Experience Life Magazine

Toyota Proven Performer: SheWINS

We all want to win. And what’s one thing winners have in common? “They walk their talk,” says therapist and life coach Leigh Weinraub of Miraval Resort & Spa in Arizona. Weinraub does this by getting her clients off the couch and onto their feet. “When you put one foot in front of the other, you feel in control,” she says—and that’s a recipe for achievement. Here, she shares some strategies for staying in the game.

Four Ways to Tap Your Inner Winner

Create momentum. Winning doesn’t start the day of the race, but the day you decide to enter it. So whether you’re training for a 10K or starting a new business, you’ve got to take an initial action to help momentum carry you. “Set your body in motion, and your mind will follow,” says Weinraub.

TRY IT >> Walk it off. Busting a rut can be as easy as taking a brisk walk. “Just two minutes of exercise can be as effective as antidepressants — reducing anxiety, improving mood and boosting productivity,” says Weinraub. “It’s hard to play at the top of your game when you’re standing still.”

Don’t judge. Adjust. Regardless of your sport or endeavor, say Weinraub, what gets in your way is often an issue of psychology, not ability. Don’t waste energy on self-criticism. Focus on a small change that will bring you closer to what you want to achieve.

TRY IT >> Switch it up. Tweak a habit to change the result. If you want to eat better, don’t skip lunch, binge and then beat yourself up over it. Pack a snack to ward off cravings. Drink a glass of water before meals. Don’t punish — observe and adjust. “We all experience emotions and temptations,” says Weinraub. “True winners practice their responses to feelings and situations that trip them up.”

Detach from the outcome. Don’t get overly fixated on the number on the scale or an 8-minute mile. “Whether I’m helping clients improve their forehand or lose 20 pounds, we focus on the process and the intention,” says Weinraub. “Confidence is born not from a single achievement, but from the passion that gets you there.”

TRY IT >> Find what drives you. “Intrinsic wins can propel you in a much more sustainable way than external rewards,” says Weinraub. Ask yourself what you value in others — passion, integrity, humor? What do you want to achieve? Think beyond status, looks or money, which feed the ego only. Align your actions with what will feed your soul.

Prioritize recovery. To achieve at a high level, you must allow for recovery — from physical, mental and emotional stressors. Running yourself into the ground is no way to win. “Recovery is just as important — if not more so — than the work itself, and a lack of it is a universal problem,” says Weinraub.

TRY IT >> Build in break time. While a weekend at Miraval would be nice, you can recover in much smaller ways as well. “It can be as simple as taking the time to enjoy your coffee, walking a little slower, getting a 10-minute chair massage — or my favorite, leaving your phone in the trunk while you drive, says Weinraub. “Just make it deliberate.”

Toyota Woman of the Year
Elizabeth Strickler, Grensboro, N.C.

Out of the thousands who were nominated for the Toyota Woman of the Year contest, one woman took home the grand prize: Elizabeth Strickler, 35, of Greensboro, N.C. She exhibited the true Toyota Woman spirit, not by raising millions of dol- lars, but by giving away something far more vital—one of her kidneys.

What I do >> I’m a quality analyst for a health insurance company.

Nominated by >> My mother, Dianne Tubbs. She’s always singing my praises to anyone who will listen.

What happened >> In 2006, both my mother’s kidneys failed, and so I offered her one of mine. I really didn’t give it a second thought.

How things got complicated >> The doctors found a large cyst on my ovary, which they had to remove first. On top of that, I wasn’t allowed to donate a kidney until I lost 50 pounds.

How I did it >> My mom and I did this together. We cut out red meat and candy, and ate plenty of lean protein and veggies. I walked the dog, did aerobics every day. I lost 50 pounds in six months.

Why I won >> I don’t know! I read so many other stories of women who had run marathons, raised money for cancer. But I guess no one else had a story like mine.

My next goal >> I gained some weight back, so I want to get my health in order. My boyfriend and I are cook- ing more and staying active. Having only one kidney now motivates me to stay healthy.