Sometimes you have to stop in order to remember where and why you started.
The older I get, it seems someone has pushed the “fast forward” button on my life. This weekend, I remembered to hit “pause” and learned an important lesson.
When I was consistently training judo 4 days a week, I was not on the mats for vanity, but for my own sanity. I wasn’t training to beat someone else, but to escape from myself. Those hours gave me a brief window to forget the stress I was facing at work and home. I discovered when someone is trying to throw you on your head, you develop the skill of being laser-focused in the moment. This demand for my undivided attention taught me what it felt like to be “present.” I savored this experience each week and my only disappointment was how fast 2 hours would fly by each training session.
Time flies when you are having “focused fun.”
I have been more “non-stop” than ever. Because I like a focused schedule and what I do is my idea of “fun,” just like those judo practices, the first two months of 2018 have flown by in a blur. Over the last two weeks alone I have presented on both coasts of the United States for over 1000 people, trained athletes, written blogs, recorded podcasts, performed FB lives, sent 100’s of emails, texts and messages, did dozens of consulting phone calls, posted to social media and had face-to-face meetings to develop and build Training For Warriors. Those days also involved 10 flights, 4 Uber rides, sitting in 3 hours of San Francisco traffic and sprinting through O’Hare airport chasing down the last plane to leave a blizzard in Chicago. All of this was on top of helping get 4 kids up and out to 4 different schools, organizing rides to practices for sports all while fitting in some meals, workouts, reading (and watching the Olympics!) for me too.
Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining or trying to impress you. I want to impress upon you when you have so much going on (and I am sure you do!) it is easy for life to fly by. But I did something in New Jersey this week that I don’t do often enough: I hit the pause button and took a look around.
On Sunday night, I took the “red eye” back from San Francisco to New Jersey. I had a 2-hour layover and then flew home to North Carolina to share half a day with my family. On Monday I got up at 4am, flew back to New Jersey and was completely drained. I barely had the energy to prepare for a big talk the next day, so I decided to hit “pause” and went back to the town and facility where I started my career.
It is up to you whether your life will or won’t stay the same.
My first stop was the first house I ever purchased: a tiny two bedroom Cape in which I got engaged and brought home my first child. I was shocked to see how tiny and modest the house really was! As a twenty-nine year old when I scraped up the money to buy it, I was so proud. During my “pause” I stood on the lawn I mowed, touched the fence I helped build and examined the tree from which my daughter loved to swing. You might think I saw my 20 year past. But the gift of the pause was the glimpse of my 20 year path.
After the house, I drove the same route to the Parisi Speed School I had driven for the 17 years I lived in town. Although the turns were automatic, along the way I saw some things had remained the same while other things had changed. When I walked into the facility, I was hit with the welcome of old friends and took another opportunity to hit pause. I walked on the turf where I developed as a coach. I sat at the desk where I challenged myself to write. I stood in the conference room where I honed my speaking skills. I leaned on the front desk where I practiced how to market and sell. I trained on the same weights that had helped me strengthen my body and mind. And then the most important lesson emerged from the pause:
Life is cumulative. Whatever you do or don’t do will add up to who you eventually become. Every moment counts!
The pause helped me to see things differently. All of a sudden, every day items transformed to show off their real value. I no longer saw my old desk. The pause helped me to see the desk represented thousands of hours of sacrifice. The fake grass wasn’t just turf on which to run and jump. The pause helped me to see that surface as the place to delay gratification with hard work. The front desk wasn’t just made of wood. It was built from overcoming fear through self development. And the weights were no longer just iron plates and bars. They were tools to fortify desire and consistency. Hitting the pause reminded me not only where I came from (past), but what it took to get where I am now (path.)
What about you? Have you been so busy that life is flying by? My suggestion is to put some regular pauses into your schedule. Set them in your calendar and give yourself a chance to reflect on both your past and path. Take an hour this week and reflect. By taking a look back, you can examine the path for what is working and what isn’t. In the best case, this will encourage you by seeing how far you have really come. In the worst case, hitting pause will redirect you if you find some things aren’t working. In either case, the pause is your chance to do something you probably don’t do enough: celebrate your successes and give yourself a break.
Want a great place to pause and examine where you have been and where you are going? Join me for my full-day mentorship called Coaching Greatness. This day is the perfect chance to reflect on what you have done and what it will take to achieve what you want most. There are only a few select dates in 2018 left:
Coaching Greatness Dates:
There was a final gift the pause button gave to me this week. As a result of the pause, my confidence increased. By taking this break, I now saw the value in my years of work and that my efforts were not only worth it, but they had compounded. This awareness from taking the pause actually got me energized again to do more.
Taking a pause is your chance to look at your past, but it is also the reminder what you do right now is important. Every meal, every interaction, every workout, every thought, every effort. They all add up to form the path.
Yours in Strength,