I’m surprised at the response to this blog, from friends and strangers alike. It feels like the more personally revealing and embarrassing I can be, the more people respond.
Kind of fun, kind of discomforting.
But it’s what I signed up for.
I have it pretty nice. Blew my college years and 20s being pissy and pessy (that’s slang for pessimistic, just made it up on the spot copyright brandoncarter 2016) only to emerge in my thirties, start running, lose some weight and stumble upon a freaking spiritual awakening.
Sounds cool. It’s been cool.
But I can’t take all the credit for it. The people around me played a huge role, primarily my wife.
Today’s our 13th anniversary.
WAIT WAIT Don’t leave just yet; this isn’t one of those intolerable “My spouse is the most amazing person in the world” posts that none of us read on social media.
Okay, it’s partially that. She’s incredible, beautiful, patient, mean as hell when necessary and more driven than I could ever be. Amazing woman who is truly what makes our family tick. She’s earned me far more friends than I deserve and let’s me get away with far more nonsense than I deserve.
That’s not the point of this post, though.
The point is partners. Bring people into what you do.
You can do whatever you want on your own and it can happen. But bringing other people into the picture is like using a cheat code.
Lori has been my up up down down left right left right A B A B select start, in other words
My weight loss was going okay the first month. I was down a couple of pounds, but when Lori came on board with the same routine the entire operation accelerated.
I accomplished nothing in my running until a colleague suggested C25k. I didn’t get faster until another colleague, Steve, started running with me and kicking my ass.
I would never have considered triathlons or marathons or even 5Ks without the encouragement of friends.
And not just friends, but friends who knew what I wanted to accomplish.
There are a lot of layers as to why this works.
Antagonists and Cheerleaders
Just verbalizing your goals to someone else increases the likelihood that you’ll toward those goals.
Even if the people you tell aren’t “accountability” partners, their response will probably help you.
If they crack up and taunt you, then you have antagonists. Those are good to have.
But odds are they’ll encourage you, like Cheerleaders. Cheerleaders are neat.
Another reason to share what you want to do is to learn something. Jim Rohn once said you’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with, so put yourself in with people who know a thing or two about what you want to do.
Side note: don’t be the “can I pick your brain over coffee” person if you’re looking for professional advice. If you’re asking someone to bestow wisdom all over you, pay for it. Or at the very least, spring for more than coffee.
Let’s get touchy feely.
Vulnerability is a tough topic. No one likes or wants to be vulnerable. No one likes to learn that their deeply held beliefs may not be true. Or that someone out there is laughing at their gut hanging over their bike bib.
But vulnerability is the best way we learn. It’s the best way to genuinely connect to other people. When you tell someone what you want to do, what you want to be, you’re making yourself vulnerable.
And sometimes vulnerability comes back to haunt you, because some people are assholes. But the experience is almost always worth it, because you’ll always learn from it.
Share your goals and ambitions with someone. You might learn a better alternative to what you want to do. Or even better, someone might look you in the eye and say they’re proud of you and want to help you.
Why am I writing a blog that includes fat photos of me and open confessions of my shortcomings? It isn’t because I find some sort of strength in vulnerability. It’s because I know people are landing on this blog after Googling “am I too fat to run?” and “is it okay to quit Facebook?”
You may not have a Lori and you can’t have mine.
But you probably have one out there, and they’re going to be excited to help you with your hopes and dreams.