We all understand the basics of physical fitness, and many resources teach mindfulness, business skills, and entrepreneurial chutzpah. But often undermining these goals are less-tangible roadblocks — mental and emotional baggage, deep-seated insecurity, self-judgment, and overwhelming stress and anxiety.
In her new book The Full Spirit Workout , author Kate Eckman draws from her multifaceted training, as an athlete, executive leadership coach, and meditation teacher, to present a program that empower us to break through these blocks and accomplish our goals. It’s a rewarding workout made up of daily mind-body-spirit exercises and neuroscience-based practices that bolster resilience and inner strength. Best of all, Coach Eckman builds in creativity, flexibility, and delight so that each “rep” feels less like work and more like play.
We hope you’ll enjoy this Q and A with Kate about the book.
Tell us about the title of your book The Full Spirit Workout.
The Full Spirit Workout is a play on the expression “full body workout” that you often hear advertised at the gym. But it’s also about bringing your full spirit — your presence, passion, purpose, potential, and unique gifts — to everything you do and to everyone you meet. I believe our life purpose is to be happy, express joy, and spread love. So who are we to not shine as brightly as we’re capable of shining?
What is spiritual fitness and how can it transform our lives?
Spiritual fitness is being willing to get our spirit in tip-top condition so that we can have the life we’ve always wanted. It’s an inner strength system that helps you live your life based on love, support, faith, abundance, and authenticity. It’s about fighting against emotional gravity like fear, stress, anxiety, comparison, judgment — anything that weighs us down — and shedding excess mental and emotional pounds. Being spiritually fit transforms our lives because we are able to finally feel confident, fulfilled, peaceful, abundant, loving, and joyful.
Imagine a life that isn’t about how to “get this” or “do that,” but instead about being the person who naturally attracts all that your heart desires. You just have to believe how powerful you are! Increased performance and resilience, more meaningful relationships, newfound confidence and well-being, true fulfillment, and fun are available to you when you get your spirit in shape.
The magic happens when we approach our spiritual fitness with creativity, playfulness, and delight. Spiritual fitness is your invitation to get radically honest about what is happening inside you at your core. Just like physical exercise, spiritual exercise can be challenging but also extremely rewarding, and we always feel so much better after a great workout, even if we resist it at first.
You were a successful model, beautiful on the outside, yet like many of us, insecure on the inside. What inner beauty characteristics can we cultivate to help lift ourselves up and shine as brightly as we’re capable of?
I’m not going to pretend that it isn’t a huge challenge to love ourselves in a world that’s constantly telling us not to. But I think our time is far better spent cultivating our inner characteristics rather than working on “problem areas” to attract a partner, win approval from others, or try to conform to society’s very narrow view of beauty. The physical workouts aren’t going to help us love ourselves more. That’s an inside job, which is what the Full Spirit Workout is all about. And the more we believe in ourselves regardless of how we look, the more we automatically attract people into our lives who see us that way, too.
Remember that you’re a spirit going about life in a body that’s here as your vessel for expressing love. Again, it’s an instrument of purpose that allows you to experience and express joy. That’s miraculous, isn’t it? Rather than beating ourselves up for not fitting some arbitrary image, why don’t we choose to instead appreciate all that our bodies give us? It’s self-sabotage to pin all our self-worth on our appearance when our souls are so much more important and meaningful.
You are a former elite college athlete who is familiar with the rigors of physical training. How did you learn to build “emotional muscles” and how can others do it?
What I learned from my 17-year competitive swimming career was that if we want to be physically fit, we have to train our physical muscles through cardiovascular exercise, strength training, and stretching. We also know this takes discipline. We won’t see any benefits unless we exercise regularly. The same is true of our emotional muscles.
Building strong “emotional muscles” means being able to return to our center, which gives us power because we are grounded and present. You can do this by giving yourself emotional timeouts. Rather than acting on emotional impulses and saying or doing something we will later regret, we can resist the temptation and see our reaction as an opportunity to grow and develop character. We can also take the high road and forgive. When someone is rude to us and we don’t engage, we pass the test. When we are willing to take responsibility even though it’s hard, we grow up faster and build strong character that attracts abundance into our lives. Another exercise? Don’t get on board. It’s hard to overlook an insult, keep a positive attitude, and be patient when nothing seems to be going our way. We think if those rude people would just stop being rude, everything would be great. But when we allow ourselves to realize that this rude person or upsetting situation is perfect for us because it allows us to change for the better, we take back our power.
Kate Eckman is the author of The Full Spirit Workout and a Columbia University–certified executive leadership coach. She leverages her experience as a well-known communications, performance, and mindfulness expert, accomplished entrepreneur, and elite athlete to equip leaders with the tools, methodology, and energetic boost they need to excel. Visit her online at http://www.kateeckman.tv.
Excerpted from the book from The Full Spirit Workout. Copyright ©2021 by Kate Eckman. Printed with permission from New World Library — www.newworldlibrary.com.