I turned 50 last year, yep 50, and realized I was in shape – if round is a shape. I travel quite a bit for business and would see people in the elevator and hotel lobbies that were dressed in what I seem to remember as workout clothes, sweating after having completed some form of exercise. Mark Twain, a fellow Missourian, one of my most favorite people to quote said this about exercise – “Everytime I feel the urge to exercise, I sit down until it goes away.” It’s funny, absolutely, but I sought to defy his approach and decided to run anyway.
So, when I pack for another in a series of out-of-town business trips, I include my running gear, and when I’m home I rise a bit earlier than normal and hit the neighborhood streets. I actually ran in a 5K last year and even passed some people (while they were walking their dogs, I indeed passed them. LOL.), but I’m not in training for the Olympics or anything, just trying to exercise to slow down the aging process and feel better, which I do, especially after a good run.
As I ran this morning in the Hilton Fitness Center here in Chicago, where I’m scheduled to speak later today at a conference of government finance professionals, I began thinking about what I’d write about this week and it hit me – running.
Now I prefer not to listen to music when I’m running or even watch something on TV, now that it seems every piece of exercise equipment has a monitor attached it. Nope, I tune out the noise so I can create space in my head to wonder and wander. In today’s busy world, each of us is so incredibly occupied with a seemingly endless list of to-do’s, it can be a struggle to find time for space. Space to be curious, play with ideas, consider the possibilities, all that.
Now I enjoy listening to music, in fact I’m listening to classic funk and R&B tunes from the ’70’s as I write this (Sly and Family Stone and the O’Jays) and enjoy my share of TV time (the Mad Men finale is tonight and I’ll be missing it), but creating an opportunity for ourselves to simply disengage from the world’s craziness helps us replenish our mind, our body and our spirit. Whether or not you run or workout, I encourage you to sharpen your personal compass by determining where in your daily life you can reflect. Allowing our minds to wander and wonder can be incredibly rewarding, and is often the most productive time for us to create new ideas, potential new solutions, to consider the possibilities.
I always take it as a compliment after I’ve finished a training session or speaking engagement and a participant comes up to me afterward and shares with me how much he/she enjoyed our time together and how my remarks made them think. Thinking, what a concept! Try it more often – your mind and spirit will appreciate it!
And let’s continue our journey in getting better all the time!