How a TV program shows us Positive Transformation
I hope you have seen the new action packed reality show, “STRONG,” that recently premiered on NBC. It features ten women from all walks of life and ten of the world’s most elite, athletic trainers. The women are overweight and out of shape. Some are emotionally frail. The trainers have three months to transform the women into well-conditioned, competitive athletes. During this time, they train the women, design and prepare their meals, and compete as two person teams with their trainees. The competition is intense…No, in fact, it is actually brutal! Each week, the team that finishes last in the competition is eliminated from the program.
Aside from the entertainment and heart-pounding intensity of the production, there is a more subtle, yet deeply profound take away from this program. Yes, the women lost incredible amounts of weight and untold dress sizes as they gained muscle and strength. Their physical transformation was nothing short of amazing, but it was their mental transformation that I find most impressive and worthy of further discussion.
Each of the women experienced an overall mind/body transformation as a result of their transition from being mentally and physically weak to strong. But, like most transitions, the final transformation was not without its difficulties.
Transition is known to be a period of uncertainty, which can be viewed as having three distinct phases: an end, a reorientation, and a new beginning (or final transformation).
Moving beyond their familiar comfort zone was, for these women, a disquieting end to the status quo of their previous lifestyle. Finding themselves beyond their protective comfort zone, they experienced self-doubt and emotional stress, which often occurs when one enters uncharted territory. This was perhaps the most critical point of their transformation, and if it were not for their trainers, the trainees would not have experienced a positive transformation. It was this very moment that, in my mind, I saw the trainers transform into coaches and prove to me they were truly the best of the best in their chosen field.
Each of the coaches had facilitated literally hundreds of physical transformations in their careers. This was the easy part. What distinguished them and set them apart from other trainers was the way they recognized and dealt with their trainee’s mental self-doubt and self-limiting beliefs at this critical juncture in the transformation process.
Like good coaches (notice that I no longer refer to them as trainers) they remained future focused, positive, and solution-oriented in the face of their trainee’s emotional upheaval. Most importantly, they spoke the four magical words that sealed the deal for their trainee; “I believe in you!” Nothing they did throughout the competition was more impactful and transformational as these few coaching techniques and the four magical words.
There is a take home message for us in this story. As clinical healthcare providers, our practices experience periods of upheaval and transition. Today’s healthcare environment requires consistent change and adaptation, forcing us to constantly step just beyond our comfort zone. Like the “STRONG” coaches, we must recognize and deal with our team’s emotional upheaval as we take them to uncharted territories and ask them to compete in a new and unfamiliar environment. We must look beyond the turmoil and upheaval, understanding that out of chaos comes the opportunity for incredible growth and positive transformation.
We must be the champion for our team in the face of this emotional upheaval; remaining positive, future focused, and solution oriented. Oh yes, and don’t forget the four magical words!