By Coach Jimmy Hays Nelson
Come with me on a little time travel journey, won’t you? The year is 1988 in the west Texas town of Lubbock. It’s a crisp fall afternoon, and a class of 4th graders excitedly run outside gripping four popsicle sticks in their hands. Well, all except one. Behind the commotion, laughs, and roughhousing strays a portly young man with a worried look on his face. Why so concerned? Because the four wooden sticks he holds in his hand represents the number of laps he has to run to complete today’s 1 mile assignment in P.E.
He’s been through this torture before. It usually starts with high hopes as he is with all his friends to being their quest. But it isn’t long till he finds himself alone on this trek as his classmates being to distance themselves from his conservative pace. And the only time he gets the company he desperately wants, it comes in a very humiliating way from kids that have now lapped him on the track. It’s only made worse when being lapped by the cute girl that has no idea he has a Texas-sized crush on her.
This was the genesis of my hate/hate relationship with running.
Yes, you read that right. Coach Jimmy: Insanity Workout Cast Member, P90X Expert, 100 pound weight loss success story HATES RUNNING.
Fast forward to my junior high and high school years where my hate affair with running only got worse when I was introduced to my new nemesis: The Treadmill.
As if it wasn’t bad enough having to run a long distance, now I’m being asked to do it without actually going anywhere!?!?!? No wonder I never stuck with any of those attempts to lose weight growing up. They were tied to those vivid emotional images from elementary school.
Why was it so easy for those other kids? Why was I working so hard, but not getting any better? And even worse, not seeing any results! I was actually putting in MORE effort than those skinny punks. I deserved to have better results! Right?
The crazy thing is that this theme of ‘The Treadmill’ followed me in other areas of my life as well. School, relationships, singing, acting, college, career, finances. You name it, I always felt like every area of my life was an uphill battle that I had to overcome things others didn’t. And I would get so mad because those that had advantages never seems to realize their position, and they damn sure didn’t appreciate it!
Have you ever felt that way? That you put in the work…forget that! Have you ever felt like you put in work above and beyond only to see others with half the work ethic reap the rewards that you feel like you deserve? If so, I get it! I understand. I did too.
The crazy thing is what prompted this trip down memory lane. Yesterday morning I went down to the gym in my building. I took my laptop and promptly popped in my Insanity Workout DVD. Before I knew it, sweat was dripping down my face as I tried to keep up with Shaun T and the Pure Cardio Cast. In the midst of my workout, the same ‘morning crew’ that I see daily trudged in, heads down, and climbed onto the collection of treadmills.
I watch this same group every morning. No variation in their routine. My heart goes out to them. They obviously are willing to get up early and invest the time to chase a goal. I’m sure they invested money as well. Running shoes, workout clothes, an ipod stocked full of music. These things aren’t free. Yet, they lack the joy of actually achieving the results they desperately want.
Then as my mind raced through my treadmill-hating past and all the areas of my life that had left me so frustrated, it hit me:
Sometimes effort isn’t enough. It’s the RIGHT effort that makes all the difference in the world.
In other words, regardless of my goal – losing weight, building muscle, starting a business, getting out of debt, having a successful marriage – knowing what actions to concentrate on is just as vital as the effort itself.
Think about it. If you were the fastest runner in the world and you had a destination to get to, would it really matter how fast you were or how much effort you were exerting if you were running in the wrong direction?
For a very long time, I can honestly say I didn’t want to know the right direction. I found some weird comfort in being the hard working martyr with no results to show. That I would rather be able to hang on to that anger and hurt, than to humbly reach out and ask for help from someone who had seen success before me.
If your motto in life is: “I’ll figure it out on my own” – I urge you to put your pride in check for just a moment. I wish I had. It would have saved me years of bad decisions. I would have never been 100 pounds overweight. I wouldn’t have found myself in my mid 20’s living in my parents house after dropping out of college 3 times. Oh, did I mention I had 2 maxed out credit cards as well.
I share this story with you to say this: Be teachable! Stay humble. Never think you have it all figured out. There is always someone with more knowledge, more experience, and simpler way of getting something done. And most of them are willing to share what they know! Will it cost you anything? If it’s worth your time, then probably! I used to scoff at paying for guidance, help, or coaching. Which is odd because I didn’t think twice about drowning myself in student loan debt with no real career plan.
I encourage you, whatever area of your life you are struggling with, find a Coach. Seek out a mentor who has struggled where you are currently struggling and was able to overcome their obstacles. That small investment could save you years of torment, and more than likely prevent you from making more bad decisions that only makes your current hole deeper.
Find a Mentor. Have a Plan. Don’t Wing It!
If you ever need tips, advice, or just an encouraging word – I invite you to stop by my Facebook page and say hello. I’m always happy to help!
In this together– Coach Jimmy