My new book “How to Get in Shape (for Life)” is out!

Hurray! My new book is out. “How to Get in Shape! (for Life)” is a work book that will help you watch the free videos from my “Get in Shape” videos now available on YouTube.. The book contains pages in which you write down notes, set your goals, and check yourself every week. So it is also a workbook that is customized by you.  The book is extremely small so it can fit comfortably in your purse or pocket.

If you wish to get the book you can click here to go directly to Amazon or copy this text in to your browser…

If you prefer, you can also get the book on your Kindle by clicking here or pasting the following in to your browser…

Thank you to everyone who helped me complete the book and to the participants in the “get in shape” program who are featured in the videos. A great experience for all of us, and I’m excited that many other people might get the benefit of the videos that we shot.

Cheers, Erick

Get in Shape – the Lead Actor (post 4)

The third leading role you must adopt to craft a better life story I refer to as the Lead Actor or Actress (for brevity, I’ll just use “Actor”).  There eventually comes a time when we need to execute – actually get in to the scene and play the part we’ve scripted.  Many times this is where we trip up. We’ve done an excellent job of making plans, we’ve problem solved and know exactly what to do – but we simply do not execute.

So how can we improve your execution?  Why would seeing yourself as the Lead Actor in your own life story get you to perform better?  I have several answers to that.

First, I believe, it reminds you that you are still, and are always, beholden to the larger script of your life story.  Whatever person you wanted to be, or whatever goals you wanted to obtain in those quieter, reflective moments when you were explicitly being the Scriptwriter – those are always your goals.  Until you change them (and that can only happen when you are quietly, explicitly reflecting on your life and playing the Scriptwriter), those were, are and will remain to be the major themes and objectives of your life story. You decided you wanted to get in shape.  And you, as Lead Actor, are not allowed to instantaneously rewrite the script.

Does this make sense to you?  Lead Actors cannot change the whole direction of the movie, or even refuse to act out a scene just because they don’t feel like it. Lead Actors do carry the scene.  They are the people the whole scene revolves around. So therefore, their enthusiastic participation is necessary and expected.  But they don’t rewrite the purpose of the scene, nor the outcome that is necessary for the scene to advance the plot of the overarching story line.  Specifically, get your workout in – even a modest workout, and eat the food you planned – even if it’s a modified version of the food, because you aren’t allowed to rewrite the script once you are in the scene.

But, you might ask, doesn’t the Lead Actor have leeway or flexibility in how the scene is performed? Aren’t they the ones who can ad lib (make up new lines) and argue with the Director about the way the scene is being executed?  My answer is: yes! Exactly right!

The Lead Actor does have creative input and the largest amount of decision making authority among the actors.  I want you to have the confidence to challenge things in the moment and to make decisions if you think a better way is available.  But – and this is a big “but” – the Lead Actor still stays true to the script!  They are looking for ways to better execute that script – never rewrite it or change the ending. Lead Actors don’t suddenly make an action scene turn in to a comedic one. They don’t decide to fall in love with the extra instead of the lead actress.  Actors don’t write scripts. They simply change dialogue or make different movements across stage or with their hands… But they always accomplish the story they’ve been handed. They make sure the larger story still moves forward, as planned.

My main point: Lead Actors can ad lib – but they can’t rewrite the script!  Do you see the difference?

(This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “How to Get in Shape! (for Life)”.  Look for it on Amazon in January of 2013.)

Get in Shape – the Director (post 3)

The Director wear’s a different hat.  Once we’ve decided where we want to end up, we can be certain there are going to be challenges along the way.  Problems to solve.  This is where we must adopt a different role. I have taught for many years in my TV and film production classes that the best job description for the Director is simply “problem solver.”  The Director must deal with whatever situation comes along and still bring to life the script to the best of his or her abilities.

As an experienced Director, I know, despite my best attempts as Scriptwriter at creating a very realistic, do-able script, when I show up to shoot a particular scene I will have problems to solve.  I may have to deal with whatever lighting I’m stuck with, whatever weather Mother Nature throws at me, whatever moods the actors are in that day…  I may have inexperienced crew members, broken equipment, a lousy and loud location, or any of a million other issues.  But – I have to solve each and every problem!  I have to get on with the execution of the script, as best I can.  Guess what?  So do you!

As the Director of your life story, you are the problem solver of each scene in your story.  Of course, you don’t know everything. Sometimes you can only do your best.  Sometimes things don’t turn out exceedingly well.  But fortunately, you can always get better. You do that by learning.  I am very serious about that last part. You, as the Director, are not just the problem solver, you are also the “constant learner.” You get better at solving problems, and therefore executing your life script better, by constantly learning.  Fortunately, I think you already know that. That’s why you’re reading this!

Again, I’ve written much more about this in the upcoming book on Life Framing, so let’s keep it brief here. Whatever challenge you have written above, let’s acknowledge that you could still learn more about it.  Maybe there are things to learn about how your internal biological processes affect that outcome, or perhaps about how your internal psychological processes affect it. Maybe you need to develop some skills or acquire a certain type of knowledge so you can make better decisions regarding that topic.  To solve the problem better, you most likely need to learn some things.

When you are problem solving and learning you are being the Director. Importantly, ignore or divorce yourself from whatever feelings you might have about any previous failed “getting in shape” attempts you’ve made.  Those feelings, if they are negative, are not going to assist you at all.  Right now I’m trying to address you as the Director, not the Lead Actor, and you must be dispassionate about the problems you need to solve. I call this the “Director’s Distance.”  There must be a separation between the Lead Actor, who is emotionally involved and invested in the scene, and the Director who is analyzing and problem solving the scene. I won’t belabor the point here, but you must play the Director, not the Lead Actor, when you step out of the scene to analyze it and discover how to do it better.

Most importantly: the Director, always, must execute the script they are given! The Director does not get to rewrite the script!

(This is an excerpt from my upcoming book “How to Get in Shape! (for Life)”.  Look for it on Amazon in January of 2013.)