"Who here thinks they're in the best shape of their life?"
Monday, April 22, 2013
So I had an interesting day today....actually my life is a string of interesting days, but today had some more than usual interesting points.
I had the opportunity to speak to a crowd of 60 to 70 up and coming 20-something professionals about leadership development, job prospects, managerial expectations, getting ahead, yadda-yadda-yadda. I can be somewhat motivating and get asked to do this on occasion and I enjoy it.
I usually talk for about 10-15 minutes, then take their questions about anything and everything that's on their minds. When there's a lull, I start asking them questions, and, just like any good law professor, start grilling them on their answers.
Today, just for the hell of it, I asked, "Who here thinks they're in the best shape of their life?" Maybe 5-7 hands went up, 2-3 of them were pretty tentative.
I held my hand up and told them I'm 53.
Then I went hunting.
"So those of you who didn't raise your hands, you're telling me you've peaked? Are you telling me that your best days were in college or maybe even high school?"
A few uncomfortable chuckles.
"Who thinks they're going to get in shape in the next 6 months?" A few hands. "How about in the next year" A bunch more hands.
"OK, that's promising.....How many of you think you're going to get less busy as you move up the corporate ladder?"
Everyone looked at their shoes.
"Who here is married, or thinking about getting married? Who has kids, or is going to have kids?" A few hands....some of the same ones who said they'd be getting in better shape this next year.
"So if I understand this right, you've been too busy these last few years to stay in shape, WHILE YOU'RE IN YOUR 20s" I shouted, "and, since you're in this leadership class, you expect to be moving up in responsibilities, and by the way, you're about to start families, but you figure you're OK putting off getting in shape till next year some time, because then there will be more time"
"I think you guys need to start hitting the gym tomorrow!"
"I don't think many of you are likely to get there 'next year sometime'. I think you may want to, but if you keep putting it off till next year, you may just find yourself 10-20 years from now, reasonably successful, but in fairly poor health. Unless you start now, it'll just get tougher and tougher, you'll get busier and busier with work, with life, and then......"
So I told them my story (you can read it on my SP page if you're not one of my SP buds; smoker, overweight, non-runner, turned into non-smoking marathon-man, then morphed into trim and strong adult-onset weight-lifting fanatic) and said that I can honestly say I feel in the best shape of my life, and I'm 10 times busier than any of them....but today I make the time to workout and treat it as importantly as any other meeting I go to and need to do it so that I can be a strong husband, father, and employee.....in that order"
I was one of them for a long time, working my ass off 60-80 hours a week to do well, but the wear and tear on my body, eating a diet of crappy food to "get some energy" during the day got me 30-40 lbs heavier, with a waist size 5-6 inches bigger than I have now, and no stamina for even climbing a flight of stairs or running after a bus.....yet, that was OK, because I was "successful"
I didn't want to go through life thinking that the healthiest time in my life was in my 20s.....and I didn't want these 20-something kids (Yeah, their kids dammit!) to go through the rest of their lives thinking they peaked in high school....and that it was just downhill from there.
Th rest of my day was a little less interesting....tons of meeting, had to get an estimate to get my car fixed ($2,000 freaking dollars!!! But I love this car!), and my always dreaded hi-rep leg day.
After talking smack like that I couldn't bag out of leg day. I got myself motivated for 3 sets of 15 reps of squats at 185 lbs (5 more lbs than last time....woohoo!) and 3 sets 15 reps of deadlifts at 250 lbs (another 5 lb increase!) and all I could think of was, "Why the hell did I say all that scheisse to those kids....now I can't quit no matter how much this hurts!"
Have a great night Spark friends!