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.
A recent experience. As many of you know, last Friday I ran thirty-four miles to honor my brother-in-law who would have turned thirty-four that day. Halfway through my pre-planned route, I came to my first series of trails. Due to the snow last week still being on the ground, the footing was not great, but it was well traveled and not terrible. After a few miles of that, I came upon the beginning of a 7-mile section of trail that didn’t appear to have so much as a single footprint on it. That would mean I’d be blazing my own trail in the cold through ten inches of snow, up and down hills; not ideal for any long run.
At this point, I had the choice to either continue my current route knowing it would be hard, or detour to paved roads and make it easier. I chose the hard way and it ended up being more challenging than I expected, each mile feeling as if it were three. It was cold, I fell several times, I was in pain, and was in the middle of nowhere.
All that said, this is the portion I’ll look back on and remember fondly. When you challenge yourself and then overcome, there is a feeling of accomplishment and pride. Trudging through that snow alone, I talked aloud to my late brother-in-law often, and brought myself into a stronger mental state than when I began the run. If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you so remember to seek out those challenges when you can.
Something I believe. Focusing on winning is extremely important. It helps keep us driven, determined, and with an eye on the end goal. This is crucial but things do not always end up as we’d like. For that reason, I believe something that is just as important as winning is learning how to take a loss.
I saw several examples over the past week of people or groups that lost in various endeavors and behaved shamefully. They made excuses, involved people that didn’t need to be, cried foul, said things weren’t fair, and on and on. They compounded their loss by embarrassing themselves with poor behavior.
No one should ever want to lose. But if it happens, there are ways to handle it so that it turns into something positive in the future. Evaluate your performance, ask what you could have done differently, what can be improved, what you learned, etc. Do not make excuses, feel sorry for yourself, or get down. Take it on the chin, own it, and grow from it.
Something I heard and loved. One of my son’s previous football coaches spoke at his church group this week. He told a story (that I was in attendance to witness) from 2 years ago. They were playing in a tight game against an extremely physical team that was hitting hard and talking a lot. They hit our quarterback often and got into his head. He came to the sideline to get a play from the coach facing a 4th and 32, down 6 points, with under a minute left in the game.
He told the coach that he was scared. The coach asked if he meant scared about the situation or getting hurt and the player told him that he was just scared. At that point, his coach told him the play and told him that one of the players would be open on this play, that he’d make a perfect throw to him and that they’d score and win. That is exactly what happened. He completed a 74-yard touchdown pass on that play and my son’s team won one of the craziest games I’ve ever seen.
The point the coach made by telling this story was that sometimes in life, you may not believe in yourself. In those times, it may be the words of someone else that help you. Furthermore, there will be times when it’s you that needs to hear these words and other times when you are the person that must deliver them to someone else. When used properly, there is great power in your words to help others, and theirs to help you!
A concept I believe in. In the lead up to the memorial run I did for my brother-in-law last week; I was asked by many patients and friends what my backup plan was. In other words, what would I do if it were cold, if it snowed, if the roads and trails were tough to run on, etc.? Would I postpone, and if so, to when? My answer was that I was going when I’d planned regardless.
When there is something important to you, do not allow yourself to negotiate it with anyone (including yourself). Honor your commitment in the way you promised and give all you have. If it seems like it will be harder than you expected for some reason, begin it anyway. Honor your commitments by showing up and giving nothing less than your best.
Some quotes I love.
“Whatever you are not changing, you are choosing.”
“Your energy introduces you before you even speak.” – Kate Broddick
“Don’t watch the clock; do what it does. Keep going.” – Sam Levenson
“Food is the most overused anxiety drug. Exercise is the most underutilized antidepressant.” – JJ Virgin
“Freedom is not a reward for compliance. That’s how jails work.”
“It will be hard but hard does not mean that it will be impossible.”
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