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When I climbed Mount Everest

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It happened today! I climbed Mount Everest! OK, not THE Mount Everest over in Tibet. But the Mount Everest climbing machine at the gym. Actually, I’m not sure it’s called Mount Everest, but that’s what I’ve been calling it since I tried the machine the first time.

The past couple of years have been years of transformation for me. I gave up my secure income, decided to live life on my terms and started my own business. I had to invest a lot, both time and money (and other things as well), in order to get proper certification and training, a really good mentor to support me and more training to become really good at coaching and leading people.

The reward and feeling of freedom was instant when I changed my professional situation. It started already the first month, when a very large international blog published one of my articles. What an awesome feeling! Nothing like I ever experienced as an employee. I also gained approximately 90 minutes of extra time EVERY day, from not being stuck in traffic. That’s simply amazing!

Apart from the freedom and fulfillment, another transformation I experienced was the difference in income. Not so nice to be totally honest. But, in order to get something you’ve never had, you need to do something you never did. Or, like John Maxwell says;

You need to give up something of great value, in order to get something of greater value.

And I did. Living off your savings account is not a nice feeling. Very scary to see that comforting sum shrink month by month… I also took a look at my spendings and made sure I buy ONLY things that we need. No extra “fluff”.

The most unpleasant transformation I experienced was physical. Speaking of “fluff”, after investing every minute, every hour, every day on working on and in my business, I kept making the decision that it was better if I work, than go and work-out. I simply felt I couldn’t take time off. I couldn’t NOT work. I suffered from severe FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) and kept reading every report, study, article and blog I could find. I did every training program and webinar that was out there, read as many books as I could possibly fit into my hysterical schedule, and invested a lot of time on actual coaching training.

So, as you can imagine, I experienced a body transformation. It’s all a number’s game! Even that number on the scale. That number changes depending on how much consistent action we invest in our physical training. The new number was nothing overly drastic. But enough to make me feel fat, old, wobbly, tired, ugly and did I say fat? I turned into a fluffy mass.

Having been used to be more or less in shape my whole life, this new shape of mine was doing damage to my self—esteem. The day came when I simply couldn’t stand it anymore. I refused to live with this horrible feeling of self-resentment that came as an very unwanted side-effect of sacrificing hours at the gym to create my business.

It might sound as if I’m exaggerating, but I’m not. I always feel sad for people who put on weight (there might even be a “good” excuse to start with), and then some more (because there’s just no time, right), and then even more (by now they must really be aware of their new shapes), and then so much they get serious health conditions, diabetes and pain pretty much everywhere. How can they stand living with chronic fatigue, constantly low on energy and out of breath?  Everything in life feels uphill. Why did they not stop the negative spiral, before it was “too late”? Or did they try, but gave up? Was it too hard? So many questions.

I forced myself to go to the gym. It was so hard. Already before leaving home, because I couldn’t find my gym bag, I hadn’t used it for MONTHS.

When I arrived at the gym I was greeted by “oh wooow, Annica, it’s been ages!!! When were you last here, let me check” she shouted with excitement. I was just about to say “a couple of months ago” when she shouted “oh wooow, 14 months! Wow, did you put on some weight”? she said with eyes wide open of excitement and waiting for me to say yes. I tried to look cool and said “nah, I’ve been working out at home” and went off to the dressing room, trying to suck all the extra fat into my body.

And so the struggle begins. It’s transformation time again. This time for the better! I’m taking control of this load of fat! So, today at the gym, after a fairly rough work-out, I decided to climb me some “Mount Everest”-machine. It’s what gets me to sweat the most in the shortest amount of time, so I figure it must be pretty efficient. Perfect!

Before getting on Mount Everest, I did 20 minutes rowing machine. At one point a lady sat down to use the rowing machine next to me. As long as I can remember, I have this thing with competing… Whenever someone near me is doing an effort, I have to do more! Because I want to, I just can’t stop myself from challenging myself to “win”. For example, if I’m out running, I cannot let anyone pass me. And if I see someone up ahead on the track, I simply have to catch up on them and pass them. Yes, it’s ridiculous. But it also gives me a very lovely feeling of victory and achievement!

Today I decided to start slow and do 2 x 5 minutes on the climber. I started out, testing the resistance to see how fast I had to climb. I wanted it to be hard, but I didn’t want to collapse. The “lady” in the machine starts talking, giving me instructions on how to set the machine to my age, weight, time I want to work-out and something else. I couldn’t quite hear her, so I put up the volume.

I started climbing and knew immediately it was going to be hard. My thighs started hurting almost immediately. After 30 seconds or so, the lady says – this time really loud, as I had increased the volume to hear her – “you might want to speed it up a little so that bla bla bla…” I didn’t hear the end. Say what??? How embarrassing! At least three people near the machine heard what she said to me. I pretended I didn’t feel like a lazy, slow, old lady and started climbing faster as if it was no problem at all. I think I forgot to breathe…

Now it got really intense. I tried to breathe, my throat felt like it would crack in two because it was so dry. I felt like a tired dog with my tongue out and mouth wide open. My climbing was fast paced, short steps and I probably looked pretty desperate. Then, the lady says “you need to take bigger steps to protect both your joints and my pedals”.

Sssshut up!!! I’m climbing the freakin’ Mount Everest here, trying to stay conscious and not fall off. I turned the volume off.

I did one last effort and took longer steps. When I finally ended my second period of 5 minutes I walked over to the treadmill on very shaky legs. I actually wanted to go and cry in the shower, but I realized my face was dark purple and I didn’t want to risk anyone coming up and asking me if I needed help, because I wouldn’t have been able to answer them. I stayed on the treadmill until I could breathe normally again, and then shuffled my way to the shower!

In my opinion, there is not so many feelings that can measure themselves with the satisfaction and awesomeness that comes after having put in a really big effort. When we put ourselves through challenges, when we don’t quit and we actually get to the finish line – that feeling is one of my absolute favorites! Even when a lady tells me to go faster and my face turns purple.

It does not necessarily have to be a physical effort. The same goes for making an effort for a loved one, for a friend or your children. Or when you get into a really creative state and get so much work done you feel like a robot with super charged batteries!

I think everyone, in general, could push it a little harder, make an extra effort on one or the other area in our lives – that will then help us feel better, let us have more time, money or simply satisfaction! Totally worth it!

What can you stop doing today that doesn’t do you any good? And what can you start doing today that will improve your health, your mood, your quality time with your family, your time management or your bank account? Find out what it is, and then go Nike on it!

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