I admire life coach Stephen McGhee for doing this daring climb to wake people up to the role of the beauty of physical exercise-the fun of it. It's open to everybody. It's amazing. We all get glued to the TV during the Olympics and we are so excited, that health club memberships go up during those weeks. It would be great if we could just have that be a daily thing for us too. To have our lives lived inside our own Olympic Village of the mind.
A good coach isn't afraid to move your body. He won't just fix his mind on your mind.
Stephen McGhee is one of my favorite coaches of all time. Every time I refer people to him for coaching I get nothing but the best feedback on what it has done for their lives. Stephen is a life coach with a specialty in re-introducing his clients to their bodies. He's got three or four really great websites. If you Google Stephen McGhee (M-C-G-H-E-E) you will find them. They are all worth reading through. He's also got a great blog called the "get real" blog. (If you are not ready to get real don't go there.)
Stephen goes out into the world with people and puts their body into the whole mind/body/spirit equation. And I've found over the years in my own life and in the lives of clients I've coached, that when the body get's left out of that equation, it's not a good formula. You can't get an optimal result. It really brings the other two things (mind and spirit) down.
At this time, a team of men including club fearless members Stephen McGhee (special guest on our November webinar on Physical Exercise) and Jeff Patterson are climbing Aconcagua, the tallest mountain in the world outside of Asia. They set up their base camp on Sunday this week and then set up High Camp #1 on Monday.
For further details, watch the short video on Stephen’s blog, here:
And you can subscribe to receive regular updates on their progress here:
These men, fearless leaders all, exemplify the spirit of Club Fearless.
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When you lead with the body----the other two always follow. Of the three elements, mind, body and spirit, the body is the only one that can get the other two to automatically rise up with it!
So, if you can get the body right somehow---if you can get up and walk or get out into the world and move your body, the mind and the spirit will follow! Most people try to do it the other way around. They wait until they feel like moving the body. They think they've got to get their mind right before they exercise. Or they have to be in the right kind of mood or spirit and then they will dance, or then they will swim, or then they'll run or lift weights or play basketball. And that's why people are so out of shape. That's exactly why. Because my body waits for inspiration instead of just diving in.
Everybody talks about the mind-body connection. I hear people say, "I'm a coach of mind/body/spirit"-but they've got it in the wrong order-they are misleading everybody-at least in my experience.
If you were to lead with the body amazing things would happen. And you don't have to wait to be in a particular mood. You don't have to figure out if your psychology is precisely right or if the stars are aligning or if your DNA is perfect-you don't have to wait for anything. The action itself is what lifts you to act.
Stephen McGhee is in great shape. He climbs mountains, he runs, he does yoga.
"Once I begin to really move my body," says McGhee, "there is an enlightening element that occurs in my entire life. It's like the body starts moving, the heart starts pounding, the blood flows, and the thinking gets clearer. So the progression is body, mind and then spirit. So suddenly then there is this enlivened spirit that comes from moving my body."
As a life/leadership coach, McGhee noticed that there were a number of his clients he could see were struggling with their bodies.
"They were overweight," he says, "And yet they were wanting to create something magnificent in the world, in their business, in their life but they were being stopped by their body. They couldn't see it."
Seeing this gave McGhee an idea. He wanted to do something big so he decided to bring a group of men with him on a nine-month coaching program. He decided to start with the physical and then flow into the emotional, mental and spiritual ways of being that supported people in growing and getting stronger in their lives and in their businesses.
"I wanted it to culminate with a huge goal," he said. "I didn't want this to be something based in theory in a seminar room where we only talked about moving our bodies. So I created a program called “The Aconcagua Man Project” which culminates in our climbing a huge mountain summit after nine months of exercising together."
He took his clients through nine months of mental strengthening and emotional stability, to summit out a very big mountain in Argentina called Aconcagua which happens to be 22,834 feet to the top.
His core message to his clients: "Put your ass on the line and get everything off the couch."
Aconcagua is the tallest mountain in the world outside of Asia. And this very sense of adventure is one thing that sets life coaching apart from business consulting and from psychotherapy.
I'm reminded of the old sports coaches' saying (and it's been attributed to so many coaches now I have no idea where it began), "It's not the will to win that's important, it's the will to prepare to win."
McGhee agrees, "That mountain is not something that you want to be unprepared for. The statistics on the mountain are that about 30% of all people that attempt to summit it actually make it and of course, our intention as a team is that we all make the summit."
That's the physical side of the coaching project, but there's another side, too. McGhee and his group of clients call it the inward summit.
"It's a realization that each of us physically has a place where we think we can go to," McGhee says. "Then I have them go a step beyond that."
Going beyond where you think you can go is exactly what coaching is for. I realize with my own coaching that I never would have dared to do what I did with my professional life had I not had a coach.
McGhee says that the human body is an example of our holding back.
"The body can do more than we think it can," he says, "and we as a society have gotten so lazy with our bodies that we want to do it in 12 minutes a day. We want turtleback abs in 12 minutes a day. It just doesn't work."
I've tried to get McGhee, who is 48, to admit that he has down periods when he forgets or simply doesn't feel like exercising. I asked him to tell me about when those periods happen for him.
"It never happens," he said. "It is not worth it to me to not exercise. I had one of the greatest compliments recently from a person who said, 'You are the most vital person I have ever met.' When I heard that I immediately thought, 'It has a lot to do with taking care of the body.' I mean, there's meditation, there's affirmations-there's all that stuff, but until the space is cleared through my body, I can just forget about it. Because if I don't exercise, my mood changes, the world looks different, I'm more cynical about the world and the world situation. All I need to know is that I feel better after exercise. So it's not in my world that I would consider not exercising."
The vitality McGhee radiates is part of the reason his coaching practice is so successful. People love his energy. They love being in his presence. When he coaches business leaders they open up to more exciting ranges of possibilities for their future.
Like so many people who have become enlightened to the power of living a committed life, McGhee can trace his inspiration back to a negative experience. This once again illustrates the value of "bad" experiences in life. It's a paradoxical factor that Napoleon Hill called "Inspirational dissatisfaction." I'll often use it with new coaching clients. Let's find where you are most dissatisfied in life and let's use that as inspiration for creating a new future.
McGhee was 12 when he contracted Osgood-Schlatter disease. It severely limited the movement of his knees. When all his friends were out playing football or baseball he couldn't. For ten months he had to stay at home sitting inside while the world outside played.
McGhee remembers that painful period: "When that finally healed up, I can remember making a decision-a choice-that I would always exercise, because I got to feel what it was like not to."
Some of the men who joined him for the mountain project were out of shape. McGhee brought in a professional trainer to work with them.
"But it really started by taking time to build a foundation, he said, "as it is important for everybody who is out of shape to begin by building a foundation. So anyone thinking, 'It's time for me to start to move my body again,' it's important to start slowly. So we took two months to build a foundation for these guys that were not in particularly great shape. So we weren't carrying heavy packs, we weren't running up mountains. We were doing core abdominal work at the beginning. And think about it, a lot of our strength comes from our core and our legs. People think its big biceps-like Popeye. Remember Popeye? He ate a lot of spinach and he had big arms, but I don't know how strong his core was. The core is your abdominal area, so it gets strengthened through sit-ups and other exercises. It is very important to strengthen the core when one begins a physical regime, because everything comes from there. And then you have a lot better chance of staying healthy without low back problems or any other complications from heavy exercise."
McGhee's group took two months to build the core. All the while he was also coaching them in the core stability of their business and financial world, as well as family relations. There' core there too. There's a principled, committed life versus a life of pleasure, pain and ego-the life of seeking love and approval from others. A life lived in vain. Coaching addresses the whole life of the client. Not just his abdominals.
After the two months of core work, McGhee's guys knew that in six months they would be climbing Aconcagua-one of the toughest mountains in the world.
"It really shows how quickly and how powerfully a person can get in top condition," said McGhee. One's life can get in condition too, quickly and powerfully.
During the training McGhee saw that there was an even greater connection between the body and the spirit than he had previously appreciated. Coaches often become inspired by their clients.
"When one starts to get his or her body in shape, all kinds of possibilities start to emerge," he said. "No longer is a person distracted by 20 pounds of overweight excess fat. Suddenly they are moving their bodies better, so they are thinking more clearly, and all of a sudden they are saying, 'Let's talk about my having an extraordinary relationship with my wife.'"
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"Self concept is destiny."
~ Nathaniel Branden
These men, fearless leaders all, exemplify the spirit of Club Fearless.