A shift from encouragement to genuine support

Sometimes, I doubt myself. I doubt myself quite often, really. The past 10 weeks have pushed me beyond what I thought was possible or probable. However, it has also opened my eyes to a bigger question I asked myself, “Why do we get discouraged, unmotivated and filled with self-doubt?”

The Struggle Stage

After a few reflections of all areas of my life, there are some patterns to personal development that can impact us. One of these areas is within learning tasks and performing. Specifically, the Ken Blanchard Situational Leadership II taught me that there are four levels of learning and performing tasks. Right now, in my job and bodybuilding, I am stuck in the second phase: D2.

To give you a quick intro to what this means, I have passed the first stage as an excited beginner, “honeymooner” at D1. I am stuck at D2, where you start to know what you are doing but get frustrated with processes and the unknown, and in turn, have decreased motivation. This is the stage right before D3, where you start really performing and become a high achiever in that task or goal. You guessed it. D2 = struggle stage and lots of self doubt.

YMCA Grand Island Nebraska

A few thoughts I have experienced recently (for bodybuilding primarily, but also for some work experiences):

Why am doing this?
Why am I not seeing noticeable results?
Gosh, I just want to eat a slice of greasy pizza… actually, more like the whole dame thing and a loaf of bread.
Chugging water like a camel makes me cold all the time… and it’s 85 degrees outside.
These veins popping out of my abdomen are disgusting, even if I have a six pack without flexing.
I hate feeling tired all the time.
No one even cares that I’m competing… right now, I don’t have any friends or family who will be there to support me the day of the contest.
Am I making a difference for my customers?
I live in the middle of effin’ no where.
I want to learn everything. Right. Now.
Then, once I learn it all, I can stop feeling like I waste people’s time.
Can I just eat a whole jar of almond butter? And a donut?
Bedtime…. (2 hours later)…. guess my body does not want to sleep.
(Wakes up 1 hour earlier than alarm)… hello, morning. Guess it’s time to workout.
Here goes another day!

All of the above thoughts have crossed my mind at least once in the past couple weeks (if not three times a day). Have I shared some of these thoughts with people? A few. But, then again, I feel like the “whiny, complainy friend that no one wants to really talk to because she is crazy with her diet and a workout maniac”. If you follow me on SnapChat, you might already have experienced this. I apologize for that. Feel free to add me: carolinescues.

This weekend, I had a wakeup call. 

Through the process of a new job and training for my competition, I have seen encouragement. Many people say “I could never do that” or “That takes a lot of discipline, good for you.” Recently, those compliments just rolled off my back and I did not truly appreciate them. Anyone can wish you well for something you are preparing to do, right? Nope.

Not everyone is genuinely supporting your goals and ambitions. They might share a quick line of encouragement, but do they do more? Do they follow up? Do they stay engaged with your life and keep pushing you towards you tasks and goals because you have discussed them? Are they just an encourager and not a genuine supporter?


On Saturday, I went to the gym in the morning, like usual. About 3/4 through my upper body workout, a younger gal comes in to the weight room. I had seen her every so often, but we had never talked. While I was resting after a set, she approached me. She asked if I was training for anything and I began to tell her that I was training for my first bodybuilding competition. A grin came upon her face and what she said next stuck with me.

“I have seen you here the past few weeks and watched your transformation. You look awesome and it’s obvious you have put a lot of work in. Keep up the good work.”

I thanked her for the sincere compliment and we started talking about her fitness journey and goals. Before we went back to our separate areas in the gym, she wished me a great workout and that she looks forward to seeing my progress continue the next few weeks. Not only was she positive and encouraging, but she shared how she has seen my progress over the weeks and looks forward to seeing more. That alone spoke volumes that she genuinely supports my goal and will be keeping tabs on my progress.

On Sunday morning, I attended Bible study. The topic was “patience” and how we may or may not be patient, how that impacts our wellbeing and its correlation to the Bible and God’s purpose for us. After my reflection this past week, I realized I have been extremely impatient and irritated. God has a plan. But, my life is not on my timeline; it is His. Our pastor then asked who we can pray for. Some of the people started sharing names of people to pray for and about. One of the ladies I am starting to get to know better said, “pray for Caroline and her competition”.

I was surprised. I am not sure why except that it was unexpected. When the pastor prayed, he uplifted my efforts because I am “nourishing and maintaining my body, the temple God created for me”. I never looked at it in that way; I like that perspective.

That afternoon, I also had a FaceTime session with a good friend who not only talked casual conversation, but also helped me with posing practice and timing me as I held poses. She has been very encouraging via text and cheering me on from miles away. However, it has taken me up to this afternoon to realize she is a genuine supporter of my cause and goal by taking 20 minutes of her day to help me with posing and gain nothing in return.

Be that genuine supporter

Progress PicThe past few days opened my eyes to not only people around me who are genuine supporters, but the fact that in challenging times, our self reflection and outreach can be just as vital for success. Furthermore, I want to continue helping others with their goals. I have had friends ask about fitness and nutrition, as well as other personal development topics. Did I go the extra length to genuinely support their causes? Probably not to my best ability. 
How can I become a genuine supporter and not just an encourager? If I have noticed the difference in my own ambitions, what impact can that have for others close to me?
Thank you to those who are encouraging. It is helpful. But, my deepest gratitude goes to those who are genuine supporters. Now, I will try to offer the same investment and genuine support to you. Will you join me to make the shift from encourager to genuine supporter? Let’s do it together. Only 9 weeks to go! 

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