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 I loved. A couple of months ago, one of our cherished family friends passed away at the age of 60 from cancer. She was a wonderful woman with three great, adult children and a husband with whom she had an amazing relationship right up until the last moment.
This week, her husband reached out to my wife asking for help with his nutrition and exercise. His reason for doing so as he explained it, is that he wanted to get to Heaven and look great for his wife. To me, that was incredibly special. We all deal with tragedy in different ways, some more constructively than others. I found it inspirational that he wanted to honor his wife by caring for himself better. Through experience, I can also promise that once you have the right “why”, results come much easier.
Something that may surprise you. The first time I ran more than a mile was in 2010. By 2014 I had taken part in an obstacle course race that lasted 24 hours and three months later, I began running ultramarathons. I’ve completed many races, often in pain and under tough conditions. I’m frequently complimented on my tenacity, mental and physical toughness. I tell you this because you may be surprised to learn that during the entire time I have been doing these runs and races, I suffered from “imposter syndrome.” Somehow, I always felt I wasn’t good enough and that I was a fraud. Even as I neared the finish of my 100-mile race last month, similar thoughts began to enter my mind. Then, something occurred to me that changed everything.
If someone had told me 13 years ago that if I started running long distances it would help get me through a divorce, starting over in life, being a single dad, opening businesses, tragically losing two loved ones, and more; I would not have been concerned about my speed or placement within races. I’m a regular guy that tested myself with some of the toughest challenges and races I could find. Sometimes I succeeded, often I failed, but it truly made me a stronger person. I finally realized that my racing was never about times, medals, or finishes. It gave me blessings far greater than I could have dreamed or can explain, and I should have realized it sooner. After more than a decade, I no longer feel like an imposter.
An important question to ask yourself. Have you ever considered the amount of people affected by the decisions you make? Who would be harmed or embarrassed by your poor decisions? How many would take pride in your good choices and accomplishments? These are all ways of asking yourself “Who do I represent?”
In my case, the answer always begins with my wife and four children. Then come my parents, in-laws, and friends. I also feel a powerful desire to represent the boys I coach in football because I want to be an example for them. Likewise, I want to behave in a manner that would make my patients and profession proud. The list goes on, and all are important to me. Whenever I need to push harder, I remind myself who I am representing, and it provides more fuel for my tank. Likewise, it helps reinforce my principles as I want to behave in a way that honors those I care for.
Something common. My daughter is coming up on two and a half years old. Unlike her three brothers, she can be content to sit around and relax, whereas my sons tend to be in constant motion. As such, when she is outside playing with us and exerting herself, she often quickly says “daddy I’m pretty tired” in the most dramatic fashion imaginable. She’s not used to the feeling of the (slightly) accelerated heartbeat and heavier breathing we all get from exertional activities. I tell her “You’re fine baby” and let her keep playing until she forgets about it.
This same thing happens to non-adolescents as well. When people are unaccustomed to challenging their bodies, they often assume something is wrong and want to quit once an activity gets slightly tough and their heartrate rises. The reality is they are de-conditioned and out of shape. The best way to deal with this is by sticking it out. Your body is a highly capable machine. Exerting it today will make it more adaptable to that level of exertion tomorrow and even more thereafter. Remember this the next time you are breathing heavy and want to quit an activity.
Some quotes I love.
“Things never to complain about: 1. How tired you are. 2. The amount of work that needs done. 3. The weather. Everyone is tired every day, there is always work to do, and we have no control over the weather.” – Dustin Myers
“A warrior is an average person with laser focus.” – Bruce Lee
“If the truth makes you feel uncomfortable, don’t blame the truth. Blame the lie that made you feel comfortable.” – Diamond Dallas Page
“Those who have swords and know how to use them but keep them sheathed, will inherit the world.” – Jordan Peterson