On Fridays I like to share experiences I’ve had during the week with patients and in my personal life that I’ve found significant. I like to share them in hopes that you might find value in them and have something resonate with you in your life.
Something inspiring to me. My wife and I have a dear friend that is only around 60 years of age but is now in late-stage hospice care at her home. Unfortunately, she will pass away very soon. We are close to her and her family and this is very sad for all of us. Last week, my wife was able to sit with this woman and speak with her.
My wife asked if she was scared to die, and she said she was not. She explained that she had done so much in her lifetime (raised 3 adult children, etc.) that it comforted her and gave her peace with what was soon to come. This attitude and outlook inspired me greatly. There is a saying attributed to many of the great warrior cultures, “today is a good day to die.” The implication being that if you live your life with purpose, you will be fulfilled and at peace when it is your time to go, regardless of when. The fact this woman embodies this attitude as her time is at hand inspires me to live an even better life myself.
Something I loved. I took my wife out to breakfast last week and she asked how the training for my 100-mile race was going and if I was ready. I told her it has been my best training cycle ever and that I am prepared to die to finish the race (more of an expression than prediction!). I told her how I picture receiving my belt buckle after completing the race. Custom belt buckles are given to finishers in these types of events and “earning a buckle” is considered a badge of honor in the ultra-running community.
After listening to me explain all this to her, my wife thought for a second and casually said “Well, you better come home with that belt buckle or in a body bag.” I laughed and told her I loved hearing that! It is a wonderful thing to spend your life with someone that truly understands you as my wife does me. When we got home from breakfast, I immediately made a sign that hangs in my home gym saying, “Belt buckle or body bag” and it has become one of my mantras as I train!
A recent interaction. I was speaking with someone in a service industry this week about their business. They complained about clients, having to work certain hours, challenges they encounter, and more. Rather than seek solutions to these issues, they began telling me how they avoid them. Things like making excuses, skipping work, and more. They asked if I had any advice, and I did.
I advised them to be more of a professional and stop thinking so much about their feelings. A professional always gives the best effort possible and seeks solutions to challenges. Someone acting on feelings will make emotional decisions unlikely to produce positive or lasting results. I told them the hard truth is that in business, no one cares about your feelings, but they will care about your professionalism. For example, no one wants to go to a concert they paid 300 bucks for and hear the artist tell you how bad their day has been and why they won’t be doing as good of a job as usual, they want to hear the hits!
Something I teach my kids. “On my honor” is a phrase I use often around my older children. When I say that something is “on my honor” it means I see it as a matter of pride, principle, and importance. Anything that falls into this category must be completed every time to the highest standard and is not open to negotiation.
A couple years ago, I began noticing the woman next door to me out early shoveling her driveway. My wife mentioned to me that this was because her husband was too sick to do it any longer. It turns out he had a bad form of cancer, from which he eventually died earlier this year. Once I found out he was sick, I made shoveling her driveway a matter of my honor. Though a simple gesture, I make sure to wake up earlier than normal (usually about 4am) and shovel her driveway so that she won’t have to worry about it. This is certainly nothing special on my part, however, it is an example of how I view an act of honor. It can be something small or large, but the act must become a priority, performed to the highest level, and done solely for reasons of pride rather than credit.
Some quotes I love.
“Do not judge me by my successes, judge me by how many times I fell down and got back up again.” – Nelson Mandela
“I’ll tell you one thing, just don’t quit! The beauty is in the journey! Run your race!” – Jeremy Reaves
“You don’t just pass down your genetics to your children. You pass down your habits.” – Dan Go