I read a wonderful book last year, and since then, I’ve used it as a resource in different parts of my life. I’ve read parts of this book multiple times, scribbled notes all through it, and underlined passages so I could find them easily again. It’s called “Unlimiting You,” by Randy Spelling.
It’s a self-help book that teaches you ways to re-frame your thoughts and perspectives so that you can move forward in your life, beyond the internal forces (like self-doubt, stress, and fear) that can hold you back. Sometimes it can veer towards the esoteric side, but Randy has a gift for grounding abstract thoughts and ideas in really accessible, practical ways – and that’s what I liked most.
I know how powerful my own thoughts can be. I’ve waged more battles in my own head than I ever have with other people. I often triumph over negative thinking, but there have been times when destructive thoughts have taken root and caused some major damage. So having a resource like this, that I can turn to and learn from, is really valuable.
Here are seven lessons I learned from “Unlimiting You.” And this is just the tip of the iceberg – the book is filled with many many more! Purchase “Unlimiting You” on Amazon. Then check out Randy’s website to learn more about him, his life coaching, workshops, classes, and membership programs.
Lesson #1 – “I will look at myself the way I see those I look up to.” This is one of many guidelines that Randy includes to help you live like you matter (there’s ten, which Randy calls ‘The Ten Commandments… to Yourself”), and I actually had to put the book down when I got to this one, because it resonated so deeply… for the wrong reasons. I’m a champion at doing exactly the opposite. I admire a lot of people, for a lot of reasons, but instead of celebrating the things we have in common, I put myself down for not being at their level. I don’t think I realized how frequently I did this until reading this section, and it’s something I’ve been working on since.
Lesson #2 – The best definition of ‘self-love’ I’ve ever read. Loving yourself is a tentpole concept in the world of self-improvement. I heard Richard Simmons stress the importance of this for years and years when I went to his classes in Beverly Hills. But what does it mean to love yourself? There are countless answers to that question out there, but Randy’s is the best. “Loving yourself means honoring your needs and caring for yourself. It means treating yourself with respect, with no negative back-talk or putting yourself down. It means accepting your imperfections.” Perfectly said.
Lesson #3 – Don’t focus on a singular outcome. This is a great stress management tactic. I sometimes drive myself crazy thinking about what awful thing is going to happen if I’m not successful at A, B, or C, and I get all worked up about a crappy future I’m certain will arrive any moment. And you know what? It never arrives. Life gets in the way. Things change. Things evolve. Meanwhile, I just let unkind, sometimes hateful thoughts percolate in my mind for hours (or days) for no reason. As Randy says, “The point is not to limit yourself, your family, or your future by concentrating on a singular outcome when there can be many. We never know how things will turn out, so focus on what matters most, what you have in the moment, and then leave yourself open to receiving a future you hadn’t dreamed was possible.”
Lesson #4 – I can always change how I think about something. Chapter six is about unleashing your ability to dream, and fighting back against the voices in your head that say ‘you can’t.’ Randy makes an analogy that I could instantly relate to… it’s about racing. “Imagine you are running a race, and up until now, you have been hearing people from the crowd screaming at you, ‘You suck. You don’t deserve to win…’ Now imagine that same race with everyone cheering, ‘You can do it. You deserve to be a winner…’ Which race would you rather run in? If you can catch yourself running in a race that doesn’t feel good to you, run a different race. That choice is all yours, but the key is becoming aware that you have a choice.”
Randy’s making an analogy, but I’ve literally had races where I heard all that negativity. And, needless to say, it’s not the crowd telling me I’m not worthy – it comes from within. This is a lesson I’ve already applied to my own life – and, actually, in a race setting. I heard those powerful negative inner voices during my recent Portland stair race, and I choice to think differently, and it worked. Read about it here.
Lesson #5 – Fear isn’t always a bully. It takes a lot to confront a fear. And really great things could come from it. A few years back, I found myself scared of the StairMaster at the gym. I decided to face that fear by doing five minutes on the StairMaster, and an astounding new chapter in my life began (although I didn’t know it then). I’ve now done almost 30 stair races all over the country, and I can trace the origins of my stair race career back to those five minutes. (My 5-minute video goes into more detail.)
This is how Randy summarizes experiences like mine in the book: “We might mistake feat for being a bully, when, in actuality, it can be an ally in disguise challenging us to grow into ourselves.” I may have experience implementing this particular lesson, but Randy found an eloquent and succinct way of wording it that makes it easy to remember.
Lesson #6 – You don’t always need a 5-year or 10-year plan. This is a nice compliment to Lesson #3, as it’s also a stress management technique. “One of the most common ways people talk themselves out of something,” Randy writes, “is by looking too far into the future, which takes us immediately out of the present.” I’m guilty of this, and I know how to combat it, too: by focusing on the small steps that can be taken on a daily basis and celebrating those successes.
Lesson #7 – “Everything in your life is happening for you, not to you… everything is an opportunity for growth.” To put it another way: I am not a victim. I am the protagonist of my story. I am in charge of writing my story any way I want.
Those are some good lessons, right? Randy’s book would be useful for all sorts of people in all sorts of situations. But I had questions about how some of these ideas could be applied by people struggling to lose weight or become healthier. And guess what? RANDY ANSWERED THEM! Coming up in my next post… my interview with Randy Spelling!
Keep it up, David!