Have you begun today what you want to be tomorrow?
490 days ago, Dorrier Underwood consultant Gary Davis spoke a commitment out loud that most of us wouldn’t have even entertained getting out of our mouths. He didn’t have it all planned out or even know if he could do it. But he said it anyway.
One of the most foundational Leadership Distinctions our Dorrier Underwood team works on is Integrity. So Gary knew this commitment would be a “gym” for creating something by saying it and then showing up over and over again for what comes next.
See what you can discover for your own leadership in our Q&A with Gary below. We’ve bolded a few lines that have us profoundly inspired, and our team keeps looking into our own leadership and lives for where we can put Gary’s example into practice.
As you read, think about what’s at stake through your leadership. Where might you be daunted by a big commitment waiting to be spoken into life, even if you don’t know if you can do it?
Q: As of this writing, how many days in a row have you worked out?
Q: How did your commitment to working out every day for a year start?
G: I just said it. I woke up on New Years Day 2018, looked over at my wife next to me in bed and said, “I’m going to work out every day this year.”
I had heard of Snapchat streaks and how my kids would do anything to keep them alive, and I had heard of exercise streaks, so I just said, “Today is the day.” I had no idea I would be successful, but that didn’t stop me from saying it.
Q: When you started, what did you guess you would gain from the commitment to work out every day for a year?
I truthfully thought it would be another New Year’s resolution that I did not keep. Like most of us, I’ve made them before to no avail. But I thought if I did keep this commitment, boy what would I discover firsthand about what’s in my control, in a world where I control so little?
Q: What have the results been so far? Physical, mental, energetic, productivity-wise…inquiring minds want to know!
I went from 275 to 230 pounds, and I am strong, like able to lift things, carry groceries, just everyday things. I can stand up without holding the chair (that is new), and I feel I can do what I say I am going to do now.
Q: At the end of the first year, you decided to keep going. Why?
I was scared as the year end approached. “What now? If I stop, will I just fall all the way off the wagon?”
So I went from 2018 #nodaysoff to 2019 # keepthestreakalive.
I decided ON New Year’s Day 2019, so it was a game time decision. I started training for a 2019 Triathlon. The mindset was: 2018 I worked out everyday, but I am starting the year in 2019 training every day. I was a great way to get a few months under my belt in 2019.
Q: Who have you had to BE in order to stick to this commitment and see the results you’re seeing?
Funny, it doesn’t matter who I’m being, interestingly enough. In this case, I can BE someone who is “certain I am not getting up at 5:00 and running”, and as long as I get up at 5:00 a.m. and run, I am still keeping the commitment. Another way to say it: I have to act in response to my commitment, not in response to my feelings, and I can still feel that way while I’m in action. It’s not an either/or.
Q: What does all this have to do with your leadership in the world?
I think everything is connected. For example, I really did not want to run in the rain this morning at 5:00 a.m., but I got up anyway and went.
Now, that experience gives me a way to be in situations where I can see that something is missing that I can provide in a moment, like an apology or accountability or tough feedback or just being quiet.
If I can get my body going three miles down the road in the rain at 5:00 a.m. when my mind is saying, “Go back to sleep”, then I can be still when I automatically want to talk or when I want to be still but need to speak up, for the sake of the bigger thing I’m committed to.
Q: What would you say to others who feel daunted or overwhelmed by such a commitment, whatever it might be for them?
What’s the worst that can happen? Start tomorrow and see. The magic of a streak is that whatever day you start, the next day you have a streak.
I don’t want to act like I “know” something about this. I think it’s ridiculous that I have gone almost 500 days in a row.
It’s trite to say this, but you cannot have a 50 day streak today, but you can have a one day streak today, and if you have a one day streak tomorrow, now you can have a 2 day streak.
Seems simple but the idea is that I make things harder than they are. If the question is, “How do I do this?”, the answer is usually, “Start here; do this.”
You want to write a book, start writing. Thinking about writing is not writing, thinking about diet and exercise won’t get you fit.
Don’t pay too much attention to your thoughts, and as Nike trademarked in 1988, “Just Do It”.
Q: What happens now? Work out every day for the rest of your life?
I have not really said this publicly, but I think it is seven years. I gotta keep up with Harry Connick Jr, and in seven years I will be 60.