One of my Bad Girl Ballerinas said something to me today that so beautifully captures the process of self-development in reaching for your peak performance state. In hope that it will bring you peace in the way you see your goals and all the striving you are doing to reach them, allow me to explain.
This is a gorgeous dancer I've been coaching for about a year and a half. We were going over some new adjustments to her diet and training plan. I half expected to encounter some anxiousness from her to get to her goals faster, but instead, she lit up with a bright smile and said something along the lines of:
"I'm realizing this is just the beginning! After working with you on this stuff for over a year, this is just the start of my transformation! It's awesome!"
Wow. This is Nirvana level sh*t here. Basically, instead of being anxious to accomplish a particular goal, she had the priceless realization that she has a lifetime to transform her body. And, most importantly, she now feels in control of that process.
There's no end point.
There's no finish line.
There's no check marks to cross off your list.
There's no date and time to get to that will finally mean you've "made it."
There's no award you can win or trophy you can earn.
No, there's just this blissful sense of control over your body, despite it being a never-ending process. This realization gives you a connection to your body that you miss out on if you don't embrace this process. That connection is what allows you to find ways to control and manipulate your body in a healthy way. And, that is where your real power lies in transforming your body and, by extension, your life.
This control may not give you the results that you want all the time, and there will certainly be moments when you are frustrated and disappointed with those results. But, you're still in control nonetheless.
Your body is a complicated, beautiful mess that is constantly changing. In order to work towards optimal performance, aesthetics, health & vibrancy, you have to constantly be observing, experimenting, and adjusting. The formula you used 10 years ago to be in your best dancing shape will likely destroy you now. There are so many factors that go into determining our peak performance state - hormones, sleep, physical stress, mental stress, nutrients, hydration, biological age, genetics, environmental factors - and they are all constantly fluctuating. You have to allow your tools and approach to shift as your circumstances change. You will never be at a point where you can just sit back and watch all your hard work pay off. You will always have to put the work in if you want to chase your peak performance state.
When you stop seeing this pursuit as "work" or a challenge to become someone you are not...and start seeing the power you have in controlling your body and life, that is when the real fun starts. Your body becomes your exclusive property that you can endlessly manipulate and transform.
Make peace with that process. Learn to love the self-development. Think of your body as your personal art project. You can spend your lifetime presenting it to the world, determining what kind of impact you want to make with your art every single day. Now that is a project I am okay with spending the rest of my life honing and shaping.