When I first decided to take on Andy Frisella’s 75Hard Challenge I was in a rut.
To the outside world, the rut was invisible – I was still making sales, getting new clients and putting out killer content regularly. In fact, to the outside world, I was killing it.
In my mind, the rut was deep, overwhelming, never ending and crushing me, from the inside out.
I needed to make a change, and 75Hard presented exactly the kind of recommit-to-myself-remember-my-power-reignite-the-fire change that I needed.
I knew the challenge would change me and push me physically. Despite thinking I had the mental game figured out (I am, after all, a mindset coach), I still expected some mental growth.
I wasn’t prepared for the complete restructuring of my mind and the life lessons I would learn.
Here are the top 5 life lessons I learned in completing this challenge:
1. There is never a good time to start…
Like most things in life, I never take the easiest road. 75Hard was no different.
When I first decided to take on the challenge, I knew I had a number of business trips I were scheduled during my 75 days, and that I needed to create a plan to be prepared for success.
I had 2 weeks to create a routine and plan to carry me through the first of my trips…or so I thought.
On the second day of the challenge we woke up to a message telling us we needed to get to Kentucky quickly as my fiancé’s grandmother was in the hospital. With no time to prepare, plan or make adjustments, we hopped on a plane as I wondered if now was the right timing for this challenge.
Over the 75 days of the challenge there was 2 days I considered throwing in the towel. Day 2 was one of these days.
“Everyone will understand the need to be with family” I thought “no one would blame me having to start the challenge again another time.”
As I heard the words I knew the truth deep inside me – if I gave up now, I would never end up completing the challenge, I would always have an excuse.
I realized right then and there that in anything – health, relationships, business – there will NEVER be an optimal time to start.
There will always be something we can blame our challenges or failures on – the government, the economy, our neighbors dog keeping us awake all night.
And as long as I CHOSE to give into these reasons (I’ll talk more about those in a moment), I would never truly realize my potential. I would never truly become the person I need to be to have the success, influence or impact I’m seeking.
Stop waiting for the next Monday, a new month, quarter or year to start a new project, task, challenge or hobby! Start now!
In fact, right now, this moment…it’s the MOST PERFECT moment you’ll ever get to start something new because it’s the ONLY moment that you’re guaranteed!
2. Reasons are really just excuses dressed up in a disguise…
I spent 48 days of my 75 travelling for work and family. I travelled through 12 different cities, on 14 different flights in 4 different time zones.
I turned down wine, vodka, fireball, tequila, margaritas, ice cream, cookies, donuts, burgers and fried foods more times than I can count.
I never missed a workout, skipped a page of reading, neglected a drop of water or forgot a selfie. And trust me – I had plenty of reasons too.
If anyone had a “valid reason” to cheat – it was me. In the 75 days of the challenge we lost a family member. My niece was born. My family was all together for the first time in over 18 months. I signed some big clients and experienced some huge wins.
I also went to Las Vegas. Twice.
And I got stuck in an airport for a full day due to bad weather and cancelled flights, in white skinny jeans, with all my gym clothes in my checked bag.
As I found an empty corner of the airport and started do squats and lunges on day 63 (luckily I had done my outdoor workout before heading to the airport…and my skinny jeans were the stretchy kind), I realized just how much I had changed.
In the past, I would have found the situation outside of my control. I would have given up and given my power away to the weather, the airlines, to my checked bag that I couldn’t access.
I recognized how many times in the past I had given up or given in because I got stuck in “why me” instead of “how can I adapt to get what I need done?”
I realized that there really are no valid reasons for ever giving up or giving in, we simply choose to believe in a validity that doesn’t exist.
And this is the most dangerous place of all to live because it robs us of both our power and our potential.
3. A personal intention is imperative to success
As I was going through the 75 days I would see social media posts and rumblings about other people dropping out of the challenge like flies, people complaining about how hard it was to find the time needed to complete all the daily tasks or complaining about a lack of willpower or discipline to get things done.
I’ll be honest – I never found the challenge particularly hard, except for day 51 (the second and last time I considered how much I really cared about the challenge). And even then, it wasn’t that the challenge itself was hard, I was just tired and had had a bad day.
“So what”, I asked myself, “made me different from the rest?”
The answer: intention.
I knew what this challenge meant to me. I knew the intention I had for deciding to join the challenge and I knew the intention I had for myself during the challenge – to come back to a place of prioritizing ME!
I wasn’t doing this challenge to impress or compete against anyone else. In fact, doing the challenge was for me and me alone. To show myself what I was truly capable of.
I had made an intentional decision to join the challenge, and set an intention for the challenge each and every day: to step into my full power.
The same is true for life – if you’re not doing things intentionally, you’re going in blind. Without intention, we have no motivating force pulling for us to win. It’s the intention that keeps us focused – no matter how much adversity or challenge the Universe throws our way.
When we set intentions that are personal and self-focused, when we use that intention to guide every aspect of our lives – we have no choice but to win!
4. Sleepwalking through life is a default setting
It’s said that we don’t know what we don’t know. And I believe that unless we step out of our comfort zone and the things that we absolutely know, we have no way of discovering our blind spots.
75Hard will shine a light on the blind spots you have.
Before this challenge I never would have guessed that my tendencies towards unconscious eating were still hiding beneath the surface. In my teen years and early 20’s I went from disordered, restrictive eating to comfort eating anything and everything in sight.
I’ve done a lot of work on the beliefs that led to those behaviours and through this challenge I realized I hadn’t actually changed the neural pathways of the behaviours themselves.
On more than one occasion when I would see chocolate or candy sitting out I would notice the desire to reach out and grab a sweet treat – despite the fact that I wasn’t really hungry or that I had no desire for the sugar. It was like I have a reflex that makes me want to reach out and grab sugar when I see it!
Without this challenge I may never have noticed this neural pathway that needs reprogramming. Or realized how this neural pathway impacts me physically and mentally every day.
For example, I know I’m gluten intolerant. I know that when the restaurant brings out that freshly baked bread and it smells so damn good that I decide to cheat that I will feel bloated and uncomfortable the next day…
I underestimated the longer term impact of those simple cheat moments (ie. literally one piece of bread) would have on me.
For 75 days I was completely processed sugar and gluten free…and let’s say that was the only 75 days I can remember for a very long time that I didn’t experience PMS or debilitating cramps at the start of my cycle…
And now I know that these symptoms are not simply my body’s default setting…but the sleepwalking that leads to cheat moments are!
5. In my potential, there is only me!
I decided at the beginning of my challenge that despite knowing plenty of others undergoing 75Hard at the same time, that I wanted my journey to be my own.
I didn’t want an accountability group. I didn’t want to complete the challenge because others were expecting me to (which is a limiting behavior I have previously succumbed to).
Rather I wanted this challenge to be about me. About my grit. My tenacity. My resilience and inner strength. Because despite all the “rah rah” that I could surround myself with – ultimately it was me who had to get outside, or re-fill my water (again) or snap the photo.
Just like how in my business it is me who has to take the action and make the decisions and put in the work I need to experience success and push myself to my potential.
Day 51 was a bad day…I was sleep deprived, running around like a mad woman to finalize things with my family and clients before heading back home and we experienced what we then perceived to be a major setback in one of our businesses.
By the time I had dealt with all the challenges and finished packing my bags, it was 11pm. I had to be up at 3am to catch my flight…and I still had 1 (indoor) workout to do, 10 pages to read and half a gallon of water to finish.
A tear rolled down my exhausted face as I asked myself “what am I really doing this for?”
“For this moment” the answer came. This entire challenge was about this moment – the moment when I thought there was no one way I could get back up.
The moment when I felt too exhausted to stand.
When I was angry at the world for getting in my way.
The moment when I couldn’t see anything but failure.
And it was in this moment that I realized I was being given exactly what I had asked for in this challenge – an understanding of just how much resilience, will and strength I had inside me to get up and do what needed to be done.
It was in that moment that the old me, the me I had known before this challenge died and gave way to a woman who knows nothing but determination and grit.
P.S. In case you’re wondering – I also learned it’s possible to chug half a gallon of water in 30 minutes without puking.
I also learned it’s smart to clear a pathway to the bathroom for easy access in the middle of the night…
For more details on the 75Hard Challenge, check out Andy Frisella’s MFCEO podcast episode here: https://andyfrisella.com/blogs/mfceo-project-podcast/75hard-a-75-day-tactical-guide-to-winning-the-war-with-yourself-with-andy-frisella-mfceo291