When you put energy and effort into something it becomes an asset, something of value, or perhaps something for which you hope to receive a reward, bonus or promotion. Sweat equity is the extra energy you expend, above and beyond what’s expected, that will propel you into the next level in many areas of your life. Doing a better-than-average job at work might pay off in the form of a bonus or promotion. More often, however, it’s easier to put a little elbow grease into helping others, or doing something special for our loved ones. But what if we set an intention to put ourselves at the top of the list?
Life is work and relationships are even more work. There are times when we really don’t want to do something that’s expected of us, but we know our efforts will be appreciated, so we do it. We show up. We are the best we can be. We volunteer for charities, we attend events that we’ve made commitments to.
What if you made the same effort to your own physical and mental wellness that you do for others? There are times when we go above and beyond any expectations in our work or home relationships because it’s the right thing to do, and the outcome will be beneficial to at least one person. We go the extra mile. Why do we always put ourselves last?
Recently, I showed up at my favorite yoga studio for what I thought was an hour-long hot, power yoga class, but it was in fact, ninety grueling minutes. 90! The class was packed, and I immediately assessed the other participants and thought, “well, if they can do it, so can I”. There’s no reward for doing an extra thirty minutes. No ribbon or trophy. No one waiting for me on the other side of the door to say “atta girl!” For a moment, I thought about making an excuse that I had to leave early, or pick up dry cleaning or something, but I didn’t. I showed up and I did the entire class! Knowing that ultimately I would greatly benefit from the extra sweating and stretching, I put myself first, which made me slightly uncomfortable. I felt a little guilty spending so much time on “me”, especially when I have so many other commitments; family, cooking, cleaning, dogs, writing blogs, books and screenplays, charities, and working on our TV show; Ted Nugent Spirit of the Wild.
During the class I kept looking at the door, wondering, at what point will I leave? Those extra thirty minutes were challenging. It wasn’t easy. I struggled. There were times when I felt like I couldn’t do one more pose. But I somehow made it through.
This weekend, put yourself first. If you have an extra hour or even fifteen minutes, work-out harder or longer – put the sweat equity into being a healthier, happier YOU!
Note: consult a medical professional before beginning any exercise regimen and honor your limitations.