It’s just after 5 A.M. and I’m really questioning why I am doing what I am doing-now that I’m too far from home to turn back, I might as well swipe my gym membership card and pay my penance for last night’s meal consisting of crawfish etoufee and fried fish. As I walk through the front doors, I can tell immediately that spin class is in full effect. Flo Rida’s Good Feeling is jamming at club-like decibels while the maniacal instructor dares the class to sit down during an uphill ascent. As I settle into my comfortable pace on the treadmill I stare at the spin class that is sectioned off from the rest of the gym. The lights are so dim (I’m told bright lights make the room hotter.) that if it weren’t for the music and instructor you’d think the room was empty. The instructor’s commands continue to wail track after musical track with urges to “Push through the pain!” and “You’ve got to earn it!” As the commands roll off the instructor’s tongue, I can’t help but feel sorry for those unfortunate participating souls who will be crawling to bed tonight. The treadmill I’m on is one of my favorites because I have the unique vantage point of seeing the drained, contorted faces of those leaving the class. When the class ended and the doors swung open, the instructor stepped out and politely smiled at me (I know it was one of those are you man enough to show up for my classes kind of smiles). I courteously smile back, wanting her to get out of the way so I could see the volunteers file one by one out of the room, but to my dismay, the room was empty. As it turned out, no one showed up for the class, yet the instructor ran the class as if it were full.
There are going to be times in your life as well as your career when no one will show up to help you achieve your goal-you will have to scratch, fight, and claw to an audience of one. It is at these intersections of life that you can either choose to turn back to a life of mediocrity simply because no one is watching or you can instead elect to push forward as if everyone is depending on you. When you are willing to risk putting your feet in life’s clips and ride, assertively commanding yourself to stand when you feel like sitting, push when you feel like coasting, grunt when you feel like crying, and finish when you feel like quitting, that your loneliest, darkest moments will soon become the dawns of newer, brighter beginnings.
Don’t dismount-keep pedaling and don’t ever turn back; show up and do the work because everyone is counting on you. Everyone begins with YOU.
I’ll see you next time on the blacktop.