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How Jim Ryan And A Violinist Will Help You Stop Procrastinating

May 26, 2021

Wednesday, May 19, 2021, what a huge day. It’s the day Governor Lamont removed all Covid-19 restrictions on businesses. If you’re vaccinated it's back to normal. Those people not vaccinated have to wear a mask when they are not able to practice social distancing. Finally light at the end of the tunnel!

I’ve been coaching people for over 30 years. Every day I get up looking forward to helping people reach their goals.  Covid-19 put a little kibosh on that. Guiding people through the pandemic presented some very different challenges. I had to step up my game. But now it’s coming to an end. It’s time for people to get after it again!

I recently listened to a presentation by fitness pioneer, Martin Rooney and feel the need to share his message. The focus of his presentation was to give coaches/trainers information on how to survive the pandemic.  Much of Martin’s message can be applied to help people either start or get back to exercise and good nutrition.

Please don’t think I don’t understand why you may have fallen off the exercise/nutrition wagon. The pandemic posed new and unique problems. Maybe you had fear and anxiety about coming into the coaching center. I do understand. I spoke with my clients daily discussing their fears and anxiety.  That doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you. That means you are a human being. It’s okay if you experienced fear and anxiety. It’s perfectly natural. I too had fear. Fear for my family’s health, my mom, 89 years old still living on her own. Fear the business that I’ve worked so hard to establish over the last 23 years would survive.

Fear and anxiety are controlled by only two things: your perceived amount of threat and your perceived ability to cope with that threat. What’s important is the keyword “perceived”. That’s in your head. You can control it. The perceived amount of threat going forward is up to you. I’m here to remind you as your coach that exercise is one of the most important things you can do to boost your immune system for your health going forward and get you back to moving and feeling better.

This crisis revealed to you who you are. What you do when you are faced with a crisis. It challenged you. It challenged all of us! As we come out of the pandemic, hopefully, we learned from those challenges and can utilize that information to catapult us forward as we are presented with new challenges.

The following story is about where your fire comes from and how to get started or back on track with your fitness.

There once was a young boy, a violinist. He was one of the best. He played big concerts and was considered one of the best. He wanted to devote his life to playing the violin. One day while walking down the street to a concert he noticed across the street the maestro. The maestro is considered the most incredible conductor. He sees him and runs across the street and says maestro, maestro I am a violinist and would love for you to hear me play.  I want to play for you and see if I have what it takes to be great. The maestro says okay, let's begin. The boy takes his violin out of its case and he begins to play.  This boy is giving all he’s got. He’s sweating. He’s playing the best he can and he knows it. When he’s done he put the violin down and looks up at the maestro. The maestro’s face is a little down. He looks at the boy and he says I am sorry you don’t have it.  You lack the fire. The boy can’t believe what he was hearing. He was crushed. But this is the greatest maestro and if he says he doesn’t have it he has to believe him. So the boy decides he can’t pursue the violin. He gives up the violin and puts all that energy that he used to use for the violin into school, then eventually business. He becomes one of the most successful wealthiest businesses in the world. 

Two decades pass.  One day he is walking down the same city street and he sees the maestro. He runs up and says maestro, maestro you probably don’t remember me. I was once a great violinist but you told me I did have what it takes. I took your advice and became a businessman. It’s the best thing I ever did. I want to thank you, but I also want to ask you a question.  What was it when I was playing? How did you know I didn’t have it?  Why did you say I lacked the fire? Then the maestro put his heads down once and he slowly looked up at the man. He said I am sorry to tell you this but when anyone plays for me I tell them all they lack the fire because if you didn’t lack the fire you wouldn’t have listened to me and continued to play the violin. The big message is if you had the fire to achieve a goal it’s always inside of you. Maybe the fire went a little dim during the pandemic. Now is the time to rekindle that fire. Stoke it until it’s roaring again.

Albert Schweitzer once said “In everyone’s life at some time our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.”

Today, I‘m here to rekindle your flame. I’m here to fire you back up. I get it. The pandemic was stressful, it disrupted everyone's lives. It’s been hell for over a year.  I am tired of wearing a mask. It hasn’t been easy. It’s been tough but we are coming to the end. It’s my job to stoke your fire. If you want to start that journey you need to leap. Have the power of belief.  You have to believe you can do it. But you may need someone to believe in you first then you will begin to believe. Then you take action on those beliefs.

Here’s a quick little track and field story. It’s a great story about having a person believe in you. There was this high schoolboy who went out for track as a freshman. Each day his coach, Bob would tell him to go over with the ugly ducklings and run laps. The coach only paid attention to the better athletes, the older athletes. The boy was always running laps with the ugly ducklings until one day Bob happened to looked over and said hey kid, hey Jim. I want you to run three laps for me. Jim said, okay coach. Jim runs the first lap in 59 seconds, the second lap in 58 seconds and, the third lap in like 56 seconds. That isn’t easy!  Coach says what’s going on here you aren’t an ugly duckling. You’re a beautiful swan, Jim. Jim’s like really? Coach says I think you’re going to be good. Jim says really? Coach says hay, hay, hay, I believe it. I believe it so much I am putting up on varsity. At the next meet, Jim runs a 4:50 mile, which is not easy.  At the next meet, he runs a 4:40, the next met he runs 4:35 and wins the city championship. While driving home from the state championships Coach Bob says to Jim I think you are going to run faster one day. Jim says yea coach I think so too. Do you think someday I can run 4:29? Bob says 4:29 you are going to be the first kid to run under 4 minutes in the mile. You’re going to be the first high school kid to ever run the mile in under 4 minutes. Jim goes no way, there is no way. Coach goes I believe it, I believe it. Then every day they went out and trained. The coach believed first then Jim started to believe. Jim Ryan was the kid. He eventually ran a 3:57 minute mile and went on to run 3:35 and that record stood for 30 years. The story reminds me of how powerful having someone believing in you can be.  Positive energy fuels success. My positive energy will help you believe and succeed. If not me you need to find someone who believes in you.

Here is another quick story. There was a wrestler at Arizona State. He was amazing. Broke all these records. He won the division one national title. He was super special he only had one leg. You know how many people would have given up on his kid. Miracles that happen every day, every day. You have to be the person that says it can happen and it can happen to me. You have to never give up. Never give up.

Yes, the pandemic was difficult and it may have gotten you off track but now let’s go for it. You have to believe. Today is that day. Today is now. Don’t wait any longer. This isn’t a one-week thing. It is a long-term thing. You can't finish if you never start. Today is that day. Sit down and figure out what it is that you want. For example, don’t just say I want to lose weight. Why do you want to lose weight? Don’t just say I want to get healthy. Why is it that you want to get healthy? Then find a coach and let them guide you. That is what coaches do. I am challenging you to start this journey. Start it for the last time.



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