Guy I met at the gym

By Rhonda Campbell
I was proud of myself for taking off for the gym as early as I did, especially considering the fact that I stayed up late last night watching The Vow and All Is Lost on DVD. Little did I know that a great lesson was waiting for me at the gym.

Getting in a good workout at the gym

Treadmill, jogging on the gym floor, riding the exercise bike and pumping iron were on the agenda, in that order. As I was nearing my jog, a guy entered the gym. By appearances, he was in his mid-60s with a head full of salt and pepper hair. He  had on sneakers, sweat pants and a sweat jacket. Like everyone else, I assumed he had come to the gym to get in a rigorous, healthy workout.

Three wide screen televisions broadcasts current news and sports at the front of the gym. Not keeping with tradition, on this morning, music didn’t play on the loud speakers overhead. Instead ESPN sportscasters recapped the Packers vs. Seahawks game, scarcely giving attention to the Patriots win over the Colts. A CNN anchor talked about the tension in Yemen on the other television screen.

My attention averted from football playoffs and the upcoming Super Bowl contenders to Middle East conflicts. But, I couldn’t stop glancing at the 60ish guy. Oh. Did he have a lot to teach me.

He’d gone straight to a nautilus machine and sat. He too watched the television screens.

A surprising gym workout lesson

Despite the desire to run faster, my pace slowed. I lifted my thighs higher and picked up the pace, but I knew that my morning run was winding down. That’s when I hopped on the exercise bike, but not for long. I’d forgotten my seat cushion. I wasn’t about to ride the bike for 15 minutes or longer and make my butt sore for one to two days. Once is enough.

The first weight machine I used created a burn in my shoulders, just what I was looking for. The burn let me know that my work was paying off.

I couldn’t help glancing at the guy with the salt and pepper hair. He looked fit, like he worked out regularly.  But, he just sat at the nautilus machine, people working out around him.

Three weight machines into my toning exercises, I looked at the guy and was surprised to discover that he was sleeping, mouth open and head titled slightly back. If someone had bumped into him, it may have startled him, shifting him out of thinking that he was napping on his favorite living room recliner.

Finally ready to workout at the gym

It took a few minutes for the guy to wake. He roused himself away from sleep with a shake of his head. Then, taking hold of the nautilus machine handles, he pushed up two reps, paused and pushed up another four to five reps.

Less than a minute later, he was gone, having grabbed his jacket and exited the gym as pretty as he pleased. From the time he entered the gym to his exit, it all took about 20 minutes.

I couldn’t help wondering why the guy had even bothered to travel to the gym. Why had he gotten dressed in workout clothes only to take a nap?

Before I knew it, I was thinking about times when I got prepared to start a project, meet a challenge or step away from a comfort zone. During those times, I’d enrolled in a course, searched for information online, uttered a series of positive affirmations and developed a plan of action so that I could achieve a personal goal.

But, that’s as far as I’d gotten. That’s as far as I’d pushed myself.

Result? A lot of thought, planning and preparation with ziltch result.

You have to do more than just show up

I can’t thank the guy at the gym enough. He taught me that just showing up is not enough. He taught me that preparing to start and finish a task is not enough. He taught me that desiring comfort over the possibility of being met with (and having to do what it takes to overcome) resistance (internal and external) won’t get me over the hump.

To win requires consistent, persistent action. It may not always feel good, but if it’s the right action, it will produce rewarding results.

What  about you?
How about you? What are you busy preparing to do but not actually doing? What have you signed up for but not taking enough action to complete? Are you always between projects? Are you always in school but never applying what you’ve learned at a paying job (or as the successful leader of your own company)?

Do you often talk about replacing negative habits with positive thoughts and actions, but you never get around to making those changes? Instead of taking advantageous action are you often just making excuses?

If so, I encourage you to revisit what you truly want. Let positive desire propel you to act for the first time. You’re going to need it. As the guy at the gym clearly taught me, dressing up, planning and preparing to do something is simply not enough.

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