Today, something pretty incredible happened to me, I was given the honor of receiving the November Project Positivity award. To some, the Positivity Award might look like the sawed off end of a wooden oar handle with some letters carved into it — those people would be correct, but only partially. What this idol represents is something that I’ve bought [HARD] into since first being absorbed into November Project last …November… while catching a FREE HUG mid-run during the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15k.
You see, NP is a group – no – Tribe of people that gather in cities across the globe to unite in sharing some pretty awesome common interests such as hugs; shouting out vulgarities [you good? FUCK YEAH!]; supporting our community; bonding with one another via blood, sweat, and booze; countless burpees; finding innovate ways to use playing cards; beans for breakfast; totem poles; racing everything; and having a genuinely bad ass time with complete strangers (usually not strangers for long, but forever strange in the best way possible). When we gather every week at the ass crack of dawn, to listen to a couple of hobo-esque super heroes guide us through some pretty intense workouts at various spots around the city, we do it with passion and excitement — we do it not just for ourselves, but for one another. We have a saying at NP and it goes like this, #justshowup. Just show up and you’re guaranteed to be pushed hard, to be cheered on, to be motivated to dig deeper to find ways to break boundaries you never thought were possible. Just show up and give it your best, whatever that might be. Just show up and meet people that’ll give you high fives while working out and invites to local dives on the weekends. Just show up and you’ll become infatuated with the absolutely incredible feeling of positivity that radiates from everything NP. Just show up and I promise you will be recognized for your work ethic, for your attitude, and for your commitment to making yourself and everyone around you better every day. Oh yeah, and we’re #weatherproof, so we practice all of this badassery all year long, no matter the conditions. Essentially we’re like a bunch of super cool postal workers that deliver hugs instead of mail, and drive each other [to grind out another rep] instead of one of those funky little white trucks. As for the Positivity Award, well it’s a tangible symbol, passed on from our leaders to individuals whom they feel embody the values that NP is based on.
So, now that you know what the November Project and its Positivity award stand for (in my terms, anyhow), you might be wondering, ‘why are -two- guys in this picture? And why aren’t they outside somewhere hugging each other between shouting and doing burpees?’ Well, the guy on the right is the man who taught me a great deal about what it means to be a ‘good’ person, including attributes that I feel closely align with those NP aims to develop within its tribes, as well as how to create and maintain a positive attitude. You see, this man is my dad and I’m lucky to be able to say so. Even since being diagnosed with Leukemia in April, my dad has continued to be an overwhelmingly positive influence in my life. While in the hospital undergoing Chemotherapy he was joking with the medical staff and planning out where his next vocational adventure would take him (he’ll never be able to return to his former industry of work restoring, modifying, and building classic and modern cars). When my dad started losing his hair he found the bright [shiny] side of things in that his head has a pretty good shape to it (he’s had ‘long’ hair since he was a teenager). When my dad found out that his bone marrow transplant had to be postponed because blockages in two arteries near his heart were discovered, he wrote a letter to his donor thanking him for being such an incredibly considerate person… for his willingness to save my dad’s life. Even today, as I rushed to his house to share my excitement about receiving this award with him, before heading to West Virginia for work, I found something incredible on his computer — his desktop background is a photo OF ALL OF US!
Funny isn’t it, how the man that taught me how to carrymyself and think positively is now looking to NP for support when he needs it most? THAT is what November Project is all about. It’s not about you, or me, but about all of us wanting to get better and doing whatever it takes to help each other reach our goals, break down our barriers, and overcome every obstacle along the way. I love all of you just as I love my dad. You’re family. You motivate me to keep getting better, and it is with the utmost respect and admiration for you all that I humbly accept this award. I can’t wait to see who earns it next! Thank you, and good night!
Your Friendly Neighborhood Beardo,