Bending the Bar

In track and field competitions the high jump bar is gradually moved up for testing physical limits and aiming for greater achievements.

In the process of living all of us have times – many times! – when we are challenged and feel limited by our performance bars which might be:

  • adapting our actions because we’ve being previously been ‘shut down’ by others
  • stuck in not feeling good enough and compensating by people-pleasing
  • trapped in patterns just because it seems the ‘right’ thing, what we have always done
  • frustrated by unsatisfying efforts for changing our health

The above scenarios can be reasons for bending the bar* and by that I mean – not particularly focusing on moving the bar higher. But making (often small) adjustments to support positive changes you desire – finding freedom and fulfilment with less attention on ‘we should improve ourselves’ and more to investigating for meaningful living.

Bending the bar even a little can be risky – we could get injured, judged, disappointed – but the very same things can happen if we never move at all.

Five areas to bend the bar towards living a life of confidence, purpose and adventure.

1 Acknowledge if perfection is blocking your desires. Do you want to build friendships but think you must have the perfect house and meal before inviting the new family in the neighbourhood for dinner? You’ve written an interesting book review you’d like to contribute to the local library but are you measuring it against the New York Times columns?! Your neighbour’s invitation to join her on the pickle ball court intrigues you but you’ve never played and don’t want to look silly. Don’t get caught in rejecting new opportunities because of setting impossible standards.

2 Discover and establish a healthy, secure understanding of who you are. Dare to dig inside: have hurts or lies from the past silenced your voice and tainted the truth of the beauty of you? Your sense of identity can tell you: “I have talents with value” or “nobody would accept or need what I have to offer in the world”. For me, identity comes from believing I have God-given desires and purpose. I need to stand in this daily, filling my mind and Spirit knowing I am Loved. I encourage you in your journey to explore who you truly are; it’s a lifetime of leaning into, learning and being YOU.

3 There is not one way, nor a magic formula for weight loss, getting fit and working towards overall well-being. From my health coaching experience I advise expectations that make sense. A different diet (even one with copious amounts of vegetables and healthy protein!) can not fix an unhealthy mindset, prevent anxiety or eliminate depression. But food can help you have more energy, better digestion and a host of other benefits. Have you seen the new Canada food guide ? In my view it isn’t perfect for everyone, but it’s a good place to start.

4 Life is a continuum of different stages and places. Sometimes these occur from one calendar season to the next; or in periods of illness or a divorce or retirement or a move in location. What has always worked before often has a lifespan , i.e. every Sunday night all the family – kids and grands and more – always joined you around your table. Give yourself permission to set new traditions, explore new areas of interest – which includes accepting that everything might not work out as you hoped. Which may or may not be a good thing – but move ahead from there.

5 At every age we will experience challenges in wondering what steps we should take next? Whether it’s how we do our work, raise our children, what charity can I be involved in – the choices are forever. This may sound weird, but for me when I listen to my heart and feel an emotional connection (often with tears!) I sense this is an opening or opportunity for me to be open to; even though I can’t see the whole journey laid out ahead of me. Discover what moves you for positive change – then do the next thing.

*I didn’t coin the phrase Bending the Bar: Michelle Obama used it in her best-seller, On Becoming, a memoir I thoroughly enjoyed on audio.

I would be happy to hear how you are bending the bar for a deeper discovery of your desires. Would you like to connect for support with the five areas I discussed to help you move towards a life of confidence, purpose and adventure? Let’s have a (complimentary) short chat to help make this happen for you. You can connect with me here or at ketoews@gmail.com.

Love and gratitude,  

Karen

P.S. Whatever stage of life you’re in – my desire is you will be rejuvenated with healthy food, physical movement, living with purpose and joy. If I can be of any help, please contact me here or at ketoews@gmail.com.

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