If you could choose any superpower, what would it be?
One of the classics: flight, or invisibility?
Something inspired by one of the X-Men, or a DC comics character?
Many years ago I found myself in the presence of a human being with a superpower, and I'll never forget the experience.
David the Superhero
His name was David Mallery, and he was, among other things, the head of professional development for the National Association of Independent Schools.
I was a cocky young teacher at a small Quaker school in central New Jersey, when my principal offered me the chance to attend one of David's seminars for teachers with fewer than five years classroom experience.
I agreed because the seminar was held at a nice resort center – not because I thought some old guy had anything to teach me about teaching.
And five minutes into the seminar, which was attended by about a hundred other young teachers, I discovered David's superpower: he could make anyone experience self-love.
David knew how to guide us to find the best, most authentic, most passionate, most hopeful, most generous aspects of our own beings.
And because we each fell in love with ourselves, we all fell in love with each other as well.
And with the staff at the retreat center. One of them said to me, “We all love the David Mallery seminars because everyone is so nice to us.”
I'm still not exactly sure what David did, or how he did it. I know that he saw and felt and experienced that goodness inside each of us. No matter who we were, or what we had done, or how we behaved, David's faith in our goodness was greater than our own doubt.
To this day, my inner GPS and gyroscope align with some of the things David guided me to unearth in myself.
- A true love of teaching, and not just a hunger to be the center of attention, or a craving to be needed, or a hankering for praise.
- A heartfelt generosity, and not just a flashy display of means, or a status-seeking strategy.
- A drive to improve myself, and not just a posing for the cameras or orientation toward the rewards of achievement.
As a cynical, selfish, insecure kid, these energies – these most intimate aspects of myself that I had never caressed, or even suspected – washed over me and made me clean. I could look at myself in a mirror and love what looked back.
And as I go through life and feel the waves of cynicism and selfishness and lust for approval crest and break, I can come back to myself – remember myself. Reconnect with the primal goodness that David allowed me to see. And be.
David died in 2010, at the age of 86.
I've been striving to be more like him since 1991. As I think about it, one of my main reasons for choosing a healthy lifestyle is so I have enough years to come close to David's ability to see the best in people.
Here's where I am pretty good (to paraphrase The Sixth Sense):
I See Healthy People
That is, I can look at anyone and see the vibrant, healthy, lean athlete who is their essence.
- Sorrowful diabetic cashiers at Food Lion.
- Obese shoppers riding in carts at Costco.
- Bedraggled new fathers who've gained 30 pounds since the pregnancy.
- Women who are terrified because they're gaining the weight back after their bariatric surgery.
- The ex-football player with back problems, bad knees, and a drinking problem.
And because I can see it – literally, visually – I can often get people to believe that a different way of living is possible.
That superpower isn't enough, though. Once I saw the destination, I had to become a competent sherpa. I had to develop the tools and skills and techniques to bring people from unhealthy to healthy. From overweight or obese to lean. From sick to fit.
In other words, I had to become a masterful coach.
I've been learning and practicing coaching since 1999. I've studied and apprenticed with the best:
- Peter Bregman, founder of the Bregman Leadership Training program
- Glenn Livingston, founder of the International Coach Certification Alliance, and creator of the Never Binge Again system
- BJ Fogg, creator of the Tiny Habits Academy
I've coached thousands of people, each of whom has taught me something.
And through my ten thousand hours or so, I've gotten pretty good at health coaching.
I have developed a reliable process for helping my clients FINALLY get traction on their health goals.
And that's no small task, because most people come to me convinced that they're “broken” or “undisciplined” or otherwise fated to mediocrity or worse.
Which is understandable, because they've failed at dozens of diets, dozens of New Year's resolutions, dozens of gym classes and memberships.
But habit change is a teachable, learnable skill. And without that skill, no change effort will succeed. And with it, any change effort will succeed.
I'm So Selfish
Josh LaJaunie and I talk about this all the time, that we feel like the most selfish, self-indulgent people on earth.
Because there is absolutely nothing that compares to the joy we feel when we see one of our WellStart Health coachees “get it” and catch fire.
- To see the self-described couch potato running in her first 5k, and loving it.
- To see the self-described sugar addict take charge of his menu choices, and feel empowered when he goes to the grocery store.
- To see the anxiety sufferer master the elements of stressproofing and tame her formerly overpowering cravings to binge
Imagine the joy of experiencing those moments on a daily basis!
If you'd like to develop the superpower of helping people reach their health and weight goals, here's an invitation:
Join me, Josh, and Kevin Davis for the upcoming WellStart Coach Training, starting May 6, 2019.
In 12 weeks, you'll discover the strongest, most reliable methodology for getting people unstuck, and in motion toward their goals.
If you're already a health coach, but you lack a reliable process, this training is for you.
If you're a nurse, dietitian, MD, PA, nutritionist, or other health professional and you want to guide your patients and clients to make better lifestyle choices, this training is for you.
If you've experienced the benefits of a plant-based, healthy lifestyle for yourself, and you want to share this wisdom with others but you're not sure how, this training is for you.
15 places remain.
Will you be one of the superheroes who moves the needle on health in your community and sphere of influence?
Find out more and schedule an enrollment interview at WellStartCoach.com.
And whatever your latent superpower, it's time to unleash it. The world needs us, in all our messiness and beauty and passion and contradiction. The world needs our Power.