Growing old or growing up? Part II

What am I going to do when I grow up?  The last time I asked this question out loud was….well….less than a month ago.  I wish I were kidding.  Despite rapidly approaching “midlife”, I still feel like a kid most of the time….an energy that has served me well – but not always.  Usually around this time of the year (birthday approaching and winter pushing me to my wit’s end), I start getting cagey. I start thinking about how to do more…how to “up my game”….and live my personal mission:

“Be a doer of extraordinary things”

It’s resulted in some pretty amazing personal experiences, usually involving some form of pushing to find new limits, many of which fill the archive of this blog…..but about 1.5 years ago things changed…..  It was a brief conversation, and I can’t even remember the face of the person who I was talking to….but his words struck me – and the sentiment has been with me since.  I’ve told the story to some people….and had several other amazing episodes since then that have helped to block out his voice, but it doesn’t take long before the words are back, ringing in my head.  It went something like this:

Him: You’re the guy who does Ironman right?

Me: Yes

Him: It must take a ton of time to do all that training.

Me: Yeah, it’s a big commitment, sometimes as much as 20 hours per week.

Him: wow……imagine if you put all that time and energy into something REALLY worthwhile.

Drops mic.


Sweep the leg. No mercy.

SweepTheLegThe conversation rocked me…..but not because it was emotional or because he was prodding…..because it WASN’T emotional and he WASN’T prodding.  He wasn’t being a jerk or judgmental at all….rather, it was as if he was actually trying to imagine it and wanted me to as well.  The problem was, at the time I couldn’t imagine it and I didn’t really want to.

All those hours were MY time – something everyone deserves a little bit of right? But it was more than that too. It was a way that I kept myself fit (and sane).  It was a way to show my friends, family members, clients, colleagues and anyone else who might be watching that nothing was impossible – that the effort to be at your very best, as absolutely ridiculous (or RED-iculous as we say at Pro-Activity) as it might seem, was worth it.  It was a way to inspire my kids and a way to push myself (and pull others along for the ride) – something I really enjoy doing….but, no matter how I justified, it definitely was short on “greater good”….and whether he meant to or not, that guy made me ask the question: what I was going to do when I finally grew up; he forced me down a path of starting to try to figure out what was possible if I put my effort where it could have the greatest impact.

I’ve run the gamut of emotions toward that guy. I hated him for a while – he made me feel selfish (or at least realize that I was already feeling that way)… other times I felt challenged by him – to find a new way to push – and so I’ve gained a respect for him.  But recently, I’ve been inspired by him.  In only a short time and with very few words (it was a comment in passing really) he stopped me in my tracks – totally swept the leg…..and I’ve been thinking about it ever since.

Now what?

And so this is where it gets interesting I guess….more to come……but the short answer is – change the world of course.

Want to help?


  • Mike

    You told me that story about a year ago and I was appalled that someone would say that. Don’t sell yourself short. Your achievements are extraordinary and hardly selfish. Just think of all of the people you have motivated to live more active, healthier and, therefore, happier lives, including me. Just think of all of the people who strive for greater things because of your example. Give yourself a little credit for all of the good that has come out of your hard work. You have already made the world a better place.

    • Thx Mike! Appreciate the sentiment. Time to cast a wider net maybe for me right? Got go from ME to US….Thx for reading.