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Lombe Mwansa talks about embracing the power of choice

Jun 23, 2021

I met Lombe Mwansa in the Bo Eason Facebook group (A-listers, highly recommended) and I’m so happy to share this awesome conversation with you! Lombe is a high school teacher and a wellness coach. We talk about small wins that lead to big wins, about the magic of empty boxes and how you can find the motivation to just start. This episode almost turned into a private coaching session for me, Lombe sure has a way of motivating people! I wish you loads of joy diving into this hour full of insights and fun!

Lombe lives with his wife and two daughters in England. Last year a puppy joined their family too. : ) Lombe teaches computer science, English and maths in secondary school and he’s also a wellness coach. In answer to my questions who he is, Lombe answers: «Who I am now is that combination of a person who’s had a multicultural upbringing, who’s very comfortable moving around and leaving things at the drop of the hat, but then also trying to marry that with being in one place, operating from one place while trying to stay centered and grounded, as the world around me does whatever it’s got to do. That’s who I am right now. If we’d have this conversation next year, it might be different, but that’s my starting point».

Lombe moved from Zambia in South Central Africa to the UK when he was 12 and he says, that his childhood growing up was a mix of two different cultures.

We talk about my favorite question, how to find joy in everyday life. Lombe says: «Finding joy was a concept I wrestled with». Teaching and parenting demand your full attention and focus and Lombe says that he found himself being pulled into different directions. «That took me on a journey and I found a martial art called Aikido, The Art of Peace and although it helps you defend yourself, the thing I enjoy the most about it is that it doesn’t work when you use strength. For me it was a very big learning curve and it taught me to accept things for what they are and to accept that I can’t force my way through. That learning in itself was what lead me to finding joy in the every day».

Lombe remembers that before this, he thought that joy and happiness was something that came was an end result when everything else was lined up.

«These days my joy is about finding alignment between what I do and what I want to do every single day», Lombe

«My joy comes from doing the best I can to stay grounded, stay balanced. If I choose to pay attention to something and give it my energy, then I’m happy to do that because it’s a choice I have made and not a choice I have been forced into making».

«When I find I’m being pushed into things, there’s no joy for me there», Lombe

«As you think different, it is different», Ronja

«We learn from our own experiences», Lombe

Lombe says that he’s learning from his oldest daughter in that he can tell her as much as he wants, she will still want to experience certain things for herself. I’m in the exact same situation with my daughter and we both for sure know where that’s coming from. : )

A current challenge that Lombe is facing but also taking on is slowing down. He likes to run, but he really tries to get into the habit of walking. «For me the challenge is knowing that I can go faster but just slowing down to enjoy that moment, it’s a fine challenge. It’s just me against myself», he adds smiling.

To me, my father who is 81 years old, is a big inspiration. He still walks the steep path up to our mountain cabin simply by taking on step after the other, in his very own pace.

Lombe states that there are three main things that bring him joy:

  • Moving his body daily with intensity and purpose
  • Being intentional over what he eats and how he fuels his body
  • Taking the time to rest and relax

«Embrace the power of your choices and be mindful of their consequences», Lombe

There is always a consequence, whether it’s a good one, or it’s an opportunity to learn that it wasn’t good and that you have to do something different next time.

To Lombe, moving his body and eating intentionally go hand in hand because there is a clear connection with food being the fuel for the body. The most difficult thing at the moment is allowing himself to rest and relax.

«That space to rest is available every single day, you just have to stop focusing on every single thing out there. Just think, you know what, the world will be, I’m gonna stop, rest, if it means doing absolutely nothing, if it means sleeping, then that’s going to be ok too», Lombe says.

Lombe adds, that resting can also mean to have a rest day from working out or to do some yoga.

«Rest, get rid of distractions and just focus on whatever positively takes your attention, that’s how I try to do it», Lombe

«When you’re a parent, that in itself is a different kind of job, because there are hours in a day when you can’t do the things that you want», Lombe adds. His earlier misalignment came from the friction of not being able to do what he wanted and feeling forced to do the things that occur in everyday life and with having a family. Lombe’s solution for that is to combine things like doing the dishes or cutting the lawn with listening to a podcast.

«I’ve narrowed it down to three things: Movement, Food and Rest. If I’ve got those three in a day, I’m happy», Lombe

To find joy, movement, eating and resting are his starting point. «I chose movement because that was something for me that was easy», Lombe adds.

«Find something that is easy to do, something that isn’t going to cause too much tension with your current lifestyle», Lombe

Lombe recounts that he jumped into a 60 day program that took 1.5 hours a day which he tried to fit into his already full daily life. This resulted in sometimes starting at Midnight with the task which wasn’t sustainable and meant sacrificing his sleep.

«The easier thing to do is to find movements and ways to move your body that can complement your life, that allow you to double up on things and not really have that tension against other things that you should be doing. I think once that tension comes, we naturally fall back to the easiest route», Lombe explains.

 «If you can’t move, focus on the food. Eating good food will make you feel good and help you make better choices, because when you want to make choices that will help you feel good in that next moment, so I think that helps as well», Lombe adds.

«Be ok with not doing anything», Lombe

«Sometimes we get pushed and pulled by what we think we should be doing and who we think we should be», Lombe

Before the puppy joined the family, Lombe used to get up at 5 am and workout, now the first thing he does after getting up is letting the dog out which might wake up other family members too, and that results in - as Lombe puts it: «Moving in morning is possible just not the way that I want to do it». Instead of focusing on getting a workout in, Lombe now focuses more on getting enough movement throughout the day with activities like taking the long way around when moving to and from classrooms.

The very first thing, Lombe does in the morning is drinking a litre of water. After that he drinks a cup of Japanese green tea: «Sencha green tea has minimal caffeine, it’s also very nice and easy to drink». Instead of starting the day with a coffee high, Lombe starts his day with something that calms his system down, so that he can be more focused throughout the day.

We talk about movement and this is where Lombe took me under his wing. To him, June is a movement month (we’ve recorded this episode on the first of June) and he invites me to do a challenge with him. For anybody out there who is interested, you can start whenever and the only goal of the challenge is that you move! Isn’t that great? It can be working out, it can be walking, running, dancing, stretching, yoga… Whatever you like best, just make sure to move. Tag me and Lombe on Instagram if you’re in for a challenge. : ) @joyismycompass @thedadbodslayer

Lombe says that it doesn’t matter if you start small, what is important is that you start somewhere and that you think about what it can unlock!

I will admit, that I usually get stuck on Social Media first thing in the morning, so I vow to not just watch Lombe’s awesome fitness movies but better move myself! : )

Lombe says: «For me, anything that challenges me, I know the fallback point would be: «Don’t do it, pick it up another time», so it’s just trying to edge my way closer and closer into this place of discomfort and get there. Add a bit of fun, a bit of sensible jeopardy».

Another major thing for Lombe was realizing during Bo Eason’s 66 day challenge (on average it takes 66 days to form a habit, that’s why) that it’s also an option to optimize life by removing things. It’s knowing that when you choose to do something – for example playing computer chess, as Lombe likes to do – you also choose to give up time you could have spent on something else. This means that you either decide to not do it and do the other thing instead or to do it with intention.

Improving should be fun and easy and flexible. It’s not adding another heavy weight on the to do list. You have to find your way and make it fun. If it’s not fun, change things up.

We get back to the question of how Lombe finds and creates joy in each day. Lombe likes to start the day by finding small wins. These can be things like:

  • not looking on the news or Social Media as soon as you wake up
  • starting the day with drinking enough water
  • getting up to let the dog out and getting back to get some sleep before the alarm goes off…:)

«Watching the news brings me very little joy», Lombe

«What are the small triumphs that I am getting along the way?», Lombe

«If I come to a point where there is a bit of tension, I try to look at it from a point of view of what is in it for me to learn, not why is it happening to me», Lombe says. If he can’t do his morning routine, the lesson is that he needs to get up earlier the next morning.

«For me to move forward, I have to learn something from it», Lombe

Lombe adds that to him the frustration comes from trying to force things to go into a direction it shouldn’t be going in and that push back is the indicator of that. Overthinking and over scrutinizing consume a lot of time and energy. «At the end of the day, I make time to reflect on the wins that I had in the day and how I can use them, repeat them tomorrow and be successful tomorrow».

«Winning the small series of victories is going to unlock the bigger ones», Lombe

The conversation ends with Lombe’s beautiful analogy of the empty box that was so fascinating when you were a kid.

«The one thing for me, that was always the easiest thing to do, was to go back to my childhood. When you go back to that place, when everything was exciting, everything was interesting, and an empty box can be the whole world. The big difference was just your mind. You were open to the fact that this empty box can represent whatever you want. The empty box had the solutions to all the different problems that you can think of. The empty box had the solution to world peace, world hunger, it had the solution to your happiness and as long as you keep that perspective of you can fill that empty box with whatever you want using your imagination, start there. Get an empty box, look at the empty box and fill it with whatever you want and then take the journey from there».

Wow! What an awesome, mind-boggling conversation! I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I did. : )

This is where you can find Lombe:

  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/shapeupwithlombe
  • Instagram: @thedadbodslayer

Resources & people we talked about:

  • Medical Medium, Anthony Williams
  • Bo Eason
  • Gymba-Board for standing at your desk
  • Upstaa standup desk

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