So a month ago, at 11:30 on a Tuesday night, I suddenly became possessed by the idea that I had to join a gym. (For those of you who know me, "join a gym" was not even close to the phrase you would have expected to follow the words, "I had to." Even I was shocked by the overwhelming pull I was feeling to do this.)
It wasn't just any gym. It was this one particular gym, a tiny little haven tucked under the ivy on a side street near my apartment. I'd walked past it a year and a half before and the owner had poked her head out and started chatting with me. I liked her, and checked out the schedule online, but never felt like I had the time, or the money, or (really) the desire to actually work out.
Every few months it would occur to me that maybe I could do it, and I'd go hang out on their website, and then not do anything about it. But that Tuesday night, for some reason, I simply could not go to sleep until I reached out to the owner to see if she would talk to me about what it would look like to join her gym.
The next day she invited me in to chat, and she told me her story. Susan is 52, in amazing shape, and used to be obese. She tried everything, and nothing worked, and then she experienced her personal transformation as she fell in love with fitness.
She told me that when she took her first run (after spending three hours trying to get herself out of the house), she ran a few blocks and then stopped at her friend's house, overwhelmed. "I can't do this!" she blurted out.
Her friend looked at her and simply asked, "What's your run?"
"What do you mean?" asked Susan.
"Everybody runs differently. You can't expect yourself to run like anyone else. What's your run?"
Susan thought about it, and then the answer came to her. "Mine is a slow run." And so it was. She got back up and ran her run, exactly the way she was supposed to, and it got her exactly where she was meant to be.
I loved this story. I felt like it gave me permission to do things my way, and to stop worrying about how anybody else was doing it. Not just in the gym, but in business, and in life. Which is not to say that panic doesn't still strike me--that I'm doing it wrong, that I'm not doing it fast enough or well enough and that everybody else is doing everything better--BUT now I have my personal response, one that calms me when I start looking outside myself to measure my success.
When I heard Susan's story, I immediately asked myself, "What's my run?" and the answer came as soon as I asked: My run is a long run.
I take time to do things. I might get a million ideas a minute, and get all excited and start massive projects in less time than it takes most people to put down a cup of coffee, but getting to where I want to go, building what I want to build takes time, and I seem to finally be making peace with that.
This business, that I sometimes fantasize will get built "overnight" and be a smashing success and generate tons of money while I'm playing with my kids, is a long run. It's already been fourteen years since I inadvertently became a professional organizer. My business has evolved over time into something completely different, and much more aligned with who I am now: Helping extraordinary women build businesses they love.
Did I plan it this way? Nope.
Could I have gotten here any other way? I don't think so.
Do I have a feeling there's more road ahead of me? Yep.
But the good news is that at least now I know how to look back over my shoulder and see how far I've come. I can see that if I choose to spend time with my kids, that's time I'm not spending in my business, and I can say that it's the right choice for me, for right now.
I can look at creative projects I started a dozen years ago and know that they're moving forward at the pace that works for me right now. Do I wish they were getting finished faster? Kinda. But the story I would have told ten years ago is very different from the one I'm telling today, and the detours and alternate routes I've taken have been ones I needed to take, so I might as well trust that it's all part of the long run, and that as long as I keep making time for the things that are most important to me, and as long as I keep checking in to make sure my choices are aligned with my desires, needs and values, I'll get there.
Or, better yet, I'm already there. Sure, I have bigger goals, but you know what? Here is great too. Perfect, even.
Here is where I am. It's where my family and friends are, my clients and my projects, my opportunities and adventures, and, let's not forget, my new gym. Here is where I get to make choices, and where I get to be grateful, and where I get to learn lessons and decide where to go next.
And now, here is where I get to ask you: What's your run?
Is it slow? Fast? Long? Short? Punctuated by frequent pee-breaks? Mapped out? Free-form? Uphill?
Think about it. Let me know. And let me know how it's showing up in your life, getting you where you need to be.
Wishing you much joy!
P.S. My new gym: NuYu Revolution, www.nuyurevolution.com. Check it out if you're in NYC. It's awesome.