This is a post I’d rather not write. I am venturing out on very thin ice and I am fully aware of it. Please don’t read parts of this post or you may leave with the wrong idea. It’s an all or nothing kind of post. I have been connecting with a few people from my Facebook page that have mentioned either their spouse or mine in a comment or private message. ….if only my wife would. … you’re so luck to have done this with your wife…. if my wife would support me then….. if my wife would just stop making. ….
Anyway, today’s post is about team work.
I’m pretty sure no one reads my rants to hear about my wife but you’ll have to grin and bear it because it’s critical to the rant , not only that, I want to stay out of the doghouse. (Well, at least try )
My wife and I were very young when we got married. As most 20 and 21 year olds (not saying who’s older ) things are rough to say the least. Toss in a few kids, a career change , financial hardships, layoffs, and whatever else you can think of, and you got yourself a trip to hell and back. And man, did we travel that road hard! Relying on our faith, each other, family, and friends we plugged along. With every trial and obstacle our marriage, along with our personal lives became stronger and stronger. The worse the struggle was the stronger we arrived on the other side. Through the years our marriage became honed into an almost unstoppable force. Not perfect, in fact, far from it. My wife is a gift sent straight to me from heaven. I have no doubt I’d have been dead by the age of 21 without her. She is my everything. We work together, play together, raised a family together, and built a life together, all that, with a ton of hard work and I’m a happy guy. Not many people can say this but I married my hero. I wish I had just half of her amazing qualities. So, as you can see I have utmost respect and love for my wife but………………. as with any team, not just in marriage, teamwork is not all its cracked up to be. In fact, when someone watches my video and says awwww, that’s so nice you were on this journey with your wife, if only my ……… (tires screeching) STOP. You know what they’re about to do? Make an excuse. That makes me cringe because I know what the whole story looks like and they are just seeing a 6 minute clip of 23 years. If you want to change your life in anyway, not just with health and fitness, and you are waiting for you team to step it up or your waiting just to form a team you’re going to wait for the rest of your life. Ouch. That sounds harsh but it is so true.
So, here’s how the team “works”
Teamwork. I remember this morning like it was yesterday. We walked into a pleasant little place for breakfast while we were on vacation. As a team we went in there to feed each of our addictions, mine drug of choice was sausage and bacon grease, her’s, sugary syrup and whipped cream. I remember this day because I couldn’t fit in the chair so I had to walk to another room to trade one with no arms. We laughed as a team but I was embarrassed to a degree that few will ever know. Like most teammates she encouraged me by telling me how small the chair was and to keep my chin up because it wasn’t a big deal. We stopped at every fudge shop as a team, had a giant ice cream cone as a team, and pounded down an entire funnel cake. As a team we mapped out a way around the park that would insure the fewest step covering the most attractions. We sat down later to come up with a game plan to get pizza and wings to take back to the hotel room for dinner and a team snack before bed. I would hope by now with the overuse of the word team that you get my point. We were a team, not really too much different then the team we are now. Maybe we are playing a different game now but we were still there for each other to encourage and support each other through every step of life.
Teamwork. I remember it like yesterday. She had finished a little before me. As she saw me round the corner to the finish line she started to cry. I passed through the line and she meet me about 5 feet on the other side of the line to hug me. Tears were flowing from both of our faces. Not just your ordinary tears of finish line joy though. We both were sobbing, I mean like the uncontrollable sobbing when tragedy strikes but there was no tragedy, the sobbing was fueled by the deepest emotions of raw and uncontrollable joy. Together, my teammate and I accomplished one of the greatest achievements that we had ever set out to do, an entire 5k without walking. We did it! We started walking as a team. Then, we started jogging for a little bit in between our walks. We worked hard as a team to finally run our first continuous mile. We progressed into running a mile and stopping for a team water break before our next mile. Eventually we accomplished our team goal of crossing the finish line of that 5k. The team work paid off and was worth all the effort.
Weird huh? The same two people, in the same lifetime relationship, identical circumstances, the same love for one another, encouraging and supporting each other, but two completely different outcomes. That was a ton of information just to set up a bit of perspective on teamwork but I think it was important to better show why I see teamwork from this new perspective. Here we go.
I’m a math guy, I get paid to teach math and science concepts. One day as someone said the line I have heard 100 times, “oh it must be nice to do this with your wife.” I responded, “Why”, just to see his response. He said well, “with the two of you on this journey you have twice as many chances to succeed.” I said to him that it’s only fair that if you use that equation we can change sides and change signs and it will also be true. So, I asked him, “is it fair to say we also have twice as many chances to fail?” Crickets… not a word. He never even tried to wiggle out of it. Think about it, if your success depends on your team what kind of team do you want? What if you can’t find that perfect team? Don’t, get me wrong, I love training with partners and groups. I tend to push myself much harder when there are people around me that are trying to accomplish what I am. I tend to strive for a more perfect diet when there are fellow health nuts around me. But what if there’s not? What if those fellow health nuts are slipping and start eating junk food? What if no body want to hit the trails? What if your partner loses motivation? What if you are the one dragging the team down? Teamwork is always displayed in a positive sense. You always see the motivational posters in a business or office that are titled teamwork, and then go on to a witty quote. Why not in holding centers, prisons, or juvenile facilities? The epitome of team work would be a street gang, right? I mean you can’t get any closer knit of a team than one that would give their very life for it. The idea of teamwork can be very biased sometimes.
My sister and I trained together for a 100 mile bike ride last year. I noticed the same thing would happen to me and her that had happened to my wife and I many times. We would have a scheduled ride for a day that had crappy weather. We both knew we needed to be out cranking the miles but if I didn’t really feel like going, i guarantee I could get her to cancel because not wanting to be 20 miles from home in a downpour. I could say what a beautiful day it would be tomorrow and …. boom … done, the training ride was canceled. Obviously, this works the other way too. So, what do you do about all this?
Here’s the new way I look at training partners. I picture myself on a bus. The bus is heading to my goal or destination. This is so much bigger than food and fitness so the goal or destination could literally be anything. The bus is moving to the goal and the only time it stops is to let people on or off. My hope is that the bus is jam packed with people that have similar goals than mine but even if it’s empty I’m not getting off until I reach my goal. I try as hard as I can to recruit people but the only people that will stay on the bus are the ones who really want to reach the destination. Some people will hop on the bus the minute the ride starts. Some people will wait a few miles in. Some people won’t hop on until the last mile or two. The same thing will happen with people hoping of the bus. Some people will jump off before it starts moving. Some people will ride up to a few feet from the destination but they will hop of at the last minute. The key for me to remember is that regardless of the passenger’s entry and exits, I’m staying on the bus no matter what. I love having people on the bus. The more the merrier! But at the same time I realize that it is my dream and my goal and it may have a different level of importance to my fellow bus riders.
There has been more than one occasion where I have approached my wife with a crazy idea or goal and asked her to be a part of it. She will say something like, “If I don’t do this, are you going to do it anyway?” This is kind of understood now, but I would usually say something like this. I would love to do this as a team. I think it would be an amazing thing for both of us but if you don’t do it I am going to do it alone. So, at first glance this seems callous, maybe even arrogant. The truth is I would rather have my teammate with me than accomplishing the actual goal but it just doesn’t work that way. If I focus on teams goals there are too many variables which ultimately gives me avenues to push excuses onto. Besides that, think about how powerful this idea is from a team perspective. If both my wife and I (or any training partner) want to reach our goal regardless of if we go solo or with each other and at the same time we want this to be accomplished as a team, that is pure power with nothing but forward motion. No excuses. In fact, when I want to quit, I know she won’t and the thought not being there to crush the goal and celebrate with her will kill me. While the two of us focus on our own individual responsibilities and being accountable our individual selves, we are also enjoying every minute of being a part of a team that has nothing but forward movement, and that team is unstoppable!
Hey, I put quite a bit of time into these posts and if they help even one person then I have accomplished my mission. Obviously the more people that can hear the message that change is only a decision away the better. If you could be so kind as to share this video with friends and family it would be fantastic. This project is only going to happen if people like you spread the word that it is out there. Thank you so much for doing that! It may save someone’s life.
Also here is a 40 minute interview I did for the project. Podcast is also available.
Hey, check my Facebook page and connect with me on fatmanrants.com (click here)
“Eat plants, move your body. All ya got to do is a little more than ya did yesterday😉 ”
Until next time,