What Schwarzenegger taught me

I hardly ever take time to watch Netflix series or documentaries, I simply don’t have the patience. But when you are floored with a virus and bored at home, like I was last week, it’s the perfect time for it. I ended up watching documentaries about four very different people who, to be honest, I was either not interested in, or was quite judgemental about: Pamela Anderson (she is lovely!), Tina Turner (she is a force!), David Beckham (he might be a show-off but he didn’t deserve that horrible bullying!). And then there was Arnold. What Schwarzenegger taught me, was more than I expected.

All I knew about Arnie was that he was an Austrian bodybuilder, then muscly movie star, and then a politician in California. Oh, and that his wife left him because he fathered a child with his housekeeper. Typical, I thought. You kind of quickly make your mind up about men like that, don’t you? But I thought, well, heck, I have nothing else to do, let’s not judge a book by its alpha male cover.

what schwarzenegger taught me
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The ingredients to be successful

It was a great story, which showed a lot of vulnerability in a physically very strong man. The Terminator was not without emotions, after all. An inspirational story, too. The drive and energy he had to get where he wanted to be, going from a little Alpine village boy to a star in Hollywood.

The lessons?

The clarity of vision (“don’t just dream; you need a vision, otherwise you stay dreaming!”),
The inspired and very focused actions he took,
The perseverance and discipline when it got difficult,
The fearlessness,

but also the curiosity and openness to reinvent himself when he felt it was time for something new.
To try things out against all odds, and believe you can.

These are all traits that make someone successful in whatever they choose to do.

what schwarzenegger taught me
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No man is an island, and even the Terminator has feelings

“They say I am a self-made man, but I am not a self-made man. I couldn’t have done it without the people around me. Without them, I am nothing.” 

Another lesson. And a reminder for all of us. Looking for help, and surrounding yourself with supportive and inspiring people is key to our success as entrepreneurs. Who are you learning from right now? What does your support network look like? Who’s got your back?

Finally, and this was definitely one that hit home with me, is the fact that you cannot run away from your emotional baggage. This will block you, and keep you from growing into the person you want to be.

Keeping busy keeps your mind of things, but if you don’t heal your (childhood) wounds, they will come up time and again. Schwarzenegger discovered during acting lessons that he had stuffed down a lot of sadness and trauma (his parents taught him to “just keep yourself busy, otherwise you spend too much time feeling sorry for yourself”), and how acting finally made him face the pain and the tears. He needed to do the inner work to break through some blocks.

what schwarzenegger taught me
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Action man and his Human Design

After watching the documentary, I was wondering whether Arnold was in fact a Manifesting Generator, like me (you probably know by now that I am into Human Design). Arnold was literally an ‘action man’. I am often told I am one too. And good god, I am not even pretending I have the same drive as him, but his traits somehow felt weirdly familiar to me. The ‘always on’ mode, the ‘feeling scared and doing it anyway’ attitude, the focus, the vision, the eagerness to learn new things and reinvent myself. Even the ‘foreigner in the new country’ feeling. And then the ignoring of sadness and pain by keeping busy. Arnie is indeed a Manifesting Generator 5/1, like me. I wonder if he exhausts himself sometimes too.

We are not all Manifesting Generators though, or ‘action men’. Some of us achieve our goals at a different pace and in different ways. The key is to find out what pace suits you, and how you can honour your own core values and keep aligned with your true spirit. Whatever journey you take, however, the main lessons stay the same: knowing what you want, and having that vision clear. Picturing yourself the way you want to be, in the situation you are dreaming of. Persevering, taking action, and believing it is possible for you.

Stick those pictures up on your wall

Arnold used to lie in his bed as a young boy, looking at the cut out magazine pictures of oiled up bodybuilders he had pinned up on his wall. He imagined himself to be just like that, one day. He knew exactly where he wanted to be, and worked at it. He didn’t just dream, he took the necessary steps to get there. He ignored the negativity from his parents, the ‘you’ll never get there’ comments, and the ‘just stay where you are and do what the rest of us do’ talk. He wanted more. And he got it. So stick those pictures up on the wall. Create that vision board. And believe you already have all of it. If a little Alpine boy from Austria can become a Hollywood star, then why can you not get to your own next goal?

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