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I bought a wireless printer.  I hooked it up, followed the directions, installed the software from the CD, and went to my computer to print a document.  Suddenly . . . like magic . . . the printer began to . . . are you ready for this?? . . . . it began to print the document!  I yelled yabba dabba doo, jumped up and down, and celebrated joyously.  I whooped, hollered, and began to tap dance.  I laughed, I cried, I called all my friends, and screamed, “this is unbelievable!  My printer is printing!”

OK, maybe I didn’t do that.  No, I didn’t.  I just made that up.  Well, I did buy a wireless printer, and I did print a document on it, but I didn’t celebrate.  I simply took the document, glanced at it, and went on to the next project.  Why didn’t I whoop and holler?  Because that would be nuts!  That would be whack-a-doo crazy.  After all, I expected the printer to print.

If my car starts when I push the ignition button, I don’t celebrate much.  I expect it.  If my blender mixes the protein powder and water to form a shake, I hardly bat an eye.  I just pour and drink.  I’ve come to expect that things will do precisely what I expect them to do.

If my lawn guy mows my lawn, if my exterminator sprays the perimeter of my property, if the electric company provides me with electricity, and if my waiter brings me my food, it’s all nice, but quite honestly, it doesn’t, in my mind, warrant jumping for joy.

Why, if meeting expectation is supposed to be accepted as inevitable, do so many of our clients hug us, express their joy, and tell us that the changes they experienced are “unbelievable?”  After all, in most cases we simply helped them achieve what they expressed that they came to us for. 

You have to admit that from a purely logical standpoint, it’s a bit odd to consider that the woman who says, “I’d like to lose 15 pounds” when she commits to pay a trainer finds the loss of 15 pounds shocking.

Why shouldn’t our clients expect the results they seek?  Why is “meeting the request” perceived as unbelievable?  Because in our industry, in the fitness, weight loss, and body-changing fields, unless there’s a surgical instrument involved, people have come to expect disappointment.  Sure, they tell you they want to lose 25 pounds, or drop a few dress sizes, and sure, they have hope, but because so many advertised options are impotent, expectations are typically very low.  When a desired result becomes a reality, celebration is common.

We can frown at the absurdity of this, or we can embrace it . . . and more importantly, we can build upon it.  After all, if employing a proven fat loss technology simply brings the fat loss end we know it can bring, and if that end leads to a celebratory response, imagine if we can EXCEED not only expectation, but even exceed hope!

Can we exceed the goals most of our clients come to us with?  I’d suggest we can in the great majority of cases.  Here’s an element of our capability we might not readily recognize.  Not only can we help clients find greater energy, better love their reflections, and power up their metabolic machines, but we can gradually help them raise their own bars, recognize greater potential with each milestone surpassed.

Let’s try to consider each client’s progress potential as, not a predetermined and forever-fixed factor, but as a flexible continuum.  In other words, it is possible that at the initial consultation, based on existing mindset, emotion, knowledge, and physical condition potential is relatively fixed, but as soon as mindset, emotion, knowledge, and physical condition change, so too does potential.

If a client is to exceed hope, we have to work to establish the fixed potential as a definitive outcome (a goal) and further establish an assessment protocol which allows us to restate potential.

Here’s an example.  A new client is relatively sedentary, has limited exercise experience, and has failed to maintain any significant weight loss despite a series of restrictive diets.  The client expresses a want to lose 25 pounds.  If you assured this client that he or she would be able to run a marathon, or even a 5K, or that he or she would be able to regain the physical condition of ten years earlier, your “push” would exceed perceived potential and the perceived workload would prove discouraging.

Conversely, if you express the importance of gradual changes in body composition, and focus the initial attention on energy, supporting eating, and a change in body awareness, this becomes achievable and is well within the client’s potential.  In a 90 day assessment, you may discover that 14 pounds were lost, 4 pounds of lean body mass were added, and energy is beyond anything this client can remember experiencing.  With these results, not only is the goal perceived as closer, but the perception of potential has escalated.

With each successive milestone, we can further help the client to recognize new potential and over the course of months, many, if not most of our clients, can exceed initial hopes.  In an industry where most attempts fail, in an industry where mediocrity is celebrated, in an industry where excellence is rarely recognized, we can go beyond thrilling clients. We can lift them into an emotional stratosphere they never thought they were capable of touching.

Let’s consider, exercise and supportive eating have been well proven to repair mitochondrial damage, to build new biologically younger cells, to radically improve endurance, power, and sense of well being, and to facilitate improvement in mood, sleep habits, and recuperation, and we can develop individual and collective reputations for making magic happen.  Yes, we have the power to change lives, and while we don’t want to over-inflate this ability, we certainly want to recognize and tactfully exploit it, especially among those individuals who comprise the desperate and confused marketplace that is a given in the year 2010.

Let’s listen to goals, let’s identify real expectations, and let’s bring out the expressed hope, and then, let’s do what we do to exceed every expectation, every expressed wish, every expressed hope.  No, we can’t do this quickly, and no, we can’t take everyone to their greatest potential without their full participation and commitment, but if we shoot for the moon and settle for the mountaintop, I’d have to say we’re doing just fine.

Now I’ll challenge you.  I’ll challenge you to face some new adventures, to assess your own potential, and to break through the barriers that separate your expectation from your wishes.  I won’t challenge you physically, as you know how to do that already.  I will challenge you to exceed the ordinary.  Every week, set out to pursue one of the following:

1.       An uncharacteristic absurdity (something nobody would expect you to do that would result in extreme laughter)

2.       An unexpected “good deed”

3.       An action that forces you to move beyond fear and trepidation

Please email me to share your experiences in these three areas ([email protected]).  The joy, the celebratory emotions that follow these minor but significant elevations in your own potential will help you come to intimately know the joy and power you can bring out in every life you touch.

Be Better.  Always better.