How far will you go?

My favorite book, which I've referenced before, is "Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion," by Father Greg Boyle.  

If you're unfamiliar, Father Greg founded Homeboy Industries, an organization in L.A. that helps to rehabilitate gang members. They started with a bakery, but now have an entire operation that includes screen printing and catering.

In the book, Father Greg tells the story of a 17-year-old boy speaking of his growing appreciation for his mother.

“Every Sunday, the entire time I was in jail, my mother came to visit me,” he says, breaking down and weeping. “She took seven buses every Sunday, just to get to me and visit my sorry ass.”

There are many stories from this book that I love. But this is one of my favorites. 

It resonates in part because I lived in Boston for five years and either walked or took public transportation everywhere. 

While I was relieved to not drive in Boston, the exchange was standing in extreme heat and cold to wait for the bus, and arriving home with a headache from the exhaust and nausea from the constant weaving, shaking and leaning of the bus. 

I'd have been hard-pressed to take seven different buses for season tickets to the Steelers (I thought this over and yes I mean it). 

And this story begs the question: 

How far are you willing to go for what's important to you?  

Many of us are searching for happiness - in our careers, in our relationships, with our creative outlets. 

But how far are we willing to go? How much effort are we willing to put into the process? How important is it to us?

A few weeks ago at a staff meeting, we talked about how often we hear the expression "pretty good" as coaches. 

How's your meal planning going?

Pretty good.

How's your nutrition approach going?

Pretty good. 

But here's the thing: If you want to drop 20 pounds in two months but only watch what you eat Monday through Thursday, then pretty good isn't going to make that happen. If you want to run a marathon but only run three miles twice a week it's going to be tough going on race day.

That's why we spend time talking about your why. Understanding why you want to run that marathon or lose those 20 pounds can help fuel the effort, especially when you just don't feel like going for that run. Especially when you are out with friends on a Friday night and the temptations are right in front of you. 

Wanting to make more money is a goal. Wanting to make enough money for your spouse to quit his or her soul sucking job and be more present and happy at home is about a life-change for your family. 

Wanting to drop 40 pounds so you can get off of blood pressure medication and get on the floor with your grandchildren and be there to see them graduate high school is specific and clear and will help you stick to your fitness routine every day; not just when you feel like it.    

While I FaceTime with my parents every Sunday morning now, that ritual took years to form after I left Pennsylvania. It seemed like such a hassle to sit down and talk on the phone or find ten minutes to call and talk on a regular basis.

I’m not proud of that, but it’s true.

Then my dad's brother had a stroke. And calling my parents changed from something that I "should" do to something that was important to me because I was reminded that life is short.   

What is important to you? 

And how far are you willing to go for what's important?