Have you stood on the edge of an open airplane door, looking at the sky beneath you and the ground miles below it, parachute on your back, trying to will yourself to jump?
Have you stood outside your boss’s door, after days and weeks working up the courage and what to say to ask for a raise or promotion, trying to will yourself to knock and enter?
Have you sat behind the wheel of your car on a rainy evening after a long tiring day at work on a day you told yourself you would go to the gym no matter what, yet thinking only of going home, sitting on your couch, and eating comfort food … trying to will yourself to drive to the gym?
Have you stood on a dance floor, seeing the most beautiful girl or handsome man, alone, that you could say hi to, trying to work up the nerve to approach and say hi?
Have you looked at that amazing suit or dress in your closet that you’ve always dreamed of wearing, knowing you’d command the room, but feared the attention you know you wanted and never worn it, but now knowing it would be perfect at tonight’s event, trying to will yourself to wear it?
Have you watched your friends pass the karaoke microphone, each letting loose, enjoying themselves while you watched, only sort of having fun, as your favorite song came on, trying to will yourself to bear the embarrassment to let loose and have fun singing, however out of tune?
Have you looked at the dessert you know you’d love, feeling how much you crave it, knowing you want not to eat it even though you always did before but having newly decided not to eat it, trying to will yourself to push it away?
These moments can define us if we act on them. Or we can let them pass and let our fear define us.
Are you someone who has jumped from a plane or only listened to others tell you about their experiences?
Do you take responsibility for your career or let it happen?
Do you exercise regularly or only sometimes?
Do you take responsibility for creating meaningful relationships or just dream about them, regretting not acting?
Do you dress how you want or not to stand out?
Do you sing with all your heart or not, just watching others?
Do you eat healthily and feel confident about your body or give in to what we know we’ll regret?
People ask me why I do burpees every day and cold showers ever fourth. I do because each cold shower and set of burpees starts with one of these moments. I face the same fears, anxieties, and excuses not to act.
I see overcoming these moments as a skill. Like all skills, you improve with practice and deteriorate without. I choose to practice and develop the skill.
The fitness the burpees bring is nice, but it’s a side effect. The major effect they bring is the skill to act how I want in defining moments and to define myself, not let my world or lack of skill define me. I live the life I want, not just what I end up with.
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On initiative, leadership, the environment, and burpees