Have you read Simon Sinek’s Start With Why? If not, I want you to stop reading this, click that link, head to Amazon, and get yourself a copy of the book. Once you get the book, and if you’ve already read it, keep reading.
In Start With Why, Sinek explains the “Golden Circle, a hierarchy of how we express ourselves. The center of the circle is Why, the middle circle is How, and the outer circle is What. Sinek notes that companies and leaders who Start with Why are the best at connecting to and inspiring others. If you’d like to catch up now, check out his amazing TED Talk:
At Mark Fisher Fitness we often ask our Ninjas “why” they’re doing what they’re doing. We ask them a few times, because it’s rarely the first answer that’s truly the real answer. Not that there’s anything wrong with wanting to get a six-pack, to have your ass like better in your favorite pair of jeans, or in losing or gaining a few pounds. It’s because usually those external goals are driven by deeper desires that we keep closer to our heart.
For me, one of my deepest “Whys” behind my training is to be a good dad. It’s been that way since February of 2012, when my own father passed away from complications with diabetes.
When I say complications, I mean the whole American Diabetes Association list of what can go wrong. Including but not limited to: Cardiovascular disease, nerve damage (neuropathy), renal dialysis for kidney failure, multiple toe amputations before a below-the-knee amputation, depression. A little-too-much Pepsi goes a long way, ya see?
Since then, between the badminton club at Adelphi, learning about and competing in powerlifting, now being really involved with my mountain biking, and dabbling in rock climbing, I have had a relatively consistent focus on being a healthy dad.
Guys, I don’t have kids. Katie and I don’t have kids, and this isn’t a surprise announcement coming for a few years. I don’t have my own kids yet, but I do have little cousins, and after playing with them last weekend, I’ve had plenty of time to think about my long-term why.
I think I’m off to a good start with this:
Playing with my little cousins at ThanksGibbons was absolutely great. They are so fun and full of energy, and completely unaware of how exhausting it was. I truly don’t understand what their parents experience with those energy levels on a daily basis. I know that after about 15 minutes of playing human jungle gym, I was totally smoked.
When I was little, my twin brother and I played games like that with my dad all the time. When we played in the backyard, we had our actual jungle gym, and then our dad-jungle-gym, and we ran around like little maniacs from dawn ’till dusk. As we got older, our dad got older, and when he got sick, he got older way faster than we did.
When Katie and I started dating, I remember telling her that one of my goals was to be able to play tackle football with my kids when I drop them off for college their freshmen year. That is a real statement, and one that I’d love to actually do.
I have no idea if my kids will want to go to college, if they’ll play football, and if I know anything about football to even be able to play with them. I do know that I love the idea of taking a tackle as an adult and being able to get back up. I haven’t been hit that hard since the last time I got crosschecked playing lacrosse, but I’ve been hitting the ground on my own accord.
I try not to get into too much trouble with my riding, or my climbing and lifting for that matter, and there’s always the same question floating around in the back of my mind: “Will you be healthy enough to run around with your kids when they’re 18 years old?
Right now, my answer is a resounding “YES,” and I’m on track to keep it that way.
Now think about yourself. What is your “WHY?” Ask that question three to five times. Right down your answers if you have to. Send me your answers if that’s helpful. Why are you training or exercising? Are you preparing for something specific? Are you preparing for the ability to do anything? Maybe you simply want to be tackled by your unconceived children who may or may not want to play football with you when they’re 18. No pressure, kids.
Love you, Dad.