no f~*king excuses!

A couple miles into my run today, I passed someone coming the other way.  He was lean — I’m guessing 5’10” and 150 lbs.  Dressed in DriFit gear, ball cap pulled down low, head tilted… looking directly at his feet.  He leaned to his right, and his left arm hung awkwardly away from his body.  His gate labored, especially tugging his left foot forward.  I kept running.

A few minutes later, I turned around.  I wanted to know his story…

Alongside, I asked if I could jog with him.  Still striding, head motionless, sweat dripping from his nose, he asked, “you mean… walk?”

I said, “hey, I’m good… just wanted to know… if you’d be kind enough to share your story?”

“What story?” he snapped back.

“Well, I find it pretty inspiring to see you, with an obvious limp, but still jogging” I replied.

He stopped, turned his head, and quietly spoke.  “It sucks!  Honestly, you have no idea how angry I am.  How embarrassed I am.  And then you come up to me.  You know… I wake up every morning, and my left side betrays me.  I used to be one of the elite long distance runners in the Puget Sound… and now, a stroke took that away.  There’s your story…. and I guess it’s nice if this motivates you… but it sucks.”

I paused, then responded, “Wow.  I can’t begin to imply I know how you feel.  And, I’m certainly not telling you how you should feel.  But I can tell you one thing for certain — you inspire me.

I’m blessed in many ways, and wonder how I would handle a real struggle… and whether you wanted to or not, you helped me.  You showed me a way to respond. Thanks.  And… I’d be honored if you’d allow me to take a photo from behind you as you jog… to share your story with others.”

He quickly replied, “No photos.  Tell the story if you want, but no pics…. and, have a good run”.

So there you have it.  Voices in our heads tell us we can’t, we shouldn’t, we’re too weak, too this, too that.  But this dude… he gave himself permission.  Permission to be as strong as his new body would allow.

But the story doesn’t end there.

As I jogged away, he shouted, “make sure you tell ’em…  No.  F~*king.  Excuses!

Indeed.  Stuff happens. We respond. Who we are, and who we want to be — that’s up to us. 

 

 

10 thoughts on “no f~*king excuses!

  1. good story. We all have a story. Some will be willing to share, others not so much. He’s right. Too often we can come up with a zillion excuses but that gets us no where. I like to say “Have a great day…it’s mostly up to you” now I can add “No excuses” to my line.

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  2. I had a choice last night as it neared my normal bedtime. The easy choice was to climb into bed, but inspired by Mr. No Excuses, I laced up my Nikes and ran a couple miles on the treadmill reflecting on this story. We are faced with daily choices that shape who we are – some of those choices I’m proud of, many regrets along the way and other choices were made to avoid conflict and situations that would make me uncomfortable. The easy choice for Mr. No Excuses would have been to hide and feel sorry for himself, but he made the choice to face reality and make the most of his situation.
    For me, the story reminds me that the easy choice is not always the right choice. Also, while his abilities have been physically changed and visible to us, there’s others that struggle with mental and psychological disorders that we can not physically see, so showing grace and kindness to one another goes a long ways to show care and concern.
    Best of Luck Mr. No Excuses on your life journey, he’ll never know how he inspired us.

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  3. I’ve got excuses for days…
    Thanks for the nudge to get back into action on my personal goals.

    However, what I liked best about this post was how this gentleman was a little abrupt with you, but you didn’t take it personally – you cared enough to have a conversation that was a bit awkward (dare say… uncomfortable) and weren’t persuaded by the not-so-sweet response. I recently read, “Unoffendable: How Just One Change Can Make all of Life Better,” and it speaks to extending grace to others and not being impacted when you don’t get the “nice” response. How we respond is up to us!

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    1. I might have taken it a little personally. :). I’m not a fan of conflict, but created some here. I honestly wanted to encourage him. Not sure if that happened or not. Will never know.

      It was refreshing to have an honest dialogue nonetheless.

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  4. David, I dig his delivery……direct and to the point. I have found that most times I coach myself “take a deep breathe, think this through, don’t react immediately, and be thoughtful with your response.” And that generally is the correct approach……..HOWEVER, sometimes that first and most direct response and delivery sure drives home the point. This was a good one….. No Excuses….

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  5. really like this one. especially the moral of the story. No excuses, only effort, failure and recalibration to try again. Just no excuses, awesome!

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    1. Exactly. This guy had what most would consider “reasons” to give up… nope. He didn’t sugar coat it either… much of this sucks. But he still laced up his Nike’s.

      I truly hope he can find joy at some point in the future.

      Like

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