If you’ve been dreaming of having a certain kind of body for years, but it’s not happening, that’s a sign that you have conflicted thoughts about what it means to have the body of your dreams. This “I want it, but I don’t” ambivalence is an exact corollary to business ambivalence that we discussed in the business episode this week, that prevents entrepreneurs from having their dream businesses. Listen to this episode to learn how “I want it, but I don’t” is also preventing you from having your dream body.
Welcome to Rich & Thin™ Radio, the only podcast that helps serious entrepreneurs get everything they want, and get out from under everything they don’t want. Today’s episode is for every listener who’s been dreaming of having the body of their dreams for a very long time, but it’s just not happening. I’m Kelly Hollingsworth and if this is you, I’m glad you’re here because too many of us are dreaming that we’re going to have that lean, beautiful body someday, but someday keeps getting pushed back further and further, and pretty soon, you have to start to wonder, if not now, when?
If this is you, you know who you are. You have an entire wardrobe of skinny jeans and other clothes gathering dust waiting for you to finally fit into it. You refuse to buy clothes that do fit because your current body is temporary. The thin body is right around the corner, even though you’ve been hoping to turn that corner for years or maybe even decades. Everything in your life is on hold until you lose weight, including your business. Or you’ve gotten down to goal weight multiple times, only to gain the weight back, and then some. Now, you’re thinking of quitting, or maybe you’ve already given up.
What’s happening here? Exactly the same kind of push/pull, I want it, but I don’t ambivalence that we discussed in the business episode on Tuesday. The similarities are striking so now let’s look at them.
Recall from last time, from Episode 48, that we discussed 5 reasons a listener emailed to me that she wanted a business, and 5 reasons she didn’t. The 5 reasons she didn’t want a business are exactly the reasons that entrepreneurs get into an ambivalent, “I want it but I don’t” stance around weight loss.
Fear of Disconnection from Natural Human Desires to Participate in an Artificial Social Construct
First, the listener said she didn’t want a business because she was worried that money is a social construct and that having a successful business would separate her from what’s important, i.e. from nature, the earth, and our God-given talents that we’ve thrown away for the sake of material goods;
Basically here’s she’s saying that she’s fearful of disconnection from a natural way of being in the world, in favor of the unnatural. In observance of a social construct that doesn’t feel right or good or human.
The exact same fears exist with weight loss. We fear important disconnection from our priorities and other people. Many business owners are concerned that to lose weight will cause them to lose touch with their priorities, such as the ability to travel for business. The need to entertain clients. They fear they’ll become disconnected from the business itself, because they think they’ll need to spend hours in a gym every week. They also worry about not eating or drinking when other people are eating and drinking.
We also fear the loss of the feast, which is an important aspect of our tribal nature. Human beings run in tribes, and we celebrate in tribes, and the human who ceases to participate in the feast is something of an aberration. When we’re trying to lose weight, what basically happens is that we participate in a social construct that is an aberration from the way we evolved. We decline to participate in feasts. We declare them off limits and we isolate ourselves to stay on the diet. And that feels as if it will disconnect us from our humanness and our God-given appetites.
Desire to Avoid Problems
The listener’s second concern was that having a business would create more problems. She wrote that the bigger the income, the bigger the expenses and the stress that comes with dealing with money.
The same fears exist around weight loss. This is the type of ambivalence that shows up in business reluctance and reluctance to lose weight. We shy away from both of them because we see them as causing more problems. This one is huge, and here’s an example that no one likes to talk about very much but it’s everywhere. It’s as ubiquitous as post-it notes, and it’s the desire to avoid harassment and unwanted attention at work. Recently I had a rousing discussion with two of the most successful women I know, one was a PR executive at a publicly-traded company, and another a health-care executive, and they both recognized that being too attractive causes problems in the office with co-workers, and with clients who they don’t want to risk insulting, and on the road, when they’re staying in a hotel and they just want to have dinner and be left alone, but some guy at the bar won’t take no for an answer. I imagine that more women suffer this problem than men, but men aren’t immune. One thing we’re seeing in the #metoo movement is some men coming forward with stories that are just like the stories women are telling about what happens at work that they don’t want to happen, and they certainly don’t want to encourage. One of the women at that lunch basically said that she definitely wanted extra weight on her body when she was traveling for business a lot. She said that the weight solved a lot of problems and prevented the need for turning someone down or having a confrontation that could offend someone and thereby hurt her business or make someone want to retaliate. In other words, what I’m seeing is that for many women in business, body weight may function as a virtual burqa. To a large degree, it keeps unwanted, unwelcome interest away from us.
Loss of Identity
The listener also said that although she wanted a business, she actually didn’t, because she identified “so strongly with the “me” who grew up poor and became much,” and that she feared losing that part of herself.
The third corollary between not having the business you want and not having the body you want is identity. So many people who want to lose weight, but don’t want it, identify so much with the “me” who grew up fat and who loves food that they fear losing weight means losing a part of their identity or who they are. This I definitely have experienced first-hand. When people know you as a big eater and a dessert hound, there’s an expectation that you will fulfill that role, and if you’re not fulfilling it, that can seem jarring. I know that when I’m in a social setting or with my family and someone is serving me a huge hunk of cake or sliding the candy dish over toward me, it’s easy to slip back into that identity of, “Oh, yeah. I’m the person who eats all the sugar.” Others expect you to be that person, because that’s how they know you, and your brain has some well-worn patterns where it expects if of you as well. And this is jarring for everyone. It can feel tough, in a crowd and with our friends and especially in our own families, to shift into a new identity of someone who doesn’t abuse or overuse food.
Fear of Failure
Fourth, she said that she was scared that she would try and fail, and that “a leap like that would be hard to recover from.”
The fourth corollary is fear of failure. This may be even bigger than the fear that keeps us stuck when we wanting to start a business or level up a business. So many of us have tried and failed so many times, that the fear of failure is even worse than with entrepreneurship. Many of us are so averse to the idea of failing one more time that we won’t even consider trying to lose weight one more time. So what do we do? We fail ahead of time. We decide it’s just easier to live in a horrible place than to try to get out of it and not make it.
Harm to the Family
Fifth and last, she said was worried that making money is a time and attention commitment that would take away from time with her daughter.
The last corollary is the concern that it would requires a time and attention commitment that would take away from family. This is a common reason we hold back in business, and it’s a common reason we carry extra weight. We want to be home for dinner. We want to make the foods our kids like, even if those foods don’t serve us or our weight-loss efforts. We don’t want to go to the gym or work out on the weekends, and definitely not during the week. We’re away from home too much as it is.
Business Ambivalence is Exactly the Same as Weight-Loss Ambivalence
So what do we have here? We have fear of disconnection from what’s important due to a social construct. We have fear that success, getting what we want, is going to create more problems for us. We have an identity problem—if I become this new thing, does that mean I’m not “me” anymore? We also have fear of failure, and fear that achieving the goal will take us further away from our families.
As I said earlier, these similarities are striking, and the great news is that they’re also solvable, because they are mental constructs.
The way you solve for these mental blocks is by finding the third way. You can have a lean, beautiful body without feeling disconnected from the tribe or your priorities. You can have that body without running into problems. You can keep the parts of ourselves that you really like, and still lose weight. Your stunning sense of humor or piercing intelligence is not embedded in the extra flesh on your body. It’s housed elsewhere, and the excess fat cells can go without you losing what’s great about you. You can achieve success at weight loss, no matter how many times you’ve failed before. And you can do it in a way that doesn’t harm your family.
How do you do this? You do it just as we did in the business episode. Step 1, you put everything you want in the “R” line. You decide that the result you’re going to achieve is a lean, beautiful body without any of the adverse consequences we listed today. Decide that you’re going to have everything you want, and that’s the first step to making it happen. You get what you think, and this framework works every time. You can’t break it.
I realize this feels like a tall order right now, and that today I’ve given you more problem than solution. But today all we’re doing is laying the foundation. As with our upcoming business episodes, we’re going to do a deep dive into these concepts in the coming episodes as they relate to weight loss so you can see how to solve this “I want it, but I don’t” ambivalence that’s keeping us stuck in bodies we don’t really want to live in.
Thanks and I’ll talk to you next time.