When I began my new job, the Communications Director asked if I would agree to be interviewed for my organization’s quarterly newspaper. Well, the approach was more on the order of, “the boss suggested your fitness journey would make a great cover story.” I was reluctant to participate. After all, I’m not yet where I want to be in regards to fitness. I supplied the photographer with a “before” photo and I was lamenting that the picture she took for the cover would be a “during” rather than an “after” shot. But later I realized that I hope to always be in a state of perpetual improvement, so I agreed.
The photographer wanted to photograph me with my half marathon medals. I brought them in and they are now hanging on a wall in my office, just as they were at my last place.
The issue has been out for about a month now…all 35,000 copies. As I tour our senior centers and meet people, folks know me before I know them. It’s a strange feeling and I’ve been quite self-conscious about it.
A few weeks ago I was visiting one of our centers. There was a woman on a recumbent bike, quite a bit heavier than I am, peddling her heart out. I waved and she squealed, “You’re the lady from the newspaper! I’m so excited to meet you because you’ve really inspired me.” I thanked her and acknowledged that I still have a ways to go. She responded with an enthusiastic, “Me too!” I told her we’ll have to inspire each other.
Later that week I was working late. A man from the facility cleaning crew came in to tidy the the office. When I looked up to say hello he pointed at me and in broken English said, “Newspaper! Congratulations!” Then he pointed to my medals and said, “Mucho!” Then he spoke about runners in his country of origin. I couldn’t understand everything he said, but he spoke with excitement and seemed thrilled to discuss running. Here are a few things I didn’t hear him say:
- “You’re too slow.”
- “You’re carrying around too much weight to do half marathons.”
- “Why do you bother?”
The woman on the bike and the cleaning crew member didn’t focus on what I have not yet accomplished. They celebrated the improvements I have made.
I’m trying to do the same.