His obvious pride was palpable.
His sense of accomplishment was inspiring.
His passion for life was contagious.
With a smile the width of a football field he looked across the table at me and announced, “I am a changed man.”
And changed he certainly was.
When we had last sat at this same restaurant table some eight months earlier he could only have been described as defeated.
His life, to use his words at the time, could best be described as “desperate and getting worse.”
It seemed that every aspect of his life was in chaos and that each day brought additional stresses and challenges into his overburdened existence.
He had been discharged four days earlier from the hospital where he had spent several days recovering from an obesity, smoking, hard drinking, high stress induced heart attack.
He had separated from his wife of 17 years only one week before entering the hospital and the week before that he had been “downsized” from the company where he had worked for the past 12 years.
Needless to say our meeting that day had not been one filled with laughter as he repeatedly told me, to use his words, that “my life just ain’t working for me.”
He told me he’d known for a long time that he needed to make some changes in his life but that right now, today, making those changes was no longer optional that he felt that his time for delaying making changes to his life had finally run out.
And he sure had a lot of changes to deal with.
A high school football star in his youth, he had exchanged his athleticism for an eating binge that had lasted some 25 years. By his own admission he had gained 130 pounds since his last football game and over that same period had “lifted nothing heavier than a beer.”
And right up until the day of his heart attack he had been a committed two pack a day smoker.
And the heavier he had become, and the more alcohol he consumed, and the more cigarettes he smoked, the less energy he seemed to have.
And that reduced energy had left him removed and disengaged from his wife and children.
And it had also helped shape his work attitude of doing the least amount he could possibly get away with.
And he was scared.
He had tried many times before to make changes in his life. He had joined Weight Watchers, called Jenny, tried Atkins, South Beach, Suzanne Somers and every other known weight-loss program.
All to no avail.
He jokingly suggested he might have been better off had he not tried all of those programs at the same time.
He said that he had used the Mark Twain method to quit smoking. As you may recall, Mark Twain is famously quoted as saying “Quitting smoking is easy, I’ve done it thousands of times.”
He told me that he felt that making changes in his life was the hardest thing possible and that he wasn’t sure if he would be able to do all this. He felt intimidated by the sheer volume of changes he wished to make.
He felt that he was trapped inside a box and the walls were closing in around him.
So I suggested that the way out of this box was to just make one small change from within.
That he didn’t need to overwhelm himself by the size and number of changes he needed to make. That was too daunting a task
I suggested he not even think of them.
Not even think about losing weight and quitting smoking and getting in shape and healing his marriage and finding a job.
He need only make one small change.
And spare himself the others.
Only change one little thing.
Change what he believed to be true of himself.
That he replace the damning, self-critical, negative beliefs he presently had of himself.
That he start believing himself to be worthy and not worthless.
And we talked about this at length.
About only making one small change.
And reinforcing this change to himself over and over and over again.
And he said he would.
And he did.
And eight months later he was gushing before me.
Sixty-eight pounds lighter.
One glass of wine as a treat on Fridays.
And as he was telling me all of this his wife was sitting next to him with an equally wide grin.
Yes, they’ve been back together for two months now.
And she was so in love with this “new man in her life.”
And he was really loving his new job.
Being naturally inquisitive I asked him how he had done all this.
And he told me hadn’t really done anything at all.
Well, just one tiny thing.
A small change.
You know, the one we had talked about eight months earlier.
That’s all he had done.
Changed what he believed to be true of himself.
Had worked really hard at this.
And everything else had just happened.
In fact, he said it works so well – that little bitty change.
That he would like me to challenge each of you to try it.
To just try one teeny little thing.
To change what you believe to be true of yourself.
And then stand back and watch what happens.
You up for it?
Let me know.
Till we read again.
P.S. This is a serious challenge to all of you from my deliriously happy friend. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and accept his challenge. Then stay in touch and I will gladly pass your success stories on to him.