Prefer a podcast version of this message? Here you go: Warrior, Monk, Wizard on Four Pillar Fitness Podcast
This is a personal transparency alert…
I’ve been lying to the world for at least a week, maybe a little more.
Wearing that “all good” mask and letting everyone around me think I had my crap together and that my life was rocking and rolling. That all my plans were moving in the direction of Nirvana, with the stars aligned.
But that was the shiny bullshit I was selling.
In truth, my desire to serve was mostly missing in action. Serving my clients felt like a brutal chore most of the time.
My creative side has been barely hanging on, essentially on life support. Just about every post, article and thought I wrote felt forced and fake. I pretty much hated myself for it.
My perfectionist streak and need to experience the ideal has been in full shadow quality mode. Fully externalized on everyone around me. Using my best and most subtle communication skills to “win” conversations without regard to how it made anyone around me feel.
In other words, I’ve been a self-absorbed asshole with an empty canvas and very little of value to offer anyone.
My clients suffered, I’m sure. Even if the desire or need to serve isn’t one of your principle motivating forces (and it isn’t for many, even those in service positions – more on that another day,) service is often how you express your key motivations. So when you get up in the morning feeling empty and unable to serve, you’re not following your true north.
My readers, followers and podcast listeners suffered. When you work to create ways to help educate people about topics which you find interesting or essential to their success, losing your creative edge is akin to a library having all the books removed. You look the same from the outside, but there’s not much happening inside anymore.
Even with research, it felt like I was wandering
through the desert while pulling my camel. Nothing clicked and it felt like I was working twice as hard to find anything.
I know my relationships suffered. It’s actually kind of surprising that my wife didn’t throat punch me over the last week or so. I’m sure I was short with her and owe her big time. I’ll ask; she’ll tell. She’s awesome that way…
Part of what drove this is that I have several significant opportunities lying directly in my path. (The Elite Fitness & Performance Summit is one of them. Join me here!) They will require me to buckle down, do some serious work and deliver in a kick-ass way. Combine that with running (and selling my share of) a business, training clients and maintaining normal website and podcast publishing schedules and I’ve got a mess of projects that I can’t make a mess of!
A few years back, I had the chance to work with a ground-breaking organization called Free-Thinking Renegade Nation. And we were all of the above, so to speak. One of the concepts I developed during this time was what I call “Warrior, Monk, Wizard.”
It became apparent that most people we meet are fighting a battle against something, usually a bunch of somethings. Often, they don’t even realize they’re fighting these battles. They’ve just got their sword and shield out, often slicing away at every detail of their lives while deflecting lots of things that might make their lives better. They’re killing tasks and slaying problems while shielding themselves from people and issues that they perceive as trying to prevent those actions.
They are living in what I call full “Warrior Mode.”
But even the strongest warriors get tired. Even Thor had to give it a rest at some point.
In truth, we all have three archetypes within us – Warrior, Monk and Wizard.
We’ve met the Warrior. We meet them every day, all day.
The Monk is the one who can step back from the battle and ask some important questions.
Why am I doing this? What problem (real or perceived) am I trying to solve? What am I missing by attacking this in this way? Who might I inadvertently harm? What lesson is there to be learned from all of this? Am I serving my true north and the vision placed in me by the Creator? What am I afraid of? What must change for me to be truly engaged, truly connected and truly fulfilled?
Not THAT Monk… That’s better!
The Monk seems like the opposite of the Warrior, but it’s more like a Yin/Yang relationship. More reflective than opposite. The Monk doesn’t cancel the Warrior out, he allows the Warrior to replenish, refocus and reset before taking on the next castle, battle or task. In this way, the Warrior can focus his strengths on the right tasks, instead of tilting at windmills or flailing at shadows.
The Wizard has the strength of the Warrior and the mind and soul of the Monk. He also has an understanding of his surroundings and how things intertwine, interconnect and interact. His unique skill-set rises above the others to accomplish things that neither the Warrior or the Monk can do.
The Wizard can use his talents and abilities to alter circumstances, persuade other Warriors and Monks and, in a practical way, alter how we all see the world.
After all, he has magic to go along with his sword…
In my own life, I’ve committed to the personal work of becoming the Wizard. It’s not easy. But it is worth it.
However, I find it very easy to slip into Warrior mode. To forget about reflection, deep thought and magic and just swing that damned sword! Feels like I’m doing something even though I’m getting nowhere.
And that’s exactly what happened over the last week or so. I started to see these opportunities and the work required to maximize them as dragons and warriors to be slain. Tasks to be knocked down and crushed.
I had pushed both the Monk and the Wizard aside because I was itching for a “fight.” I needed a few moments of reflection and contemplation to realize the Warrior is the wrong guy for this situation. At least in part.
This morning it hit me like a freight train. After a morning walk (a regular habit for exercise, connection to God and reflection on matters important to me,) I got back home and realized I felt completely drained – physically, intellectually, emotionally and spiritually.
Just empty. Something had to change. Immediately.
I had to recharge myself, shift my perspective and move out of Warrior Mode.
So, while working with morning clients, I allowed myself to see my world first from the Monk’s perspective. He asked me some important questions.
Who are you really fighting? (Me, as embodied in my memory of past failures.)
What are you afraid of? (Failing again and reinforcing that shadow archetype.)
Why are these opportunities important to you? (I am exposed and open to the thoughts and opinions of people I love, people I respect and still others who have access to opportunities I’ve not realized yet. I want to educate, inform, entertain – to shine!)
Who is important right now? (My wife. My clients. People whom I’m educating, helping and sharing my thoughts and experience with.)
What must change for you to be successful in maximizing all that has been offered to you? (Stop fighting a past self who no longer exists and start embracing possibility!)
What are you grateful for right now? (For my wife and those who love and support me. That God put me here, right now, to take this on. For all the blessings God has bestowed on me and my life. For the mind and inquisitive nature He’s given me.)
How can you show that gratitude? (Tell people. Be unafraid to express myself. Be present with people and passionate about delivering value.)
Now, it’s time to let the Wizard take over again. To see all of life, not just the part that comes through the prism of limitation and fear.
It’s time to flow through life, to alter the experience in ways that make it better for everyone I come in contact with. To experience nature, both in the literal, outdoors sense of the word and in the nature of people. To realize that most people are good people who want to live well in the world and leave others to do the same.
To use my sword and magic to lift others up, to help them see the possibilities in their own lives.
It’s time to help my clients see their goals not as dragons to be slain, but as blessings to live in. As the inspiration for living with the freedom that can only come from being disciplined and focused.
It’s time for the Wizard to see the world in front of the veil and to sense the world behind it. To consider the possibility, no, the reality that what we see is not all there is.
It’s time for the Wizard to draw his sword, summon some magic and crush the fear, anxiety and limiting thought that’s been holding me back.
I think this is going to be fun…
Keep the faith and keep after it!