking and moving.

VIVE Alchemy is a place where we can GIVE-UP and discover how we can actually have the best results when we quit trying to get results by living to nourish our hearts, minds, bodies and spirits with the things they are designed for.

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