Back in October I wrote a letter to myself.  You can read that here.

Here’s the reply.

Dear Steve,

I received your letter.  The bet is paying off.  Slowly.

The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your questions.  I didn’t know what that meant 6 months ago.  No idea.  I’m starting to understand.

Questions from 6 months ago- How can I get more business?  How can I get more money?

Question today- How can I show my passion and gratitude to every single client?  How can I increase happiness?

Sub question- Does success come before happiness, or is it the other way around?

I cracked 25 sessions a week in early November.  I’ve got 28 this week.  Getting busy was never a problem.  I could probably be working more but I found myself heading back into the trap I was in six months ago.

I was burned out at work.  I was rendering 25 to 30 one on one sessions a week, teaching up to 12 classes a week, getting up early, staying out late.  And when I got home I could hardly stay awake to hear Laura tell me about her day.  Fear and desperation were running my business.  Fear of not hitting a quota, fear of not making enough money, fear of taking time off and losing momentum, fear of being seen as less of a man, fear of leaving and failing at something else.  That fear led to desperation.  I would take all clients at all hours and burn the candle at both ends.  I was living to work.  I was not balanced or inspired.

I remember my Father’s stories about working summers with his Dad in the Quincy shipyard.  Hard work.  Blue Collar.  It was good enough work to raise my Dad to the Ivy League, but my Grandfather took my Dad aside one day and told him ‘If you’re doing this when you grow up I’ll kill you.’

It was not good enough for Archie Allison or his son.

If I had a son would I recommend him following my footsteps?

The shipyard killed my grandfather.  He had a stroke when I was three.  He hung on for years, but that wasn’t living.  Was it the stress of the job that wasn’t good enough for him?

That was happening to me 6 months ago.  I felt it creep up again periodically over the last few months.

The life I’ve been leading hasn’t been good enough for me.  The stress was long hours, unpredictable income, and a company that didn’t care.

So instead of just blindly pushing myself back into work I began asking questions.

Is this the best way to share my gift?  Does it inspire me?  Is there a better way?

This past 6 months has contained a realization (the way I ply my trade is broken), and then a search (how do I fix this?).  The realization was that I wanted to change away from the one on one training model.  The search has been for my dream job, created by me.

Starting now I focus on becoming a full time run coach.

That was a career I had considered many times before but I was never excited about the platform I’d use to execute it.  I was thinking I would just be selling programs and talking on the phone, but I’ve learned a ton these past few months, particularly from a business and mindset program called fitprenuers.  My new platform is going to be next level.  Everything I LOVE is going to be in there.  Blogging, programming, strength training, yoga, film, music, meditation.  This platform inspires me.  I’m excited to get to work.

The marathon is approaching.  I’m ready for a PR.  Strong but unspectacular finish at the Eastern states (tired legs).  Some good training runs.  Sub 2:40 will happen.  I’m going to find the Knife’s edge and push until the finish.

I started my blog as a way to reach more people, inspire more people, and create some business.  I didn’t expect the person most inspired would be me.  Sharing my experience, writing about running, pulling stunts like outrunning the Redline between Downtown Crossing and Park street, all this stuff has lit a fire under me.  A fire rekindled after 15 years.  I’m in love with running again.  Even if I blow up and fold on Marathon Monday I’m back out there taking punches, running miles and sharing my passion.  I have a small following, I haven’t figured out exactly what people want to read, and I haven’t created a ton of business yet… but I’m asking the right questions, and once the platform takes off… watch out.

The quality of my life is determined by these questions.  And that quality is slowly improving.

I’m grateful for everything that led me here.  From the garbage bags, to being overworked, to the questions, to the failures (there have been many).  I love it.  All of it.  Every successful story in my life has a moment where I faced down failure and figured out what to do next. I am still here, I have handled everything that’s been placed in front of me and I’m more excited and passionate than ever.  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  I Love it.  All of it.

There is no ending to this story, just an exciting new beginning.

I’ll finish with a story.  Anyone who pays any attention to me knows I am running/coaching and raising money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital Boston Marathon team.  The founder of St Jude, Danny Thomas, was a broke comedian with his wife and infant daughter  placed money at the shrine of St. Jude in and Detroit church.  ‘Show me my way in life and I’ll build you and shrine,’ he said.  His success thereafter is well documented.

In February I stood before the St Jude statue in Memphis, the one outside the hospital. I hoped to get to the hospital ahead of the group, but Memphis is a big place and I would have gotten lost.  Instead I snuck away from our tour for a minute.  I placed my hand on the for of the statue and stared up at it.

‘This is corny, and I’m pretty sure lots of people say this, but if you show me my way in life, well, the shrine is already built, but I’ll help keep the lights on,’ I said.

Months later, the very day I committed to my online run coaching platform, I was surprised with an awesome new running watch from my St. Jude team.  A gift for coaching them train this winter.

Let’s revisit this letter in 6 months.  See you on 10/10.

Bet on yourself.

Ask the right questions.

Meditate.  Prime.  Create.

And fly.

You know you won’t fail.  Now turn your thoughts, your LOVE, into things.

2 thoughts on “Response to self

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