Last night I woke from a sound sleep with a Charlie Horse. I leaped from the bed so fast that it was yesterday when my feet hit the floor. If you don’t know what a charlie horse is, have a friend hit you on the back of the leg with a baseball bat. That’s a Charlie Horse.
I realized that after a day of strenuous exercise, I had forgotten to stretch. The strength gained exercising is of little use if it is used up dancing around the bedroom stubbing your toes and screaming for your mommy! As the pain subsided I started thinking. There are at least three physical, mental, social and spiritual requirements you must have to keep you and your business “fully alive” instead of “dancing in the dark.” Here they are:1. Strength
It doesn’t matter whether it is a muscle, a relationship, your business or your brain. If you don’t work to keep it healthy and strong, it will atrophy and become unusable. That’s why I am training my grandchildren to be active. It’s why I encourage them to read books, practice their faith and make new friends.
Any organization or person that isn’t gaining strength is dying. I used to sing in a band. I stopped singing 20 years ago. Today, I can still carry a tune if the song only has a range of two notes. My voice is gone. Use it or lose it.
All the strength in the world is worthless if you are inflexible. Flexibility allows you to adjust a business plan to meet the needs of a shifting economy or marketplace. When the economy tumbled those who survived learned to make adjustments quickly.“We’ve always done it this way,” can now be read on the tombstones of failed businesses all across America. Keep on your toes, my dad used to say.
Flexibility allows you to get out of the recliner without having to rock six times to build momentum.
Flexibility allows you to bend down to pick of a grandchild and throw them in the air. Strength allows you to occasionally catch them. Stretch yourself in every area of life.
Flexibility also keeps Charlie Horses away and allows you to escape from anyone with a baseball bat who wants to show you what they feel like.
An interviewer reviewing my book “Fully Alive” asked me the secret to my long and fruitful career. My answer was simplistic but true. 50 years!
Hanging in there for 50 years even when the times were tough. Fifty years of trusting in God’s grace when I was stupid. Staying committed to my wife and my family. Determining a focus for my life and never losing sight of it. Establishing and living by core values that would keep my life and my work headed in the right direction. Did I make mistakes? Absolutely! But I determined early to never give up.
Yesterday, I watched two little granddaughters cross the finish line of their first triathlon. They were exhausted and ecstatic. I smiled and wiped a tear from my eye as they sat in the shade to recover. They were reaping the benefits and learning the value of strength, flexibility and endurance. They knew it had required discipline and hard work. I hope they have learned that if they continue, they will live “Fully Alive.”
How about you?